Title: Dark Tonight
Characters: Rictor and Shatterstar
Genre: Angst, Fluff, Friendship
Disclaimer: *DOES NOT OWN* DDD:
Summary: Rictor and Shatty talk about some of the secrets of their past.
This is just a bit of a character study type thing. There’s not much of a plot at all, just the boys bonding because I like it when they do that. If you don’t wanna read that’s fine because I just like writing stuff like this to get a better grasp on the characters.
A/N: I’m just gonna say this takes place in Murderworld. Just ‘cause I like that base and they weren’t in it long enough -- which also means that this takes place just shortly before Rictor took off to
Shatterstar stared up at his ceiling blankly. He could not sleep no matter how much he tried, and it was beginning to grate on his nerves. He was tired; he had spent almost his entire day training and moving his stuff in, and he knew that his body needed an appropriate amount of rest if he wanted to perform optimally the next day.
But he just could not sleep.
And it was because Julio was on the other side of the room. Shatterstar had never shared a room before -- even his days in the pens were spent alone at night -- and he wasn’t sure if he could sleep with someone else in the room. Julio was his closest friend, so it wasn’t anything against him, but Shatterstar knew he was most vulnerable in his sleep and knowing someone had access to him made him paranoid -- even if it was his very best friend. The warrior knew it was something that he would have to get used to, and he figured he would soon, but it still freaked him out.
But Julio had fallen asleep easily, and that made Shatterstar think. His friend obviously trusted him and felt comfortable enough to fall asleep in a shared room, so perhaps he should do the same. As far as he knew Julio came from a massive family so he was probably very used to falling asleep around people wherever and whenever, but it was a brand new learning experience for Shatterstar.
He turned over on his side and pillowed his hands under his face, staring at the bed across the room. Rictor was facing away from him and toward the wall next to his bed, sleeping on his stomach. He’d turned a lot throughout the night, and as a result his blankets were twisted wildly around his waist and legs. Both arms were sprawled out wide on either side of him, and his back rose and fell gently as he breathed. He made it look so easy, 'Star mused.
That thought made him feel just a little bad and silly for still being awake. Most certainly Julio did not think that Shatterstar would be out to get him in his sleep. The warrior frowned and pulled his blankets around him tighter; yes, he would just have to adjust -- hopefully things would be just fine in a few days. He did not think Cable would be at all impressed if he knew 'Star was not sleeping for such a silly reason, and the last thing Shatty wanted to do was upset his leader. That would be most dishonorable.
Or maybe it was just because it was Julio.
'Star’s frown deepened further at that thought; it wasn’t a very nice thing to think, but he knew it was a possibility. He had once dozed off while sitting on the couch with Sam Guthrie, and he hadn’t had much of an issue. When Julio was around though Shatterstar was always very alert and cautious; naturally he had the gift of heightened senses and awareness -- yet it was so much more intense than it normally was while in Rictor’s presence. Shatterstar was able to notice everything -- Julio’s smell, his sound, every single little expression and change in body language was so detectable. It did strange things to Shatterstar’s body, and the warrior was unsure what to think about it.
And laying there in that room with him was no different. Every time 'Star even closed his eyes all he could think about was the fact that Julio was there, and it drove him crazy. The sound of his breathing dominated the silence of the room, and the smell of him -- this smell of perspiration as he turned in his sleep -- it was just devouring the rest of the space.
What did it all mean?
Shatterstar blinked and watched as Julio flopped over on his mattress again, this time kicking at the constriction of his sheets and whimpering quietly. He seemed pained. The Mexican laid flat on his back and clutched the fitting sheet below him. He whimpered again, and 'Star noticed that he was absolutely soaked in sweat. A glistening shine was visible across Rictor’s face, chest, and torso. His hair stuck to his face in clumps. And Shatterstar couldn’t look away.
He had never really felt such stirrings inside of him before. Shatty had a pretty good idea of what they were, but wasn’t entirely sure why he was having them. On Mojoworld the Spineless Ones created the genetic biped livestock with the purpose to perform. Some performers were there for battle reasons, like him, and others were there for entertainment purposes in day time movies and television -- like Longshot’s generation was. The female race had been created for a more provocative type of entertainment, and others were meant specifically to help advance the stars. His generation of livestock had been more hardwired to perform; the Spineless Ones did not want another ‘mistake’ or renegade like Longshot. His generation was to not be a repeat.
And that was why they were more rough around the edges and angry -- bloodthirsty and supposedly emotionless. And for the most part they were; Shatterstar and his peers had been born, force fed knowledge, and fought to the death. They were kept in separate areas so not to make friends, and they were often disciplined and tortured to keep their battle functions intense and focused. They were not to develop feelings of happiness, nor were they to develop attraction or attachment to any of their peers. That was the reason why wives and husbands of his generation were never allowed to meet.
Longshot and Dazzler had been the sole blame for that.
Which was why all of these new emotions were worrying him; he knew what they were, but felt as though he was not supposed to be feeling them -- that it was wrong. But Shatterstar was also smart enough to know that this was Earth that he was on, and not Mojoworld. People were allowed to be friends and comrades, and people were allowed to like and love and be attracted. What he felt was not wrong for the people around him, but had he been back at home -- he would be in a lot of trouble.
Julio let out another pained moan, coincidentally voicing the confliction Shatterstar was feeling. He was turning even more by that point, and all Shatterstar could do was stare dumbly when he had finally noticed Rictor’s hand glowing a faint green color.
And then the objects on top of the dresser were vibrating -- skipping across the wood and toppling off of the edge and to the floor. The drawers began to slide out after, rumbling through the tracks. Rictor yelped again, and the power surge intensified to the point where Shatty felt a rather violent jolt in his bed; the large piece of furniture slammed into the wall and began to vibrate across the floor. The warrior looked for something to hold onto to steady himself, but came back blank when he realized practically everything in the room was shaking.
And then Rictor was sitting up in his bed like one of those frightened children in a horror movie. His hair stuck up every which way, his blankets were clutched to his chest, and he let out this scream that had actually caught Shatterstar off guard.
And then the rumbling had stopped.
The warrior’s eyes widened and he looked back at the wall where his bed used to be positioned; he was nearly four feet away. He sat up and looked all around the room; everything they had spent the day unpacking lay in piles around the floor, the dressers had nearly fallen apart -- the only thing that had not moved was Julio’s bed.
“Oh fuck,” Rictor squeaked so quietly that Shatty probably wouldn’t have heard him if it wasn’t for his advanced hearing.
“Julio, are you…”
“I’m fine!” he snapped angrily. “It was nothing.”
Shatterstar blinked and looked at the damaged room. “It does not look like 'nothing.'”
“Shut up,” Rictor spat and began wrestling to get his sheets off of his body. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he finally freed himself and threw the offensive thing across the room with a frustrated sigh. Shatterstar just watched him with a deranged silence, not daring to even make a peep. Julio seemed angry, embarrassed maybe, and looked to be having one of his fits. The warrior had no idea what the meaning of it was, but he watched on anyways.
The Mexican grabbed a shirt off the floor and quickly rubbed it across his face before discarding it back to the ground. Silently, he dropped to his knees and began to pick up the things that had fallen off the dresser. 'Star furrowed his eyebrows. “What are you doing?”
“I’m cleaning,” Rictor huffed.
“Why?” 'Star asked, slowly getting off of his bed and pushing it back to where it was supposed to be. “It is the middle of the night.”
Through the dark, Shatterstar could see the annoyed look on the Mexican’s face. “So? I gotta share this space so I can’t just go around and fuck it up now, can I?”
“You can,” Shatterstar shrugged. “You did not mean to.”
“Shut up!” he snapped. “It was nothing.”
“I did not say it wasn’t, you did…” Shatterstar was confused.
“Look, sorry I woke you up…just go back to sleep and leave me alone.”
'Star narrowed his eyes. “I was not sleeping.”
Rictor threw a pile of junk onto the dresser. “Well why not? It’s the middle of the night, I thought you said?!”
“Yes, but I could not sleep,” Star admitted slowly. He tossed his pillow back on his bed before making his way across the room and sitting down across from his friend. “I will help you.”
Rictor just let out a sigh and continued to clean. “This never happens.”
“Okay,” 'Star replied.
“It doesn’t!” Rictor insisted. “I can control it.”
“Fine!” 'Star growled. “I never said otherwise, Julio, okay? Stop yelling at me and acting that way.”
Shatterstar felt Rictor’s glare. “I’m not acting like anything, okay? Everything’s fine.”
“You had a nightmare,” 'Star pointed out as gently as possible. “Maybe that was why you had a sudden power surge. I saw it happen to Sunspot once; it was strange. Except I don’t know if he was having a scary dream, instead maybe something more provocative because he seemed very flustered and flush when he woke up and excused himself rather quickly.”
Rictor blinked. “Well I didn’t have one of those.”
“A nightmare or a wet dream?”
Brown eyes widened comically. “Dios! The second one!”
“Ah,” Shatterstar nodded and dumped his things back into his dresser. “So you had a nightmare.”
“Yes…I mean, no,” Rictor muttered lamely. He folded his legs and sat on the floor very still. “It was nothing, okay? Just forget about it.”
Shatterstar swallowed the sudden -- and strange -- nervous feeling that crept up on him. “What if I don’t want to forget about it? It is obviously bothering you and that very fact bothers me, Julio.”
Rictor stared at him, brown eyes glistening in the dark. “Why do you even care? You don’t care about anything ever but stabbing people anyways! Why don’t you just go to bed and have pleasant dreams about mangled body parts and gore.”
Shatterstar glared angrily. “That is not true. Although battle is an important aspect of my heritage, Julio, it is not all I care about. I care about you as my friend.”
Rictor unfolded his legs and pulled them up to his chest. “I know…I…”
“You are angry,” 'Star finished for him. “About what, I don’t know, but…”
“I don’t like to talk about it,” he whispered harshly.
“That’s your prerogative then, I suppose,” he rubbed his chin, and dropped down to the floor, sitting a few inches away from Julio. “I will assume that it is something extremely bad and bothersome if it worries you into silence. I understand that, I have gone through similar things.”
Rictor lifted his head from his knees and gave him a cautious look. “You talk about everything.”
“No, I just don’t hide anything,” Shatterstar corrected him. “I do not feel the need to.”
“Bullshit!” Rictor spat. “It took you forever just to tell me you had a wife! And no parents, and…”
“And I told you that if you wanted to know these things you just had to ask,” 'Star interrupted him. “I will not prattle on about things that you may or not be interested in, but if you want anything from me I will give it to you, Julio, I can assure you of that.”
Rictor finally let his shoulders slump, and he dipped his head almost shamefully. “Sorry. I shouldn’t have flipped on ya like that, hombre.”
“It’s okay, Julio.”
“No, it ain’t. You’re my best amigo, 'Star.”
Shatty nodded, suddenly feeling a lot better. “If you say so.”
“I do,” Rictor mumbled into his knees. “This mierda in my head ain’t right…it’s just, it makes me a little loco sometimes, and I’m sorry. I shoulda gave ya a heads up.”
“I thought you said it never happens.”
He shrugged. “I lied.”
Shatterstar rolled his eyes. “There’s no honor in that, Julio.”
Rictor snorted. “I know, settle down. I told you the truth in the end though, didn’t I?”
“I guess,” he retorted. “I could assume you are lying again if I wanted to though.”
He frowned. “Well don’t! I wouldn’t just lie to you without…argh, never mind, 'Star. I’m not lying, okay? I just suck at talking about my problems because I have a hard time trusting people. You probably just think I’m all fucking weak and stupid with this shit -- you and your honor and whatnot.”
Shatterstar inched closer to him. “I would never think you are stupid, Julio. And…you can trust me. I would never laugh at you.”
Rictor gave him an annoyed look. “Well that I know, you never laugh anyways.”
Shatterstar gave him one right back. “You are very rude and annoying when you want to be.”
“I know,” Rictor mumbled again. “Look, I do trust you. I trust you more than anybody else on this whole retarded planet. You’re just pretty hard to talk to, you know. I have all these problems and I’m all messed up…and you’re pretty much perfect. You don’t have any.”
“That is not true.”
“Whatever,” Rictor snorted. “You know how to do everything perfect, you can do anything you want, all the chicks want you, you look…you know…” he flushed slightly and shrugged. “You’ve got whatever you want.”
Shatterstar just stared at the boy next to him and frowned. “No…I do not.”
And he didn’t. If he did, he would not be sitting on the floor and fighting with Julio. He did not feel better than anybody; Shatterstar didn’t even feel like he could ever fit in with anybody, let alone be better than them. Sure, he knew his natural outer world abilities gave him a slight advantage over humans, but he did not believe he was greater -- and he didn’t at all ever think he was better than Julio. In his eyes, Julio was more important -- and he was his one true weakness.
And a perfect warrior would have no such thing.
“You must think I’m such a freaking wiener sometimes,” Ric chuckled bitterly.
“You do not look or smell like a hotdog, and I doubt you taste like one either,” he replied.
“Nah, probably not,” the Mexican replied. “You know what I mean though.”
“I am under the impression something very bad happened to you, and for that I cannot judge you and call you a ‘wiener’,” he admitted. “Because if that were the case then I would be a wiener as well and we would be best wiener friends.”
Rictor laughed at that. “Dios, you’re not a wiener.”
“Ah,” Shatty nodded. “Well then I guess you’re not either.”
“Thanks, I guess,” he rolled his eyes and leaned back against the dresser. “I figure it’ll get better some day when I’m older or something.”
“When I was very young,” Shatty began and leaned back on the dresser next to him. “I was locked in my cell for most of the day. I was expected to eat and to train in there and I was only allowed out to bathe. But most of the time when they let me out I was beaten and brutalized. They did not want me growing attachment to people.”
“What?” Rictor whispered. “That’s…”
“I was not sad,” 'Star explained. “I was not sad because I did not know any different. At the time that was what I considered ‘normal’. Like when blind people say they do not miss their sight because they never had it in the first place.” He raised an arm up and shook his hair free of its tie, and began to scratch a hand through it. “But they beat me a lot so that when the time came for my first match I would not hesitate. I killed my first opponent when I was nine.”
“You’re serious?” the Mexican questioned, dark brown eyes following the fingers in Shatty’s hair. “That’s horrible, amigo.”
'Star's gaze dropped to the floor and he shrugged. “I almost died, you know. When I was a young boy I barely scraped by in some of my matches and a few times they did not think I would be a worthy enough fighter to survive.”
“You mean there were actually people better than you?” he asked in disbelief. “That’s almost scary to think.”
“I got better though,” the warrior covered. “The more I got beat up and came closer to death the harder I began to train and fight. A few times I almost felt low enough that I thought about just ending my life and not going on, but I knew they would only succeed in defeating me that way.”
“Shit, I didn’t know about that.”
“It was a weak point in my life,” he shrugged and twisted a few longs strands of copper hair in his fingers. “But I decided that if I fought harder then someday I may be capable of beating them. It took many years, but I did it.”
Rictor hesitantly lifted a hand and began twisting some of that hair too. “How long?”
“I escaped when I was sixteen,” he smiled bitterly at the memory. “I hid amongst the shadows of the land for nearly two years before I was rescued by the Cadre Alliance. They were the ones who trained and prepared me to come to Earth.”
“Did you want to come?”
Shatterstar moved his gaze to those curious brown eyes. “I did, but the Earth that was known in my time -- one hundred years from now -- was one of poverty and warfare. I trained to be able to fight human soldiers; I was not expecting a highly peaceful civilization.”
“You consider this highly peaceful?” Ric asked incredulously. “Even after all the fights we fought?”
“It is peaceful compared to Mojoworld,” he answered truthfully. “But I was not prepared for such a lifestyle. It is very hard for me to adapt to a life which such refined discipline and such little abuse is used. There are times when I feel Cable should be physically berating us, but I have to remember that is not acceptable behavior.”
“You feel like you should get hit?” Rictor’s eyes widened. “I would hate him if he did that to you.”
“I don’t feel like I should, I just sometimes expect it even though I know it will not come.”
“Oh, I get that,” Julio admitted and played with the tips of the copper hair. Shatterstar had to smile a little at how mesmerized he seemed by it. Brown eyes looked back at him. “Sometimes when that old fart gets pissed at me I expect him to knock my lights out too.”
“Why is that? Were you brutalized as a child as well?” Shatty inquired, knowing that such a fate would be taken much harsher by the Mexican than it was by him.
He shrugged uncomfortably. “Mi padre was kinda mean like that, yeah. But he was a mob boss, ya know? Like Al Capone and shit we see on TV.”
“Scarface?” Shatty questioned.
“Yeah just…less drugs and more guns, amigo,” Ric shifted, and leaned against his friend tiredly. “And he was strict. He always wanted people listenin’ to him and followin’ his orders. Sometimes me and my cousins would get him real pissed off because we learned so much bad shit from him and his men.”
“Then that is hardly your fault,” Shatterstar insisted.
“I know, but that’s just the way parents are. They’ll swear and shit in front of ya, and then smack you in the face if you repeat it,” he whispered. “But mi padre was more serious because he was a rich guy and he wanted all kinds of money. Any mistakes that were made cost him lots.”
“I have noticed many humans fight over possessions,” Shatty admitted. “It confuses me because you can survive well without them.”
“I know,” Ric shrugged. “But people like to have fun and own nice things to show off. That’s how my family was. I never really liked that they were like that, and because of that mi padre was always a lot harder on me. Mi big brothers always did what they were told so they were rewarded, but I was punished a lot.”
“And that ended when he died?” Shatty asked, feeling slightly cautious about inquiring; he didn’t want Julio to close up like a clam on him. They were talking finally, and Shatterstar felt proud and privileged that he was considered worthy enough to hear such words from Julio’s mouth.
“I ran away not too long after he died,” Ric admitted, and 'Star felt the shiver run through his friend at that declaration. “And then the Right found me and that was the end of family time, amigo.”
“And they hurt you?”
“Hell yeah they did,” Rictor whispered, voice almost cracking. “They made me kill a lot of people too. It’s cause of them I can’t sleep. And why I can’t see doctors and why I can’t eat certain things…why I don’t like to talk to people.”
“But you talk to me?” 'Star questioned, looking down at him.
Ric nodded against his shoulder. “I told you. I trust you.”
“You also said I was difficult to talk to,” Shatterstar finally leaned his head down, and rested it on top of Rictor’s. “I would have thought you wouldn’t open up after such a confession.”
“I said you were difficult to talk to because you’re pretty much perfect,” he refuted. “But then you told me what happened to you…and it’s almost like what happened to me.”
“I won’t let anyone hurt you like that again.”
He felt Rictor smile against his arm, and he yawned tiredly. “I would say the same to you, but like you’d ever need me to protect you. I got your back though, amigo.”
They sat in companionable silence for many minutes. Shatterstar thought about everything that Julio had said, and decided that they really weren’t so different after all. And the fact that he would appreciate him as a friend that much more because of it lifted Star’s spirits. No longer would he have to lie wide awake at night pondering why Julio would so easily be able to sleep while he could not. Julio did not sleep easy, but he felt comfortable enough with Shatterstar to do so.
“Julio?” he questioned again, voice low and soft.
But he got no response. The Mexican was asleep against his shoulder and beneath his cheek; breath evened out and light. Shatterstar just leaned back further against the dresser to get as comfortable as possible, and grabbed one of their blankets off of the floor to cover them. A small smile spread across his face as he closed his eyes.
“I would prefer no one else watching my back, mi amigo.”