Title: Scarred for Life 3/4 -- Realization
Characters: Shatterstar. Boomer, Sunspot
Genre: Angst, drama, and a little bit of humor
Disclaimer: I do not own a damn thing
Summary: Shatty hasn’t been acting like himself, and his friends definitely notice. Tabitha is sick of the sulking and decides to get to the bottom of the problem once and for all -- and Shatty comes to a realization.
First two parts of this are: Lost and Crossroads
A/N: Takes place sometime after Cable and Deadpool #18. The functioning X-Force team at the time was Terry, Sam, Jimmy, Star, Tab, and Bobby. For this story Terry is with X-Factor and Sam with the X-Men (so the continuity isn’t fucked to shit). I am also ignoring the fact that Rictor was acknowledged as a member of this team.
“You up for a drink?”
I look up from the swords in my hands and at Roberto. He is standing in the doorway of our newest temporary base and smiling at me. I do not return it. “No.”
“Why not? All you been doing for the last three hours is cleaning your swords.”
“I do not want to drink with you, Sunspot,” I snap back in reply. “I just want to be prepared and then I want to train. Is there a problem with this?”
He holds up his black hands and shakes his head. “Uh…no, Shatty. It’s um…” he coughs. “It’s fine.”
“Good,” I roll my eyes and get back to my task. We have been on missions very sporadically lately and all I want is to be prepared. Being on a team again, I feel, is better for my mental health. There is no silence here and the people keep me busy and disciplined. It is nice to see some of them again; they are my comrades, and in most of the sense, my friends. We worked well as a team in our younger days, and we continue to do so now. However, I do not wish to lead their social life. They like to go out and do what they call ‘hooking up’. They come home intoxicated and with different people to mate with for the night.
I have no interests in bonding with strangers.
“Can I ask you something?” Roberto is still standing there watching me.
“It is not against the law,” I tell him.
“Like that would matter anyways,” he laughs. “But yeah, uhm, I just wanted to know if uhm, you know, something was bothering you. I know I’m not as good at the whole leader thing as Sammy is, but I still care and would like to know what’s going on.”
He is not as nearly a good of a leader as Guthrie is. “Nothing you need to concern yourself with, Sunspot.”
“You can call me Bobby, Star,” he scoffs just a little. “We’re not in battle right now.”
I shrug. “Okay, Bobby, I do not want to talk about it.”
“Fine,” he throws his hands in the air and begins to stalk away. “Don’t say I didn’t fucking try, man!” I hear him call from down the hall. “You wanna clam up, that’s your problem!”
I just blink; knowing I was very rude and dishonest to my leader upsets me. Such dishonor is not something that is in my warrior nature, yet I continue to do it. Since my time spent at the Sacrarium I have given up on trying to fit in. They called me a failure of a man, saying I yearn for nothing but bloodthirst. And yet, I long for nothing more than to rid myself of it. Their matters of teaching and logic in that place are very contradictory to me, and I have great difficulty understanding them.
I have great difficulty understanding much of this life.
But something I can say I understand is that I either will be accepted or I will not be. The ninja monks at the Sacrarium gave up on me and pushed me away, but Cable and Domino were quick to remind me that I had a place amongst their ranks. Nathan Summers is someone who fights for a cause -- a good one -- and it reminded me that there is still good left to fight for. The many months I spent alone in Madripoor trying to figure out my life were lonely and depressing, and ironically it is the presence of people that helps me get over those issues.
For someone who was bioengineered to take life and not cherish it…the inclusion of people to make me happy was unexpected. So long I have lived on this Earth amongst a group, a team, and it took leaving them for me to fully realize how much they mean to me.
All of them.
“SHATTERSTAR!” a high pitched, angry scream fills my ears, and I wince. I turn in my seat and see Tabitha Smith stomping her way into the room with her hands on her hips.
She looks angry.
“What the hell is your problem?” she yells. “You’ve been acting like a big baby since we got here, and I’m sick of it! You’re going to tell me once and for all!”
I sigh and drop my swords between my feet. “Why? I don’t want to!”
“You will because I freaking said so!” she snaps and grabs me by the ear, bravely pulling me to my feet and thrusting me in front of her. She is either very stupid or very gutsy, I have not decided yet. “Talk! Now!”
I glare at her. “You do not have authority to pull my ear!”
“I can and I will, muscles, now spill!”
“What makes you think I won’t just kill you right now?” I hiss at her.
She folds her arms in a bored fashion. “Because I know you and you won’t do that to me. I know who you are deep down inside; you’re the same person who helped me out and stood by me when I was having problems. We’ve hung out together, talked together…you’re my friend,” her glare diminishes and is replaced with a frown. “You’ve saved my life and I’ve saved yours. I think that would constitute as a good enough reason.”
She did save my life, I cannot deny that -- and perhaps I do owe her for that.
“My life has not been good since Benjamin Russell,” I tell her. “I have been very unhappy since then.”
“Bullshit,” she scoffs. “You were great after that, 'Star! Ric came back and that was the happiest I ever saw you! You were fine up until you left the team, so either something happened in
Why did she have to bring him up?
“I…” the word leaves my mouth and I cannot find it to finish my sentence. Za’s Vid, I am almost sure she knows. Immediately all concerns about being a warrior leave me when I hear his name, and I am left with nothing to say. What can I say?
“He did nothing,” I manage to say. “He is not at fault here.”
And she nods her head, something flashing in her eyes that I cannot identify. “Where is he?”
And my heart aches. “He is here in the
“Depowered?” she whispers.
“Yes,” I tell her, swallowing. “M-Day got to him. He has not taken it well and he wishes not to be bothered about it.”
“Oh my God,” she whispers and rubs a hand across her lips. “Why aren’t you…why isn’t he…” she shakes her head and frowns. “It was him, wasn’t it?”
“What?” I snap.
“That did this! That made you like…this.”
I have to look away; he is my one greatest weakness even after all of this time and I cannot maintain the courage to look her in the face when she speaks his name. Hearing it does things to me I do not know if I want to think about; I have yet to fully realize what it is I want from him.
“It is more than that, Tabitha,” I let my gaze fall to the floor, and suddenly I feel ashamed. Why have I let it get this bad? “He did not hurt me, only I hurt him. I could not give him what he wants and I do not feel I can do so even this day.”
“What he wants?” she questions, not quite understanding. “All he ever wanted was…oh. Oh,” and realization plagues her tongue. I take a shaky breath and finally look at her.
“I have shamed him and myself,” I tell her with a shake of the head.
“No, Shatty,” she whispers and places a hand on my forearm. “He would never think that way about you. You know, at one time I was who he considered his best friend and me and him, shit, we were nothing compared to what you guys have. Even I can see that from an outside point of view.”
And maybe an outside point of view is all I need.
“I do not know what it is that we have,” I confess. “My feelings are very strong and loyal to him, but they are emotions that I was not born to feel. I was never supposed to be this way, Tabitha, and now I think that I may be faulty. I am a warrior…”
“No,” she shakes her head. “What you feel is not wrong; there is nothing wrong with it. You may claim to be this or that, 'Star but I saw you die. I saw you die and be brought back to life in the body of a human. I’ve seen you laugh and cry and I’ve seen you angry and happy too.”
I swallow. “But…”
“Those are all human emotions. So what makes you think that hate and all those other things I just said are acceptable yet love isn’t? What makes you think that?”
I cringe at the sound of the word and bow my head. “Love is…”
“A positive thing, 'Star? So is happiness, and laughter, and smiling, enjoyment, trust, devotion, loyalty. You are capable of all of those things,” she explains, suddenly sounding wiser than she ever has before. “Shit, I mean if Wolverine can love someone what makes you think you can’t?”
“I am…” I clear my throat, not wanting to say the word. But we have gotten this far and I fear there isn’t much left to hide. “I am frightened of it.”
“I am too,” she admits. “Everyone is! You take a lot of risks for love, you know? You can be hurt and you give that person all that you have. It’s true devotion and its loyalty. You see that person at their best and worst, and they see you the same way.”
“I think he has already seen me at my worst,” I admit.
“Then what do you have to hide now?” she asks.
I pull up a chair and finally sit down across from her. This is a lot to take in. Julio has said a lot of the same things to me, and it was so easy to ignore because he was the very source of my problems. But hearing such words from the mouth of another is sealing the fate, and I know she speaks the truth because it is from her heart and her experience. As a human.
“I do not know if I am supposed to work to be the man I have become on Earth, or if I am supposed to be a spiteful warrior, Tabitha. I am confused and I do not know. I was told I was not made to feel these things, and…”
I sit back, mouth slack and stunned. “W-what?”
“Longshot did,” she repeats, staring me in the eye. “Longshot fell in love and married and has a devotion to Dazzler that is so obvious anyone can see it. He still even fights with the Cadre, his lover right at his side.”
“No,” Tabitha cuts me off. “No ‘buts’, 'Star. If Longshot can -- and even Spiral can -- why can’t you? Don’t use this nonsense that you are not allowed because you aren’t a slave anymore! It’s that slave in you that’s talking, and you’re way beyond that now! You came here when you were…what? Nineteen?”
“Yes,” I nod, and the word is barely above a whisper.
“That was years ago,” she shakes her head. “You’re like twenty-four now. And the last five years you’ve been free and on Earth…and human. No one is here to tell you that you’re not allowed and no one is going to stop you. Mojo is dead and your world is free. You ended the war. You’re free.”
My head falls into my hands and I sigh shakily. “I am…free.”
“You’re free,” she repeats.
“Za’s Vid,” I whisper. “I-I think that I love him.”
She places a tiny hand on my back. “I think that you need to stop and think about this before you do anything, all right? You don’t need to do anything right now just…let it all sink in, okay?”
“I -- yes. I can do that,” I lift my head and look at her as she stands. And in this moment I have never felt more human. This woman is my friend. I have accepted her as a true ally and someone I can trust, and her words of wisdom should be honored.
For I am very loyal to honor.
“Now then, Bobby and I are going out now. We are probably gonna be plastered, and since you don’t wanna come -- and I don’t really want a sulky drunk friend to deal with anyways -- you’re gonna sit here and figure your shit out. And then tomorrow,” she stops and grins, and that everyday Tabitha mischief returns. “Tomorrow we are going to go shopping and talk some more!”
“I hate shopping!”
“I don’t, and Roberto and Jimmy are no fun at all, so you have no choice,” she grins and sticks out her tongue. “I’ll talk to you later, okay?”
“Yes,” I nod and watch her leave, and I am left with my thoughts. Suddenly they are much clearer and I inwardly scold myself for being so silly. This has been a lesson learned, but now I do not know how to approach my problems. This will all take time, and team priorities must come first.
Personal and professional.
Man and warrior.
And I know now I can be both. The warrior is, in fact, a man underneath of it all, and even the greatest warriors of Earth history have had good endings. Through trials and tribulations life lessons are learned, and only then great knowledge is gained and experienced.
And knowledge is key to power and success as both a man and a warrior.
Next Part: Acceptance