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: Rictor goes out to meet Domino, and gets some hints as to what Shatty's been up to the past few months; the boys catch up on old times.
Part: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six,
Prequel Pieces: One, Two, Three, Four.
Rictor could not have left the house faster.
Not only was Siryn totally going to be jumping down his throat the next day, but Shatty wrapped only in a towel and demanding his presence only gave him thoughts he should not have been focusing on. Instead, he had someone else he had to meet and important shit that needed to be dealt with as soon as possible.
It had been quite awhile since he had seen his old training mentor, Domino. The woman had left X-Force the same time he and Shatterstar had, and besides a few correspondences through X-Corp, Rictor had not met up with her since. It was not as though he held any ill feeling toward the woman – she was a more trusted ally to him than Cable ever had been – but they had just not been particularly close. She was a mercenary and one of the few in their group that had a hard time separating herself from violent battle. And while in a strange way Rictor had the same problem, he at least tried to distance himself.
Domino grew up that way, from what he knew, and it was hard to break old habits. Rictor knew this because Shatterstar used to be the exact same way. Whether or not he still was, was another matter entirely, but it was the same difference.
Sighing at the final thought of his friend, Rictor slowed his bike down and pulled up to the end of a long driveway. The concrete path twisted up a small hill, and at the top stood an old car part warehouse. Lighting was scarce in the vicinity, and the only sounds heard were that of chirping crickets in the night. Most certainly there had to have been at least one security guard on the property, so the Mexican scanned his surroundings. He had to be careful. He was unarmed. Powerless.
Rolling his eyes, Rictor stepped away from his bike and jammed his fists into his pockets before leaning against a large oak tree. The night was cool, the wind high, and he was pretty sure it was going to rain soon. Of course, there had been a time where he would have been able to easily predict such an occurrence; the ground and the plants were different before it rained, and being connected to the Earth allowed him to sense such changes. Except now the connection was gone, and he had only his instincts to rely on. They were usually right, but it was not the same.
Scoffing at the thought, the Mexican shivered at the cold and looked around for something to keep his mind occupied. Between his constant inner battles with being powerless, Shatterstar, and just living in general, he had to keep busy. That way he did not notice the days go by.
“Let’s get together and cry, the world says I need some help,” he tapped his foot impatiently as he sung badly out of tune. “Blah blah blah…something…Somebody called it all shook out…”
“Don’t quit your day job, kiddo,” he heard an amused voice before he was swiftly tackled to the ground. The lighter body had swung down from the tree and landed squarely on his shoulders, causing his knees to buckle beneath him.
“Fucking hell!” Rictor groaned and rolled across the grass to glare at Domino. “Why the fuck were you in a tree?!”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time,” she shrugged with an amused smirk. “Why not be in a tree? I think that is the question.”
Rictor rolled his eyes and brushed off the knees of his pants. Great, now he had freaking grass stains. Glaring, he got to his feet. “Why are you sneaking around? And where the hell is my shit!?”
She raised her eyebrows and folded her arms across her chest. “You honestly think I was just gonna haul all that crap with me to an unsecured location?” she rolled her eyes at that. “I’m disappointed, Ric. You haven’t rocked your head too hard, have you?”
“I don’t rock anything anymore,” he scowled and stomped back toward his bike. “Thanks for asking, though.”
“I knew about that,” she told him. “That’s not what I meant though.”
“Whatever,” he huffed. “Where do we have to go?”
“Just up the street,” she explained, and invited herself to sit on his motorcycle. “Where the hell did you get the money for this hog?”
He shrugged, and gestured for her to move back so he could get on with her. “I got it a couple of years ago. ‘Star bought one too.”
“Ah, so that’s where his came from,” she smirked. “
Rictor shrugged again, and started up the bike. He revved the engine a couple of times before looking back at her. “Where’s his?”
“Storage, but if he wants it just tell me,” Domino replied and wrapped her arms loosely around his waist as they took off. “What the hell made you want to bring a bike this damn loud to a secret meeting anyway, you dip shit?!”
He snorted at that, and switched lanes. “I knew you’d say that.”
“Turn here!” she called, and he nodded. It was an unlit side street with a few empty looking houses – if they could be called that – sitting vacantly in tall grass. Rictor spotted a tie off in front of an old green structure; an old tactic that X-Force used to use to mark positions. Smirking, he pulled into that driveway and turned off the bike. Domino hopped off, and patted the seat. “She runs nicely.”
“Sure does,” he replied. “Only thing I bother to take care of these days.”
“I can tell,” she perked an eyebrow and eyed him head to foot. The look made Rictor squirm, but if she noticed she did not show it. “What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied, anyways?”
“I’m a detective.”
“So Terry was saying. I’m sorry I laughed when I first heard that,” she grinned and approached the house. He slowly followed behind her, subconsciously paranoid to leave his bike out unattended in that neighbourhood. “I mean, don’t get me wrong, you have good skills, kid, but I didn’t know being a copper was your style.”
He rolled his eyes. “I’m not a cop. I’m a private investigator. There is a difference.”
She snorted and held open the door for him. “Like they’d let you with your criminal record anyways.”
“You’re a riot, Domino,” Rictor snorted and stepped inside. Instantly he felt his skin crawl at the appearance of the house. The wallpaper was curled down, mildew stained the floorboards, the roof leaked...
“Nice place,” he managed.
“Pfft, whatever, kiddo. Don’t credit me for the interior decorations,” she perked an eyebrow and pointed at a pile of boxes in the corner. “Shatty scored this dump for us.”
“He was living here?” he asked incredulously.
“No,” she shook her head. “We stayed here sometimes, though. We were SHIELD ‘property.’ We had been ordered to live at headquarters so that we could be monitored all the time. You know, so we couldn’t get into anymore shit.”
“And you actually followed that?” he questioned, and raked a hand through his hair. “That’s surprising.”
She shrugged, and pulled up an old milk crate to sit on. “Nah we got out more often than not. We’d meet up here and chill out, sometimes brought some other friends back with us. I liked to keep an eye on him to make sure he wasn’t losing his head doing that job of his.”
Ignoring the boxes of stuff for the time being, Rictor sat down on a milk crate adjacent to her. “Job?”
“He was…pest control, to put it nicely,” she explained, as she pulled out a weapon to clean and inspect. “They forced him to do some pretty dirty work, and it had started to get to him by the end of it.”
A sort of pitiful and guilty feeling throbbed in Ric’s chest, and he swallowed. “I can’t see that making him too happy. Sounds like some twisted version of home for him.”
“Pretty much. He would get all confused like and start questioning himself again. You know how he gets,” she eyed him as she worked. “He was happy to have something to do, but he was pissed that it was all for punishment. Then he’d start on about hypocrisy, and morals, and honour and why the government had none. It messed him up a lot.”
“Fuck,” Rictor muttered miserably. “You know, sometimes I just wished he’d of called me, you know? I felt bad enough about letting him go, and now…”
“He couldn’t,” she cut him off before he could get into a guilt trip. “Our phone calls were being monitored for quite awhile. It was hard enough for me to meet up with ‘Star as much as I did, let alone outside people.”
Rictor nodded. “You guys were in a lot of shit, huh?”
“Deep shit,” she grinned playfully. “But we didn’t regret what we did. Scott had no right to be keeping people in there.”
“No kidding; they think they’ve been running the damn show since M-Day. Fucking X-Men,” he rolled his eyes.
Domino snorted amusedly and held up her gun in the light to admire her handy work. “I know, right? He’s been bugging the snot out of me since I left
Violet eyes narrowed at him before she reholstered her weapon. “Nope, for once that wasn’t my idiocy that blew that one up.”
“I knew it wasn’t,” he pointed out. “I was just thinking maybe it was you who caused some other idiot’s idiocy to explode.”
She clenched her jaw and shrugged. “Probably. As if I care though.”
“Uh huh,” Rictor rolled his eyes. “Right.”
She glared. “Don’t start in on me. I heard enough questions and threats and crap from ‘Star. I don’t need bonehead number two starting now too.”
“Did Shatty go with you?”
“I know,” Rictor quietly interrupted her. “Believe me, I know.”
“He said some chick had been bugging him while I was gone,” she explained, running a hand through her chin length hair. “He didn’t say who, but I figured it was either some baddy or that cutie from the office who had the hots for him.”
Rictor furrowed his eyebrows and scoffed. “What cutie?”
“Relax,” she rolled her eyes. “Shatty isn’t like you, Ric; he’s got no interest in chicks. Not everyone will fuck anything – dick or pussy.”
He ignored the comment. “So he didn’t score with her?”
“No, you idiot,” she snapped. “She was practically like Irene Merriweather following Cable around with her nose up his ass. Shatty wanted nothing to do with her.”
“But you think she was the one who was bugging him?”
“Hard to say,” she shrugged. “All I know is that whoever it was it really annoyed the snot out of him. And I mean more annoyance than usual for him. He was practically muttering to himself last time I saw him, looking up shit in the databases and not sleeping. It was pretty serious,” she bit her lip thoughtfully. “I’ve only ever seen him that worked up two other times.”
“Like…?” Rictor questioned.
“Like during the Benjamin Russell stuff and when you took off on him to
Rictor winced at that, regret once more hitting him. “Don’t remind me.”
“You guys were so ridiculous,” she smirked, and grabbed her bag to begin digging around inside of it. “Which is why I was kinda surprised you two split up in the first place. He was pretty bad after that, you know. Claiming he had no emotions and fucking up a bunch of monks down in
“That sounds like him,” Rictor sighed amusedly. “But, it was his choice to take off, not mine. So don’t sound all scolding on me. As much as I hate to say it, he did it to himself. Hell if I know why either. I still wonder why.”
“He’s just Shatterstar,” Domino told him. “He does everything for a reason.”
“Yeah, I know,” Rictor nodded.
“And he’s where he should be now,” she shrugged and motioned over to the pile of crap in the corner from earlier. “That’s all your stuff that was left at the Institute. I also managed to snag all of his shit from his locker and his office at SHIELD. That should fill in some blanks for you,” she dropped her gaze down to the floor. “I couldn’t get his file though.”
“File?” Rictor questioned.
“SHIELD has very in depth records on people. Everyone that they’ve ever dealt with or employed has one,” she smirked. “Even you do.”
The Mexican frowned. “What does it say?”
She shrugged playfully. “Shatterstar’s was locked. Said it had been released just today.”
Rictor furrowed his eyebrows. “What!? Why? And to who!?”
“I don’t know, but it was signed and sealed by Val Cooper,” Domino explained. That file would have had everything you would have needed, but unfortunately it was a no-go.”
“But you still managed to get everything else?” Rictor questioned, eyeing the piles next to them.
“Yes, and they’re all yours. Take ‘em, give them to him, keep ‘em for yourself, whatever. They’re yours.”
“I really appreciate you doing that for me,” he muttered. “I haven’t even seen in you in forever, and--”
“Don’t mention it,” she hurriedly interrupted him to thankfully end the awkward moment. “Anything to help you guys out. It’s shitty that it happened. ‘Sides, it’s the least I can do since I can’t go to Mojo and blow his brains out myself,” she sighed and dropped her bag to the ground when she finally pulled out a forty of Jack Daniels. “I would if I ever got the chance to though.”
“I know,” Rictor nodded and ran his hand over the cardboard. “It’s going to be a trip going through some of this stuff.”
Domino smirked and brought the bottle up to her lips. “Yeah, especially if what I saw was any indication. I’m sure he’ll be blown away.”
Rictor felt his face pale. “What did you see!?”
“Hey, I was just making sure I had the right stuff, kid, don’t look at me as if I did something wrong by snooping.”
Rictor folded his arms and scowled. “Yeah, thanks.”
“I know, I know,” she rolled her eyes and lowered the bottle. “Say, you wanna stick around for awhile and have a couple of drinks?”
He shrugged. “A few can’t hurt.”
”What is this show?”
“Aye, they must’ve really messed ye up if ye cannae remember MTV,” Theresa’s eyes widened and she tossed him the remote. “It’s called the Real World, but ye can change it if’n ye want.”
Shatterstar tilted his head to the side and took another bite of his pizza. “This is so strange.”
The redhead laughed. “I agree. A lot of American TV was a shock for me too when I first saw it.”
“Where are you from?” he questioned.
“Hmmm,” he hummed, and then looked up when he noticed Rictor walk into the living room. He wore a white tank top and black sweats, and his hair was absolutely out of control. He groaned as he walked, and flopped down onto the couch between them.
“Ugh, ye smell like a brewery,” Terry waved her hand in front of her face.
“I see you two aren’t fighting anymore,” Rictor smirked and tossed his arm up on the back of the couch behind the woman’s shoulders. “I figured you’d be hiding in your room all day.”
Terry rolled her eyes and pinched him under his arm, making him flail over closer to Shatterstar. “I think yuir the one who’s lucky, boyo! Next time I’ll make sure ye can’t hear anythin’ for a week!”
Rictor rubbed at his arm tenderly and frowned. “Why the hell are you eating my pizza, woman?!”
“What did you just call me?”
“Um, pizza?” he frowned, and reached into the box. “God this looks so disgusting, but so good…”
“Where were you last night?” Shatterstar finally asked. “I stayed up waiting, but you did not come home until very late. I got bored.”
Rictor raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Oh, I just stayed a little later than I planned, is all. I got that stuff for you that I promised, too.” He smiled at him, and nudged him in the side. “And I still remembered to bring you home pizza even if it was in the morning.”
“How thoughtful,” Shatterstar agreed sarcastically and took another large bite from his slice. “I really like this food. If I could eat it everyday forever I think that I would do so.”
Rictor laughed at that. “Yep, me too, amigo.”
“So you saw Domino?” Siryn questioned. “How was she? Is she okay?”
Rictor nodded. “She was fine. Just same old Domino, she got me fucking hammered though. God damn, she still drank me under the table! You would think since she’s old…”
“She’s nae old,” Terry rolled her eyes.
“Well she’s older than me,” Rictor shrugged.
“So am I,” the redhead hissed, and attempted to pinch him again. Shatterstar just blinked confusedly at the exchange and cleared his throat.
“Who is Domino?”
“She’s an old friend,” Rictor explained with a wave of his hand. “She’s all crazy and soldier like. Pretty cool chick, you’d like her.”
“Do I know her?”
“You could say that,” Terry chuckled. “Ye did live together for almost five years, or close to it.”
Shatterstar frowned and furrowed his eyebrows. “She is not my wife, is she?”
Rictor almost choked on his pizza at that, trying to laugh and scoff at the same time. Theresa managed better, and she doubled over with laughter. Such responses only made Shatterstar frown; he did not remember things, and it was not fair of them to laugh at him for asking such questions. He had just learned that morning that Dazzler was married to the other warrior that had rescued them, Longshot, and for all Shatterstar knew, he could have had a forgotten wife too!
Terry stood up and continued to laugh her way out the door. “That was a good one, Shatty. Lordy; I’ll leave ye two boys alone now.”
Shatterstar moved his gaze back to Rictor, who was still wiping at his face. “What!?”
The Mexican tried to fight a smile. “No, you were most definitely not married to her. That would be like-- holy crap that would be the scariest and craziest thing ever. What the hell made you assume that anyway?”
Shatterstar shrugged. “I discovered this morning that Dazzler is married to Longshot. She did not know that.”
“Oh,” Rictor bit his lip and reached for more pizza. “That make you upset or something?”
“No,” he replied, thinking over his answer in his head carefully. Was he upset? He was unsure.
“Well how does that make you feel?”
“I feel nothing about it,” he shrugged. “I do not know what I am supposed to feel about it. It is marriage and…”
The Mexican placed his food back down on the table and stared at him. “And?”
“Why would someone devote themselves to another for the rest of their life?” he questioned. “I understand that emotional factors are involved, but what is the point if one day one is to only be cancelled?”
Rictor dropped his gaze down to the table and chewed on his lower lip thoughtfully. “You-- uh…just do it because you love someone. It’s kind of hard to explain.”
“I see,” he sat back against the couch and stared at the television set. “Well I suppose that is good for her then. I will assume that he is the one she conceived me with, yes?”
Brown eyes widened in shock. “Whoa! Wait a minute here! You knew she was your mom? How come you never said anything?!”
Shatterstar blinked. “I do not know why I know, just that I do. And I did not say anything because she does not know,” he paused. “And you did not ask.”
Rictor actually chuckled at that last part. “Oh, well okay then.”
“I do not have a wife, do I?” he frowned. “Because I am unsure that I would want one. Unless I was looking to unleash an army of spawn, I see no purpose for having a woman.”
Rictor fell over onto his side on the couch and just howled in laughter. The sight of it once again confused the warrior, and he just tilted his head to the side as he watched him. Rictor wrapped his arms around his middle and pushed his face into the couch as he composed himself. “
“You having an army of spawn would just be fucking scary,” Rictor laughed. “Dios, the world would just break.”
Shatterstar rolled his eyes. “I would have them all under control.”
“Yeah, that’s the problem,” Ric chuckled and sat back up again. “And, uh…no, you don’t have a wife. Well, at least not anymore. There was some chica named Windsong that Mojo assigned for genetic bonding, or something, but you never even met her. And she’s dead now.”
“Hmmm,” Shatterstar nodded. “I see.”
“Bad or good?” he questioned.
“Neither,” ‘Star shrugged and looked at him seriously. “I cannot be bad or good if I do not know what it is that I missed.”
Rictor nodded slowly, and picked up his pizza to nibble on it again. “I guess. But that don’t mean there aren’t important things that you can’t miss, amigo. Because there were. You had friends and a life, and…”
Rictor shifted his eyes between Shatterstar and his food, before shrugging solemnly. “Just important things. But…you, uh…you’ll probably figure out eventually whether you think they’re good or bad things or not.”
“Yes, I was told I have to go to counselling,” the warrior scowled irritably. “I have to visit with that silly green haired man and talk about whatever things therapists talk about. I am not happy about that.”
“Really? With Doc Samson?”
“Yes,” Shatterstar narrowed his eyes. “Your leader and Longshot decided that Dazzler and I should go every morning. I am not impressed; that man infuriates me.”
“You and me both,” Rictor muttered.
He had been stuck in the med lab for five days. The Beast had poked and prodded every possible place in his body, and Shatterstar was going absolutely stir crazy. The worst part was that Cable had told him he had to stay there to think about what he had done. Repercussions for out of control behaviour; his leader was disappointed in him and the fact made his med lab stay even more unbearable.
“Mister Shatterstar, good morning!” the blue man walked in, lab coat swishing softly behind him. “How are you today?”
“Bad,” he replied miserably. “I wish to leave.”
“You can do so after we have one more discussion.”
“Fine, be done with it.”
“Your test results have come back,” the man pushed his glasses up further on his hairy nose. “I have some questions for you. But before we start, I want you to know that anything you say here is confidential between the two of us. No one, including Cable, has to know about what goes on in this room.”
“What do you want?”
“I think you’ve been lying about something,” he said slowly and carefully. “And I think that you know what it is.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your genetic make up,” he pushed a file folder across the bed and onto Shatterstar’s lap. “You claim to be a bio engineered warrior. Yet you have the exact same DNA as a former X-Man.”
Shatterstar felt his heart race and he shook his head. “No, you are mistaken.”
“You also have some human DNA,” he continued, looking agitated. “You've been untruthful, and I'd like to know why. We cannot help you if you refuse to let us know, and in order to do that you're going to have to be truthful.”
“I did not want your help!” Shatterstar roared, throwing the file folder away from him. “I do not trust you, nor do I like you! On my home world, physicians are a sign of the weak, and I am not weak!”
“And is that really your home world?” the beast questioned.
Shatterstar shook his head irritably and glanced back up at Rictor. “I do not want to go. Doctors are untrustworthy.”
Rictor blinked. “Quite, but you still have to go. It’ll probably help.”
Shatterstar glared at him. “But I don’t want to.”
Rictor rolled his eyes and stood from the couch. “Come on.”
“Where?” he demanded.
“To my room,” the Mexican explained. “Forget the doctor for right now, amigo, and I’ll show you some of that stuff I was talking about.” He waited at the door for the warrior to stand, and Shatterstar was torn. He should go with him, but he did not want to see the doctor. Maybe Rictor was just trying to trick him; he had said they were best friends, but that did not prove trust between them.
Glowering, Shatterstar grabbed more pizza and got to his feet before following him out of the room. He felt irritable about following the man despite his instinct, but at least he had pizza.
“Don’t mind the mess,” Rictor pushed the door open and kicked his way through a pile of junk on the floor. Shatterstar’s eyes widened at the sight of it; where did so much stuff come from? And why would one person keep so much? The Mexican managed to get the door shut and looked at the warrior sheepishly. “I had to carry a lot of shit in last night, and I wasn’t exactly sober.” He folded his arms and gestured to the piles. “This is all of our crap from our old team, and some of your belongings from your old job.”
Shatterstar picked up a shirt, and finally felt happy. “I think this would fit me!”
Rictor nodded. “I hope so; Guido’s clothes are way too big for you, and it’s weird seeing you in something so frumpy.”
The warrior nodded in agreement, looking down at his attire. He had a large black hooded sweater on over top of a pair of grey cargo pants that were only secured by a leather belt. The outfit made him irritable; if he were to be attacked, it would not be efficient for proper movement in battle. But now there was clothing here that he could fit into, and he would not even have to go shopping either. That was a good thing this day.
“I found all sorts of stuff in here,” Rictor attempted conversation and sat on the floor. “I even found our old purple and gold X-Force uniforms.”
“Yeah that was the name of a team you and I were on,” he explained, and tossed him the spandex suit. “It was all right. I didn’t like it there all that much, but you did.”
“So why were you there?”
“Uhm,” Rictor cleared his throat. “Because, uh, you asked me to stay.”
“I see,” Shatterstar rubbed his chin thoughtfully, and held up a compact disc. “'Soundgarden?'”
“One of our favourite bands,” Rictor said with a crooked grin. “Well, one of mine. You weren’t much for their slower stuff; you liked it when it was loud and fast. You told me once that it was stoner music.”
Rictor smirked and took the album from him, scanning over the track list on the back. “Yeah kids who do drugs – all fucked up like. I was into Monster Magnet and Pearl Jam and stuff, you liked the harder stuff.”
“I see. Can we listen to it?”
Rictor grinned. “Yeah! I mean, I can borrow a stereo from someone later…or maybe a laptop or something. I don’t really have anything that would play it at the moment.”
Rictor laughed suddenly. “I remember this one time you and I were watching MTV and you made fun of me for liking their song so much because the guy was wearing duct tape shorts in the video.”
“Why would he do that!?”
“I have no idea but it was so cool at the time,” Rictor laughed again. “You were so mad. We got into the stupidest argument about it.”
Shatterstar rolled his eyes and grabbed a stack of photographs. “Am I allowed to look at these?”
Rictor quickly eyed the photos before reaching out and grabbing the ones in a blue and white package. “Uh yeah, all those in your hands. Uhm…don’t worry about these ones.”
Shatterstar perked an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Oh, I sorted them earlier. These ones…don’t really have anything you’d want to see,” he said hurriedly and tossed them under his bed. “Just my family, or something, you know? Nothing to worry about.”
“Who is this?”
“What are you doing here, Julio? You have been away for so long, and you come back only for me to find out that you and your…friend…here have been putting your cousins in jail!” she yelled and pointed a finger in Ric’s face. “And you dare show your face around here?”
Rictor frowned. “I came to see you. You know how I feel about them, and--”
“They are your family! We are your family!” she frowned angrily and slapped him across the face. “You turned your back on us! You have made us lose everything we have. We have no funds and no way to pay for the house. What do you suppose we do now?”
Rictor rubbed at his cheek gingerly. “I was only trying to do the right thing, Momma! You’re better than that! You’re better than guns!”
Shatterstar placed a hand on Rictor’s shoulder. “Julio, maybe--”
“Don’t you talk!” the woman pointed her finger in his face next. “You are an outsider, and you have no business here!”
“Don’t you dare talk to him that way!” Rictor seethed. “We only try to help you!”
“Well you can help by getting out, Julio. And don’t come back because we don't need you. Not anymore.”
Shatterstar frowned and looked up at his friend. “You are not very close to your family, are you, Julio?”
Brown eyes shot open wide. “What did you just call me?!”
“Oh, I mean…” Shatterstar frowned. “I do not know why I--”
Rictor jumped to his feet with a big grin on his face. “You called me Julio!”
“I called you Julio,” Shatterstar echoed confusedly. “That is your name.”
“Ha!” he laughed loudly, and dropped back down to the floor next to the warrior, happily grabbing his elbow. “That’s my name and I didn’t even tell you it! You remembered?!”
“Yes, I suppose I did,” Shatterstar hummed and looked down at the photo in his hands. “How come no one calls you by it?”
He shrugged. “Only you did…and my mom. Everyone else calls me by my code name.”
“Why do you have a code name? I thought you were not a soldier or a mut--”
“I used to be a mutant,” he said, swallowing slowly. “But, uh, some crazy chica with reality warping powers took most of the mutants on this planet’s powers away. Just shut ‘em off like a switch.”
“What was your power?” Shatterstar eyed him, wondering why Rictor had not said anything about it earlier when he had originally asked.
He cleared his throat awkwardly, and looked down at the picture he was holding. “I, uhm, seismic stuff. I could control movement in the ground, cause earthquakes, shoot vibe blasts, had some bond with the Earth. Nothing special.”
“I don’t believe you,” Shatterstar told him.
He furrowed his eyebrows. “You don’t believe that was my power? Ask anyone!”
"No, I don’t believe you when you say they were nothing special. You seem sad about them being gone, so I would say they were probably something very special.”
Rictor nodded and leaned back against his bed. “Funny that you can tell.”
“There is nothing humorous about it,” Shatterstar replied.
Rictor shifted his gaze awkwardly before pointing toward the picture in his hand. “That was taken at Murderworld – this big funky pinball machine we used to live in. That guy, Jimmy, we did that to him when he was sleeping.”
“Why on Earth would we shave off someone’s eyebrows?” Shatterstar questioned confusedly. He noticed that Rictor had changed the topic of the conversation, but chose to go along with it. The warrior had already decided after just a day spent with the Mexican that he preferred his company when he was not sad. And, for whatever reason, seeing this gigantic boy with no facial hair seemed to make Julio more comfortable than the topic of himself.
“We did that because he put food coloring in your shampoo, and dumped a bucket of ice down my pants while I was sleeping,” Julio chuckled. “So me and you teamed up and got the jack ass back. We also cut one side of his hair off.”
“Why did we not just cancel him?” Shatterstar demanded.
“Because making him squirm was more fun,” Rictor smiled. "And your hair was blue."
“Did we always do stupid things for fun?” the warrior questioned.
“Always,” Rictor murmured. Shatterstar watched as the smile on his face remained, and he reached out to look at the rest of the photos. Julio seemed content at such memories, and Shatterstar could not help but just wonder exactly how wonderful they must have been to put such a rambunctious individual such as Rictor at such ease. In a way, it made Shatterstar a small bit disappointed to know that he had been deprived of sharing them.
The warrior looked back down at the pictures for some sort of hint. He had been told the answers lay within old valuables to jog his memory, and now, more than ever, he felt eager to try.
At least…some aspects of it.
“Please don’t tell me we always dressed that way.”
A/N: The song that Rictor was singing at the start of the chapter was bits and pieces of ‘All Shook Out” by Monster Magnet – irony may or may not have been intended. XD Ric was a fan of them in the comics, and before the band got big in 1998, they were a cult followed stoner!metal band with trippy ass videos. I do not own the lyrics to that song.
Go to Chapter Eight.