El Scorcho (twbasketcase) wrote,
El Scorcho
twbasketcase

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FIC: Hostile Takeover 8/18

Category: X-Force
Characters: X-Force -- Shatterstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Rictor, Cannonball, Domino, Warpath, Cable, Boomer, Moonstar, Feral, Magma, and Deadpool.
Pairings: Domino/Cable, Sunspot/Magma. Minor Warpath/Siryn/Deadpool and Cannonball/Boomer, and eventually Rictor/Shatterstar.
Genre: Alternate Universe, Action/Adventure, Angst, Drama, Romance
Rated: NC-17 for extreme violence, language, dark themes, sexual situations (het and slash), and character death.
Disclaimer: I don’t own a damn thing; I’m just playing for awhile.
Summary: A well known terrorist organization has made its move, and its dictatorship starts with the fall of the country’s greatest heroes. A few make it out alive, but they are on the run and in for the fight of their lives. Who lives and who dies? And where do you go when there’s no where left to hide?
Chapter Summary: Siryn has some trouble dealing with some of the information Domino gave her, while Rictor and Shatterstar try and figure out exactly what is that they need from each other. Also, the group gets some company!

Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It had been a little over one hour since Roberto had gone back to sleep, yet Terry could still hear his painful sounding sobs in her mind like a replay. Never in all the years had she known him had he ever been so broken. Sunspot was cocky, brave, strong, and arrogant in a way -- he was not the type to show his weaknesses -- none of X-Force was, really. But the fact that he had busted down like that haunted her. It made the situation more real.


None of them had cracked up until now. Not since all the deaths at the Institute, being on the run, or seeing their teammates fall had they really had the chance to let it sink in. And for Theresa, all it took was Roberto breaking down for it to hit her too.


She brought a shaky hand up to her face and wiped away the stray tear that had snuck out on her. The boys were all asleep; the three of them sharing two blankets side by side on the ground. It was her turn to sit up and keep watch for attackers, but she wished so badly that just one of them would wake up and talk to her. Of course, she would never dare admit such a thing out loud to them; she was a deputy leader of X-Force, and such a position was not held by one who was weak. But she had been trying so damn hard to keep it together for them. To keep them from fighting and tearing themselves apart, but to do that for them was getting to be very difficult now. How was she supposed to be a rock for them, when she could not even be one for herself?


Everything that could possibly be going wrong was. Despite the fact that Domino had just called them and brought them the best news they had heard yet, Terry still could not help but feel as though things were only getting worse. Not only had Roberto broken down on her, but Shatterstar was completely agitated all night, and Rictor had been in and out of bouts of deliriousness. At that point Terry felt she was the only one even trying to keep it together. While the boys could hardly be faulted for their behaviour during such stressful times, things were still taking their toll.


And what about what Domino had said? The merc had mentioned that her squad was being followed ridiculously close, and she had suspicions that it had to do with Nate’s squad. Terry had absolutely no idea what that could mean, but all of the possible answers were not good. On one hand, they could have been captured and forced into giving up information. On the other hand, they could have willingly given it.


But that would mean that they were traitors, and Siryn refused to believe that.


However, being captured was not a very encouraging fate either. The Irish woman had seen the dead bodies left in HYDRA’s wake, and if Nate’s squad was captured, it was very likely that their bodies would be in a similar condition. And to think that her dear friends Tabitha and Dani would suffer such a thing…it was absolutely incomprehensible. So many of the female casualties they had seen thus far had been sexually mutilated and abused before death. To think such a fate could belong to her friends made her feel physically ill.


And then there was Wade. While Theresa knew that he was practically impossible to kill, she still worried. He could still be tortured. Or imprisoned. Or worse! What if HYDRA forced him to work for them? The thought of losing him after everything they had gone through together broke her heart.


But who was to say that Cable’s team was behind any of Domino’s trail anyhow? For all Siryn knew, the Beta Squad could have just been getting sloppy. They were going without food and sleep and had been on the run nearly two weeks by that point. HYDRA had been on Terry’s squad’s butt for days now as well, so maybe Domino was just being paranoid. Whatever the case, it brought a swell of fear, anger, and sorrow to Theresa that she could not describe. It hurt. More than anything at all, it hurt.


And damn it all to hell for breaking her this way. The unwanted tears continued their trails down her face, leaving an icy feel against the cold air of the cave. She was cold and hungry -- they had run out of food -- and most of all she was lonely. Sure the boys were there, but it was not the same. They were practically being kept isolated from the rest of civilization, and it brought upon her a sense of grief. She had never in all her years envisioned life coming to this.


She shakily wiped her face again with the dirty sleeve of her sweater. The fire was beginning to die down, leaving a dull orange glow across the walls and rocks, yet she could not find the energy to move and build it again. It was the only spark of life around her; everything else was so still. Briefly she wondered what would happen if she just let the flame die and the rest of them with it. Would they be better off dead?


Like her mother. Her father and Uncle Tom. Were they dead? She was not entirely sure anymore. Hell, she was not sure if there was anything at all left for her out there in the world, and hell, if that was the case…why try and live?


“You’re crying.”


She jumped at the sound, and quickly began wiping at her face. “Nae. I’m not.”


“Okay then,” Shatterstar scoffed faintly and shifted around where he sat. When she was sure she had wiped her face well enough, she finally looked over at him. He had removed his blankets and wrapped them tightly around Rictor and Roberto, and stood up to stretch.


“Why are ye awake?” she had found herself asking. She knew that he had been asleep just moments ago, and now he was completely wide eyed and up. He was very bad for popping up at the most unexpected times.


“It is my turn to take watch, is it not?” he stretched his arms over his head and then rolled his neck. “You look like you could use some sleep. You look terrible.”


“Thanks,” she muttered with a small glare; not everyone could look as perfect as him after going days without a shower. “I dinnae know if I can even sleep tah tell ye the truth.”


He stared at her, silver eyes piercing blue, and he snorted. “I am sure you can, if you tried.”

 
“It’s just…”


He perked a red eyebrow, and placed his hands on his hips. “It’s just what?”


She shrugged, and cursed when she felt her eyes watering again. “I can’t sleep. I dinnae want tah sleep; I just want tah get outta here and go home.”


He narrowed his eyes in confusion, looking absolutely lost for an answer to that. “But we are leaving in the morning Domino said. And our home has since been infiltrated, so I am unsure as to why you would like to go there. We have to battle the--”

 
“Do ye think it’s possible that Cable is a traitor?” she interrupted him.

 
“Pardon me?” he stepped toward her, looking completely perplexed at such a question. Terry knew it sounded stupid, but she could not help but voice her fears.

 
“Cable. Do ye think he could--?”

 
“I heard what you said,” he cut her off, and held up a hand. “Do you honestly need to ask me that? Cable has been nothing but a respectful and honourable leader to us. To question his loyalties to his own cause is ridiculous.”

 
She bit her lip and nodded. “I know that. But Domino said--”

 
“I heard her,” Shatterstar replied curtly. “I respect that woman as a fighter, but I still do not believe that Cable would willingly give up our position, especially Domino’s. Where I come from, only the most lowly and despicable of all people would willingly betray their allies. I refuse to see Cable as one of those people.”

 
Theresa nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear, gaze moving to the dying glow of their fire. Of course, Shatterstar was right. She just needed to hear it said out loud. Putting the hurt and fear out of her mind would help, even if it all seemed so ridiculous to think.

 
“Thanks, ‘Star,” Terry mumbled, and she got to her feet. The warrior looked down at her with confusion.

 
“I didn’t do anything.”

 
“Sometimes ye don’t have tah,” she explained, and stepped past him. “I’m just gonna run outside real quick, and then I will try tah sleep. I’m sure the mornin’ will come faster.”

 
Shatterstar just nodded, and began his stretching routine. “Just scream if you find yourself needing any assistance with anything.”

 
Terry snorted amusedly, wondering if sometimes Shatty just said those things to make people laugh on purpose. Probably not. “I think I’ll be fine, boyo. And trust me, if I scream ye’ll hear it.”

 
“Indeed,” he replied, before propping himself upside down on his hands.

 
Theresa took one last look at him, suddenly feeling a little better. Shatterstar was horrible for consoling people and comforting them with his words, but what he said always had logical points. And if anything, just his presence alone was enough to help make her feel just a little safer. It was not as if she thought the team could not defend themselves; with their abilities it would be stupid to think. But the Mojoworlder was one force to be reckoned with, and Terry thought if they had one advantage in this fight, it was him.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

It was beginning to get more and more difficult for Rictor to open his eyes and focus on his surroundings. His sense of time was practically non-existent, as he had been in and out of consciousness so many times that he had lost track of how long it had gone on for. Longer it took for him to remember where he was – why it was black and cold, and why he was sleeping on the solid concrete floor of a cave. The bitter cold of winter licked at his flesh, and he could not help but claw at the bare skin of his stomach. Half of it was covered in day old bandages, soaked through with whatever it was that was still finding a way to pour out of him. The rest of his skin remained untouched, as only a large jacket and a pair of pants much too big clothed him. It was enough to keep him covered, but not warm.

 
Groaning, he turned over onto his side and blinked rapidly. A dull glow of flame illuminated his environment, and he just wanted to reach out to it and touch. Such warmth was like heaven to his body. He craved it so badly that he had to tell himself that it would not be a good idea to go lay on top of it.

 
No, that would be bad.

 
His gaze darted around the room once more until it landed on a body about fifteen feet away from him. Shatterstar sat perched on a rock in a crouch, hair fluttering in the small breeze that came through the cave, and had both swords clutched in one hand. The light of the fire barely touched him, and his silver eyes remained fixated on the entrance. He was watching for intruders, and it was a job that Rictor knew the warrior took very seriously.

 
“You’re awake,” his low, accented voice sounded through the cave. He did not say it loudly, but the Mexican’s head was pounding so hard that Shatty might as well have screamed it.

 
“Unfortunately,” Rictor responded, voice dry and scratchy. Attempting to clear his throat, he coughed and began a recurring fit. Lungs burned hotly in his chest, and his eyes watered from the pressure. His entire body was racked with pain, and it made him groan loudly.

 
“Fuck! Fuck…” he coughed again, and rested his face on the cool concrete beneath him. “Dios…why can’t this just…ugh…”

 
Shatterstar hopped down from his place above him and slowly approached, sheathing his weapons on his back. “Are you all right?”

 
Rictor shook his head, and wrapped his arms tenderly around his aching abdomen. “Do I look all right to you?!”

 
‘Star tilted his head to the side before crouching down in front of him. Hesitantly, he reached his hand out and placed it on Ric’s forehead, letting it linger for a few moments. “You are very hot. I suspect you have a high fever.”

 
“I’m not hot though, I’m cold,” he shivered, and grabbed at his blankets. “I feel like I got dropped in the North Pole.”

 
Shatterstar frowned, and lowered himself to the ground completely. “Is northern
Canada close enough for you, Julio?”

 
Rictor snorted, trying his hardest not to laugh at that. “Very funny, amigo. It might as well be the same place, and here you are only wearing your uniform and a pair of pants.”

 
The warrior shrugged. “I do not need a coat. I do not appreciate cold weather, but I am in perfect health. I can handle it.”

 
“Well maybe you should take it back,” Ric tugged at the sleeves. “I’m not gonna need it much longer anyways.”

 
Shatterstar grabbed the Mexican’s wrists, and narrowed his eyes. “Wear it, and do not speak as though you are approaching cancellation, Rictor. You will live.”

 
Something twisted inside of him at the touch, and Ric pulled his hands away. “Whatever, ‘Star.”

 
“Do you need anything?”

 
“I need to piss,” Rictor groaned as he tried to sit up. “I feel like my bladder has been filling up for days. I’ll fucking explode like a freakin' piss balloon, or something…”

 
Shatterstar snorted amusedly and got to his feet, grabbing Rictor by his elbow and helping him up. A rush of pressure invaded the Mexican’s head at the sudden movement, and he had to stop to recompose himself. Just standing on his right ankle was enough to send such violent jolts of pain through his body that Ric felt like he would be sick. Thankfully, he managed to keep it in check that time, and he looked up at ‘Star. The alien looked back down at him awkwardly. “Do you need help climbing out?”

 
Rictor looked up at the small entrance and scowled. “Who the hell picked this place?”

 
Shatterstar actually chuckled at that, and tossed the Mexican’s arm over his shoulders gently. “You made this place, Julio, remember?”

 
Ric rolled his eyes. “I’m retarded. I made something I can’t even climb out of?
Madre de Dios…”

 
“Whatever, Rictor,” Shatterstar replied and held him close as they climbed up the rocks to the entrance. Julio put most of his weight against Shatty’s side as they did; his ankle was just not letting him move the way he wanted. Sprains were not so bad usually, but because he had not been walking on it in days, it was much weaker than it should have been. It made him feel like a total failure though; he was getting carried around like some weak little girl, and the fact irritated him something fierce. Shatterstar must have thought he was a total joke.

 
“Sorry, amigo,” Rictor grumbled as they climbed out onto the rocky terrain. Shatterstar pushed him up first, and popped his head out to regard the Mexican.

 
“For what?”

 
“For making you run Rictor day care,” he spat bitterly, and dropped down to lie on the rocks. He was fucking tired already.

 
Shatterstar raised his eyebrows and practically leapt out of their hole in the ground, standing tall above the Mexican’s head. “Come on, you have to get up.”

 
“I can’t,” Rictor spat again.

 
“You have to,” Shatterstar hissed in an attempt to prevent his voice from echoing in the woods. “We cannot stay out here long in case the intruders return, and you will achieve nothing but hypothermia out here!”

 
“And at this point does that even matter?” Rictor asked him, staring up fearfully from the ground. “I can’t eat or walk…I can’t even take a piss right!”

 
‘Star’s eyes widened. “You didn’t go in your pants, did you?”

 
Rictor glared. “No.”

 
“Well then get up, so you can go!” Shatterstar scoffed in an annoyed fashion. “You cannot just lay here, Julio. You’re being a baby.”

 
Rictor groaned loudly when Shatty grabbed him under the arms and yanked him up to his feet. So much pain shot through his body like a current, starting from his chest and feet and just propelling along all lines of nerves. Rictor instantly fell forward when he was standing, but Shatterstar caught him and held him close. His stomach lurched at all the sudden pain and movement, and before he could even warn his friend, bile rose up his throat. Reflexes were one of Shatterstar’s strong points though, thankfully, and he quickly positioned the Mexican so he would not fall over. One arm held him loosely around the waist as he bent him over, and the other gripped his shoulder. Rictor heaved onto the ground beneath them, thankfully missing his boots. The last thing he needed was to wreck those too.

 
“Fekt, Julio!” Shatterstar fixed his grip, and gently bent him further to the ground. Rictor heaved again, and nothing but a forced bout of stomach acid came out. Shatterstar lifted him carefully when he was done, and shot him a concerned look. “Are you all right?!”

 
Rictor wanted to fucking die right then. “I hope not.”

 
‘Star frowned, and very carefully helped him take a few steps away from the mess. Ric’s head was throbbing so hard that he was practically seeing stars in front of his eyes. All different colors too. The two friends walked slowly down the rock and to the trees, and the Mexican made it a point to spit the taste out of his mouth along the way. “I’m sorry,” the warrior apologized. “I wouldn’t have done that had I known…”

 
“Forget it,” Rictor grumbled, trying to stop feeling so damn embarrassed. “I fucking feel like crap I told you!”

 
“I’m sorry,” Shatterstar repeated, looking really guilty. “I just did not want you to make yourself worse. You are giving up--”

 
“No shit,” the Mexican mumbled, and pushed a hand against his face. His skin was completely soaked with sweat despite the fact that he felt freezing cold. He felt bad for yelling at his best friend, but he could not help it. Never had he felt as horrible as he did right then, and at that point he just knew that death was looming. Dropping his hand from his face, Rictor grabbed out at the nearest tree and stopped them. “I’ll just go here.”

 
“Okay,” Shatterstar steadied him against the trunk and stepped away to give him some privacy. It took a few minutes for Rictor to fight with his clothes while trying to simultaneously keep his balance.

 
“Uhm…are you okay?” Shatty asked awkwardly.

 
Rictor growled as he fought with the stupid buckles on his pants; god damn combat fatigues. “I’m fine. I don’t need you to hold it for me too, you know. It’s bad enough you had to fucking walk for me!”

 
“I didn’t ask if I could, now did I?” Shatterstar snapped irritably.

 
Rictor frowned, and finally pulled himself free. A sigh escaped him as he relieved himself, and he leaned against the tree more fully. “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be such a bitch, ‘Star…”

 
“I know.”

 
“I’m just pissed off,” he continued, wincing as he finished up. “This sucks, you know? Even Terry exploded better than I did, and she’s a chick, like fuck!”

 
“No one exploded,” the alien corrected him.

 
“Well whatever, you know what I mean. A freaking bomb jumped up and hit me, and now I’m all messed up and gonna die. I don’t even know where the rest of the team is, and I don’t wanna die in
Canada! Canada sucks and is too cold.”

 
“It’s safer here,” Shatterstar reasoned, and approached as Rictor readjusted his clothes. “You know that. But you’re babbling strangely. You have been delirious much of the time you’ve been awake today, and I’m worried that it has to do with your temperature.”

 
“I can’t remember being awake much,” Ric admitted.

 
“And you’re not going to die,” ‘Star told him, and gently placed an arm around the smaller waist and directed him back to the cave. “We have made it this far, and from what I've been told, Domino’s squad should arrive tomorrow. They found a medical facility that can treat you.”

 
“What if I die before then?” Rictor questioned, stopping them as they reached the peaks of the rocks. “I have a hard time just breathing, amigo. I fucking hate so much to admit that – especially to you – but there ain’t any point in lying anymore. I don’t know--”

 
“Julio…” ‘Star said, pleading obvious in his tone. “You will not die! I cannot let you--”

 
“You can’t stop everything!” Rictor yelled, pulling away from him to sit on the ground. “You’re gonna have to learn someday that you aren’t invincible, and you can’t just get what you want all the time. It’s time to smarten up, ‘Star, and you need to learn to do that on your own!” he raked a hand through his hair and laid back, staring up at the glowing orbs of the sky. “Especially if you’re gonna keep going – I won’t be around forever to look out for you, ya know.”

 
“Julio, I--”

 
“You’re just too pigheaded sometimes! I mean, I know you can take care of yourself, amigo, but there’s a difference between surviving a fist fight - or a knife or gun fight - and surviving the real world like an everyday person,” Rictor interrupted him, and continued to rant, not even paying attention to what Shatty had to say. He needed to get it off his chest, and he needed to do it before he was too chicken to say anymore. “You have to learn that death is a real thing – not just something that puts an end to bad people. It happens to good people too, and it happens to people you care about. And sometimes it seems like all you want to do is fight a war…and I always gotta be there for you when you feel like it’s the right time to just act like a person! What are you gonna do when I’m not there to do that for you anymore?” he finally tilted his head so that he was looking at Shatterstar, and the warrior had a miserable frown on his face. “You won’t be able to go to Cable or Domino like you’d think. And everyone else has their own shit to worry about and people that they love that they help too. Mostly, amigo, you and I are really all we both have.”

 
“I do not know what I would do. I have not had a friend die before. I have not had a friend like you at all before.”

 
Rictor’s insides twisted at the sorrowful gaze Shatty sent him, and he Mexican had to look away. It broke his heart. “I wish you did. Sometimes I wish you talked to other people like you talk to me. You deserve better, mi amigo, and when all this ends I really hope you can find another person to make you happy.”

 
“I don’t want another friend,” the Mojoworlder shot back, plopping down on the ground next to Julio. “You tell me to enjoy the company of others, and while I can tolerate some, none of them are you, Julio. You are my very best friend!”

 
Rictor bit back the sob that so badly wanted to free itself, but he promised himself that if he could control one thing right then, it would be not to cry. Not now, and not in front of Shatterstar. There was so much right then that he wanted to say; so much that he needed to get off of his chest and resolve before everything got worse.

 
But he could not.

 
Rictor ached in places he did not realize possible at that very moment just hearing him beg. Every single solitary ounce of resolve and pride that Shatterstar had was stripped away, and Julio knew that he was desperate to be reassured. So badly Ric wanted to think that the Mojoworlder would be able to set off and live happily ever after all on his own after he died. So badly he wanted to believe that Shatty would make good on Ric’s request, and strive to be a better person. However, Rictor knew Shatterstar better than anyone else, and he was not so sure that he would handle a loss so well. Of course, his life would not be over, but was there someone who would be able to effectively make him understand? To help him deal with the emotions and the grief? Would he feel grief at all, or would he just slump back to an energized ball of alien rage?

 
Brown eyes dared meet silver, and Shatty’s expression had not changed. His eyes pierced Ric’s, and he still looked absolutely mortified. Rictor sighed shakily. “I tried to kill myself before, you know. A couple of times, actually.”

 
“Why?” Shatterstar demanded.

 
“Lots of reasons,” Ric admitted. “I couldn’t deal with the fact that my dad died, I couldn’t deal with my powers, what The Right did, being around Cable again…so many things pissed me off or messed me up and I actually thought dying would be better than dealing with them.”

 
Shatterstar’s frown deepened, but he said nothing at all. So Rictor continued.

 
“All those times I stared death in the face and I didn’t have a care if it came and got me or not. But I think it was different then. It was different because I had control over it and it was my choice and I got to pick how I went out,” he mused, lifting his gaze back up to the sky. “But now I don’t think that I wanna die. Not like this – there’s still so much I wanna do, amigo. So much shit that I haven’t seen, so many things I never said…so many things I never got to experience.”

 
“You won’t die,” Shatterstar insisted once more.

 
“But I might,” Ric pointed out. “What if that place can’t help me? What if I’m too far gone and even their treatment can’t save me? What if I don’t even make it through the night? You have to be prepared for something like that.”

 
“I don’t think I can be,” he murmured.

 
“Shatty, I care about you a lot. More than you would ever know, amigo,” Rictor whispered, and finally dared to look at him. “You may never understand that, but I just want you to know. It's real for me, and anything else is just…” Rictor trailed off, not even bothering to try and explain. How could he? A guy like Shatterstar would never even begin to understand the kind of feelings Rictor had for him, nor would he ever want to embrace them. It just was not Shatty’s style, and Rictor was okay with that; he accepted it a long time ago. The Mexican just shook his head and stared back up at the sky, wanting to enjoy nature and the Earth one last time. “I always loved the stars, you know.”
 

“I didn’t know,” Shatty replied a few seconds later, something strange and soft tinting his tone. It was not something Rictor recognized, but he was sure there was no point in dwelling on it now. Moisture blurred the Mexican’s sight, and shattered the image above him. The tears did not fall though, just sat vacant and still in his eyes as he fought against screaming out. Life sure did have a way of coming around and kicking him in the ass all the time.

 
“It’s true, hombre. I always did.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The sun was about to come up. For hours, Shatterstar had sat perched on a rock inside the cave, watching the entrance as his mind raced a million miles a minute. The team had made an agreement that they would each keep watch for approximately three to four hours each, but Shatterstar had let his shift extend. Sunspot needed the rest, he was sure, and it was not like the Cadre warrior would have been able to sleep even if he wanted to.

 
Rictor had gotten much too exhausted in their few moments spent outside, so the Mojoworlder had assisted him back inside the cave to get some more sleep. He had ended up being sick again, and was paler than Shatterstar had ever seen him in all the time they had known each other. Rictor was deteriorating quickly, and it pained Shatterstar in ways he never thought possible. Emotions had been clouding him earlier in the day after conversation with Siryn – but all the care and affection that had been confusing him was promptly replaced with fear. And fear was more foreign to a warrior than anything else.

 
What was he to do? Never before did his warrior nature even enable him to be concerned with such things, and now Shatterstar found himself caught between a rock and a hard place. The soldiers and agents of HYDRA should have been cancelled long ago. His blade should have put an end to their lives immediately; on his home world, cowards who ran from away from a fight were painted with the label of gutless slime. Those individuals would be put to death when caught, yet here he was, former champion of the gladiator Vid arenas, fleeing from a fight and hiding under the surface of the Earth.

 
On the other hand, strange and foreign emotions kept him from running out. Next to Rictor’s side was where he chose to be, and it conflicted even him. He had absolutely no idea how he was supposed to handle that, nor did he understand why it had to happen at the worst of times.

 
He glowered; Julio was right. Shatterstar was too pigheaded to figure out normal human things all on his own. For so long he let battle and warfare consume him, and for the very first time in his life he regretted it.

 
Yet, even that angered him.

 
The warrior flickered his gaze once more to the slumbering Mexican on the ground and frowned. He sure had spoken strange things outside. Shatterstar was almost sure that Rictor had been prepared to tell him something important, but, for whatever reason, he had stopped himself. Was it possible that…?

 
Click.

 
Shatterstar’s ears perked up and he snapped his head around to face the entrance once more. The dull glow of the oncoming sunrise provided enough light outside to cast shadows on the stone walls.

 
Someone was outside.

 
Clutching his swords, the warrior readied himself on the balls of his feet before leaping up the slant of the entrance. The air hit him hard as he ran, and the second he pounced out of the opening, his body came into contact with another. They rolled down the hill of the mountain, but Shatterstar managed to grab hold of the intruder’s throat, and eventually he was able to pin him down. A loud growl escaped the warrior’s lips, and he thrusted his blade out and along his opponent’s neck.

 
“Mercy, ‘Star! Ah’m happy to see ya too, but ya didn’t have to attack!”

 
“Cannonball!?”

 
Domino burst out laughing behind him and approached. “Jesus, Shatty. Someone got you worked up?”

 
The Mojoworlder quickly jumped to his feet and seethed. “You cocked your weapon outside of our quarters, white face! You're lucky I did not kill you!”

 
“Ah told ya it was a bad idea,” Sam glared as he got to his feet. “That was in such bad taste!”

 
“Like we could’ve stopped her,” Jimmy spoke up, approaching the group. “How’s it holding up here, Shatty? Is everyone all right?”

 
“They’re sleeping,” the warrior huffed, still peeved at his teammates for playing pranks at such dire times. “And no, everyone is not all right. You promised medical treatment, and we need it.”

 
“And you’ll get it,” Domino promised, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “You guys did well with what you had though. So at least be proud of that.”

 
Shatterstar nodded. “I’ll take you to them.”

 
Domino holstered her gun. “Let’s be quick then, shall we? After our little pit stop, we’ve got more moves to make. You think you can handle a fight about now, ‘Star?”

 
Silver eyes narrowed before the Mojoworlder began stalking back toward the cave. “I always can.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Go to chapter nine.

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