Category: X-Factor (Volume 3)
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: Longshot and Dazzler fluffers, Rictor gets his ear pulled, Shatty is naked, Terry is naked, and someone gets owned. Twice in one chapter. 8D
Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
X-Factor investigations was a strange place.
Alison Blaire found it odd that she could even call it such a thing considering she was an Earthling – from here – a human who had no business being on Mojoworld in the first place like she had been. Of course, she had questioned it at the time; all of the other prisoners of the dungeons had known she was a human, and some had even treated her as such. A third class citizen even worse than a lowly slave. But others had treated her as Cadre royalty. She knew better than to question such generous behavior on a war ridden planet, but it was quite odd that she was considered positioned on both ends of the spectrum. Wherever Alison went she seemed to cause a stir up. Negative and positive attention, but no matter what she always turned heads and the feel of it was strangely satisfying.
X-Factor was not an exception. Of course, it was a different kind of attention and she understood it a little better since she had more of her facts straight. There were still blank spots and holes, but now was better than then. Earth was better than Mojoworld.
Better as it was, it was still strange and it was still scary. With the exception of Shatterstar, she knew no one there. Strangers prodded at her, asked her questions, demanded to know how she felt, and mothered her as though she were a mere child; she was a grown woman and she could care for herself. The help was welcome, but it was overbearing at the same time. She felt stressed, aggravated, annoyed, and upset over all that had happened, despite being happy and relieved to be free. Such conlicting emotions consumed her, and it was becoming a bit much. How had she been able to deal with such emotions in the past made her curious; was she still the same person now as she was then?
Sighing, Alison approached her bedroom window and looked out across the lit streets; New York City was so wonderfully intimidating. There were people all over and noises and music and lights – had she been there before? Or was this her first time? Something about the hustle and bustle of it evoked something inside of her. Excitement, maybe, but she was not sure.
So much to relearn and yet she felt as though she had not the time.
For now, all she had was what little belongings the woman named Siryn had loaned her, and a small bedroom with a wooden floor and a white duvet thrown over a double sized mattress. Much preferred over what she had in Mojoworld, obviously. However, she longed for her own things. Did she have things on Earth?
Probably something much more fabulous to wear, that was for sure.
A sudden knock interrupted her thoughts, and she jumped at the sound. A deep voice on the other side called out to her. “Ali...Alison? Can I come in?”
It was Longshot.
Alison cleared her throat and quickly ran a hand through her hair before stepping across the room to let him in. When she opened the door, he was standing straight and tall with both hands flat at his sides. A soft smile played across his lips, and he looked a lot more confident than she felt at that moment under his gaze. Something about the way he looked at her made her feel weak in the knees, but she brushed it off for the time being. “Uhm, come in,” she gestured politely.
He grinned again and bounded inside, checking out the room as he did so. He traced his fingers – all three of them – along the surface of her dresser and the walls. Probably checking out the security, which she had already done upon arrival. When he was finished, he turned to face her. “Are you settled in?”
“I don't have much to settle in,” she reminded him.
“True, but you don't just need belongings to do that,” he shot back playfully. “I meant are you comfortable? Did you need me to get you anything else?”
That mothering. Again. She pursed her lips into a thin line. “I'm fine. I can always get it myself.”
Longshot snorted amusedly, and the smile never left his face. “I know that, silly. But you could get lost! This city is huge!”
Alison chuckled in spite of herself, and plopped down to sit on her bed. “You're right. But, no, I don't need anything right now. Perhaps something to do, but that's it. I can't stand being bored.”
“You never could,” he told her.
“You knew me well?” she asked softly. “I feel like...I'm not sure how to explain it, but I feel as though you know more. A lot more than you've said so far.”
He nodded and sat down next to her. “I ought to know you. I'm your husband.”
“Husband?” she sputtered incredulously. “And you decided to leave that tidbit of information out of the counciling session?” Alison folded her arms in annoyance and shot him a look. “You could be lying for all I know!”
He raised his hands. “I have nothing to prove it. We didn't get married on Earth, but on Mojoworld. So I guess, technically, we're not. But we never let that stop us before.”
A flutter of nerves kicked around in her gut. “So you-- we're...married!?”
Longshot nodded again. “I wouldn't lie, I promise. And I only left it out earlier so that the doctor could talk to you. Besides, knowing you, you would have liked it better for me to say a thing like that in private.”
“Thank-you,” she silently agreed. He seemed so trustworthy. Perhaps it was a special power of his, or maybe it was just a natural intuition from her past life, she was not sure, but she felt as though she could take his word for it. He had placed his life on the line to rescue her, after all, and had even lost soldiers in doing so. Alison owed him everything, and the least she could do was take his words into consideration. Thinking back to Mojoworld, Alison frowned. “And...I'm sorry about your friend. The one back on Mojoworld.”
“Quark,” he told her sadly. “He was one of my best friends. Without him I don't think I would have found you.”
“I'm sorry,” she repeated, feeling badly.
“Don't be,” he placed his hand in hers; tough leatherlike skin and a missing digit shocked her, but the feel still warmed her nonetheless. “I got you back. I hate what happened to him, but to be honest your life is more important to me. More than anything.”
Alison smiled then, full and happy and flattered. “I only wish...”
“In time,” he told her, trying to give her an encouraging smile. “You'll remember soon. We'll work on it...I'll help you! Just like you helped me.”
“And how do you think we can do that?”
“Well you heard Mister Samson, we just have to jog your memory. Do things we used to do,” he smiled, and held her hand tighter. “The doctor said emotional responses work best. Things that make you happy, sad, excited -- arouse you.”
She felt her face heat then. “I--”
He rolled his eyes playfully. “Even I know that word has different context, silly.”
She laughed, not being able to help herself. “You're so optimistic. How do you not feel sad about all this?”
“I do,” he told her seriously. “But I have mutant powers, too, like you! And if I get too sad or negative or anything like that they work against me and and bad things happen. If I stay optimistic then we have luck on our side, and right now we can use all the luck in the world.”
“I'd say it's working so far,” she smiled softly.
Longshot grinned. “I hope so.”
“But, I mean, I'm still...” she cleared her throat and pulled her hand back. “It's still going to take getting used to. It's all so new.”
He bit his lip and slipped off of the bed, kneeling down on his knees before her. “Of course. There's no rush. We have plenty of time.”
“And Shatterstar too,” Alison told him. “I know you're my husband, but he's my friend too. He watched out for me on Mojoworld, and I would like to do the same in return for him on Earth.”
“Of course,” he nodded quickly. “He's just as important as you.”
“Yes,” Longshot confirmed. “We'll do whatever we need to do. No questions asked.”
“Okay,” she smiled, and covered her mouth as she yawned. It was getting late, and well past midnight. Longshot must have noticed because he got to his feet then.
“You're tired, you should rest.”
She nodded. “I am.”
“Well I'll leave you be.”
“Why don't you stay?” Alison offered slowly. “No funny business though! Just...to keep me company. You are my husband, after all, and I should probably get to know you again.”
Longshot smiled happily and nodded as he removed his belts and bandolier, and then crawled onto the bed next to her. “Whatever you want, Ali.”
She nodded and gave him a reassuring smile despite the butterflies in her stomach. “So why don't you tell me some stories, or something, then?”
Blue eyes twinkled, and a gorgeous smile crossed his face. “Well there was this one time I went to a concert, and the most beautiful woman I ever saw was on stage...”
“Where ye goin' in such a hurry? Ye look like Sabretooth's after ye,” Terry folded her arms and perked a sculpted eyebrow. “Ye lose somethin'?”
“I'm not the one who did,” Rictor scowled as he stomped down the stairs past her. “And I'm going to get a drink. I need one after that.”
“That bad?” she questioned, walking back down the stairs after him. “He did nae threaten yuir vocal abilities again did he?”
“No!” he snapped and grabbed his jacket off of the coat rack by the door. “If he did that I would probably be a little happier because at least then I would know it's him that I'm talking to.”
“It is him,” she snapped in a scolding tone. “Dinnae act like it's not. It's still him, yuir just angry because of what happened. There's no need tah take that out on yuirself now, Ric.”
She was right, god dammit, but to hell if he would ever admit that to her. Things with Shatterstar actually had not gone that badly, but the fact that he was talking to his best friend in the whole world and the guy had no clue who he was has been just a little stressful. Shatterstar did not remember Rictor's name, anything they had done – and worst of all, he could not even begin to remember or comprehend a reason why he would be so close to some lowly ass human like him. That fucking hurt!
“You should know better than anyone, Terry, that a freaking drink would god damn help right now!” he snapped, pointing a finger at her.
Blue eyes widened before she grabbed him by the ear and pushed him toward the kitchen. The Mexican yelped, but did not even bother to fight her back. She could kick his ass in a heartbeat. “Shame on ye!” she yelled at him when they reached their destination. She let him go and he sunk down into a chair. “Ye know just as well as anyone that I know how much doin' that can get ye intah trouble! Gettin' shit faced is nae gonna solve a damn thing!”
Rictor scowled miserably. “It'll make me feel better!”
“So will crack, but ye dinnae go doin' that!”
“No shit,” he deadpanned and folded his arms. “Fuck, Sy! Gimme a break, will ya?”
“He was my friend too, ye know,” she told him, this time her voice more level and softer. “I know we were nae nearly as close as ye two were, Ric, but he was my friend. It hurts me too tah see him this way. It's just like he was when I first met him.”
Rictor knew that. If there was anyone else that Shatterstar was damn close to it was Terry. And being selfish as he was, Rictor did not even bother to think that this situation was affecting anyone else besides himself. Stupid, yes, but it was not like he could help it. It was too much. Too heartbreaking. Sighing, the Mexican looked at her apologetically. “Sorry.”
“I know ye are, it's rough on us all.”
“That's an understatement.”
Theresa sighed and raked a hand through her long locks. “We'll get him back, boyo, ye know that. Ye just gotta give him time. It only took a few months for him tah adjust tah Earth the first time, and it'll take even less the second time.”
“That doesn't mean he'll automatically adjust to everything,” he muttered.
Blue eyes softened. “That's what this is about? Yuir worried about the fact that he does nae love ye anymore?”
He glared. “That's not my biggest problem, but yeah, that's part of it...if you have to know, nosey! Wouldn't you be!?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “But yuir gettin' a bit ahead of yuirself, don't ye think?”
“No shit,” Rictor snapped.
“Look, Ric, I don't want ye tah get mad at me or anythin, but...” she trailed off and gave him a sheepish look. Inwardly he groaned; what the hell had she gone and done now? The last thing that he needed was something else to irritate him.
“What!? What did you do?”
“Well I know when the two of ye left X-Force it was nae exactly on the best of terms,” she started slowly. “Ye pretty much grabbed a duffel bag of clothes and left everythin' else behind at the Institute. I was in the rec room when Samson had mentioned somethin' about having pictures an' other things tah help jog his memory.”
Rictor scowled, once again angry at the reminder that he had failed in that regard. “And?”
“Well I think ye lived at the Institute long enough tah know that a lot of people come and go at that place,” she explained. “The people who leave on bad terms or die get their stuff donated tah charity or given back tah their families. But the people they figure'll be back again someday...it just goes to storage for when they return. And ye'd left the team enough times they figured ye'd be back again someday...”
Ric's mood instantly lifted and he widened his eyes. “You know where all my old stuff is?!”
Terry nodded, once again looking a little sheepish. “Well...not necessarily me, but someone else does. I made a few calls for ye--”
“Who, Siryn!?” he jumped to his feet, feeling almost excited. That was almost the best news he had heard in like a gajillion months! Of course, his belongings from Mexico probably would have been even better, but he would take what he could get. “I'm so glad you're so smart!”
She chuckled. “I called Domino.”
His happiness wilted away and was replaced with nervousness. “Domino?” he questioned. He had not seen or even heard from the merc in months. Not since the start of X-Corp anyway. “Wait, how the hell did you even find her?!”
“I've kept in contact with her for a long time,” Terry replied. “We are friends, ye know. And it's not like she just dumps her friends and never talks to 'em again.”
“Okay,” Ric conceded with an eyeroll. “Can you at least tell me what she said?”
The red head circled the kitchen table and sat down on a chair across from him. “She said there's a storage facility here in New York. A great big one just outside of town. She said Scott, or Xavier, or whoever, stores everything there if or when they run outta room at the Institute. It's supposed tah be somethin' on the down low tah prevent breakins, or whatever, but ye know Dom. She can stick her nose intah anythin'.”
“Thank God,” he heaved a relieved sigh.
“And ye know Sam,” Terry continued. “He was an X-Man at the time ye two left, and there'd be no way in hell he'd let yuir things get dropped off at some Salvation Army box.”
“Yeah, yeah, big heart, whatever,” he snapped impatiently. “When can I get it?”
“She said she'd meet up with ye.”
“I can't just get it myself?” he scoffed. “Look, I'm not in the mood for reunions right now, I--”
“She said she would meet up with ye,” Terry repeated, that time more sternly. “I told her everythin' that happened, and she's nae very happy about it. She mentioned there was some stuff that she wanted tah talk to ye about. Stuff about Shatty.”
“Like what?!” Rictor demanded suspiciously.
“I dinnae know!” she snapped in irritation, probably from his constant interrupting. “She just said she wanted tah. And that she dinnae want tah let yuir dumb ass blow her cover. She's already gone tah get yuir stuff and she'll give it to ye when she meets up with ye. Yuir not goin' directly to the facility.”
Rictor scowled. “I'm stealthy. I coulda done it.”
“Yuir about as stealthy as a rhino,” Theresa deadpanned, and folded her arms as she leaned back in her chair. “Especially the past few months with all yuir impatient mood swings. Yuir too emotional right now and ye dinnae need to be tryin' to bust through X-Men level security. She's doin' it for ye, end of discussion.”
“Thanks, mom,” he rolled his eyes and folded his arms. “When do I gotta go?”
“Tonight,” Terry explained. “I know it's late and ye have nae slept in days, but I figured ye would nae wait anyhow.”
“Got that fucking right,” he snapped. “I've already missed three nights of sleep, why not miss another?”
She snorted. “That's what I thought.”
“Good, well I'll get going then,” he jumped to his feet.
“She told me tah tell ya tah wear something ye can move in, just in case,” she started.
Rictor rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah. I'll dress up for little miss fucking albino-paranoid-ninja. God, you'd think I was seventeen again.”
Terry snorted. “Ye wish. Ye gotta meet her in an hour or so, so ye should probably get movin'.”
“Thanks a lot,” he scratched the back of his head awkwardly and glanced down at his feet. “That means a lot that you did that for me.”
“Dinnae mention it,” she replied just as awkwardly. “Yuir both my friends, and I wanna do what I can tah help.”
“Cool,” he glanced back up at her. “You know, if ya wanna...you know, talk to him, or whatever...maybe he'll remember something. I heard you guys hung around a lot when I wasn't there.”
She nodded. “I think I'll do that.”
“Good,” he cleared his throat and walked across the kitchen. “I should go get changed.”
“I'm headin' off tah bed myself,” she replied, and stood to accompany him up the stairs. “After a hot shower first. I forgot how dirty Mojoworld was.”
Rictor snorted. “Yeah...let's just hope we don't have to go back there again. Ever.”
“I do not understand. How does it work?”
The older man looked down at him with an amused look; the yellow glow of his eye shone brightly. “What do you mean?”
“This...floor?” Shatterstar looked down at the sparkling texture beneath him and tilted his head to the side. “How does it work? Why does it move?”
“It's water,” the man explained, and crouched down next to him. “They don't have it where you come from?”
“No,” Shatterstar replied thoughtfully. “At least, I do not believe so. Not like this anyway.”
“Well, here on Earth water is essential to survive. You drink it and you bathe in it. 70 percent of the Earth's surface is actually water, you know,” he paused and pursed his lips thoughtfully. “What did you drink where you came from?”
The young warrior moved his gaze back down to the 'floor' and sighed. “Whatever they were willing to give us. Maybe they did give us water, but it was just different.”
“Did it not rain?”
“Yes, from the sky,” the man moved his left arm up to point at the bright blue ceiling, metal of his flesh gleaming in the sunlight. “See the clouds up there? They pour water down sometimes to feed the Earth. The plants and animals drink it the same way humans do.”
“I see,” Shatterstar rubbed his chin, and reached his fingers down to dabble in the water. “How strange.”
The older man laughed loudly, and clasped him on the shoulder. “You'll get adjusted in no time, I assure you.”
“Yes, I believe I will,” the Mojoworlder agreed and looked back up at his new mentor. “I thank you for explaining such a simple thing to me. I apologize for my ignorance.”
“Not a problem, Shatterstar,” he assured, and rose to his feet to walk back toward the base. “If you want sometime you can go in the water. Swimming makes for an excellent work out; I'm sure you'd enjoy it.”
“Swim inside of it!? Za's Vid!” he widened his eyes and reached his hand deeper inside. “It is cold.”
“I doubt a warrior as yourself would let that stop you,” he snorted and turned around. “Training is at six. Be there on time.”
“I assure you, Cable, I would not miss it,” Shatterstar vowed.
“Cable...” the warrior stared in the foggy mirror as wet drops rolled off of his hair and down his face. He had just found the shower room minutes ago, and standing under the stream had made him think of very strange things. Had Cable been someone he knew well? He must have been, or else he probably would not have thought about such a thing. In fact, Shatterstar found it quite strange that he never knew what large bodies of water were. Considering that he knew the slaves' thirst had been dealt with in the form of syringes or sponges. He must have been an incredibly silly person before.
He blew his wet hair from his face and reached for a towel to wrap around his waist. Water, again, proved to be a wonderful gift; he was able to bathe for the first time since he had been imprisoned – however long ago that had been. Too long. And it felt good to be able to stand under scolding water and cleanse himself of Mojo's filth. To wash his hair again.
The hair needed to be tended to. A slight trim and a brush were completely necessary, and he decided to return to his room to quickly retrieve needed items. He kicked his – or Strong Guy's, really – ridiculously large clothes to the wall and out of the way of the door, and he pulled it open. A steady stream of fog rolled out into the hall, and when he stepped out he came face to face with the flame head.
“Shatty,” she greeted with a nod, and waved her hand in front of her face to rid of the steam. “Hot enough in there?”
“I need a haircut,” he stated simply, and stepped past her to go find grooming accessories he had been given earlier. He also needed a shave. Badly. The utter lack of organization on his head almost made him go ballistic, but he managed to keep himself calm enough that evening to wait.
His given room of rest was located only two doors away from the washroom, and he entered quickly to grab the case from his dresser. The man they called Madrox had bought it for him, and though Shatterstar did not appreciate charity, he took it anyways. He felt compelled to. He was unsure why.
“Do you smell anything?”
“Just your lipstick and blush, pretty boy,” the hairy woman retorted with a gravelly voice. It was low and dangerous sounding, and it made Shatterstar want to stab her through the head.
“Shut up,” another voice snapped, that one also in a Spanish accent. Rictor. Except with long hair.
The warrior shook his head and wondered why the strangest thoughts kept popping up. That cat woman, especially. Why would he think of such a thing?
“A towel, 'Buns? I tell ya, every time I see ya walkin' around here with less an' less stuff on ya, I start to think yer doin' it on purpose just tah make me purr,” she stopped him outside the bathroom door, and held a hand out across the wall to block his way. “You ready to fight me now er what?”
“Get out of my way, beast,” he snapped, and grabbed her by the wrist. “You can go 'purr' elsewhere.”
She pouted as he pushed her away. “Where's that, huh? Geronimo ain't got nuthin' on you, and Sam's a pussy. I like you, 'Buns.”
“Stop calling me that.”
She grabbed at his towel, but he easily dodged from her with it still securly wrapped around him. The cat-like girl smiled, baring pointy fangs. “Then stop walkin' around like that.”
Shatterstar glared at her. “I'm only doing what is necessary for hygiene, now if you'd excuse me, I have to retire to my quarters.”
“If ya want some company, lemme know, huh?”
“I would want no such thing, especially from the likes of you!” he growled.
“Why? You scared I'll find yer secret beauty product collection?” she scoffed, trying to brush off the rejection. “You prolly have a date with a cucumber mask anyways, princess.”
Shatterstar shuddered and stared down at the case in his hands. It was necessary, and he was not a princess. He could not let some silly contextless memory bother him. It was not like he knew where or when it came from anyways. Sighing, the warrior walked out of his bedroom and headed back toward the bathroom to finish his task. He would feel much better after he was cleaned.
However, when he reached the door, he narrowed his eyes. He had left it open and now it was closed. The hallway was empty, so he paused before he placed his hand on the knob and turned it. It was not locked. Shrugging, he pushed it open all the way and was met with the sight of a very naked flame head.
“Shatterstar! GET OUT!”
His eyes widened. “I was in here first!”
“Well ye left!” she screeched and grabbed for a towel to cover herself. “Don't ye knock, boyo!?”
“Well I did not see the need to considering I was not done in here, and you so rudely tried to take this room from me,” he shook his head and placed his stuff on the counter. She was still standing behind him, fabric clutched to her front. Silver eyes looked in the mirror at her reflection and he frowned. “Did you need something?”
She glared at him. “Ye got five seconds, boyo, before I scream yuir ass outta here!”
He rolled his eyes and went back to rummaging through his case. “It will take me more than that. You'll have to wait.”
“I'm nae gonna stand here ass nude while ye make yuirself look pretty!” she screamed, and sensitive hearing made him wince and drop his things back on the sink. The woman was absolutely livid, and opened her mouth again. She belted out a loud wail that sent him flying off of his feet and right out the door again. His back crashed into something soft before he flattened said soft thing against the wall behind him in the hall.
“Madre de Dios! What the hell is going on!?” Rictor groaned from beneath him. Shatty winced, and peeled himself off of the Mexican.
“That woman is crazy!”
Rictor pushed the warrior's elbow off of his leg and looked up at the bathroom. Siryn, as Shatterstar recalled her being referred to, tightened her hold on her towel and pointed a finger down at them. “Yuir lucky I didn't take yuir bleedin' head right off! Asshole!”
Rictor's eyes widened. “Damn, Terry, put those things away.”
She growled loudly and slammed the door, promptly locking them both in the hallway. The Mexican stared at the wood for a few moments before moving his shocked gaze back to Shatterstar. “Uh...what did you do?”
“I wanted to fix my hair, and she stole the room from me!” he insisted. “I would have gladly shared had she just asked.”
“Yeah well thanks to you I just saw another person in this house naked,” Rictor shook his head. He got to his feet and held out a hand to Shatterstar. The warrior accepted it and the Mexican pulled him to his feet. “Word of advice? Always knock around here whether you think it's necessary or not. The chicas here are loco.”
“Humph, they are no match for me,” he glared at the door. “It's not like she is anything special anyhow. I would prefer not to look at her.”
Brown eyes widened before Rictor burst out laughing. “Well that's good.”
Shatterstar narrowed his eyes in confusion. “What is?! That is not good! She just attacked me!”
“Never mind,” Rictor shook his head and clapped his hand against Shatterstar's bare shoulder. “You should probably just head back to your room and get dressed, amigo. You know, just wait for her to come out and try again later.”
“Perhaps,” he grumbled.
“Sometimes I wonder about leaving you alone,” Rictor shook his head and began heading down the hall. It was then that Shatterstar noticed what he was wearing. A black and beige uniform sweater, combat pants, and combat boots. Tilting his head to the side, the warrior regarded him.
“You are leaving?”
He turned, looking a little surprised. “Uhm...yeah. Just for a little while. But I'll be back real soon. If you're going to be up...”
Rictor smiled slightly. “I was just gonna pick something up for you. If you're still up when I get back I can show you.”
“I can come, if you require.”
“Uhm, no, that's okay,” he said quickly. “I have to go meet someone. But I'll be back before you even notice I'm gone.”
“I doubt that,” Shatterstar replied bluntly.
Rictor blinked. “I can bring pizza?”
“Deal,” Shatterstar huffed before spinning on his heel and heading back to his room. What strange people lived in that place.
Go to chapter seven.