El Scorcho (twbasketcase) wrote,
El Scorcho
twbasketcase

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FIC: Our Last Memory 10/23

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: Shatterstar has an interesting discussion with Longshot and Dazzler, while Rictor deals with the bombshell dropped on him last chapter.

Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Extra Scenes: Chap 9,

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

Kissing him was unreal. Awkward, obviously, since he had never done it before, but the feel of his lips was better than he ever dreamed they could be. So soft for someone so rugged and rough around the edges, and so curious and hesitant for someone so willing to jump into things with his neck out on the line. Having Shatterstar under his hands was new territory – unfamiliar – but something Rictor had been wanting for far too long.

Now he had him in the confines of his bedroom wearing nothing but a pair of worn cargo pants. Just days after Julio returned from Mexico, they had been reunited, forced apart, Shatty was killed, and they were reunited once more – back from the dead. So much unfinished business and unsaid emotions flowing between them that Rictor would not allow it to go on any longer. He was lucky to have Shatterstar back, and he was not going to allow him to slip away again without telling him the truth.

That he wanted him so bad it hurt.

Everything about Shatterstar drove Rictor wild. The way his top lip puckered when he smirked; the unique pale silver of his eyes; the soft span of freckles across his nose; the way his hair caught the light; how he always needed to be doing something with his hands; the low, accentuated drawl of his voice…everything. Absolutely everything drove him wild – for bad and for good – but whatever the case, he was always there. On his mind, in his dreams, when he closed his eyes…

…it was getting quite ridiculous by that point.

It had been months since they had last even approached the subject. A night at the Limelight Club had put some focus on some issues that Rictor had been curious about. Shatterstar was confused and almost devastated in a way, but Rictor wanted nothing more than to help him. To embrace his feelings and his emotions was the one thing ‘Star wanted more than anything else. And months later it finally looked like they had gotten somewhere.

It had started with an awkward dip in the mattress when he had sat down. A move calculated just a little bit off, and they pressed together tightly, side by side – arm to arm, and one loose strand of red hair had fallen over Rictor’s shoulder. Shatty’s body had stiffened at the close touch, but it was not negative. Nervous, maybe, and such an emotion coming from him was much too new for Ric not to notice. Brown eyes trailed up the arm pressed against him, running over the curves of a flawless bicep and along a broad shoulder. The angles and lines of his neck led Julio’s gaze to Shatty's chin and then his lips. Mouths only inches apart, hung open ever so slightly to allow for the quickened pace of breath. Hot air that tickled Ric’s cheek and sent a jolt of excitement straight down his spine and back up again. He watched Shatterstar’s mouth hungrily behind a messy curtain of brown hair, and he could not look away. Not when he was so close.

“Julio?” he questioned, low and shaky.

Rictor swallowed, and moved his gaze up to meet silver eyes. “You okay?”

“I think I-- I will be.”

Ric nodded, feeling any reply fade away in his throat. A million things ran through his mind screaming at him. To say something – anything at all. But there was not a single word that he could think of that could help describe any emotion he was feeling right then. Emotion for his best friend…another man. He failed at words, that he knew, but sometimes actions were better. Especially for someone like ‘Star who would question things over and over. All he could do was…

Touch.

He lifted his hand hesitantly as he twisted his body. Arms separating so that they no longer sat side by side; instead, Rictor faced him more fully, leaning up as he pressed his fingers against the side of Shatty’s cheek. The warrior’s Adam’s apple bobbed nervously as he did so, but he did not pull away. He leaned into the touch instead, eyes moving to peer down at the hand. Rictor moved forward, lips only centimetres away. Pausing, he looked up at Shatterstar’s eyes once more.

“You promise? Because if you’re not okay…”

The warrior swallowed again and pressed his forehead against Rictor’s, nodding slightly. “You’re back. That’s what I wanted.”

The touch, again, shocked Rictor’s entire body. Blood roared through his ears and his pulse picked up. Sliding his hand along the curve of Shatty’s jaw, he circled the back of his head before pulling him close and finally minimizing the gap between them. Their lips pressed together softly and chastely, stunning Rictor enough to make him pull away. He had never kissed another man before, and, after months of thinking about it, he did it. Gathered up the courage and went the distance. No longer a fragmented fantasy, but, instead, was acted upon.

And, Dios, did he enjoy it.

So he quickly closed the space again, that time pressing against him just a little rougher. But if Shatterstar held any reservations about it, he did not show it. A large hand crept up Rictor’s shoulder and settled along the curve of his neck. Holding him in place while pulling him closer. The slight shake in Shatty’s body was disappearing as they moved together, replaced with demand, want, and need. Heat radiated off of the warrior, and Rictor craved more of it.

So he pushed himself forward, laying Shatterstar down on the bed as lips moved in unison. The kiss intensifying and electrifying every solitary nerve in Julio’s body. His toes curled beneath his feet, and his heart pounded. The smell and taste of Shatterstar invaded all of his senses. The millions of thoughts that had been previously running through Rictor’s mind had disappeared in a flash with just one touch. His mind was completely scrambled.

Shatterstar pulled away slightly to regard Rictor. Glossy eyes ran down his face and back up again, and never had he looked so damn sexy. “Za’s Vid…” he muttered.

Rictor just nodded and kissed him again, sliding his hands down his neck and to his chest. Caressing flesh and loving the way the Mojoworlder felt beneath his fingers. So exposed he was; there was no soldier, no killing machine, no torture victim, no damaged goods. Right then it was just Julio and Shatterstar stripped down to the very core of their essences and it never felt so damn good.

 

Rictor never felt lonelier than he did right then.

Thoughts plagued his mind and consumed him. Images of rough fucks and sweat slicked skin running along his own taunted him. The one thing and the one person Julio Richter wanted more than anyone or anything else in the entire universe was just a lonely memory. One that was not shared with anyone; six years he had known the man, and he was the only one of them that remembered any of it.

Did that even make it real at all anymore?

The only thing that felt real was how numb he felt. The bland, stained ceiling above his bed, which he had been staring at for hours by that point – that felt real. The way his hand tingled from being asleep as it hung loosely over the side of his bed – that felt real. Knowing that Shatterstar was just one room over and more than likely wallowing in such similar misery – that felt horribly real.

Everything up until that very point felt like it was nothing more than a picture book. A senseless souvenir that he could show someone, but not share it with. They had been working so hard to get it back; hours spent going through belongings and telling stories and gestures and everything Rictor could think of. Of course, someone as smart as Shatterstar would be quick to catch on.

But he caught on all wrong. 

He remembered some supposed secret fling with some testosterone filled lunatic that swung axes around. What the hell was that all about anyways? In Ric’s mind, Adam was never more than a passing by mission. How the hell could Shatterstar go from fearing touch and only embracing it with someone that he had deemed valuable enough to give it to, to giving it to someone content enough just kicking his teeth down his throat? Maybe that sort of thing had been his turn on all along. Or maybe he just needed someone as strong, fast, and agile as he. Fuck, Adam-X was better at everything Rictor did – everything. 

It almost made sense that Shatty would break up with him and then go hook up with a guy like that. What the hell did pure perfection see in a guy like Julio Richter anyhow? Rictor knew he was a tad bit on the short side, and was much too skinny. His hair was always messy and he swore too much, and there was no way in hell he could pull off spandex as well as the real heroes did. The only appeal he had was the destructive wrecking ball aspect of his powers, and he did not have those anymore. What the hell would a guy like ‘Star find attractive in him now? He was practically only half a person now – missing what made him whole. 

Sighing, Rictor rolled over on his bed and peered down at the floor. Piles of belongings still lay strewn about, as he could not find the desire to put them away again. He let his fingers trace the fabric of a long sleeved shirt, white and belonging to the warrior. Something he wore for so long, yet when Ric brought it up to his nose not a single familiar scent remained. All he smelled was dust.

Gone.

He tossed it to the floor and picked up the corner of his mattress to retrieve hidden photographs. Shatty had them in his grasp when he had first invited him into the room, but Julio thought it would be better if he had not seen them. Hints of their relationship were peppered throughout them. However, now he wondered if maybe he should have showed him. Told him the truth from the start.

Would he have still flipped out at the prospect of being gay if Rictor would have been able to explain things to him? Would he have remembered his time in Mexico, and forgotten all about Adam-X?

He frowned at the thought, and opened up the package to look inside. Only two or three had been taken in Mexico; the boys were not exactly huge on posing and looking charming for the camera. But X-Force was different, as X-Force were their friends and loved to fuck around with cameras and other things. Not so much for souvenirs, but rather they just liked to aggravate one another, and Rictor always got the pictures back from the girls after they were done being brats.

Seemingly endless amounts of photographs from the pool at the Institute, the rec room, the Danger Room, and even from inside the PACRAT. A few stolen hugs and one kiss. Long arms strewn over shoulders, a body tossed over a back, a chicken fight in the water, and lazy bodies flopped together on the lawn. So many little things, but each of them reminded Julio so much of how much time they actually spent together. They had practically grown up with each other. His brother, his lover…his friend.

Rictor sighed and flipped through them, wondering how he could have ever let someone so special get away. The photos reminded him of everything he lost, yet at the same time they filled him with a strange sense of hope.

Maybe he could have that back again someday.

A picture caught his eye, and he stopped flipping through them to look at it. It was taken at the Camp Verde Apache reservation. A hot summer day that took place after a stealth operation. Jimmy, Sam, Rictor, Shatterstar…and Adam-X. Right before the Shi'ar soldier left them to go 'find' himself. What the hell was with those aliens wanting to go do that anyhow?

Rictor grumbled and crumpled it up in his fist. Patient and sympathetic he tried damn hard to be, yet that never ending pang of grief in his heart would just not leave him alone.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Good morning!”

Shatterstar looked across the kitchen to see Dazzler sitting at the table with a mug of something hot in her hands. She had on a purple robe and a towel was tied on her head; he assumed she had just finished showering. Nodding tactfully, he regarded her. “Likewise.”

“What’ve you been doing?” she questioned curiously. “I haven’t seen you in like two days! You’re not hiding or something, are you?”

“No,” he muttered, and searched the cupboard for something filling to eat. “I just have not been in a social mood lately.”

She frowned thoughtfully. “Is something wrong?”

He shrugged. “No.”

“I think you’re lying.”

“I am not,” Shatterstar grunted and rolled his eyes, feeling a little more uplifted when he found some chicken in the fridge. “Since when are you Oprah, Dazzler?” 

“Oprah?”

“Yes, some irritating woman who thinks she knows everything,” he snapped. “She forces her opinions on people – which are usually ridiculous – and tries to make ratings.” 

“And you think I’m her, Shatterstar?”

“No, you’re just acting like her.” 

She laughed loudly. “Whatever, silly. You’re just trying to act all tough and invincible like always. You can’t be a jerk all the time, you know. Besides, whether you like it or not, you are so obvious when you’re upset about something. So why don’t you just spill?” 

He looked down at her in an annoyed fashion; she acted just like some sitcom mother even when she was not even aware of her familial position. How strange, yet curious, he thought. He went over her words carefully before narrowing his eyes. “I have nothing to spill, and I would not want to clean up a mess afterward if I were to do so.”

“Not literally spill something!” she shook her head amusedly, and folded her arms. “I meant, go ahead and tell me what’s on your mind.”

He opened his mouth to speak, but just as quicky closed it again when he saw another person enter the room. Longshot approached the table and grinned at them both. “Hey you guys!”

Shatterstar grunted and turned back to the counter to finish his food.

“Good morning,” Alison replied, sounding content at the other Mojoworlder’s appearance. “You slept well last night.”

Shatterstar scrunched up his face and peered over his shoulder to glare at them. “How wonderful of you to share.”

Longshot shot him an amused look. “It was just an observation, silly.”

“Why do you two keep calling me ‘silly’?” he demanded. “I am no such thing. That would imply that I am acting childish, immature, ridiculous. I assure you that I am not doing any of those things, I am just trying to eat and maintain a degree of sanity whilst listening to you two gush over each other.” 

Alison smirked. “That sounds pretty immature to me.”

“Whatever, Dazzler,” he snapped irritably.

“I think someone needs a nap,” Longshot joked.

“I don’t need a nap! I can go without sleep for many days if I really wanted to.”

They both chuckled at him then, and it only annoyed him more. They were acting like what they call ‘idiots’ on this planet, and he was unsure he even wanted to talk to them anymore because of it. Dazzler used to be more serious and less frustrating, but ever since she met his father she had been acting strange. Shatterstar was unsure if she acted like that before her mind wipe or not; it was possible since he was so strange before his. Annoying or not though, she probably was not as nearly as messed up and dishonourable as he. Frowning, he glared at them one more time – just for good measure and because he could.

“So how are things going with Dr. Samson?” Longshot questioned.

“Fine as they can be, I suppose,” Alison replied, and took a sip from her mug. “We were going over family stuff yesterday.”

Shatterstar spun around and gave her an awkward look before glancing over at Longshot. The blonde had just as much of a surprised look on his face, and he swallowed before speaking. “What kind of family stuff?” 

“He was just asking me if I remembered anything about my father or my mother. Apparently I had a grandmother and a half sister too,” she frowned thoughtfully and rested her chin in her hand. “Supposedly my father is dead.”

Longshot blinked. “Yeah, he is. I don’t remember much of what you told me about how, but it happened before we met.”

She nodded. “I remember a couple of things about him. Mostly that he never wanted me to sing – and that we fought a lot. It’s strange though because I can’t really remember any good moments that I had with him, yet I still feel upset at the fact that he’s dead.”

Longshot reached across the table and slipped his hand through hers. “You loved him, Ali. From what you told me, you got along before he died.” 

“Good,” she murmured.

Shatterstar blinked and frowned; he wondered if her parental units would have any blood relation to him. He was sure that they would in some way, but it was not something he had really seen on television as of yet. However, he found it odd that he would have blood ties to such strange people. Their main causes of concern were unacceptable music. By the sounds of it, they held no position in armies, nor did they have any training in combat. Was such human normalcy really part of his heritage? That was odd.

“How about you, ‘Star?” Dazzler questioned.

The warrior perked his eyebrow at the use of the nickname, but did not comment on it. “What about me?”

“How’re your sessions?”

“I don’t like them,” he grumbled quietly. “I have come to the conclusion that every memory or fact about my former life is either ridiculous or bad. He just makes me think of them, and sometimes I would prefer if I didn’t.” 

Longshot bit his lip. “I thought you were having some good memories? How about your friends?” 

He shrugged. “They’re just strange. That or the memories start good and end badly. Most of the friends in my memories are now gone; the only ones left are Rictor and Theresa.” 

“Maybe you should just stick with Doc Samson and have some faith in him,” Longshot suggested. “I’m sure something good will come of it all.”

Silver eyes narrowed at the other man, and Shatterstar scowled. “He told me I’m gay. That I am a homosexual.”

They blinked.

“I looked it up online and it said that I should be proud and come out of the closet. I do not know what that means, as I am not in a closet, but I am under the impression it is a metaphor for not keeping secrets,” he explained, face stern and serious. “Apparently it is not a completely accepted practice in western culture on Earth and that people may think of me as a freak for being…gay. But I would rather be accused of being something strange than to hold the dishonour for being a liar.”

“You’re gay?” Alison echoed. “...Oh.”

“That is what I said.”

“People are gay on Mojoworld,” Longshot attempted. “Well…not all people, but some. It’s not looked down on there. But I have met some gay people here too! And I did not think they were freaks.”

Alison bit her lip, and looked back up at Shatterstar with encouragement. “He’s right! There’s nothing wrong with that. It was unexpected, but not wrong. Don’t feel badly about it.”

The young warrior felt his insides twist nervously, and he took a bite of his food. “I am unsure how I feel about it. Slaves are not supposed to have mates.”

Longshot’s face turned to a frown, and he stood from his seat. “Hey now! You’re no slave! And you’re free, so you can do whatever you want. That’s what being Cadre is all about; you don’t let Mojo win.”

“But I--”

“Sorry to interrupt,” a new voice cut in, and all three turned to see Jamie Madrox standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He gave them an awkward smile. “Good morning, Alison. Shatterstar,” he nodded.

“Madrox,” the Mojoworlder murmured.

“Hey, Longshot, you up for some work today?” Jamie questioned. “I’m a little short staffed today. The girls are out looking for Arcade, and I kinda sent Mr. Pissy-Pants-Rictor out of the house for the morning. All I have is Guido…”

Longshot looked at Dazzler, who gave him an encouraging nod. “Sure, Jamie. I’ll help; whatever you want.”

“Cool,” Madrox replied with a grin. “And, uh, sorry for cutting in on whatever it was you were doing. It just was a little, uh, urgent.”

“It’s not a problem,” Shatterstar told him, keeping his gaze away from his parents. “We were not talking about anything of importance.”

Longshot furrowed his eyebrows and frowned. “But you need to know that--”

“See you later! Have a good day at work,” the warrior quipped sarcastically just like he had seen people do on television. “Don’t let the doorway boot you on the way outside.”

Alison sighed, and gave Longshot an apologetic look. “We’ll finish talking later.”

The Cadre leader smiled nonetheless, and shook his head amusedly as he walked out behind Madrox. “Silly old kids these days.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Doc Samson had been writing furiously on a stack of papers, and did not look up at all until the office door had slammed shut. The green haired man jumped slightly at the sound, and looked rather surprised when he peered up to see his visitor. “Uh, it’s good to see you. I was not expecting you today…”

Rictor rolled his eyes and threw his coat on the floor unceremoniously before flopping down on the couch lazily. “Whatever; I’m only here because Jamie’s refusin’ to pay me until I do this.”

“He’s withholding your pay check?” Samson asked incredulously. “I was under the assumption you had been off duty--”

“Salary,” Ric explained, with a wave of his hand. “A shitty one, mind you, but it sure as fuck beats eating out of trash cans like I was before he found me.” 

“I see,” Samson rubbed his chin. “And you actually came willingly without threatening to shove his testicles in certain orifices of his body?”

“Pfft,” Rictor rolled his eyes, and lay back on the sofa. “You’re damn right I told him where to shove it. He’s a dick, and that’s fucking illegal! He can’t take my money! I should call the employment police on him!”

“You mean the Department of Labour?”

“Yeah! That place!” he narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “That is illegal, right?”

“Well technically, Rictor, he is paying you under the table. You’re not even legally allowed to work in this country, and it is – technically – his money.” 

The Mexican frowned thoughtfully. “So it’s not even illegal a little bit?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Shit!” he cursed, and balled up his fist. “That jack ass is pretty much tricking me to come here!”

Samson bit back a grin, and leaned his chin on his hand. “Well maybe you’ll benefit from it.”

He shrugged. “Well I doubt that. But whatever, Doc. We can play your little game.”

“Well I’d like to think that we made a little bit of progress last time we spoke, Rictor. After you realized that I wasn’t just here to pass judgment on you and shove ideas in your head, you didn’t seem to have difficulty opening up.” 

He rolled his eyes. “I wasn’t worried about that shit. Screw your judgment; I just don’t want you thinking you can fix me. I’m not a broken washing machine, or whatever.”

The doctor twirled his pen through his fingers. “Well, I see you still haven’t dealt with your anger issues.”

Ric shrugged, and stared up at the ceiling before throwing a leg over the arm of the sofa. “Of course I’m pissed off. Jamie’s a dick, you’re a dick, ‘Star’s a dick, Monet’s a bitch, and I just suck at life.”

“Interesting choice of words.”

“Do they give you assholes your diplomas based on that one simple sentence alone?” the Mexican questioned and sat up to regard Samson. “Because I’m pretty sure every damn therapist ever says that.”

“Rictor, do you really care how I got my diploma?”

“Not if you’re looking into telling me a story,” he muttered, and ran a hand through his hair. “I’ve heard enough stories from enough people the past few days. And a whole bunch of crap that I never even wanted to hear, thanks to you!” he sulked and pointed a finger at the doctor. “You fucked him up, so he turned around and fucked me up! So really you fucked me up and him too, so I should just fuck you up!”

Samson blinked. “What on Earth are you even talking about?”

“Shatterstar!” Rictor yelled.

“That was random,” the green haired man muttered before shaking his head. “And what exactly is it that you are accusing me of doing?”

“I don’t know what you did! But you messed him up and confused him and then he came up to me and told me that he screwed a guy!”

The doctor blinked. “Uhm, you knew he was gay. Why is this a big surprise to you?”

“Because!” he shouted. “I never knew he fucked another guy! He just up and told me when he happened to remember some idiot with stupid ears and dumb hair! You did it!”

“He never even informed me of that, Rictor.”

“Whatever,” the Mexican huffed and folded his arms. “You’re just saying that so you don’t break confidentiality.”

“No, that’s the truth,” Samson sighed. “I’m unaware of what he remembered because he left here immediately after he was informed of his sexual orientation. Although I figured it would be better that he talked it over with you anyways.”

“Yeah, and why's that?”

“Well I was under the impression that the word ‘partner’ that came up in his file, as it regards you, had a deeper meaning than just team mate,” Samson explained. “You were sexually involved with him, yes?”

Rictor narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it would be better for him to talk to me. I suck at talking about things.”

“But if you were his partner, don’t you think you both would benefit from discussing his homosexuality?”

“No,” Rictor scoffed. “I don’t talk about homosexuality. And like hell I would be good at explaining to him why the hell he ever saw anything good in me. I don’t know what’s wrong with his head sometimes; he must be loco, or something.”

“What’s wrong with homosexuality?”

“Nothing,” he shrugged. “I just don’t talk about it.”

“Why is that?” Samson questioned curiously, leaning back in his chair and nibbling on the end of his pen. “You seem completely comfortable admitting your own homosexuality, so why would you have a problem talking about it?”

“Hold up,” Ric held up a hand, and shot the man a look. “First thing, I’m not a homosexual. And who the hell said I was comfortable with my sexuality? I’m fine with some aspects of it, but I wouldn’t use the word comfortable.”

“So you were sexually involved with a man, yet you claim not to be a homosexual?”

“I like chicks too,” he shrugged.

“You’re bisexual,” Samson nodded in understanding. “One would assume that since you openly state you like both genders, and since you know you like both, that you would be comfortable.” 

“I’m not!” Rictor snapped, cutting the man off. “Straight people are normal, you know? And so are homos. They know what they want and they go and get it – which is why I can’t talk about that stuff with ‘Star. I don’t know anything about it!” 

“Why would you say that?”

“Because bisexuals are screwed up! I’m screwed up!”

“Again…” Samson pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why would you say that?”

“Because I can’t even decide what I want! I just go to whoever is willing to put up with me, and I stick to them until they get sick of me and take off,” he snapped. “To hell if it’s a guy or a girl, you know? If they’re willing to deal with me, then that’s good enough. But that’s warped! You know what I’m saying?” he sighed in frustration, and fisted his hair. “At least Shatty knows he wants guys. I mean, he’s all messed up and he doesn’t know it yet, but he does. Somewhere deep down he knows he likes guys and he’s cool with it.”

“And you think that it makes you weird that you're willing to accept and love someone despite their gender?”

“And despite the fact they’re aliens?” he mocked Samson’s voice, and scowled. “Yes! I think that makes me extremely fucked up!”

The psychiatrist sighed awkwardly and placed his pen down on the desk in front of him. “Okay then. You claim that you're messed up because you're willing to accept people for who they are and love them for being them. Yet you also claim that you're uncomfortable with the status of your sexual orientation?”

“Something like that,” Rictor muttered, and slouched down against the back of the sofa.

“It sounds to me that it’s not your sexual orientation that bothers you. I think you’re using that as an excuse to cover up the fact that you have self confidence issues.”

“Pfft, right…”

“You’re very comfortable loving people, Rictor. I think that you have a hard time trusting people and getting close to them, but once you’re close enough you have no problem whatsoever being completely devoted to them,” he perked an eyebrow up as Rictor’s scowl deepened. “You want to be with someone and you want to care for them and you want to love them. I honestly don’t think it matters to you if that person is male or female because you love the person for who they are on the inside.”

“You think you’re so smart--”

“I think your real issues stem from the fact that you aren’t comfortable with people loving you.”

Rictor stared down at his hands in his lap. “Whatever.”

“You have self esteem issues that have festered so deep inside of you that you can’t accept the fact that anyone – male, female, alien, whatever – would love you and see the good qualities you have,” Samson concluded, and reclined his desk chair. “And that’s what I think your big problem with Shatterstar is right now. I would bet that it took him years to convince you that he truly and completely loved you, and as soon as you finally accepted and embraced that, you lost him.”

“It was just for a couple of months,” Ric insisted, feeling more and more vulnerable as the doctor spoke.

“And now he forgot. He forgot that he ever loved you, and that’s what’s eating you up inside. Because you honestly don’t believe there’s a single other person out there capable of loving you – just because no one has ever been able to ‘prove’ that to you besides him.”

Rictor felt his chest tighten up and twist so violently it hurt.

“Now though, you’re dealing with the possibility that he’d been with someone else?”

“He was,” the Mexican whispered, pulling his knees up to his chest. “He wouldn’t have said he was if he wasn’t. ‘Star isn’t like that.”

“And this was after you guys broke up?”

“Yeah, apparently,” Rictor croaked.

“And it’s easier for you to blame me for placing that sort of memory in his head than it is for you to accept that he had found solace in another person?” Samson question as gently as possible.

“You don’t understand,” Ric finally found his voice. “He doesn’t cozy up to just anyone. He’s like me-- he was messed up and tortured as a kid. We were trained to be soldiers – to be warriors! Both of us…we didn’t even have many friends besides each other ‘cause everyone just died or took off.” A shaky hand pushed through brown locks, and he frowned. “When he came here we got close because…he needed someone to show him the ropes on Earth, and I needed--”

“Someone to need you?”

“Whatever,” he snapped and shook his head. “Point is, he didn’t know about love. He didn’t like touch and he flipped out when people touched him. Just for me to get through to him – and it took months – that was an accomplishment. We had to work through a lot of shit together, including him dying, to get to where we got. And the fact that he…”

“Continue,” Samson urged when Ric was silent for a few moments.

“The fact that he left me and went right after someone else…” he swallowed and dropped his head into his hands. “I just should’ve known that I wasn’t good enough for him. It should’ve been so obvious! I mean lookit him! He’s fucking perfect in every way, and I’m just shit. A dog.”

“But he loved you,” Samson pointed out. “I don’t think you guys would spend years together if he didn’t.”

“Well I thought he did.”

“I think you’re taking this a little too seriously, Rictor.”

“I’m not!”

“Have you ever been with anyone else?” 

The Mexican stared unblinkingly at the psychiatrist for a few moments before a frustrated sigh escaped his lips. “One time! I had this whole shitty thing go on a couple of weeks ago. Pietro – that fuckhead – messed with my powers and screwed me up! I was upset, and Rahne was there, and one thing led to another…”

“Rahne?” the doctor questioned skeptically. “You slept with Rahne Sinclair?”

“That’s the only Rahne I know.”

“Okay…so how did that turn out for you?”

“She told me I was a pity fuck the next morning, ran off the next day after that to help the X-Men, and then she moved out. Left me a letter or something and that was it. I haven’t seen her since.”

The doctor sighed. “So I’m going to assume that you’ve never had a sexual partner who was experienced?”

“No.”

“I see,” Samson nodded and wrote something down in his file before shooting him a look. “So you go around having sex with people who are virgins, and then get upset when they have relations with someone else?”

“It’s not like that!” he insisted.

Samson raised his eyebrows. “Well some men would say there’s a certain appeal to virgins…” 

“I’m not like that,” he hissed. “And neither are they. Fuck, my point is that I don’t…let…that kind of stuff…sex…happen unless I’m sure about it. And that I care about the person. So of course it freaking hurts when I find out they’re with someone else!”

“And just out of curiosity does Shatterstar know this other man was
the 'other man'? Or have you failed to inform him that you and he were romantically involved?”

Ric bit down on the inside of his cheek irritably. “No, I haven’t told him.”

“So you just think he has to figure it all out on his own? That it’s his duty to you to fix the mess that someone else put him in?”

“No!” Rictor shouted, finally getting angry at the accusations. “I have no fucking powers! I’m fucked up, I’m stupid, and I’m ugly! Why the hell do you even think he would believe me if I told him something like that!? It would be hard enough for him to believe that he would love me as a mutant…but for him to love me now would be impossible. It’d never happen.”

“You don’t know that. You’re not him.”

“And neither are you! So stop saying what he would or wouldn’t feel because you don’t even fucking know him like me! He’s my friend, not yours!” Rictor folded his arms, and glared dangerously at the green haired man. 

“Well if you’re unwilling to tell him flat out, would you at least be willing to do something that would perhaps stimulate an emotional response to you?”

The Mexican clenched his jaw. “And how do you propose we do that, Doc?”

“You stated earlier that he had major issues with touch and that he didn’t know about love. That he ‘flipped’ out.”

“Yeah,” Ric sighed.

“What event transpired that made this whole revelation come forth in the first place?” Samson asked curiously, once again twirling his pen between his fingers. “Something had to have happened to finally open his eyes and expose him to it.”

Rictor paused thoughtfully. “I took him to a dance club. Some girl came onto him and he had some weird flash back to his home world and he flipped out.” 

“A flash back you say?” 

“Yeah, something crazy.”

“And it instilled a massive emotional response from him?”

“Yes,” Ric repeated.

“Well maybe, Rictor, you would benefit from a trip back to a club. Not only would it give the two of you a night out on the town, but perhaps you would get that same emotional response from him again.”

The Mexican’s jaw dropped. “You’re kidding me, right? He’d take my head off if I did that to him! He hated that place! He--”

“Remembered something important to him,” Samson finished for him. “And despite how that might make him feel, you have to understand that it may just do the trick. I really recommend you give it a try if you want to get anywhere with your emotional feelings towards him. Besides, if you take him to the right kind of place you might just be able to help him fully grasp the concept of his own sexuality.”

Rictor slumped in his seat and dropped his head in his hands. “Madre de Dios, he’s gonna kill me.”
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Go to chapter eleven.

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