Title: Scarred for Life 2/4 -- Crossroads
Characters: Shatterstar and a little bit of Ric
Rated: R for extreme violence and self mutilation
Disclaimer: Marvel owns everything. *sigh*
Summary: Shatty learns the hard way that being out on his own isn’t exactly as easy as he thought it would be.
A/N: Once again, if you’re sensitive then please don’t read. Takes place just before the Shatterstar LS.
The sound of my swords hitting the floor is a loud one. The silence in my room is nearly deafening, and it is something that I do not like. I have never lived in silence. In the pens there were always screams and fighting. With X-Force there was always someone awake and doing something. And now here in Madripoor I am alone. There are no shouts -- there is almost no sign of life at all.
So I continue to drop my weapons to the floor.
Four different swords I carry on my back, three knives strapped to my legs, throwing stars in my boot, and a gun in my belt. I do not often like to use them, but it is there as a last resort. All of my artillery is there for a reason, and I never leave home without it. Especially when I go to that place.
The fighting circuit; how much it reminds me of home is sickening. I was always under the impression that coming to Earth would be an escape, but this hidden interdimensional circuit serves as a battle ground. I know that it is wrong and the entire idea of entertainment from it is severely flawed. But here in Madripoor -- on my own -- I have nothing else to do. There is no one to talk to and I need to pay my bills.
And there is only one thing I am trained for.
And the red stained metal of my weapons at my feet is a reminder. Cruel, almost, how much it taunts me. The blood did not get there because of defensive battle techniques or a war fought. It got there because the people wanted it -- cheered for it. It brings me back to my element; to the warrior I was born to be. And I now know that these people, these humans, are no different than the citizens of Mojoworld.
They are cruel, selfish animals with only a care for themselves.
And at one time in my life I believed it was what I lived for. That I was only born and bred to kill, and as much as I disliked it I had no choice. It was my purpose, my mission, and I had to complete it with everything I had. But as a youth of sixteen I escaped. I escaped the pens and spent two years amongst the shadows on my land, fighting and surviving. The Cadre Alliance was my only savior at that time. They found me and fed me, trained me to fight for my own rights.
They taught me that everything Mojo did and stood for was wrong. These people -- men and women -- were dedicated to a cause. Their goal was to free all of the oppressed biped slaves and bring down the mad reign of the Spineless Ones. For one year they prepared me for my ultimate mission -- to go to Earth and bring back the X-Men. The numbers had fallen drastically and as final call of support they needed the knights of legend. On my nineteenth birthday I was sent.
And I never brought them back. I never went back, either, instead living a life of freedom on Earth. Due to time travel it was not of great importance as I could go back at any time. My Cadre leaders would have been pleased to know that I made it, and that I still had the opportunity to return whenever I could.
My Cadre leaders would not be pleased to see me now, however. Back in the confines of a concrete stadium and taking the lives of others all for the sake of perverse entertainment. Drawing blood of innocents. Humans who in no way have my skills or advantages. And they all fall on the tip of my sword night after night. My cowardice is shameful.
I am letting down the very people who gave me a chance to live. They had depended on me, and I failed. The greatest shame that can be brought to a true warrior is absolute failure, and that is what I am. I would not be accepted amongst them this way, nor would I be accepted amongst my friends on Earth. Every possible route I can take would only end in disappointment. I do not know what else to do.
So I drop to the floor; the cold, bare ground of my empty apartment, and I sit in a pile amongst my weapons. They are all I have now, and worst of all it is because of my own choice. I could have had more, but I ran.
Like a coward.
I have hurt myself and all of my closest allies. So many people depended on me and looked up to me. Trusted me. And all I have done is let them down. I ran away from being a warrior to be a human, and I ran away from being a human to be a warrior.
And I am all but neither. Stuck in the middle.
I slide the cool metal handle of my hunting knife into my palm. It is hard and cold, a perfect description of my feelings. Silently, I trace it along the blood stained material of my uniform and tear the fabric, peeling it away from my sticky body and letting it fall to the floor. Removing it makes me feel as though I can separate myself from the person I become when it is worn.
But feeling the texture of the human remains plastered to my bare skin eliminates the purpose. I am the killer, uniform or not, weapon or not; the blood is on my hands. And once the clothing is gone, the blade tears my own flesh, mixing it with theirs. Cuts along the radial arteries of my forearms, and the brachials on my biceps; bright, red blood spilling from the inside, spraying in some places, and dripping off of my arms and onto the floor.
And it feels so good.
All the pain and confliction inside of me leaves with it. It gives me a sense of control. All of these emotions plaguing me so erratically and this pain gives me the power to manage it. Scrapes of flesh that had marred the blade earlier in the night stick to the white of my skin, quickly washing away by the flow of my own blood.
And I wonder if I would ever be able to feel the physical pain that they felt before I took their life. I would rather the pain from my body consume me than to feel the grief and confusion of these emotions.
I raise my arm again, and swiftly swipe the blade across my chest. The pectoral muscles there tear open and spatter against the rest of my weapons cache on the floor. The sting of the steel makes me arch forward, giving me an almost perverse feeling.
I rid myself of the pain and replace it only with barbaric lust.
And it is that human side of me that grows angry. Causes me to lash out on myself, and dig the blade in deeper. My aorta is only half an inch away, and I know that if I were to turn the knife just once counterclockwise then I would hit it. It would puncture and I would quite possibly die, depending on how much work my healing factor would be willing to do. I would die on the floor a shameful mess, no longer having to concern myself with my problems.
Not a man, and not a warrior.
And it is the shrill ring of the phone that stops me. I drop the metal to the floor instantly, wondering what on Earth I had been thinking. Blood seeps through my fingers, and before I can even stop myself, I double over. My face crashes into the shreds of my uniform, skin slipping along the puddles around me.
And it rings again.
I can never bring myself to pick it up. I had promised myself a self finding journey…promised to go back to my roots…lied…dishonored the Cadre…disgusted the X-Force…shamed myself…
And I growl as I wait for the healing to kick in. The blood is so thick on the floor by that point that I wonder how long it will take for it to begin dripping into my neighbor’s apartment below. That would not be an easy stain to remove.
And it rings again.
Refusing to look at it, and only my hands. They were once limbs that worked so hard. They were precise and in control. Hands in control of my movement and in tune with my mind. But now I feel as though my mind is gone.
And it beeps.
I swallow hard before the voice sounds through the room, suddenly feeling more disgusted and terrified than ever before. I admitted the life of a warrior, and only now in this very second I yearn -- want, desire, and plead -- for the life of a human.
“'Star? You there, amigo? I’ve been tryin’ to call you for days now and you won’t pick up.”
It is Julio.
“I really wish you’d talk to me. Things…aren’t going so well.”
And he sounds so broken. Blood on my hands, holes in my body…
…and he is just like me. One in the same.
“I don’t know what else to do, hombre. I’ve been calling and you aren’t picking up and it’s scaring the hell outta me. I hope you’re all right…um…fuck, I feel dumb talking to a machine.”
Funnily, that is no different than talking to me.
“Listen, I’m just calling to let you know that I left
I swallow a painful lump that sticks to the back of my throat.
“Never mind,” he continues, sounding even quieter than before. “Call me at this number, all right? I hope you’re okay…I uh, mi-- never mind. Talk to ya later.”
And it beeps again, cutting me off from any sort of familiarity I have left, leaving me angry and broken on the floor.
The sound of his voice haunting me.
I pick up the knife once more and hurtle it across the room, sending it through the base of a lamp and shattering it onto the floor in raining pieces. My flesh wounds have healed, only the stains of a moment of weakness there to remind me of my mistakes. It is dark and warm, overtaking me.
And yet no mess or scar could ever hurt me more than that empty feeling in my heart. A warrior could pick himself up and fight again, and a human could move on. But I am neither -- only caught in between -- haunted.