Prompt: #79 – Lost
Summary: X-Factor AU. Rictor muses about his power loss.
Detroit was such an ugly fucking city.
Ric hated it. There was nothing at all pretty about it; the entire place was large concrete buildings, run down neighbourhoods, dirty parks, and piles of trash on the sidewalks. Sirens were always going off and people were fighting, and though it was the sort of thing he should have been used to from New York City, he still hated it. It was filth.
Monet said that Rictor was a crab who didn’t like anything at all anymore. Normally he’d just call her a bitch and be done with her, but she was kind of right. Rictor just didn’t look at the world the same these days; before M-Day there wasn’t much about the Earth or the outdoors that he hated. The sound of water, the feel of rain, the shift of dirt, the breeze of the wind—all of it was part of him. No matter how shitty the city was or how bad a mood he was in, those little things were like heaven. Especially when he thought about it now. How many times did he take those things for granted? How many times did he go about his ways without thinking about them at all back then? There was not a thing he would do to get that back. He’d do anything.
Including wandering the city and trying to find something, anything, that’d give him a taste of what it used to be like. It was masochistic, in a way, because it was a cruel reminder of what he couldn’t have. Experiencing the world the way a normal person did could never compare. Yet there he was, standing on the edge of the Detroit River, high on the giant piles of rocks that made up the shore and staring down into the water crashing below. Every splash against the concrete went unfelt. Every shift in the sand below was undetected. Every turn of current; every fish swimming; every shell creature in the dirt; and all the fog rolling off the water and to the ground beneath his feet just widened that blackened void within him.
Rictor felt dead.
It was the contact that he wanted. Was it too much to ask to feel alive again?
With that thought, he pulled his arms out of his coat and dropped it to the large rocks below. It was quickly followed by his shoes, socks, and shirts until he was just left standing in his old beat up jeans. The moisture from the water dabbed at his skin, tingling along with the gentle breeze whipping it upward. Goosebumps spread across his pinkening flesh, but otherwise nothing. No pulsation, no energy, no life.
He dropped his gaze down to his hands, summoning that old green energy that used to encase them. He would raise them into the air, pointedly directing them out toward the furthest lengths of waters he could see. It was then that the waves would grow, splitting apart in a rumbling quake that would divide the waters like Moses himself was commanding them. Rictor would feel like a god in that moment and nothing could defeat him.
When he got bored, he’d direct the energy at the rocks next. Both green hands would drop to his sides, clenching tight and wildly thrashing back up over his head to bring the concrete with him. Pure, solid rock would shatter to millions of little pieces in a violent frenzy just because of that single gesture.
No one could even stand on the same ground he walked on when the Earth raged that way; the planet shifted and moved around him like she was protecting her own child - him - and not a single other being could withstand her forces. It was beautiful.
…it was beautiful.
But it was gone. Now he stood on the shores, clenching his fists and thrashing his arms over his head and she wouldn’t move. She did not respond to him. She did not protect him. There only stood an empty shell of his former self, and she didn’t do a thing to make it right; she wouldn’t make him whole again. She contained all of life itself, for fuck’s sakes! The disasters and creations the Earth could maintain naturally were unmatched by any other force, yet she could not make Rictor natural again.
He let his hands fall to his sides, and continued to stare down into the water. It had started to rain and the current had become stronger, raging around the shores violently and splashing at his feet. None of the water below or falling from above made much of a difference.
Although, the thought of simply falling forward and into that river sounded so appealing. Rictor only had to take one step and he could crash down and be swallowed by the Earth herself. Could he let her take him away? Would she take him?
Knowing his luck, she’d probably spit him back up again with a head cold and a bacterial infection.
He raised his arms anyways, holding them out straight at his sides before stepping to the edge of the rock. The waves came up and splashed his chest that time, and the feel of it was both shocking and comforting. He could feel that way forever if he just took one more step…
“What are you doing?”
Rictor jumped at the sound of the voice, skittering back and dropping his arms before turning to glare at his visitor. “Taking a break! What the hell does it look like?”
Shatterstar nodded, staring past him and out at the river with a cold, hard expression on his face. “It looks like you’re standing in the rain. I remember you used to do that a lot.”
“Not anymore,” Ric muttered with a frown, pushing his wet hair from his eyes. There was no sense in even trying to hide this crap, not from the one person who would know he was bullshitting anyways. “I hate the rain.”
“I do not think I ever cared for it either way,” Shatterstar replied a few moments later, stepping forward with that big white coat of his flapping in the wind behind him. He was soaked now too, and that now short red hair was plastered to his forehead. “I never cared for it, but I know you did. It’s strange to see you any different.”
Frustrated, Ric turned away from him. “Yeah, well, I am different! I ain’t even the same guy you used to know. It’s like all them old war vets we used to see on History TV, man. The ones who got their legs blown off; they say they don’t even feel like whole people anymore.”
“You do not think you’re a whole person anymore?”
“Would you?!” he snapped, though he was actually curious about the answer. “If someone suddenly decided one day that they didn’t want you to fight ever again, how would you feel? If you couldn’t lift anything a normal guy could, or you couldn’t get back up and walk around after being shot in the chest, or if you didn’t have arms to hold your blades; what would you think!?”
‘Star blinked. “I would rather die.”
Ric stopped and stared at him then, eyes narrowed and breathing shallow. “—What?”
“I have not ever served any other purpose in this life. I am unsure how I would live without my arms.”
After so many months of people telling him to suck it up and move on, it was scarily comforting to hear someone else say they would want to die. Maybe that was more normal then, to be depressed. Maybe Rictor wasn’t such a mental case after all.
Dropping his gaze to the ground, he let out a shaky sigh. “I don’t know either, amigo. I don’t know anymore—not anything.”
“I do not know either, Julio. I do not know how to fix this, and I cannot give you your powers back.”
That stung, and Rictor didn’t know why. “Do you have any idea what it’s like to have practically ruled the world, and then have nothing at all? I could’ve cracked this planet in half if I wanted to, y’know.”
“I know that.”
“I had the power to end life itself, if I really wanted.”
“I know that too.”
“I could feel ants burrowing. That’s how strong I was! And if I could rip that rock out of the ground and fly both our asses to Germany, just think of what I could do now if I still had them!”
“You have nothing to prove to me, you know.”
Rictor stopped speaking, daring himself to look up at Shatterstar. The sound of rain slapping the ground and the waves crashing behind them wasn’t nearly as deafening as their silence that lingered right then. The look of brutal honesty and sincerity on ‘Star’s face made his blood run cold. It was just like the old times—before everything had fallen apart between them and things had been good. It was really good to know that even after M-Day flipped his life upside down, some things never changed.
If Shatterstar stuck around again, maybe there would be a reason to at least keep living; a taste of what used to be.
“I know that. Maybe I just had to tell myself, or something.”
Nodding, Shatterstar stepped forward so that there was less than a foot of space between them. It made Ric’s breath hitch in his throat, but he didn’t push him away; he was too tired of that shit anymore. ‘Star, of course, didn’t even look fazed, and brought a hand up to Ric’s chin. “I will tell you everyday if you need to hear it.”
He scoffed and closed his eyes. “That wouldn’t fix a thing.”
“No, it wouldn’t.” He paused, prompting Ric to open his eyes and blink away the rain that had gathered on his lashes. ‘Star was looking at him in that way he always did when he was trying to investigate the world’s problems and find ways to make things work again. So curious. So determined.
Swallowing, Rictor nodded and placed his hands on ‘Star’s hips to pull him closer. “Maybe…you can—you can still say it if you want though. If you wanna, y’know, stick around.”
He nodded right back and wet his lips. “I would like that.”
Like that. It did not fix a god damn thing, but standing there so close to him again was enough to at least not feel so cold. Warmth so welcomed, and Rictor embraced it, pressing his mouth against Shatterstar’s. It felt good, familiar, secure. They weren’t necessarily stable, but Rictor didn’t mind being on shaky ground. That was the way things always went for him, after all.
Just like when he used to rule the world.