Characters: Rictor and Shatterstar
Rated: T for just very mild slash
Disclaimer: I sold my soul to the devil, so if you want anything take it up with him.
Summary: Shatterstar practices basic Earth traditions, and is determined to show Rictor.
A/N: Very short and fluffy. I got a sudden, ahem, burst of inspiration that wouldn’t leave me alone. So here it is. Please have barf buckets ready in advance.
Shatterstar was a perfectionist.
He knew this, and so did his teammates; they made it a habit of telling him every time the team got together to do something. 'Star didn’t think that it was a bad thing; there was nothing wrong with wanting to be good at the things he did. In fact, the warrior took great pride in being the best. Where he grew up one had to strive to be the best at all times; if they did not then they wound up dead.
Old habits just died hard, he supposed.
Which was the reason why he’d been standing in front of the mirror for three hours. It had been a normal afternoon in Murderworld; the team had their morning exercises, ate breakfast together, Shatterstar trained some more, and then he had come up for lunch. Domino, Rictor, Tabitha, and Roberto had been seated at the table in a heavy discussion when he had joined them. As soon as he walked into the room, all eyes had been on him.
“Damn, 'Star,” Domino had laughed at him. “You look miserable.”
“I am not,” he had assured her -- or so he thought.
“Why don’t you try smiling once in awhile? You come up here everyday looking like someone killed your dog.”
He frowned. “I do not have a dog. If I did own a dog I can assure you that no one would be able to kill it.”
“It’s just a figure of speech, 'Star,” Rictor had grinned at him.
“Oh,” the warrior replied.
Domino just shook her head. “You just need to lighten up a bit.”
“Yeah, no sense in ruining that hunky face of yours with a scowl,” Tabitha had smacked her gum and winked at him. She had also had effectively shifted the conversation off of him; Rictor had told her to shut up and leave him alone, while Roberto had gotten on Tabby’s case for calling 'Star ‘hunky’. Shatterstar could care less what Tabitha Smith or Domino had to say about his face. As comrades their input was valuable in terms of battle and what was expected of him on Earth, but he held absolutely no qualms for how they felt he should look.
Even if they did have a point.
'Star stared into the mirror determinedly; he would get this right if his life depended on it -- not because of their remarks, but rather so he could prove to himself that he could do it. The great Cadre warrior would not be outdone by something as silly as a facial expression! It was a gesture that humans seemed to use often too, so he figured it must have been a little more important than he originally thought. All of his teammates used smiles, even his best friend Rictor.
Julio had not put much input into the subject though. The Mexican knew Shatterstar better than anyone else on the team did, so the warrior figured if anyone would have a valid opinion on the matter it would be him; but surprisingly, he didn’t say anything at all, and 'Star wasn’t entirely sure why. Rictor was usually the type of person to voice his thoughts, whether rude or not, without a care for what anyone else would think about them. He was only often quiet if something bothered him, so Shatterstar figured maybe the content of the conversation had troubled him.
And that was the other part of the reason 'Star was in the bathroom. If Shatterstar cared what anyone had to say about his outward appearance, Julio was probably the only one. So Shatty was determined to figure this expression thing out, no matter how absurd it seemed.
He pressed his fingers against his cheeks and pulled them up, moving the muscles in his face up and down. It looked weird. On his home world the warriors only bared their teeth as a sign of aggression or to instill fear in their opponents, much like the animals on Earth. On Mojoworld there wasn’t really such thing as greeting another person with tact and happy feelings. And for the longest time Shatterstar was pretty sure that his creators did not even give him the emotions required to smile.
But being on Earth had showed him that, yes it is possible for him to be happy, and yes it is possible for him to grow feelings of attachment and affection for someone enough that he would want to smile at him. He had to keep in mind that it was a good thing to smile at people -- not forcefully bare his teeth, but genuinely smile because he is happy.
Perhaps the satisfied feeling in his stomach upon seeing Julio whenever they greeted each other would be enough to elicit a genuine expression on his face. Shatterstar didn’t get such a feeling when he saw Jimmy, or when he talked to Domino, or anyone else for that matter. Julio made him happy just by being there, so Shatty figured if it were to work on anyone it would be him.
He shook his head from his thoughts and stared at his own silver gaze in the reflection of the mirror. Slowly he forced the sides of his mouth upwards. He kept his lips closed at first, just testing the feel some more, and then he slowly parted them. The sparkling white of his teeth shone through the two pink swells of flesh brightly. It looked strange. His cheeks even looked different when he did it. The skin under his eyes crinkled slightly, and two tiny dimples appeared on either side of his face.
Shatterstar brought his hands back up his face and traced the lines of his smile. It was new and different, but he was sure he was beginning to like it. It would take some getting used to, but it didn’t make him any less attractive, he thought. All he would have to do now is add some genuine emotion to it, and he would be all set. He dropped his hands to his sides and let the smile fall from his face.
And now that he looked, it really wasn’t all that nice that he appeared to be so mad. As much as he did not want to agree with what Domino had said, perhaps her words did hold some truth after all.
'Star growled and stalked out of his bedroom; he hated when other people were right.
Shatterstar found Rictor fifteen minutes later in the living room watching television. The Mexican seemed to be dozing; his arm was bent over the side of the couch pillowing his head where he lay. The warrior just studied him; should he wake him up? Surely it would not be necessary to disturb his rest just to show him his face. Julio would get cranky and probably be mad at him if he were to do that.
But standing there and watching him brought back that familiar flutter of satisfaction in his stomach. Julio looked peaceful when he slept -- not annoyed or sarcastic like he usual did. Nobody bothered him, and Shatty decided that he wasn’t going to either. Julio was much more important than some silly expression that he had worked so hard to perfect. He would show him when the time was right so he would hopefully enjoy it.
But just as soon as 'Star turned on his heel to walk away Rictor cried out in his sleep. Startled, the warrior spun back around; the Mexican’s arm was twitching slightly, and a deep frown marred his face.
“No…” he whispered.
Shatty frowned; he was aware that Rictor often had nightmares, but he had never watched him have one. He bit his lip and turned back around. The warrior lowered himself to his knees in front of the couch and just tilted his head to the side as he watched his friend.
“No…” Rictor mumbled again, that time scrunching up his face painfully.
'Star took a deep breath and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Julio.”
“Get away from me,” Rictor jumbled the words together and shook his head.
“I’m afraid I cannot,” Shatterstar told him. “You must wake now.” He curled his fingers around Julio’s shoulder and shook him, not roughly but enough to move him a fair bit. Almost instantly his friend’s eyes flew open, and the smaller body flung up into a sitting position.
“What the…what happened!?” he asked, almost panicked.
“Nothing,” 'Star shrugged, knowing better than to say anything that would anger or embarrass him. “You seemed to be having a dream, so I simply woke you up. There is no issue.”
“Oh,” Rictor blushed a little bit and shook a hand through his hair. “Thanks then, amigo.”
“You are welcome,” 'Star told him seriously.
“I have these stupid dreams all the time,” Rictor chuckled nervously. “I don’t even notice I have ‘em anymore after I wake up, but I guess sometimes I just get a little crazy in my sleep.”
“I recall,” Shatterstar got up and sat next to him on the couch. “You have used your powers in the night.”
That red returned to Rictor’s cheeks. “Yeah…I guess I have.”
'Star blinked. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Julio. I have strange dreams sometimes too.”
“You do?” Rictor scrunched up his face.
'Star nodded. “Yes, often they are violent.”
“Should’ve figured,” an amused smile touched Julio’s lips, and it brought back that happiness in 'Star’s chest that he was the cause of it.
“Not always, just often,” 'Star corrected himself. “Sometimes I have strange dreams about things I do in the day, or sometimes I have dreams about television shows. A few times even you have been in my dreams, Julio.”
Rictor smiled again, obviously biting back a laugh. “Really?”
'Star nodded. “Yes. We do very strange things in them. One time we were ice skating and there were many penguins. Another time we went on the Corny Collins show, and another time we went on a mission to stop the Hamburglar. I did not like that dream, Julio, because I do not like McDonald’s.”
Rictor burst out laughing then. “That’s what happens when you watch too much TV.”
Shatterstar felt even happier that he’d made Julio laugh, and decided that now was the best time to show him what he’d done. He straightened his posture and stared at him intensely before pushing his mouth up and just smiled.
Rictor stopped laughing and grinned back; he scanned his face for a few moments before speaking. “Whattdya doin’, 'Star?”
The warrior didn’t let his expression falter. “I am happy.”
Rictor’s own smile stretched. “Si but...I’ve never seen you do that before.”
“You are the very first person I ever smiled at, Julio,” Shatterstar declared. “I saved it and practiced it just for you.”
That familiar blush tickled Ric’s cheeks. “Oh, wow…thanks, amigo. You should…you know…do it more often.”
Shatterstar’s heart soared. “You really think so?! I was thinking about just saving it for special occasions.”
Rictor chuckled and sat back against the couch, his gaze never leaving the warrior. “Nah, don’t do that. Do it whenever you feel happy; it makes you look…you know…”
Rictor cleared his throat awkwardly. “It makes you look nice, hombre.”
Shatterstar sat back on the couch next to him, feeling genuinely happy. He went over Rictor’s words in his mind, and instantly it brought a natural, happy smile to his face; it was not forced or awkward…it just felt right. The warrior turned back to his friend. “Julio?”
“Yeah?” the Mexican looked at him.
“You make me happy all of the time, so therefore I should have no problems smiling for you more often.”
And a genuine smile stretched across Rictor’s face as the boys stared at each other. “I’m glad, amigo.”