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: The fallout from Mojoworld; a fights break out, someone leaves, someone joins, and two others sort out their issues.
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: Sorry for the wait. :) There are a ton of references in here to various pop culture things. I own none of it.
Shatterstar rolled his eyes and slumped down in an office chair as X-Factor quickly cleared the room. Longshot walked around the younger man and stopped when he was in front of him, folded his arms, and glared angrily. “What!?” Shatterstar snapped at him when he did not speak for many minutes.
“I don’t get angry often. In fact, some might say I don’t get angry at all. When I do get angry though, bad things usually happen. Do you understand that?” Longshot spoke each word slowly and deliberately.
“Do I look stupid to you!?” the warrior scoffed.
“Well you tell me, Shatterstar, because I think you just pulled the stupidest move you could’ve pulled!” Longshot sighed in frustration and fisted his hair. “Do you realize what you’ve just done?!”
“I saved you,” he pointed out.
“I can’t get mad, I can’t get mad, I can’t mad,” Longshot began pacing as he muttered to himself, and ‘Star could not help but move his annoyed gaze to Dazzler who had just been idly standing by and glaring at her husband. Longshot was absolutely irate, and it was strange to see. Shatterstar supposed it was probably one of those things that the older man tried to constantly keep in check in order to prevent his luck from flipping on him.
“What is the big deal here? Everyone is at home and is safe. We won the fight!”
Longshot stopped his movements and pointed a finger at Shatterstar’s face. “No! We didn’t! This could’ve been dealt with if you’d just let me make the decisions! Now that I’m free he is never going to leave us alone. Ever. Don’t you understand that?”
“He would never leave us alone no matter what choice I made!” Shatterstar yelled, finally losing his temper and jumping to his feet. “He’s always been there and he has always terrorized people! It does not matter if they are Spineless or Biped, if they are slaves or rebels, if they are employees, actors, stunt men, gladiators, or spectators! He never leaves anyone alone!”
“But he doesn’t hollow and torture just anyone! He may be a jerk, yes, but he doesn’t have a morbid fascination with just anyone’s demise, ‘Star! It’s us he wanted, and he would’ve kept his bargain; he always does!” Longshot raked a hand through his hair and considered his words. “Not only did we back out of a deal that had already been agreed on, but we destroyed his Protectorate, his quarters, and we humiliated him. When he comes back he’s going to be very angry!”
Shatterstar just rolled his eyes in disinterest; he did not like to be lectured. Namely, he did not like to be lectured by people who proved only to be unworthy in a fight. People who made stupid decisions and went back on their word had no place to lecture him with hypocrisy. Who did Longshot even think he was? He was probably just mad because Shatterstar was a better fighter and a smarter tactical performer than he. That was understandable, but there was no reason for petty yelling. The situation was over, and it was time to move on.
“I’m not listening to this,” Shatterstar just shrugged and went to push past Longshot to leave the room. The Cadre leader, however, was not in the mood. He placed both hands on ‘Star’s chest and shoved him back down into his chair. “What do you think you’re doing!?” the younger man yelled.
“You’re sitting,” Longshot told him. “I don’t know who the heck you think you are, but you are absolutely out of your mind! We are not 100 years in the future, Shatterstar, so whatever the rules and guidelines were for your rebellion are not the same as now. In fact, I don’t even want to know what the Cadre had become; if they are that reckless and violent enough to put other people in danger, that’s wrong! That’s not what the rebellion is.”
The younger man clenched his jaw tightly and glared up at the blonde. “That’s exactly what the rebellion is.”
“Well whoever is in charge of your
“Well you would know, wouldn’t you, Lucky One? It’s your guidelines, your rules, and your honour code – your Cadre! I may not remember every detail of my life, or Benjamin’s life, or life on Wildways, but I know one thing and that is who I followed. And you have absolutely no place to look down on such a man because that is hypocrisy. There is no honour in that!” Shatterstar sighed angrily and raked a hand through his hair. “You know just as well as I do that 100 years is not that far in the future; that’s only half a lifetime for the average bioengineered biped, Longshot. Who the hell do you think was in charge of my time’s Cadre?!”
“That’s not the point…”
“Then what is?!” Shatterstar asked with exasperation. “You’re free and no one was hurt. If another battle comes in the future, then we fight it like rebels. I do not understand why you live in so much fear.”
Longshot sighed and folded his arms as he stared down at the younger soldier. “Did it ever occur to you why Mojo bothers to use mind wipes that can be easily reversed by just déjà vu? Fekt, my psychic imprint powers are enough to do that by themselves, and he knows that! The point is, he uses them because he likes to watch us squirm. To have to rework for everything we ever achieved. It’s how he controls us! Like we’re still slaves!” Longshot began pacing across the room again and rubbed his hands over his face. “It’s like torture! He erases our minds and dumps us off wherever he pleases to watch us wander around lost and all messed up. Then as soon as we fix things and everything seems better and safe, he just does it again. Over and over and over and over again! You really think he’s not going to get you next time? He was able to capture you just two weeks ago, Shatterstar!”
“It won’t happen again,” the warrior scoffed.
“Don’t say that because it can! And it will! And if you think you’re going to stay here and--”
Shatterstar interrupted. “Who says I am staying here!? I have no interests in living with this team and playing these ridiculous guessing games! I’ll hunt Mojo myself if I have to--”
“Enough!” Alison snapped, finally making her voice heard after many moments. Both males instantly shut up and stared at her, and she folded her arms angrily. “I don’t care who thinks who is right, but fighting each other isn’t going to solve a thing!”
“No, Longshot! Don’t yell at him like he’s a little kid; he’s only a few years younger than you! And I don’t care who pulls rank over who because we’re not on Mojoworld nor are we active in the
“And I told you that if you got in trouble all bets were off!’
“I don’t need you to save me!” she yelled at him, pointing a finger in his chest. “This proves my point! Shatterstar did exactly what you would do in his situation, Longshot. If it were him sacrificing himself, you wouldn’t let it happen.”
“Well of course not, why would I do that?” he asked.
“Well then you can’t get mad! You broke a promise, and yes you had good intentions, but it wouldn’t have done any good. You can run off and rot in those dungeons to save us, but you would—you know what goes on in there! Murder, rape, cannibalism, starvation, disease…how do you think we—I would’ve been able to live with myself knowing you were enduring that just to save me?” she grabbed his hand and held it against her chest. “I love you, and I don’t care how many times he tries to make me forget. I always come back to you, and you to me. No matter what we always find each other.”
“But I don’t want him to find us at all,” Longshot protested, obviously missing the point.
“Well then build a tree fort and hide in it and never come out,” Shatterstar glared and folded his arms.
“If running from him means I can be with you then I’ll do it,” Alison told him seriously. “I already thought you dead once, and I don’t want to do that again. I know we don’t need each other to live, but life is a lot happier when you’re in it.”
Longshot frowned and shrugged one shoulder. “Well my life is happier when you’re in it too, Alison.”
“Well then stop being so selfish!”
“I’m not!” he scoffed.
“Yes you are,” Shatterstar pointed out.
“And you!” Alison glared at him and smacked him in the back of the head. Shatterstar blinked in surprise at the boldness of the move, but she did not back down. “You don’t pull stunts like that! You could’ve gotten us all killed!”
He just rubbed the back of his scalp as he gaped at her. “Did you just hit me?”
“You need to think before you act! I’m glad that what you did worked, but don’t be such a brat about it! The whole world doesn’t revolve around you being a big show off!” she folded her arms and stormed toward the door. “Now I’m going to bed! You both better stop your bickering and just be happy we all still have working brains in our heads!”
Both men sat in stunned silence as the former disco diva left the office and marched up the stairs to her room. Longshot rubbed his chin thoughtfully before turning back to Shatterstar. “I think she was trying to tell us something.”
“She annoys me.”
The older man sighed. “I’m sorry I got mad. That wasn’t very nice of me.”
“No, it wasn’t.”
“Aren’t you going to apologize, too? It’s your turn!”
Shatterstar looked up at him in a bored fashion and shrugged. “I suppose. But I still do not understand why I am wrong. I just did what I was raised and taught to do.”
Longshot nodded. “I know. To be honest I was just a little afraid something bad was going to happen; I still am scared. It just gets tiring living in fear all of the time.”
“I suppose it would. But I would not know.”
“Everyone gets scared sometimes,” Longshot rolled his eyes at him, but then frowned sadly. “Don’t lie. Unless, of course, your mean old mysterious Cadre leader taught you that it was wrong.”
Shatterstar snorted and shook his head. “I only met him once. I also would not know if it was the Cadre or if it was just Spiral who taught me that. All that I know is that I know it, not how I do. Memories are still a bit tricky.”
“Were you lying?”
“When?” ‘Star scrunched up his face at him. “I do not prefer to lie.”
“When you implied that an older version of me is still running the Cadre in the future?”
“Very indirectly; you are well past your prime to still be fighting actively. You’re just there to make big decisions and to act as a figurehead. Hence the reason why I only ever met the leader once; he gave me my mission and I accepted it. I came to Earth.”
Longshot’s blue eyes softened. “What about Ali? Was she there too?”
“Not that I remember,” Shatterstar shrugged.
“That doesn’t mean anything.”
“I know that,” the older man nodded his head. “Just makes a guy wonder is all.”
“I should not have even said a thing. I saw on a television show called Doctor Who that you are not supposed to ‘play’ with time. I am unsure how true that is, or what the significance is, but perhaps they were right.” He frowned thoughtfully before standing and wandering toward the door. “All I’m doing is confusing myself; I think I should go to my room.”
Longshot chuckled at him. “It’ll get easier for you. Once things start piecing together in your brain it will make more sense.”
“Unless Mojo undoes it all again,” Shatterstar pointed out. “Then they’ll never make sense.”
Longshot approached him and clasped a friendly hand on his shoulder. “That’s not going to happen again, remember?”
‘Star could not help the happy grin that crossed his lips; perhaps Longshot had only been influenced by fear after all. The fighting spirit was still very much alive within him. “Of course. We don’t let him win.”
“Oh boy, sounds like trouble in paradise,” Jamie smirked as the rest of the team closed the office door and left Longshot alone with his family. The moment Spiral returned them back to headquarters the family began quarrelling, so the team left them at it. Everyone was in one piece, for the most part. Alison had been a bloody mess but had managed to strangely heal rather quickly. Skids and Jamie were still a little groggy from their respective head injuries, but they were alive and that was what mattered.
However, Rictor could not help but feel that they left Mojoworld on a note much too abrupt. They had gotten off easy with a broken deal, and the Mexican feared that someday Mojo would return for vengeance. What would they do then? Get their memories wiped? Get imprisoned? Killed? Enslaved?! He was not sure he would be able to deal with living in that kind of fear. How the hell Dazzler and Longshot managed such a thing was amazing.
How did they handle this?
“Are ye okay, boyo?” Terry asked as she placed a hand on his shoulder. “Ye’ve been awfully quiet; s’not like ye.”
“I’m fine,” Rictor muttered.
“Ye got captured by Mojo; they dinnae hurt ye, did they?”
He shook his head. “Nah, they didn’t hurt me. Just kidnapped me, but hey, story of my life!”
“He takes it like a man!” Domino laughed and tossed an arm over his shoulder. “That was a wild fight; haven’t got to duke it out like that in quite awhile.”
“I’m surprised you came,” Terry pointed out and folded her arms over her middle.
“I’m not,” Rictor scoffed.
“I came, I saw, I conquered,” Domino grinned and stepped away from the group to collect the rest of her weapons. “I only intended to come over to check up on Shatty, but it only figures I had to go fight aliens first before going back home.”
“Yuir leavin’?” Terry questioned, and for a second Rictor actually saw disappointment in her eyes.
“Well I’m not staying here,” the older woman raised her eyebrows. “Besides, I’ve got a new contract for some work right now. Got a team of girls waiting for me.”
“Some things never change, huh?” the redhead questioned.
“Well what other options do I have? Some of us aren’t special enough to go lie to everyone we know and pretend to commit suicide so we can start a baby-sitter’s club in year 2000-whatever-the-fuck.”
“You can start a baby-sitter’s club here,” Rictor joked. “I’m sure mothers everywhere would be racing to drop their kids off to you.”
“Yeah, I bet,” she smirked. “But I think I’ve done enough baby-sitting in the last six years to last me a life time. Time for the chicks to leave the nest.”
“Yeah, wouldn’t want to get eaten by the vulture,” Rictor laughed, but then just as quickly stopped when Domino reached over and slapped him in the back of the head. He rubbed at the spot tenderly, but his grin never faltered. “After all these years she finally admits her motherhood.”
“Aw!” Terry gushed and wrapped her arms around the merc’s waist – much to Domino’s chagrin. “We knew ye’d come around! She really loves us after all!”
“Okay, both of you have five seconds to shut up and give me my personal bubble back before I kick your asses.”
Terry pulled back and smiled. “Will ye at least call every once in awhile? It’s good tah know that yuir still alive out there; it’s a pain in me ass tryin’ tah track ye down sometimes.”
“Yes, I’ll call, mother. You take it easy, and you,” she pointed to Rictor. “Don’t go getting yourself killed or anything.”
“Nope, just kidnapped,” he deadpanned.
“Right. Well you can keep yourself occupied by not letting that big idiot of yours wander off. But I’ll keep in touch with you.”
He nodded. “All right.”
“You need a place to crash? Or a ride any where?” Domino turned to Skids then, gathering her stuff and putting it on her back as she did so. Sally had been quiet up until that point, just watching as everyone interacted. Rictor wished he had more of a chance to catch up with her.
But the blonde woman only shrugged. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll probably just catch a cab to a hotel, or something. I’ll be fine.”
“Hotel?” Jamie perked an eyebrow, and tossed his feet up on the coffee table. “You can crash here if you want. I have a ton of room. And, you know, I’ve been collecting humans and aliens the past couple of weeks anyways, so why not?”
“Yeah! You can just stay here!” Rictor told her. “The business only takes up the bottom floor. All three floors upstairs have like five rooms each on ‘em! We got the space.”
She looked back and forth between all the faces watching her and shrugged awkwardly. “It’s not a big deal. We came here after all my paperwork finally went through at SHIELD and I was able to resign. I can just…stay at a hotel until I find a place to live.”
“Where you gonna go?” Rictor asked bluntly. “Seriously. Hey, maybe you can stay here permanently. Can she stay, Jamie?”
“She’s not a puppy, Ric, you can’t just jump up and down and expect me to tell you that you can keep her,” Madrox rolled his eyes.
“That’s not a ‘no’ though?” the Mexican pushed.
“Ric, I don’t know,” she admitted, and folded her arms. “SHIELD was bad enough; I don’t know if I can handle playing around on some superhero team. This just isn’t my scene anymore…”
Rictor stepped in front of her and held onto her shoulders. “But we ain’t a superhero team! Trust me, chica, if we were I wouldn’t be here either. I quit too after a girl died on my last team. What we do is just more casual and it’s a legit job. You’ll even get paid! Right, Jamie? Tell her!”
“We can use more people,” Madrox ran a hand over his hair and straightened in his chair. “The more employees we’ve got the bigger the caseloads we can take.”
Rictor nodded and looked down at Skids. “C’mon, Sal. What do ya say?”
“It could be good for you,” Domino pitched in. “You won’t be running around with a bunch of psychos like me and ‘Star anymore.”
“You guys aren’t psychos,” Sally chided. “Maybe a little insane, but not psychos.”
“And this place isn’t so bad! What are you gonna do instead? Go live with Morlocks in the sewer? I don’t think so!”
“Rictor,” Skids sighed.
“She definitely won’t be doing that,” Domino smirked.
Jamie just kicked his feet amusedly and watched the scene before him. “You work five days a week, mostly with a partner. Everyone takes turns cooking supper and cleaning up. You get your own room, a salary, and time to do whatever you want when you aren’t on the clock.”
She frowned thoughtfully and looked around one more time. “You sure I wouldn’t be intruding or anything like that?”
Rictor rolled his eyes impatiently. “Shut up, you’re not intruding. I wouldn’t even waste my time asking if you were.”
“Like ye have anythin’ better tah do with ‘yuir time’,” Terry teased.
“We also have Dance Dance Revolution night on Wednesdays,” Jamie bribed in a sing song voice.
“Nae, just ye two do,” Terry rolled her eyes.
“Don’t diss DDR, Terry,” Rictor scoffed.
Skids looked at Domino one last time before shrugging lightly. “I guess I can try it out. Couldn’t hurt. But if one person gets hurt because of me, I’m done!”
“Whatever, Skids,” Rictor scrunched up his face and tugged on her arm. “Don’t be a jerk! No one even got hurt because of you. And the only time anyone ever gets hurt around here anyways is when it’s Jamie’s fault, so that’s already covered. I can show you a room, come on.”
“Well someone’s ready for slumber parties and gossip time,” Domino scoffed and turned toward the door. “You guys have fun with that, and I’ll catch you later.”
“Thanks for your help,” Jamie called to her.
“No problem, Madrox; anytime,” she shrugged.
“Ye aren’t gonna wait and say good-bye to Shatty?” Terry questioned her.
“He’ll be fine; we already talked about everything we needed to talk about, and me and him aren’t really for the theatrics, you know. Just tell him I’ll talk to him later and that he can give me a shout once he has all his crap sorted out.”
Terry nodded, and the group watched as the merc sent them one last wave before heading out the door. Rictor had forgotten what it was like having her around, and he had to admit that he actually kind of missed it. Domino was not nosey or overemotional, and at least had a good sense of humour. She had always been a lot cooler than Cable was, too. And considering that she had kept an eye on both Shatty and Skids the past however many months only made Ric respect her more. As closed off as the woman tried to be, she had a good heart and was fiercely loyal and devoted to her friends. That was one thing Rictor not only liked about her, but it was a quality they shared.
“Well now that she’s gone, I guess I’ll be gettin’ tah bed now,” Terry yawned.
“Oh come on,” Rictor scoffed and looked at Jamie. “Please tell me we get the day off tomorrow.”
“I do,” he grinned smugly and stood from his chair to go upstairs as well. “Since Monet and Guido had to cover all of the days you decided not to show up the past couple of weeks, they’re also getting the day off tomorrow. You, on the other hand, not only have to catch up, but you get to train your friend on the databases and case files.”
Julio dropped his hands to his sides and clenched his jaw. “Joy.”
Terry laughed from the top of the stairs. “Ric’s trainin’ the new girl. Oh boy.”
“Shut up!” he yelled at her.
“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Jamie nodded at Skids as he left the room. “The business opens up at so be down here for eight.”
She nodded. “You got it.”
“G’night, guys,” Jamie called and disappeared into the upper levels of the building. Ric just sighed and shrugged his shoulders. Well, he guessed he would get the opportunity to catch up with his old friend after all. After Rahne had left, he had had been temporarily concerned that he would not have someone on the team that he was particularly close with. While Sally and Rahne were two totally different people that Ric felt two totally different ways for, Skids was definitely a welcomed addition to the team, in his opinion. Maybe things were looking up for X-Factor after all.
“So…” she trailed off and played with the strap of her duffel bag. “Wanna show me that room?”
He nodded and headed toward the stairs. “Sure. Third floor okay with you?”
Sally smiled back at him. “Sounds great.”
Go to part two.