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
Chapter Summary: Shatterstar comes to a realization, but does Rictor mess things up before it can even come to light? And Longshot gets a bit of a confidence boost.
Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Deleted Scenes: Chap 9, Chap 14,
A/N: There are some lyrics in this chapter that don't belong to me. They belong to an incredibly dorky band that I sometimes want to hit myself for listening to.
HAPPY CANADA DAY!
“What’s with these homies dissin’ my girl? Why do they gotta front? What did we ever do to these guys that made them so violent? Woo-hoo, but you know I’m yours! Woo-hoo, and I know you’re mine! Woo-hoo and that’s for all of time!” Rictor slapped his hands against the steering wheel loudly and grinned goofily. “Woo-ee-oo I look just like Buddy Holly! Oh-oh and you’re Mary Tyler Moore!”
Shatterstar pinched the bridge of his nose and stared at him incredulously. “I am not Mary Tyler Moore.”
The Mexican laughed loudly. “You have the pretty hair. You’re her. I’m Buddy!”
“Buddy is a nerd with glasses and he's white,” Shatterstar deadpanned and shook his head. “But considering you are singing this song and listening to this band, you’re probably onto something.”
“Are you calling me a nerd? I am not a nerd.”
“You’re listening to Weezer and you know all the words,” Shatterstar pointed out, not even able to help the smirk on his face. “That’s enough for you to be considered a nerd and a dweeb and a dork all rolled into one.”
"You know, Weezer was actually almost decent before that ‘Hash Pipe’ shit came out!”
Shatterstar chuckled despite his annoyance, and once again pinched the bridge of his nose. “Whatever, Rictor. I’m just glad you’re not singing that song again.”
”Which one?!” he grinned wildly and lifted his hands off of the steering wheel to tighten the bandanna around his head. “Oh, Shatty! I knew you secretly liked it when I sang that to you!”
The warrior slapped his palm against his face. “Oh no…”
“If you want to destroy my sweat-er! Oh-whoa-oh! Hold this thread as I walk away! As I walk away-yay. Watch me unrav-el! I’ll soon be naked--”
“I could think of a million better ways to wreck your clothes,” Shatterstar mused.
“Pfft,” Rictor pushed his sunglasses up on his forehead and gestured down to the torn up, knee length, denim cut-offs he was wearing. “All I got left are these shitty shorts! Don’t you even think about cutting this off of me!”
Shatterstar smirked, and turned to watch the night sky out the window. “Keep those sunglasses off your face.”
“No,” Rictor spat childishly and pushed them back down on his nose. “If Corey Hart can do it, so can I.”
“Corey Hart is a dork too. However, Corey Hart was not driving with his sunglasses at night in the middle of the dark desert, was he?”
Rictor bounced in his seat as another song came on. “You’re being ridiculous.”
“No, you’re being ridiculous,” Shatty grabbed him by the thigh and pushed him down into the seat. “Why are you so hyper? First you veer off the road and take a right – when we should have taken a left way back at
“Bouncing!” Rictor corrected, and grabbed at the hand on his leg. “Either move that thing up or get it off me.”
“I’m not moving it up.”
“Oh come on,” he slid his sunglasses down low on his nose and attempted a charming grin. “Don’t be shy.”
“I’m not shy,” Shatterstar rolled his eyes in an annoyed fashion, and then quickly grabbed the steering wheel to straighten them out. “Pay attention! Fekt, Julio! You’re going to drive us off the road!”
“Screw off! You’re the one grabbing the wheel when you’re not even driving!” the Mexican yelled and shook his head. “Fuck, this seat is sticking to my back! Got a towel?”
“Try putting on a shirt,” ‘Star grumbled.
Rictor’s eyes widened behind his shades, and he turned in his seat slightly to look at him. “Are you complaining!?”
“Watch the road,” he glared.
“What!? Do you think I’m fat or something!? You want me to put on a shirt!?”
“No, I want you to stop complaining and acting like an idiot,” the warrior snapped back. “Now watch the road!”
“I am not an idiot! Why are you being such a bitch today?”
Shatterstar furrowed his eyebrows and scoffed. “Did you just call me a bitch?”
“You called me fat, so I’m calling you a bitch, bitch!”
“Julio, you are not fat! What is wrong with you? I don’t even…” Shatterstar shook his head and rubbed his hands over his face. “You are not fat at all. Keep your shirt off, I don’t care. You are beautiful, okay? Just don’t whine about the seat if you are not going to wear one.”
“I’m beautiful! Ha!”
“Watch the road.”
“See, I always get my way. I love it.”
“Maybe you should listen to me and stop being so cocky. We’re already going the wrong way…” Shatterstar trailed off.
“We are not going the wrong way!” Rictor heaved an overdramatic sigh. “Trust me; I grew up in this shit hole country. You didn’t.”
“You still went the wrong way.”
"No I didn’t!”
“Shatterstar, I’ve had it up to here!”
The Mojoworlder stared at him incredulously. “You really are such a nerd.”
“Julio! Watch the--”
He did not finish. Rictor’s eyes widened and he tried to swerve the vehicle back to the left, but the turn was too sharp. The truck skidded across the gravel and flipped over in a full circle before settling roughly in a dried out ditch. Shatterstar held his hands out to grab the dash in front of him, but he had still managed to smack his head off of the windshield. A small crack split the glass, and he winced. “Ow.”
“Shit!” Rictor cursed and punched the steering wheel. “Are you okay!?”
Shatterstar peered at him through the corner of his eye. “I will be.”
The Mexican quickly undid his seatbelt and pushed himself off his seat, and settled awkwardly on the side of ‘Star’s. He grabbed the warrior by the face and looked at his forehead. “You have glass in your head.”
He nodded and wiped the back of his hand across his face. “And blood.”
Rictor scrunched up his face and brushed at the wound as gently as he could, despite his obvious disgust at touching it. “I’m so sorry, amigo.”
“I’ll be fine, I heal,” Shatterstar rolled his eyes, and tried to pull away from Ric’s prodding fingers. The Mexican just leaned in closer to him, and the warrior watched him carefully. “I’m fine, Julio.”
“Man, I suck,” he cursed, and slid his arm around Shatty’s shoulder. “Think I broke the truck?”
“I’ll push it out, it will be fine. I’m sure I can fix it if it’s damaged at all…”
“No,” Rictor tightened his hold. “Don’t…don’t worry about it right now. I wrecked it so I’ll just have to worry about it, hombre.” He scowled and dropped his gaze down to his lap. “Maybe I shouldn’t be such a nerd.”
Shatterstar pulled his wifebeater off over his head and wiped the rest of the blood off his face. The cut was no doubt healed by then, so just the sticky substance remained. Rictor watched him silently, face still scrunched up and not at all amused. ‘Star just bit his lip. “You can be a nerd. Just don’t crash the truck.”
The Mexican snorted amusedly and smacked the warrior playfully in the belly with the back of his hand. “Fuck. Well…I guess we have a place to stop and sleep at least.” He squeezed between the two seats and plopped down across the back seat. After a few moments he gasped loudly. “Hey! I’m bleeding too!”
Shatterstar just rolled his eyes and fingered the cracked windshield. “You just noticed that now?”
The Mexican just tugged on his arm from behind. “Shut up and get back here.”
His head had been pounding all night. Flurries of strange flashbacks and random memories sprung up and raced through his mind, and all it had managed to do was give Shatterstar a headache. It was strange considering he never recalled ever even having a headache before -- at least not when it pertained to his memories. What was even stranger though was some of the stuff he was remembering. Things were starting to click together in his mind, and the more that they did the more disgruntled he became.
It did not help that he did not have anyone to talk to about it either. The clock across the room glowed 2:30 am, and, as far as he knew, everyone else in the building was asleep. Well, except for Rictor; the Mexican still had not returned home after leaving so long ago. Shatterstar knew he was very upset with him, but the warrior could not for the life of him think of any reason for his behaviour. Why would he lie to him? And was it reasonable that such a lie caused so much hurt?
Shortly after Julio had stormed out the door, Shatterstar had gone upstairs to try and think it all over; to figure out what it all meant. The feelings he got for thinking about such things bothered him. He felt hurt and angry and sad. He was unsure why. But whatever it was, it was driving him crazy. He had laid in bed for an hour just staring up at the ceiling of his room, and all he could do was get more and more frustrated as nothing came to his mind. What was it that Rictor was so desperately clinging on to?
One hour was all Shatterstar could take of his ceiling. Eventually he had wandered into Rictor’s room and found himself sitting on the floor amongst all of his old stuff. Julio had given him permission to look through the things any time he wanted, and Shatterstar liked to think that the offer still stood even though he was angry. After all, he was only trying to figure out reasons for the anger in the first place.
However, he had already looked through all of the stuff over and over and over again. There were compact discs, photographs, clothes, magazines, and a few random accessories like belts, wallets, key chains, and goofy shoelaces. Oddly though, Shatterstar found that his emotions were distracting him from focusing on the belongings. Random stories that Rictor had told him about the objects were recalled, but Shatterstar could not actually remember the stories happening. So much laughter and strange things seemed to have gone on – but all he could think about was rage.
Yet all it took was one extra package of photographs to make something happen. The first day he had gone through the belongings, Rictor had taken one blue and white pack of photos away saying that they had meant nothing and were irrelevant.
Shatterstar did not think they were irrelevant though.
There were photos of them swimming in a pool together. A couple of them had been where the boys had seemed awfully close. They were touching. One photograph in particular showed them kissing each other. Some strangely over dramatic thing in which they did not even have their hands on each other. Shatterstar appeared to be sitting and Rictor appeared to be walking or running past him. Their heads angled at one odd position close enough for their lips to make contact quickly. Rushed and blurred as though the photographer was purposely trying to catch them in the act and the boys were just being bratty for show. But why? Shatterstar would not randomly kiss someone just to spite someone else, would he?
He had gone even further than that in the club just the other night.
However, the nervous rush of emotions that one photograph had given him had brought upon the memory of ditching their truck in
Fekt, did he always say such ridiculous things?
Sighing shakily, the Mojoworlder fisted his hair and stared at the floor coldly. Why did Julio leave it all out? Even though Shatterstar could not vividly remember a single memory that confirmed his suspicions, he was not stupid. It would make sense too. Julio brought him to the club and had been comfortable touching other men. He must have been attracted to men in some way – that was obvious. He had also said, so frantically and so desperately, as warm hands held Shatterstar around his jaw:
“‘Star, please. Please tell me you figured it out.”
Figured it out.
Rictor had been bothered by the fact that Shatterstar had slept with Adam. He brought him to a club to dance. He wanted him to figure it out. Pictures of them kissing. Shatterstar telling him that he thought he was beautiful. The way he had previously begged the Mexican to stay and not go to wherever it was he was leaving to, and the way Rictor had said he would always be there for him. They had to have been…
“Za’s Vid…” Shatterstar muttered and squeezed his eyes shut. He could not even believe this.
“Te quiero. You know I do more than anything. Siempre.”
How could he keep something like that from him? After Shatterstar had continuously voiced his annoyance about Dazzler and Longshot keeping information back from him, Rictor had kept something too. And considering the fact that Shatterstar had basically had a panic attack at the thought of even being a loving, sexual being, Rictor had still not said a word to him. Even after Shatterstar had come right out and asked him if he had a partner he had forgotten about -- just like Dazzler had -- not a peep.
Why would he hide something like that!?
Yet this man claimed to simply be his best friend. Demanded answers for why Shatterstar had told lies in the past, yet here he was doing the exact same thing. Withholding such obviously important information. It made so much sense now why Rictor had overreacted about Adam, the club, and now the supposed lie. Julio cared. He cared more than he was willing to admit, apparently.
Shatterstar was so confused. These feelings made absolutely no sense to him, and he still had a hard time accepting the fact that he was having relations with anyone. That he had a sexual preference. That he had gathered up the courage to let a man touch him at the club. That he now apparently had a whole relationship in his former life with another man – his best friend. Even worse, his best friend did not even want to admit it. Instead, Rictor preferred to hide it. Were they still supposed to be together? Were they broken up? Was it supposed to be some big secret?
Shatterstar looked down at the photo in his hand once more before glaring at it. He shoved the paper back into the package, and jammed it under Rictor’s mattress where he had found it. He did not even want to look at such a thing. Such information and the visual – it still had no context. Everything was just a barrage of information that meant nothing, even though somewhere deep down he felt so…hurt, maybe? He was unsure; it was an unfamiliar feeling.
A loud noise in the stairwell caught his attention, and Shatterstar moved his eyes to gaze at the doorway. Someone was coming up the stairs loudly and clumsily, and he had a funny feeling that he knew who it was. Was it someone that he wanted to see though? In a way, he longed to see Rictor – some strange part within him wanted to fix this, yet at the same time…at the same time he wanted to punch Rictor’s lights out.
Just like he suspected, the Mexican stumbled slowly through the door and looked down. “What the fuck are you doin’ in here?”
Shatterstar did not move. “Looking at my things. You said that I could.”
“Yeah well, get out. I need t’go to sleep,” his words slurred together sluggishly, and immediately Shatterstar realized that he must have been intoxicated. Many men at the dance club had been the same way, and on television intoxicated people always seemed to cause drama. Rictor walked further in the room, and pointed at the door angrily. “Get out!”
“No,” Shatterstar clenched his jaw and climbed to his feet. “We need to talk.”
“I don’t have shit all to say to you,” he spat.
“I think that you do,” ‘Star sneered, and neared him. The Mexican just huffed and squared his shoulders, and Shatty caught him clenching and unclenching his fists. That combined with the fact that he was beginning to puff his chest out told the warrior that Julio was very angry, and probably even closer to getting violent. Shatterstar did not care at all right then though. “You’re hiding something from me, Rictor.”
“Fuck you, you fucking idiot,” Julio shook his head and just glared disgustedly at him. “I ain’t you. Do I look like you? Because I’m not a lying piece of shit. If I was, I’d have, like, long hair and a fuckin’ star on my face. And my name would be Shatterstar.”
The Mojoworlder felt his anger grow. “I already told you once today, Julio, and I’m not going to tell you again. I’m sorry that I lied and hurt you however I did, but I cannot give you an explanation for my actions. I do not remember the circumstances, nor can I even recall if there was a valid reason for what I did!”
“There’s no reason in the world that would make that okay!” he yelled, and shoved ‘Star’s shoulder. The alien barely moved at all, and that only seemed to make Rictor madder. “People keep things to ‘emselves all the time. People have secrets. But sometimes, amigo, people tell those secrets to somebody ‘cause they trust them! And I fucking trusted you! You didn’t even have the balls to trust me back, you asshole!”
“And again, I apologize. But you have no right to be a hypocrite, Julio.”
“I ain’t a fuckin’ hypocrite!” he shouted angrily, and again shoved Shatterstar’s chest. The warrior took a step back, and had to will himself not to subdue him.
“Y’know what? You wanna know the truth?” he waved his arms around wildly, and stormed toward him again. “Huh!? I’ll tell you what--”
“Never mind,” Shatterstar shook his head, waving his hand in front of his face. “It’s obvious you aren’t even in any condition to talk, so…”
“I only ever wanted to be your friend ‘cause I felt sorry for you. Some big, bizarre-o alien who didn’t know a thing about lookin’ cool or havin’ fun,” Rictor laughed bitterly and pointed at him. “I felt sorry for you, do you get that? And everyone else on the team was just always hangin’ ‘round their boyfriends and girlfriends, and that just left me alone with you and Feral, and, fuck…I’d take roadkill over her, so it’s only right that I chose you.”
“Rictor,” Shatterstar warned, clenching his fists.
“No! You wanted t’know the truth, so I’m telling you,” he spat, eyes blazing and face cold. “You were all cool looking with your big weapons and your flashy uniforms. A real hero type, you know? And me, I liked them hero types. They saved me as a kid and they, y’know, tried to make me normal again! I liked you ‘cause you were a hero, man. Always savin’ people and kickin’ ass and gettin’ your job done no matter how shitty it was.”
The Mexican stepped forward and got nose to nose with him. Angry breaths passed between them, and Rictor looked absolutely irate. Shatterstar dared not back down. A warrior such as he could handle a scrawny intoxicated man with ease, and if Rictor continued to push for a fight, he would surely get one.
“Ya wanna know the shitty thing about heroes though, amigo? Huh?! The shitty thing about heroes is while they get all the love and attention for makin’ good choices and savin’ people’s lives publicly, they make really, really shitty humans beings. They can’t love and they can’t commit and they let down every person who cares about them personally.”
Shatterstar clenched his jaw at the sting of the comment. “I--”
“You’re a piece of shit,” Rictor hissed. “And you’ll never be a good person no matter how hard you try. You'll never fit in. You're shit. Shit!”
The Mojoworlder felt an explosive rage rise through him, and he roughly fisted Julio by the shirt. The smaller body slammed into the wall behind him, and Shatterstar held him up off the ground. “You take that back, Rictor!”
“Why? Truth hurts, doesn’t it?” Brown eyes searched Shatterstar’s face, and when the alien felt an indescribable hurt wash over him, Rictor only smiled bitterly. “Yeah well, at least I tell the truth, asshole.”
Shatterstar let out a loud curse and pulled his fist back. Rictor never flinched when the massive arm missed his face only by millimetres and went right through the wall behind him. Plaster and paint chips showered both men, and Shatterstar wretched his hand free. The loud noise seemed to snap Rictor out of his buzz, and for just a split second it appeared as though his brown, glossy eyes softened with sorrow.
But Shatterstar would not allow him to feel it.
“Fuck you, Julio.”
The Mojoworlder released his grip on the Mexican’s shirt and dropped him to the floor. Ric winced at the sudden impact, and groaned. “‘Star…”
“Looks like you won’t have to settle with me much longer, hombre,” Shatterstar spat and stormed across the room. When he reached the door, he looked back at Julio one more time. He was sitting against the wall in a muttering heap, and no matter how much the sight felt as if it was breaking the warrior’s stone cold heart, he could not help but wish more pain upon him. “I don’t need you, Rictor, and I never did.”
“Why are you leaving? ‘Star…I’m sorry about everything, but…we can work on this!”
The warrior continued to pack his bags, and just shrugged. “Julio, I don’t think I can work on this. I’m a warrior born, and despite the fact I have been able to survive on this planet for the last seven years, I…I am still unsure how I will be able to assimilate a normal life. We have no missions, no strike force…”
“We’ll go back then! X-Force is probably still kicking around somewhere!”
“I don’t want X-Force. They don’t stand for what they once used to, Rictor, and you know that. You can’t force me to assimilate a domestic lifestyle. I can’t do that! I don’t know how!”
Rictor grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around, forcing Shatterstar away from his duffel bag and against Ric’s body. “Please, amigo. We can find something else. I…uhm, I-I love you.”
Shatterstar felt his chest tighten and a strange sense of grief came over him. “I know. I love you too.”
“But you’re leaving me!” Rictor yelled at him.
“I just need a little bit of time. Give me a couple of months to do a little more exploring to figure out exactly what sort of role I wish to fulfill on this planet.” Shatterstar pulled him forward and wrapped his arms around the thin waist in a hug. “There’s no doubt you make me happy, but I just yearn for something. I’m unsure what and I would just like the opportunity to figure it out before I completely commit to you.”
“Commit?!” Rictor scoffed incredulously. “You’ve been my best friend for almost five years, Shatty! And even more for over two! I think that’s enough time to realize if you want to ‘commit’ or whatever the hell! It’s not like we’re getting married!”
“Just a few months,” Shatterstar asked again. “Please. If you love me like you say you do, you’ll let me do this…”
Shatterstar grabbed at his head and frowned at the other man in front of him. Rictor stared up at him with angry eyes and pointed at the door. “Get the hell out. Now. And don’t fucking come back.”
The warrior snorted disgustedly and spun on his heel. “Gladly.”
“What is this painting?”
Samson smiled up at the piece that Longshot was referring to and folded his hands. “It’s a van Gogh piece. He was a Dutch impressionist artist. That particular painting is one of his best impasto pieces, in my opinion.”
Longshot tilted his head to the side. “Impasto?”
“It’s a painting technique; see how thick the paint strokes are? It’s used to create a sense of expression. You can see speed and movement in an almost three dimensional sense. It helps create imagery; to help evoke a sensory experience.”
Longshot nodded and roamed his eyes over the coloured landscape. “It seems so peaceful, but very lonely.”
“I got that impression, too. But it’s funny when I hang pieces like that up because most of my patients have differing opinions on the emotions it gives off.”
“I guess that’s why you like imagery, huh?” the Mojoworlder turned around and grinned at the psychiatrist. “Another way for you to get a peek into people’s minds?”
“I guess you can say that,” Samson conceded.
Longshot silently walked over to the small sofa at the end of the room and plopped down onto it. Pale blue eyes roamed the table in front of it for a few moments before he finally looked up at the green haired man. “Sometimes I wish I could see into other people’s minds. It sure would help, I think. I can be so clueless sometimes.”
“I think that’s an ability most wish they had. Funnily enough, those who have it, telepaths, are arguably the group of mutants who have the most problems dealing with the repercussions of their powers. You learn a lot of things about people; the mind is a very personal, private place.”
“Scary sometimes, too,” Longshot pointed out.
“I definitely agree with that.”
“But with all that’s going on right now, it sure would make things easier,” the blonde man sighed and dropped his chin into his hand. “I feel like I have to fight just to keep everyone from killing each other or themselves. They’re sad and miserable and no one seems to be getting along. I don’t know what to do.”
“What are they fighting about?” Samson inquired, flipping his pen through his fingers.
“Everything imaginable; people keeping secrets, stuff that happened years ago, chicken cordon bleu,” Longshot snorted humourlessly. “And Alison can’t stop crying, and I’m pretty sure my son stormed through the front door this morning with blood on his shirt. I asked him where he went and he pushed me away by the face. He was probably out fighting, and I’m a little bit worried that he hurt someone.”
Samson blinked. “Yes, uhm, well that, uh, sounds like something you should probably be worried about.”
“It doesn’t matter how much I try and make things work though. It’s almost like they don’t even care or that they don’t want them to,” Longshot sighed sadly. “I don’t want to, but I’m starting to think that maybe they don’t want to go back to normal. Like they just want to be sad forever.”
“It’s a natural step in the coping process. It’s only been less than two weeks since they came back from Mojoworld, and they both have a lot to adjust to. And everyone reacts to things in their own way, and the best thing you can do is just be supportive. They’ll come around sooner or later, but they just need time.”
“Besides, you do realize that you have to cope with stuff yourself. You have to be feeling some degree of stress, Longshot, and I’m worried that you might be bottling up your own problems.”
“That’s what Alison said,” the Mojoworlder remarked.
Samson smiled slightly. “I think, maybe, she might be onto something.”
Longshot frowned and went over his next words in his head carefully. “Can I-- can I tell you something that I haven’t really told her before?”
“That’s what I’m here for.”
“Well to be honest, Doc, I’m afraid that if I allow myself to-- well, they distract me from feeling sad, and that’s okay because I don’t want to feel sad. I would rather make them happy,” he trailed off and twisted his fingers together. “When I feel sad or feel sorry for myself, those are selfish thoughts. And if I try and help them then those are selfless thoughts. My luck is better when I’m selfless, and if I get down on them or myself then that is just selfish.”
“But worrying about your own wellbeing isn’t selfish, Longshot. That’s being safe and it’s being careful,” Samson leaned forward over his desk and looked at the alien sternly. “Your life and wellbeing are just as important as anyone else’s, and that doesn’t make it selfish. You’re just frightened of the power you wield, I think.”
“Of course I am,” Longshot agreed. “By having luck powers, I have the ability to change probabilities. When my luck backfires it is very scary.”
“How many times has that happened, Longshot?”
He pursed his lips together as he fought to recollect. “Uhm, three…maybe four times? That I can actually remember anyways.”
“And for the amount of years that you’ve had your powers, I would say that is remarkable. If it’s a subconscious ability that flips your luck that would mean that your luck doesn’t backfire unless you are acting extremely out of line.”
“So really, it could be said that you’re hiding behind your fear of your abilities and using that as an excuse to also hide from your own emotions.”
Longshot frowned, and rubbed a three fingered hand over his hair. “I’m not scared…”
“You know, I find it very interesting now that I look at this situation from your angle. Because when it comes to Shatterstar, he’s always been very up front with the fact that he’s not in touch with his emotional side. He struggles with it, but he accepts the fact that he struggles. And Alison, well she wears her heart on her sleeve and is very direct and deliberate about the way she feels. Even if she’s worried about the circumstances and consequences, she’s at least very aware of why she feels a certain way.” Samson’s eyebrows rose as he scribbled a few things down in his folders. “It seems to me that you’re stuck half way between the two of them. You wear your heart on your sleeve, but you’re not very confident about the way you feel. You only force yourself to feel a certain way for fear that there will be a backlash. The emotional aspect of your personality suffers because you feel the need to ‘feel’ a certain way.”
Longshot slouched down in his seat. “Well I really can’t call you a liar about that.”
“Which means that everything that you feel naturally is buried deep within you. That would probably explain why your powers would backlash so much. You keep all selfishness, anger, greed, and sadness hidden and if they were to build up enough, you'd act extremely. In turn, that would make your power backlash be extreme as well. No person can go through life functioning perfectly.”
“But how is it even possible to release hidden emotions in small doses?” Longshot questioned with a confused frown.
“I’m not asking you to do that,” Samson clarified. “What I’m asking you to do is to allow yourself a chance to feel. Let yourself react and act naturally. Don’t put up a front. Now, I’m not saying to be pessimistic or uncaring or completely greedy. You just have to be brave enough to take a risk. You do have luck on your side, after all.”
Longshot nodded. “But how does that help my family?”
Samson smiled slightly at the shift in conversation. “Well it shows you have confidence, for one. Sometimes having confidence in yourself on top of your confidence in them is enough to lead someone just by example. And based on your rebellion experience, one would think that you’d make an excellent leader in that regard.”
“And if they don’t follow?”
“It’s their own choice. But like I said before, support is the best medicine for a loved one in need.”
“Wow, Doc, that’s some great advice,” Longshot could not help the small smile that played his lips. His body felt a little more relaxed, and he sat up straighter. “I’ll try my best!”
“I know you will,” Samson nodded. “Now, back to my original question…”
Longshot grinned sheepishly. “What was it again?”
“Family members aside, how are you coping with everything that’s gone on?”
The Cadre leader dropped his gaze back down to the table and stared at it thoughtfully. “I hate that they’re hurt. Because I don’t know how to deal with that and my biggest fear is that Mojo and Spiral are just going to come back and do everything all over again anyways. Every step we take forward they always show up to shove us three steps back.”
“So you’re actually worried that their progress is going to be all for nothing, even though you really would like to have them back to their normal selves?”
He nodded. “Pretty bad, huh?”
“No, it’s okay to be scared. Because even warriors and heroes are allowed to feel fear every once and awhile, Longshot.”
“As long as they don’t hide behind that fear, right, Doc?”
The green haired man nodded. “Exactly.”
Longshot stood from the couch and gave the psychiatrist a thankful smile. “Well let’s hope that gets us through this then, huh?”
“We can hope,” he agreed. “And who knows, maybe that’s exactly what the others need to realize, too.”
Longshot considered that for a few moments before he found himself nodding. “I know so. But making them realize that is something else entirely.”
Samson smirked. “Well with a little luck on your side…”
“Who knows what can happen,” Longshot chuckled despite it all. “Thanks, Doc."
Go to chapter sixteen.