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: With team mates captured, Longshot's left with a decision to make.
Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, Sixteen, Seventeen, Eighteen, Nineteen, Twenty,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Extra Scenes: Chap 9, Chap 14, Chap 16.
A/N: Continuation from 20 part one.
“No!” Shatterstar insisted, and walked toward the older man. “Do not make me beg you, Longshot. Don’t do this.”
Shasta stepped up beside Shatterstar and regarded Longshot as well. “I know it is not my place to say, Lord, but you will be making a grave mistake! You know that Mojo will only have you hollowed again and you will rot away in that dungeon of his for possibly the rest of your years.”
“I may not have a choice. Who knows what he wants? Mojo may be slime, but you know just as well as I do that he keeps his contracts. It wasn’t him that broke our last one, it was me! I’m the one who caused all of this trouble, and now it’s time for it to end,” the blonde man frowned thoughtfully, and pushed through the two warriors without another word to approach Spiral. “Take me in.”
“As you wish,” she replied and turned toward the door. Shatterstar could not even believe what he was seeing; was Longshot actually giving up!? He was a warrior so long looked up to, and not only that, but was Shatterstar’s father. The man gave him genetics and life and it pained Shatterstar to see that he was so easily a quitter. He would not and could not believe that. For years Longshot fought Mojo and sought his demise and now…now he just gave up. Just like that. Easy.
“Maybe he’s got a plan, boyo,” Terry whispered as she approached the younger man from behind and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Dinnae give up on him.”
Shatterstar shook his head and frowned. “I did not give up on him; he gave up on him.”
“Let’s follow him,” Terry insisted, and motioned forward. “There’s gotta be somethin’ we can do.”
Shatterstar nodded and followed his old friend toward the door to Mojo’s quarters. Longshot waited at the entryway for the rest of the squad to catch up, and once they did the group stepped inside. The room was absolutely massive and filled with equipment. The same cables and mirrors that lined the corridor walls were even more chaotically spread around the steel walls of the room. There were also television monitors on both the east and west walls, and a massive seating arrangement at the north wall where Mojo was set up.
Most notably though were the dozens and dozens of guns trained on them. Spiral had not been lying when she said there were close to fifty Imperial Protectorate guards trained around the room and prepared for their entry. Each was bigger than everyone on their squad, and all were heavily armed. Spiral had also been correct in saying that their friends were being held hostage. At the forefront of Mojo’s seating quarters they were held at gunpoint, sitting on the floor on their knees with all of their weapons pushed away from them. Shatterstar glared irritably at the sight, and moved his eyes to the massive lard that was known as Mojo.
“Oh lookey here! They actually showed up! Like, for real!” he clapped happily and snapped his long fingers at Major Domo. “Get a camera on this; something tells me this is something I’m gonna want to remember for a long time! Imagine the ratings! We’ll be nominated top spot at every award show! We’ll get ads and radio airplay! Maybe even YouTube honours!”
“Don’t tell me that’s made it’s way over here too, your plumpness,” Domo drawled.
“Mojo! Enough of your blubbering!” Longshot yelled. “We end this. Now.”
“Oh boy oh boy, do we ever!” Mojo grinned evilly at the Cadre leader and crawled forward to the edge of his seating quarters. “First off, I want your ragtag group of freakazoids to surrender their weapons!”
“Oh this is going to turn out well,” Monet sighed and folded her arms.
Shatterstar grunted. “Maybe I’ll surrender it by throwing it through his fat head.”
About three dozen guns clicked and Mojo shook his head amusedly. “Don’t wanna be doing that, Tiger Beat boy! You make one wrong move and your mommy will be eating lead for supper!” he laughed at his own stupid comment and looked at Domo. “Did ya catch that one? Huh? That was a good one!”
“Yes, that was special all right,” the android perked an eyebrow.
“Up here!” he directed and pointed at the floor ahead of his throne. “All the guns and knives and swords and candle holders and axes and paper clips and remote controls!”
“Za’s Vid does he ever shut up?” Shatterstar muttered under his breath.
Shasta eyed him sympathetically. “Unfortunately for us, no.”
“Yeah and he’s about as funny as an episode of CSI Miami,” Domino scoffed and pulled two guns from her belt before tossing a look over to Longshot. “What do you say? Drop 'em?”
“Don’t do it,” Dazzler shook her head from the front of the room. Her words were slow and deliberate, as if she were putting a lot of focus on them. Shatterstar quickly looked her over and noted she was bleeding quite badly. But, like usual, she did not let up. “You’re only giving him what he wants. Don’t you dare do it!”
Longshot clenched his jaw, and did not look at her. “You only want me, so why take all our weapons?”
“Because I don’t want any funny business!” Mojo screeched. “So hand ‘em over now!” The massive man gestured for a guard to show them that he meant business, and a towering creature lifted a large gun up in the air and pistol whipped Jamie in the face. Madrox winced as he fell forward, and the moment a dupe emerged, the clone was instantly shot in the back of the head. Jamie Prime cried out in pain at the impact, and Mojo only laughed loudly. “Do as I say, or next time I shoot the real one!”
“Oh god,” Terry muttered, and placed her fingers over her mouth.
Longshot raised his hands in surrender, and the sight of it made an undeniable rage burn through Shatterstar like nothing else. The Cadre leader slowly stepped forward – past all of the guards and guns, Gog, Magog, and even Dazzler – to place his knives at Mojo’s feet. He dropped his bag, his bandolier, and the sword off of his back.
“You promised me,” Dazzler spat, but Longshot did not say a word to her. He did not even look at her.
“Now the rest of you!” Mojo yelled.
Shasta led the rest of the
“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.”
You don’t let Mojo win.
He was such a quitter.
Grudgingly Shatterstar turned away from the older man and walked with Siryn toward the ruler of Wildways. Mojo’s gaze pierced ‘Star, and it gave the younger man chills. Despite his anger and hatred, he could not keep his sights on the disgusting blob. The moment he moved his eyes away he looked at Dazzler. She was so angry and upset and glaring daggers at Longshot. Beside her was Rictor. Rictor was staring right back at ‘Star.
He looked unhurt, but Shatterstar could tell he was freaked out. Though the warrior did not like to admit to feelings of fear, he could honestly say that he did not blame his friend for feeling such ways. Mojo was the most horrifying and despicable being alive, and to be under his control had only proved to be a nightmare in the past. However, seeing the Mexican also caused another surge of emotion to swell up inside of Shatterstar. If he fought this battle today, Rictor could end up dead. If he let Longshot walk away from their lives, then he would get Rictor back. Rictor, Alison, and Jamie would all be safe and none of them would ever have to deal with Mojo’s horrors again.
Could he possibly allow Longshot – such an important and influential figurehead – to surrender himself so easily? What would the fallout be? How would the Cadre survive? What would happen to the 100 years war, and how would that affect Shatterstar’s future? How would that affect Alison?
What if Mojo was lying just to trick them all?
Silver eyes moved back to the Mexican, and Shatterstar felt a deep sense of longing somewhere strange within him. For some reason, he just wished he could ask Julio for help. What would he do? He had to get him back. And…he almost hated to say it, but Shatterstar needed him. He wanted to need him, too.
“I am so glad to finally have gotten to the floor of all this.”
Rictor smiled amusedly and reached out a hand to lace their fingers together. “‘Bottom’, amigo. ‘To the bottom of this’.”
Shatterstar rolled his eyes, but could not help smirking back. “Whatever, Rictor.”
Siryn dropped the few weapons she had been equipped with onto the top of the pile with a loud ‘clang’ and looked up at Shatterstar thoughtfully. “Shatty?”
‘Star looked at Siryn and frowned at her empty hands, and once more moved his gaze back to Rictor. The Mexican was staring at him intensely, and very subtly shook his head. He was telling him no. He did not want him to give up his weapons.
Could they win this fight if he did not?
“‘Star, I know this is…odd comin’ from me, but you gotta start thinking before you act. ‘Specially now, with me being out of the picture for awhile.”
Shatterstar grabbed his arm and spun him around, daring him to look him in the face while he spoke. “Julio. One last time. Please, change your mind. What am I going to do without you?”
“Put your weapons down, freak-baby!” Mojo snapped at him. The Spineless One was getting increasingly impatient, and all eyes in the room were on ‘Star. Major Domo looked bored, as usual, while all of the guards readied themselves with their guns cocked. Siryn appeared nervous, while Longshot still refused to look at him. Dazzler silently pleaded with him not to do it, while Rictor kept mouthing for him to ‘kick some ass’.
If he placed his weapons down, he could be rid of Mojo forever. If not, he could lose all of his friends and those he cared about. And clearing the air with one particular person in that room was something he so badly wanted to do. He needed to do. An undeniable tug in his heart tried desperately to sway him, and in a strange way it both panicked him and angered him. When had he become so soft?
Shatterstar stared off across the distance, golden glow of the setting sun cascading the landscape around them. Rictor sat a few meters away, digging his bare feet and his glowing green hands through the grass. He was absolutely freaking out, and even from the distance Shatterstar could see the wet trails on his face. Rictor would be so mad if he knew ‘Star could see, but…he could not let him be so hurt. What could he do though? How was he supposed to comfort him? He swallowed back his confliction and stepped forward as he approached…
“We’re waiting,” Mojo glared.
“Don’t do it!” Alison pleaded.
They could all be free.
“Fuck off, ‘Star, leave me alone,” Rictor snapped and wiped at his face roughly. The growing bruise there had left his cheek swollen, and the sight angered Shatterstar. The Mexican wanted nothing to do with him though. The day’s activities in regards to the Richter family had been long and enduring. After many months it was all over, and by the looks of things Rictor seemed torn about it. So hurt. When he sprang to his feet to avoid the discussion, all Shatterstar could think to do was grab him by the wrist.
“I love you. Please. They may not need you anymore, Julio, but I do.”
“Put it down,” Longshot muttered. Dazzler looked devastated at the words, and Shatterstar frowned. Once more he looked back and forth between his parents and sighed.
They could be free, but they would still lose everything.
“You don’t mean that!” Alison yelled at him.
“You don’t mean it,” Rictor scoffed. “Why the hell would you want me? Sometimes I think you're loco, hombre!”
They would lose everything no matter what choice he made.
“Put them down, Shatterstar,” Longshot ordered.
“You mean everything to me. I might be strange and disturbing, but I mean what I say.” Shatterstar swallowed the strange, self conscious feeling back, and Rictor just blinked at him before a brilliant smile crossed his lips and he laughed loudly.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you sometimes, amigo.”
Shatterstar glared fiercely and let the metal drop from his fingers. Two swords escaped his hands and plummeted down to the pile of weapons at his feet. Relieved sighs came from around the room, but Shatterstar could practically hear the disappointment projecting from the hostages in front of him. Mojo cackled loudly and clapped his hands.
“That’s what I thought! Now get rid of the rest of them!”
Shatterstar stared at him unblinkingly as he dropped his knives and guns into the pile, and finally took his last sword off of his back. A double bladed, spiked handled, custom metalled weapon like no other. He ran his gaze up and down the perfectly polished blades before placing it down soundly. Handle closest to him and blade pointing directly at Mojo.
“That’s it,” he said simply.
“Good, now back up! Get back there with the rest of your puny, disgusting looking, freakazoid friends! I don’t want your rejected carcass meddling up my floor! Go! Shoo!” Mojo demanded and waved them back with his hands. Terry gave Shatterstar another troubled look, but the two young adults still backed off. Only Longshot remained standing in front of the megalomaniac, and the sight of him made the rest of their squad look absolutely dejected.
“You have to keep your word!” Longshot pointed out to him. “Let them go, and I’m all yours.”
“You know I never break a deal,” Mojo grinned sadistically. “Especially when it’s a guaranteed ratings grabber!” Shatterstar narrowed his eyes at the scene in front of him and felt that rage return. Blood thirst. It was the most despicable and dishonourable thing that he had ever witnessed.
“You disappointed me,” a low voice whispered from next to him.
Shatterstar scowled and glared at Spiral from the corner of his eye. “Shut your mouth, woman.”
“This isn’t over yet,” she whispered lowly. “You can still take him out. And the moment that you do, I can have you teleported back to Earth before any harm comes to you.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Why shouldn’t you?”
“I have no reason to,” he spat.
“Despite any ill feelings you may have toward me, Shatterstar, and despite the fact that you have disappointed me in the past, I have not changed my feelings toward you. I have anger and resentment, yes, but you still mean more to me than anyone else.”
Shatterstar felt a bitter hatred swirl in the pit of his stomach, and he clenched his fists at his sides. He had to ignore her; she was playing her mind games again. “Shut up.”
They watched as Longshot stepped forward and was apprehended by two guards. Dazzler looked heartbroken, and the sight made Shatterstar furious. “There’s still time,” Spiral told him.
“You had me mind wiped,” he spat.
“You brought that on yourself,” she informed him.
The guards at the front released the hostages, and the three X-Factor members got to their feet. Dazzler was still bleeding, while Jamie Madrox looked like he had been injured from the hit to his head. Both were shaky on their feet, so Ric wrapped one arm around Ali’s waist and the other over Jamie’s shoulder as he helped them move. Each exchanged looks with Longshot as they slowly passed him. A wide range of emotions from fear, to anger, to sadness, to guilt, to heartbreak, to bitterness relayed, and still Longshot could not find the courage to look them in the face. He was determined to go down a hero. To go down a martyr. Longshot wanted to sacrifice himself for everyone else and cared less of the consequences. Selfless.
“It’s your destiny,” Spiral hissed to Shatterstar once more.
The loud echo of metal cuffs rang through the air as the Protectorate began to shackle Longshot up. Mojo bounced excitedly in his seat as the rebel leader was taken into custody, and the hostages made their way safely back to their team mates. Once they were half way across the room, Shatterstar narrowed his eyes and glared at Mojo.
“We got him! We got him! We got him! Ha-ha!” the blob-like monster laughed loudly. “Shackle him up! Let’s give him a haircut too while we’re at it! Hey, Longshot! Perk up! The camera’s on you right now, you know. The whole world can see! And…” the megalomaniac stopped abruptly and tilted his head to the side. “…Domo?”
“Yes, oh sour one?”
“What is that!?” he demanded and looked around the room. “What is that noise?!”
“I believe that is humming,” the android furrowed his eyebrows. “Yes, humming.”
Rictor’s eyes widened wildly, and he quickly shoved Dazzler and Jamie to the floor as the room began to glow red. Sounds and vibrational energies channelled toward the front of the room, and Shatterstar clenched his jaw as he directed his force of will. A massive, explosive shockwave erupted from the double bladed sword on the floor and shot straight at Mojo. His mechanical legs and chair blew to pieces, and the metal flew through the air and ricocheted through the bodies of his surrounding guards. Without the support, his jelly-like form splattered to the ground, and he was unable to move.
Immediately catching on, Siryn let out a massive wail that deafened all of the surrounding Protectorate and shattered the cuffs holding Longshot in custody. The older biped looked absolutely irate at the attack, but Shatterstar figured they could deal with that later. Now they needed to fight and flee, and hopefully Spiral was willing to stay true to her word.
“Stay down,” Dazzler shouted at Rictor, and covered his head with her arm as she let out a massive blast of light. The effects intensified the stun that Terry’s powers had already produced, and all of the guards were limited in both hearing and eyesight. Sally instantly ran forward to the injured and protected them with her force field, while Domino and Shatterstar made a break for the weapons pile while they still had the chance. Guns and swords were quickly obtained, and the two soldiers immediately got to work taking out as many guards as they could. Shatterstar was slower on his feet than usual due to the effects of his powers, but he was no less useful. Using the spiked handle of his blade, he managed to land a series of punches to the faces and heads of all nearby bodies, effectively knocking the majority of them out.
“Fekt!” Longshot cursed as he jumped over Mojo’s writhing form on the floor. He was screaming for help, but the rebels knew they hadn’t much time. Longshot snagged his throwing knives from the floor and tossed them in handfuls at the Spineless One without getting close enough for him to apply his death touch. Monet and Guido began jumping in on the fight as well, and were soon joined by the Cadre Alliance. Spiral grinned maniacally amongst the chaos, and folded two arms over her chest.
“Fekt, woman, go!” Shatterstar yelled at her. “You said you would help us leave, now do so!”
“You really want to run from a fight, boy?” she taunted. “That’s not the way you were brought up.”
“I was also not brought up to get myself killed!” he spat as he flipped over the arm of a blinded, but swinging monster. “I did as I was told, now acknowledge so!”
Spiral nodded and motioned to Terry. “One more psionic scream should stun them long enough to allow me to cast my spell. My teleportation is a difficult task to perform, and without Mojo’s assistance my spells have to be more detailed specific. I only need a few moments.”
Siryn nodded hesitantly before grabbing the sides of her head and letting out a massive scream. “AIIYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”
The pitch was so high that Shatterstar hardly heard it. Terry’s control over her powers was impeccable, however, and the woman was easily able to direct her screams to affect only certain people in the room. The psionic aspect of her powers was astonishing in that sense, and she was able to carry the wavelength for many moments as Spiral collected her weapons and began to dance. As she moved, guards fell to the floor with their hands over their ears, and their muscles contracted in a seizure-like manner as the frequencies took over total control of their brains. Skids and Rictor helped Jamie and Dazzler to their feet and they regrouped with Shatterstar and Siryn. Domino, Monet, and Guido knocked the rest of the Protectorate to the floor, and Longshot looked around the room furiously before pointing at the door.
“Shasta! Get your men out of here now! Go to the most well hidden safe house you have available and regroup all of your ranks. Stay low until everything has calmed down! There’s no doubt in my mind the Protectorate will come across territory lines to hunt you all down!”
The brunette nodded and ordered his men out the door. “Are you coming back, Lord?”
Longshot glared at Shatterstar before nodding. “I will probably have to at some point, yes. But for now I have to retreat. You’ve been excellent, young warrior, be proud.”
Shasta nodded with pride and saluted the Cadre leader before he fled as well. Spiral summoned the mists of the nexus and an array of colour began to flash around the room. X-Factor huddled together as the six-armed woman danced, and within seconds they were being hurled through time and space and back to Earth.
Despite their temporary win, Shatterstar could not help but feel the return home was going to be an unhappy one.
Go to chapter twenty-one.