El Scorcho (twbasketcase) wrote,
El Scorcho
twbasketcase

FIC: Our Last Memory 8/23

Category: X-Factor (Volume 3)
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 Arcade, they get a new member of the team, Longshot. But in return for his assistance, Longshot needs some help with his own problems -- on Mojoworld. What they find there opens up a whole pile of old wounds for other members of the team, and they learn that sometimes memories are all that are left to hold onto.

Chapter Summary: Dazzler, Shatterstar, and Longshot -- therapy time! :O

Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Well, it’s been three days since you returned to Earth. How are things going?”

Alison eyed the man in front of her, Doc Samson as he had been called, and sighed gently. “It’s going all right, I suppose.”

“Just okay?” he perked an eyebrow and relaxed in his chair. “It sounds like you’re having reservations.”

Alison averted her eyes then. “No…not really. I’m just still getting used to things is all.”

“Have you had any luck with your memories thus far?”

“What do you mean?” she questioned.

“Any flashbacks, de ja vu…” he shrugged. “Recognition?” 

“Not as nearly as many as Shatterstar seems to be having,” Alison sighed irritably and raked a hand through her pink hair. “It’s frustrating! So many people are bringing me places and showing me things and saying ‘hey Ali, remember this?’ or ‘remember that one time we went here?’ I can’t seem to remember much at all!”

“It will all happen in time,” Samson explained. “You have to understand that Shatterstar has superhuman enhancements, namely in areas of his brain. You can’t base your own successes off of someone else’s.”

“I guess,” she pursed her lips together. It was the first time that she had really been able to get things off of her chest without the worry of frustrating or hurting someone else for it. She knew that they were trying hard to help, but sometimes it was just a little overbearing. Alison wanted to be independent and learn things at her own pace, but at the same time she did not want to come off as mean and push people away. That sort of thing would only make her feel spoiled and guilty. Those types of feelings did not at all help her confidence and focus either, which just made the whole ordeal a never ending circle of frustration.

“Well do you care to tell me about the things that you have been able to remember so far?”

She nodded. “I—Longshot and I…”

Samson folded his hands and placed them on top of his desk. “Go on.”

“I remember running. Both of us were running so hard and so fast—it felt so real that I could recall how much my chest hurt from it. It was strange. The sky there was orange, very dark orange – I think maybe Mojoworld?”

“Did you see the skies in Mojoworld?”

“Not while I was imprisoned,” she admitted. “But something about it-- it just felt like it. I can’t really explain it.”

“Do you recall what it was that you were running from?”

“This might sound really weird, but I think we were running from babies.”

“Babies?” he questioned.

Alison could not help but laugh nervously at that. “I don’t know! Maybe? Whatever it was it was so small, but so powerful! So many dead bodies were surrounding us. At least, I think they were dead. Mutilated and just laying about; it was awful!”

“Do you recall the memory as hazy or is it more vivid?”

“I recall it quite vividly, actually,” she shook her head and widened her eyes. “Mostly because I don’t think that I remember ever feeling so scared before. There was just fire and destruction everywhere, and in the end Longshot and I had been separated. He was fighting off some creature – something I did not see – and he forced me to run. I didn’t want to, but I think maybe I might have been after something?” she sighed shakily and folded her arms. “Whatever happened, I remember thinking that he was dead too.”

“And it ends there?”

“Pretty much,” she squinted and brought her hands back up to her temples again. “It’s so painful! I’ve had dreams about it.”

Samson nodded; face indifferent as he scribbled a few notes down in his folder. “Well we can talk about something else if you want.”

Alison just shrugged and reached forward to trace her fingers along a small statue on the table in front of her. “I guess.”

“How are things going with Longshot?”

Alison could not help but smile a little at the sound of his name. “Good, I think. He’s very kind and generous—he’s always thinking of me before himself. He can be a little immature sometimes, but it’s kind of funny, I think.”

“Does he help resurface anything?”

“Yeah, a little,” she nodded. “I mean, he tells me a lot of stories. Things that we did together, things that I did – all good things. He hasn’t told me a single bad thing, which makes me wonder a little bit, but I guess good things are the best for now, huh?”

“Well, it is said that emotions that arouse you and excite you in a positive manner are more likely to resurface lost thoughts,” Samson explained, twirling his pen through his fingers. “Negative memories are more likely to be repressed by the mind as a defense mechanism, so sometimes if you focus on the positive your progress will accelerate – and the negative images will come back in time.”

“That makes sense,” she nodded. “But aren’t bad things what help make up my life too? They make people who they are. Maybe it’s important that I know them.”

“Well perhaps in Longshot’s case it’s a little more difficult to get into the negative memories. Those may affect him on a more superhuman level, which could be why he’s holding back.” Samson sighed and pulled open a drawer in his desk, pulling out a thick manila filing folder. “I have some information here on you. Of course, it’s not as detailed as a personal recollection or presence would be, but it may have something in here that could jog your memory.” He opened it up and shuffled through a few pages. “If you like I can get into a few things with you – word and name associations, family, your mutation, your singing career…”

Alison’s demeanour brightened at that, and she nodded. “Yes, I would like that.”

“Okay, well we can make it into a bit of an exercise. I can drop you a few hints here and there, and we’ll see if we can get you piecing anything together on your own. How does that sound?”

“Okay,” she agreed, completely anxious to get started. Alison knew it probably was not good to rush, but she was just so curious that she could not help herself.

“Let’s start with your mutation,” he began. “What so far have you been able to determine about your abilities?”

“Bright flashes of light…I have been able to control it so it goes and does what I want it to. It’s strange though because it’s like I have complete control over it, yet I can’t really seem to remember what it is exactly that I can do,” she bit her lip and paused. “Although I’ve noticed that I need sounds. Any sound really; it does something to me.”

“That’s the surface of it,” he nodded. “However you’ve once been able to use your powers on a cosmic scale, and it appears something – for whatever reason – appears to protect you from death.”

Her eyes widened. “What!?”

“Not to frighten you, but according to British record you have been declared dead on at least four occasions. Once for well over ninety minutes.”

Well that was…unexpected. But then again, just about everything had been thus far. However, Alison thought that this unknown mutant ability just about took the cake.

“So…I came back to life?” she questioned incredulously. “That makes no sense at all!”

“It appears so,” Samson pressed his lips into a thin line and sighed. “How does that make you feel? I know it’s a lot to take in…”

“I’m…not too sure,” she admitted. “I mean, I don’t want to die, obviously, but that’s—what if I live forever!?”

“You may,” Samson told her seriously. “It hasn’t been unheard of, you know. There are a few documented beings that have been reported alive for centuries now. Some due to healing factors, some due to mutant abilities, others due to more mechanical means.”

“What about me?” Alison pointed to her chest. “Why me?”

“I don’t know,” the Doctor replied. “Apparently whatever it was, you never stuck around in a hospital long enough to figure it out. Whether or not it was because you knew the reason and did not want to share remains to be seen. I cannot answer that question for you, as I only have official British documents for my own reference.”

“That’s…I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel about that,” she replied, that familiar frustration coming back to twist at her insides. “That means everyone I know and love might just die before me! They’ll all be gone until I’m here all by myself!”

“The thought of being alone frightens you?” Samson questioned, sticking his pen between his lips.

Alison never felt smaller than she did right then. She could not even really remember ever being alone at any point in her life. As far back as she could recall there were always people like Longshot, Shatterstar, other rebels and prisoners, and nameless, faceless people in strange flashbacks. But never had she ever even contemplated living with no people, no socialization, or no interaction at all. The thought was strange and alien; she had never so much as considered it.

However, she pushed her fear and pride aside so that she could answer him. “Yes. It bothers me a lot.”

“Even if most of the people at this time in your life are, for lack of a better word, strangers?”

She bit her lip as she digested that fact, but she nodded again. “Yes.”

“Why do you think that is?”

“I don’t remember much of my old life, but my time in the dungeons made me realize that it didn’t matter what I did or where I went, people would always be watching me. It might sound strange, but I would gather a crowd in there even if I just wanted to go to sleep,” Alison shrugged awkwardly and picked up a flower from the small vase on the table, twirling it between her fingers. “Some of the prisoners hated me and wanted me dead. They started fights, cursed at me, spit at me…but no matter what I always had their attention.”

“And the others?”

“They treated me like a queen,” she admitted. “Like royalty. They would defend me, watch out for me, and talk to me as though I had answers to their questions. They treated me like I was someone valuable, and for that to happen in a place like Mojoworld--”

“Yes?” he urged her forward, again writing down notes in his file as she spoke.

“It made me feel important.  Like I needed to strive to keep going—like I needed to use that as fuel for motivation. And in return, make them feel better too. It was just as much attention from them as I got from the hostile ones – so extreme!” A strange feeling swelled inside of her then, and she fingered the petals of the flower. “They either loved me or they hated me, but no matter what I was someone who always had everyone’s eyes on them. It was like I was a celebrity, you know?”

Samson glanced down at the folder before nodding his head. “That would make sense for someone like you. But the question is, even with the negative attention, did you bask in that kind of interest from the others?”

Alison bit back a smirk, suddenly feeling just a little bit arrogant. “I would be lying if I said I didn’t.”

“Would you consider yourself confident despite your situation right now?”

“Sure,” she shrugged, trying to sound casual and not stuck up.

“How about a show off?”

“Maybe just a little,” she could not help the sheepish smile that spread across her face. “But with these abilities of mine, who wouldn’t be?” she defended.

Samson laughed at that, and closed the folder in front of him. “I think that would most definitely be the old singer in you talking, Alison Blaire.”

“You think?” she asked hopefully.

Samson chuckled again. “It would appear that way.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Shatterstar stared forward without so much as blinking. The man in front of him had been tapping his pen across his pad of paper for going on four minutes. All he had done during that time was raise and drop his eyebrows, and drum his fingers on the desk. Shatterstar hated sitting there; the office was small and cramped with only one exit, and it smelled less than desirable. It did not help that Doc Samson had only asked one question repetitively since he had arrived. Obviously he did not want to answer him; if he did, he would have done so already.

“Are we just going to sit and stare at each other all day?” Samson tried once more.

“If you want me to,” the Mojoworlder bit back in reply.

“I would prefer not,” the green haired man sighed and leaned back in his chair tiredly. “You can make this easier for the both of us and just answer the questions. I am only here to talk to you – I want to help. And I can’t do that if you won’t let me.”

“Where I come from, physicians are considered a sign of weakness.”

Samson smiled at that. “But I’m not a physician. I’m not here to judge your physical well being, I’m only here for your emotional and mental.”

“Why is it important how I feel?” Shatterstar questioned. “Where I come from, such things do not matter. They are not taken into consideration, nor do the leaders even talk about them.”

“We aren't on Mojoworld,” he pointed out. “And you were also in prison while there. Perhaps, do you think, emotional well being is ever really taken into consideration while in prison? Very rarely are prisoners on Earth even given proper mental rehabilitation under the same circumstances. Certainly there must be areas on Mojoworld that do care about emotional engagements; from what I hear, people even get married there.”

Shatterstar nodded. “Some, I suppose. Some even have children. The Spineless Ones mostly, from what I hear.”

“You don’t think it’s possible for people like you or Longshot to have children? What were your people called? Bipeds?”

Shatterstar rolled his eyes. “I did not say that it was not possible. Obviously it is, but why would a slave reproduce while in holding? That would not make sense. However, if one were out and free as part of the rebellion, I would suppose it would be different. But I would not know. I was not free.”

“At one time you were,” Samson pointed out.

“But I do not remember,” the warrior spat. “So therefore what happens outside the dungeon’s walls means nothing to me. I do not know it, just like I do not know this place.”

“True, but I would say that you are picking up on ‘this place’ quite well, wouldn’t you?”

Shatterstar shrugged, and traced his hands across the sword case on his lap. “I don’t know if I would say ‘well’. I do not have much of a choice, and assimilation is not difficult for one bred to know how to use the resources he has been left with.”

“Is that what you think you were bred for?”

“As far as I know,” the warrior replied slowly. “I only know that I was raised to believe that I have to service Mojo – or, perhaps, disservice him.”

Doc Samson gave him a strange look then, as if he did not believe what Shatterstar was saying. It was quite irritating; why would he not? The green haired man shook his head slightly, and straightened up. “That is an interesting choice of words.”

“What words are you referring to?”

“‘I was raised to believe’ you could have used ‘born’ or ‘bred’ again, and you say ‘believe’ as though you may think there is something more to it than that.”

Shatterstar grunted, and narrowed his eyes. “I do not want to talk about this anymore.”

Samson sighed. “What would you like to talk about then? You can choose; go for it.”

“I don’t want to talk about anything.”

The Doctor blinked and rubbed a hand across his face. It went up and down the height until finally he spread two fingers and peered at the warrior through them. “How about that case you have there? What is that?”

“My swords.”

He dropped his hands to his desk and attempted a smile. “Why don’t you show them to me? I bet that’s a topic you wouldn’t mind talking about.”

Shatterstar could not at all help the grin on his face. “Do you think, doctor, that it's a smart idea to ask a warrior to show you his weapons of choice?”

“Do I have reason to think that would be a stupid idea?” Samson countered casually. “I’m not scared of you, Shatterstar, no matter how much you keep trying to intimidate me. I’ve taken on the Hulk, and that’s about as insane as one can get.”

“The Hulk?” Shatterstar questioned curiously.

The doctor chuckled. “Picture seven feet with a mass of over one thousand pounds – green and hairy.”

That peaked Shatterstar’s interest. “He’s a fighter?”

“Sometimes,” Samson smiled at the memory.

“I will assume then you are a mutant as well?” the warrior asked. “Unless you are a highly trained combatant.”

“Not a mutant. I was exposed to some gamma level radiation that increased my cellular biology and my strength. But mostly, I’m just a psychiatrist,” he explained.

“I see.”

Samson raised green eyebrows. “Are you ready to try and take me a little more seriously now? You and I are somewhat similar, as you can see, so I’m not here to judge you.”

Grudgingly, the warrior agreed. Doc Samson had been through strange experiences and battles himself, and perhaps, maybe, he knew more about people like Shatterstar than he had originally thought. The man was not here to poke or prod at his body, nor was he there to conduct genetic tests or physical examinations. There were no threats to his biological anatomy, nor was he a doctor looking to demean his honour by insinuating he had injuries from battles lost. The session had been ordered by Jamie Madrox and Longshot – two men that held some sort of rank over him due to housing him and freeing him from imprisonment. And because of that, Shatterstar was obliged to follow their orders. Questions could not hurt, he supposed, and since Doctor Samson appeared to be an ally, the Mojoworlder decided he should obey.

“There was more to it than that…” Shatterstar mumbled in response.

“Pardon me?”

“You asked me earlier if my words had deeper meaning; if I thought there was more to my being raised to believe something.”

The doctor nodded, gliding his pen across his pile of papers. “Is there?”

“Yes,” Shatterstar replied with a miserable frown. “I have contradicting memories in my mind, and they do not make sense to me. Mojo left things behind, but what he left behind does not add up.”

“Like what?”

The warrior paused, once more gliding his fingers along the trim of his sword case. “I was raised to believe that I was a soldier of Mojo. Fight for his cause and his entertainment when ordered, and I was under the care of a woman.”

“A woman?”

“I cannot recall her name,” he squinted his eyes, and grabbed at the sides of his head. “I cannot even recall the distinguishing features of her face either. Only her silhouette.”

 

He had been locked in darkness for days. The door to his cell had not been opened for quite some time; since he had returned from his last training session. The instructor had not at all been impressed with his performance, and he had been disciplined because of it. Shatterstar was not at all happy with himself because now he was being punished. It may be days before he would be able to leave the cell again, and he would be lucky if they even remembered to upkeep his nourishment. The air was hot, and he did not feel hydrated. How was he supposed to get better at the things he was supposed to do if they would not let him take care of himself?

They had told him over and over – emphasized, really – that a being such as himself needed extra help in building his physique. It was common knowledge that he was not like the rest of his people; they had not been children that grew up into warriors. They were engineered to be warriors from the very start, and Shatterstar only had catching up to do if he ever wanted to even be considered in their league of worth and value.

Surprisingly, however, the door had opened sooner than he expected. The light that had washed over his tiny room burned hotly at his eyes, and the young boy threw his hand over his face to shield them. It took him a few moments to adjust, but he was able to make out the figure of the Executioner. She was back again, and it made Shatterstar whimper.

“Please, let me out.”

“No,” she replied. “I talked to your instructors today. They do not believe you are ready for arena games yet. Would you care to elaborate on that for me, young warrior?”

“I need out,” he told her. “I cannot get better if you do not allow me to--”

“You will do nothing,” she snapped angrily, three of her arms waving for emphasis. “You have a destiny to fulfill, soldier. I have been preparing you for this for many cycles now, and yet you’ve been nothing but a disappointment to me.”

“No! I am ready!”

“No, you’re not,” she hissed. “I have gone through great lengths to make sure your abilities were on par with those of the gladiator stock.”

“They are,” he muttered, eyes narrowing at the dark figure before him.

“They’re not,” she repeated. “You are to be the spawn that is to overthrow Mojo, and I need to be sure you will succeed. All order and cycles rely on you to do so.”

“And I will,” the young boy vowed.

“I have yet to be convinced,” she shook her head. “I will not have some snivelling little baby hold our entire world in his hands. If I hear of you losing, crying, begging, or throwing one of your fits again--”

“I did not!” he insisted.

She stepped forward, one strong hand grabbing roughly at his chin as the small body knelt before her. “You will not again,” she repeated. “The fate of Wildways depends on you, warrior. You will continue to sit out for the remainder of your disciplinary action.”

“No…” he murmured. “I promise I will not! Please! Just take me with you! I can get better under the light of the suns, and you can see to that with your own eyes and supervision. Please!”

She released him roughly and stepped back. “I-I cannot. You must stay and focus on your potential. If I—I will return to retrieve you for class.”

“Mother, please…!”

Pale yellow eyes narrowed at him, glaring even in the dark of the room. Such conflicting emotions she passed off to him, and the young warrior was confused. He wanted to prove to her his worth more than anything, yet at the same time, he wanted to rid her of her head for such treatment. All nine years of his life had been spent trying to impress her and live up to the media hype of his destiny, but she had only ever acted hysterical or disappointed. All he wanted was out – to get better. To prove that he was better than what they said. That he was better than how he was treated and used.

“Mother!” he yelled, and crawled frantically toward the cell exit as she stormed out. Three arms grabbed at the side of the door as she slammed it shut before him, and the young boy placed his own hands on the solid metal of the entryway. Locked up once more and consumed by darkness. She had left him behind again, gone to go deal with more important things. The subject of their ‘future’ left to deplete.

Useless.

He would show her.

 

Shatterstar shook his head, wincing at the throb. “Fekt…”

“Her silhouette? Is there something that you find important about it?” Samson questioned curiously.

“She had six arms,” Shatterstar muttered. “Six, and she was the woman who had supposedly raised me. I do not understand.”

Doc Samson blinked. “About what? Her anatomy?”

“No…” he shook his head and scowled. “She had six arms and had been called an Executioner. It does make sense because I called her 'mother,' and yet…”

“And?”

“Dazzler only has two arms, and she was part of the rebellion. I am under the impression that the Executioner worked for Mojo, even if she planned to destroy him.”

“Dazzler? What does she have to do with any of this?”

“The first thing I thought of when I woke after being hollowed was Dazzler. I am unsure why, but an image was in my mind. She had been strapped down to a machine and seemingly hollowed as well, and I was destined to bear the mental scar of seeing my mother at Mojo’s mercy,” he explained, and fisted at the hair at his forehead angrily. “I do not know why! I have no recollection of the circumstances surrounding the mental image, nor do I know why I only remembered that she was my mother. Just that I was angry for her, and that she would not ever remember me in return.”

Doc Samson straightened in his seat and eyed Shatterstar carefully. “You are aware of a prior relationship with Alison?”

“I’m unsure,” he admitted. “It could be false--”

“It’s not,” the green haired man interrupted. “For whatever reason, it appears that Mojo allowed you one last memory.”

“Why?” Shatterstar demanded angrily. “That makes no sense!”

“I cannot answer that question,” he admitted apologetically. “But that is an interesting revelation. However, I’m curious as to why you haven't informed her.”

Shatterstar dropped his hands back down to the case in his lap and clenched his fists over it angrily. “She did not remember.”

“And you didn't feel the need to even try and remind her?”

“No! She did not remember, nor did I have any proof or explanation. All I had was that image in my head, and no background or context for it.” The alien sighed, and raked a hand over top of his hair and down his ponytail. “When I found her in the dungeons there were prisoners who wanted her dead. She knew not where she was or why she was sought after, so instead of possibly traumatizing her with such unexplainable information, I decided to ally myself with her instead. That way we could at least build up trust and camaraderie, and I could make sure she was not hurt down there.”

Samson sighed exhaustedly and pinched the bridge of his nose. “That’s a logical reason, I suppose.”

“I was unsure if my memory was even correct at the time,” Shatterstar pointed out.

“Okay, fair enough,” Samson nodded. “So are you aware then that Longshot is your father?”

“I had no recollection of him, but I assumed so when I was informed of their marriage.”

“And have you approached him on the subject?”

“Why would I?” Shatterstar questioned. “I trust and know Dazzler, not him. He may be the Cadre leader and the one responsible for freeing us, but I do not know that man so there is no reason for me to tell him such things if he does not ask me about them. Besides, he is very strange…and happy.”

Samson laughed. “Yes, he is quite happy.”

“I did not inform him though,” Shatterstar repeated. “And I do not intend to unless he asks. Or unless, perhaps, someone tells me to.”

“Am I the only person who knows then?” Samson questioned curiously. “Or do you have other people in the house who are aware of this information?”

“Rictor knows.”

“Rictor?”

“Yes,” Shatterstar nodded. “I told him.”

“Why him?”

“I am unsure,” he shrugged. “I just felt the need to, so I did. He choked on his pizza when I told him, but thankfully he did not die.”

The doctor blinked. “You are making progress with him then, I assume?”

The warrior felt a strange chuckle rumble his throat. “He is interesting. I spend most of my time with him, as he does not like to go to work. I also talk with Siryn and watch television with her, but mostly Rictor proposes that we do things together.”

“And how do you feel about that?”

Shatterstar shrugged. “He gets very happy and very mad and very sad. I have a hard time following his emotional patterns, but I am quickly learning what causes him to feel things such as those. He does not like it when I question the worth of our friendship, but he does like it when I let him laugh at me.”

Samson just smiled and nodded his head as he wrote something else down. “Laugh at you?”

“He thinks I am humorous, apparently,” Shatterstar rolled his eyes and folded his arms. “We listened to music and looked at photographs, and he showed me the training facilities here so that we could work out together. I also allowed him to take me shopping for more articles of clothing, and we eat a lot pizza. For some reason though, he laughs at me a lot. I think that it makes him happy.”

“Maybe it’s you who makes him happy,” Samson leaned back in his chair and waved his hand. “The progress you’re making with your memories is quite good, and it seems as though all these things you’re doing with him are helping that. I’m sure he’s just content to see things working out well, rather than laughing at you.”

“Perhaps,” Shatterstar shrugged. “He is strange.”

“We’re all strange,” Samson grinned.

“He's allowed me to see items that once belonged to me, and he tells me many stories about the items and the significance behind them,” the Mojoworlder pursed his lips into a thin line and narrowed his eyes.“I believe I may have been just as strange as him some time ago, although I do not understand why I would be. Some of the things we did together were ridiculous.”

“Well you were teenage boys,” Samson explained. “You spent almost seven years on Earth before returning back to Mojoworld, so you would have been much more accustomed to Earth tradition than you are now. Things will make more sense once you understand them better.”

“I think I agree,” Shatterstar rubbed his chin. “There are more things in his room that we have not gone through yet, but he told me that I could go up there and do so any time that I wanted.”

The doctor wrote something else down as he nodded. “I would recommend that you do that. Every little bit helps.”

“I think I agree with that.”

"Good,” Samson smiled and looked up at him. “I think that’s all for today. That wasn’t so hard now, was it? Hopefully we can get into more detail our next session.”

Shatterstar nodded, but did not reply.
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Leonard Samson had dealt with some strange things in his life. He had faced threats of world domination, had been beat up by radioactively charged green men, he had examined alien life forms, evaluated the criminally insane, and had gotten into altercations with ghosts. The last few days at X-Factor Headquarters was right up there with some of the weirdest shit he had dealt with. Not because of the patients in question, rather, the world they came from. Samson had done much studying on all known facts of the dimension known as Mojoworld, and he had come to the conclusion that it was probably one of the most downright scariest places he had ever been exposed to. Mind wipes, torture, dungeons, babies, insane television shows, and a fat blob with spider legs and a hysterical laugh who ruled it – all horrible, yet common, aspects of such a land.

Yet, the man sitting in front of him was the exact opposite of all of those things.

“Longshot, you do realize that you aren’t required to attend therapy sessions, right?”

The blonde grinned and nodded. “Of course! But it sounded kind of fun, to tell you the truth, so I wanted to try.”

Samson nodded, and bit back a laugh. “Fair enough. Anything in particular you want to talk about?”

Longshot shook his head before leaping up from his chair and taking a look at some of the artwork on the wall. “Not really; I’ll talk about anything at all.”

The doctor nodded, watching with fascination as the energetic alien traced his three fingered hand across the frames gently. “How about Shatterstar?”

“Sure!” Longshot smiled and turned to face him. “He’s pretty neat.”

“You could definitely say that,” Samson conceded. “However I am concerned about certain information you may be withholding from your wife.”

Longshot blinked. “Like what?”

The green haired man sighed, trying to keep his frustration in check. “Like Shatterstar. Alison seems to be the only person unaware of her relationship with him, and I’m concerned. That kind of news is big, Longshot, especially to humans. The longer you put that off, the more damage that might do in the long run.”

The Cadre leader frowned, and plopped back down in his chair. “That’s not very easy for me either.”

“Care to inform me why?”

“Why would I do that?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.

“That’s the point of therapy,” Samson could not help but chuckle. “To sort out your issues – namely the difficult ones – and find a good solution for you in order for you to deal with them easier.”

“I see,” Longshot murmured, leaning forward. “Listen, you have to understand that everything regarding Alison’s pregnancy was…”

“Yes?”

Longshot swallowed, obviously trying to keep himself in check. “Horrifying.”

Samson frowned. “How badly are we talking?”

“I know her,” he explained further. “I know her better than anyone else; she’s my wife and my best friend. What happened to her hurt her so badly that she didn't open up to me about it. I found out later that she had the true incident wiped from her mind, but even the 'miscarriage' cover was enough to depress her.”

“She never regained that memory?” Samson asked.

“No,” Longshot shook his head. “Mojo was not responsible for that wipe. Mojo’s wipes are done the same way every time usually – sometimes just stronger than other times. Alison’s mind wipe after her pregnancy ended had been done by Spiral.”

"And Spiral’s technology is more advanced?”

Longshot nodded. “It’s unmatched. She has a Body Shoppe.”

“A Body Shoppe?”

Longshot blinked, looking absolutely dismayed at the memory. “She does things with people there…their bodies, their minds, their souls. Spiral’s magicks were learned and brought from very far away in the future. Her technology won’t even be created for another couple of hundred years – and that’s on Mojoworld, which is already more advanced than Earth.”

“And Dazzler had been brought to the Body Shoppe?”

Longshot nodded. “They both were-- her and Shatterstar.”

Samson bit his lip. “And Spiral…what exactly did she do to them?”

“It’s hard to say,” the Mojoworlder admitted. “Her main focus was the baby, but as far as I know she had tinkered around a bit with Ali’s powers as well.”

“And you still don’t think it’s appropriate to inform her of this?!” Samson exclaimed. “Longshot, look, I know that your goals are to focus on the positive side of things so that things will fall into place for you. But this is too big a thing to keep from her; she needs to know.”

“I know that,” Longshot whispered. “But you don’t know her like I do. I have to tell her when the time is right – when she trusts me enough again. If she knows that I let that happen to her, she might not ever talk to me again!”

Samson sighed, hoping a guilty conscience was not the only thing keeping a woman from knowing the darkest secrets of her very own past. “It’s not your fault. Not if Spiral took her.”

“It still happened though,” Longshot dropped his head into his hands. “If she knew…she’d be the way she was when I found her. Right after it happened I hadn’t ever seen her look so bad! I can’t bear to break her heart like that all over again.”

Samson stood from his chair and walked around his desk to approach the broken man. He placed a large hand on his shoulder, and patted it comfortingly. “It will work out in the end. You just have to have some faith in her.”

Longshot looked up then, eyes sad and hurt. “I have all the faith in the world in her. Sometimes though, all the luck in the universe isn’t enough to keep someone you love from being hurt, doctor. Especially where it regards a mother and her child – every ounce of love I feel for her might not be enough to protect her from that.”

“For someone so alien, Longshot, you sure do have an uncanny way of understanding people,” Samson told him. “She's very lucky to have someone like you, and you shouldn’t think otherwise.”

The Mojoworlder smiled a tiny grin. “I'll tell her, I promise. It just has to be right; I would never be silly enough to keep a secret from her for too long anyways. Besides, it’s only a matter of time before either Spiral or Mojo come back to haunt us. We have to be ready for that, and I don’t want to part ways with her again and not tell her everything.”

“Well let’s hope that day is still a long ways away,” Samson sighed. “Or never comes at all.”

Longshot’s face fell, and he nodded. “We can hope.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Go to chapter nine.

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