kiev4am: (underwood)
[personal profile] kiev4am
So, yeah... first RicStar fic.


Title: Rules To Live By
Fandom: X-Factor
Characters: Rictor, Shatterstar (Marvel Comics)
Rating: PG-13 I think.
Warnings: No obvious ones for violence, sex etc. Possibly triggering for bereavement, though.
Words: 974
Comments: Inspired by this comment thread about Shatterstar's healing factor meaning he ages more slowly and could potentially outlive Rictor by quite a margin. This is a really weird choice for my first RicStar fic; I've been poking around the thought of writing fic for them for a while, but my natural writing inclination is towards X-Factor-style snark and comedy rather than the darker, emo end of the spectrum, so I have no idea how Rictor's last letter to Shatterstar became lodged so firmly in my head that I had to write the bloody thing. In my head this is like the last scene of a Peckinpah or Eastwood western: an old hero at the end of the line, love and endurance and the importance of dying well and (in the words of Annie Proulx) if you can't fix it you've got to stand it. I think it's more affirming than depressing, but your mileage may vary.


The man in the bed is very old. His hair is a mop of dirty silver, his hands are maps of veins and dreadfully still, worn gold embedded in wrinkles on his left ring finger. His eyes - vivid dark brown, sly and gleeful to the end - won't open again. The man in the chair looks considerably younger, grey hair just starting in the red, the star-mark around one eye still a rich sharp black. He is holding a sheet of paper. It trembles very slightly as he reads.

*

Hey.

If you're reading this... well, you know. In case you're wondering, I wrote this the day we got jumped by muggers coming back from that movie and I had a dizzy spell after decking that guy with my stick and got all pissy with you for protecting me. I'm sorry about that. I just can't get used to it when people, even random goons like those three, assume I'm your father now. I should be grateful every day that neither of us got killed when we were young and stupid, that we got to have this much time. And believe me, I like you not ageing. I don't resent it at all. I like looking at you, I like holding you, and I like knowing you've got a good, long time to go. The mere theory of outliving you scares me to death.

That's partly what this is about. That I understand.

It's five a.m. and you're finally asleep. I muted the TV and the light's flickering over you and you ought to be out cold after mainlining bad cop shows for six hours solid, but your foot's twitching and your breath's shallow and all night you had that numb we-who-are-about-to look on your face that means you're staring through the screen at nothing. And I know why. I know you didn't really get that I was old, until today; I know you didn't really think my age made a difference. Don't think I'm not flattered that you've somehow managed to unsee the sorry details all this time - the stoop and the stick and the hair and the glasses and the busted veins and the tiredness and the weak earth tremors when I dream. But I could see it in your eyes when you picked me off the pavement - you were terrified and, man, you still do really dumb things when you're terrified, and when it finally happens, I don't want to spend my last breaths in the world worrying about you. I'd rather spend them saying goodbye properly. So I've been thinking about it, thinking about you without me, trying to come up with something that'll help. I know you didn't just fall to earth, I know you haven't needed my advice for years, but you've never lived through this so humour me, will you? Think of it as rules to live by, short term rules for getting over the worst of it so you can have the rest of that good, long life I want you to have. I need that. I need to know you're gonna be okay.

1. Don't get drunk and watch the flashbacks in 'Highlander.' Seriously, don't. Not just because it'll upset you, but because it'd be corny. You're not living for ever, just longer.

2. Let people help you with the funeral and stuff. I don't know who's going to be around then, but somebody will and they'll want to help, so let them.

3. I guess I'm really saying, let them in. Don't shut down on people, don't go back to that place I found you at. It wasn't good for you then, and it won't ever be good for you. Keep in touch, talk to them, go and see them, let them take care of you. Don't lash out and don't let go, even when you feel like it's killing you. They love you too. Yeah, they do.

4. Trust me that you will be okay. Please, just trust me.

5. Don't self-medicate by getting into fights. You know what I mean. You'll get hurt, or you'll hurt a bunch of people weaker than you and it'll make you feel dishonourable and sick. It's a bad drug.

6. On the other hand, if somebody really needs to be stomped then I am counting on you to do your thing and gracefully beat the living crap out of them. I'd hate like hell for my death to change you that much, dude. You're a hero, you're a goddamn warrior angel and don't you forget it.

7. Always remember that I loved you, all the time, even when you didn't know it - even when I didn't know it. I remember the first words you ever spoke to me, and I can't remember a time when I didn't feel this way. Doubt anything else you want when you're going through the wringer, but not that.

8. This is the most important one. Live for me. Live as long and as happily and as much as you possibly can. Do all the things we never got around to, see all the places, meet all the people, grow and change and carry on and be alive. And don't be alone all the time. Find someone to share it with; it's okay, it really is, it's what I want. Live for me, 'Star. Use every goddamn second as if it's mine.

*

For a moment, the man in the chair doesn't move. With aching slowness he folds the paper, puts it very carefully in an inside pocket. It's hard to stand up; he's been sitting there for four days straight. He leans over the man in the bed, rests his forehead on the cold forehead beneath him, and he stays there for a very long time.

Date: 2011-11-02 09:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tangeriner.livejournal.com
Ric's voice was perfect here. I am admittedly pretty weepy, and there's a painful sort of ache in my belly, but wow, this was powerful, and lovely, and I'm happy you wrote it. ♥ these guys.

Date: 2011-11-02 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thank you so much! I was very twitchy about posting it, first fic and all that. Really glad you liked it.

Date: 2011-11-02 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
(...and as to weepy, I managed to choke up a few times while I was writing it)

Date: 2011-11-03 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foreverrhapsody.livejournal.com
Oh man, this was lovely. I love how Ric sounds older and wiser, but is still recognizable as himself. I'm still wibbling, except I'm now getting the crack at Highlander so it's kind of a laughing wibble.

alshgla;sak;s 'you're a goddamn warrior angel' YES.

Date: 2011-11-03 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you liked it :D And yes, the Highlander crack seemed like a good way to start off Ric's advice list - I could see him trying for a jokey, bossy tone to begin with to try and put 'Star at his ease, before his feelings bled through in the rest of the letter.

I really, really enjoyed writing this. I was surprised that, of all the fic ideas I had rattling in my head, it was this one that demanded I put it out there. There's just something about that scene that I love, so I am very glad others enjoyed it. (And to think, I'm usually the one muttering about too much angst on the comm!)

Date: 2011-11-03 06:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rukia.livejournal.com
Oh, man. I know this is just the second fic of yours I've read, but I LOVE your creativity. It was sad and heartbreaking but it was warm and loving too. And that one line...

Use every goddamn second as if it's mine.

Wow, that line really got to me.

Thank you for sharing it with us!

Date: 2011-11-03 09:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thank you so, so much for the feedback! I'm really glad you liked it. It's unexpectedly nervy putting one's first fanfic up on a comm and then running away and wondering WTF everyone will think ;) These nice comments might give me the confidence to write & post some more.

It's funny about that line. I got to 'use every goddamn second' and then stared at it for ages trying to think of the right way to harden up the end because I knew it should be the last line of the letter. It felt a little like someone else finished the sentence. It was a 'where in my brain did that come from?' moment.

Date: 2011-11-03 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joasakura.livejournal.com
aw, man. I just got to read this. This was really powerful and beautiful. and the highlander crack made me laugh out loud here.

Well done <3

Date: 2011-11-03 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thank you!! :D Seriously, it's been so good to have such positive feedback from people. I was ridiculously nervous about posting this, and had to remind myself sternly that my whole reason for firing up the journal was supposed to be to get out there a bit with writing.

I really loved writing this, even though it was so sad. I already have a much more cheery idea cooking away, though. Fic is addictive :)

Date: 2011-11-04 03:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mojoturtle.livejournal.com
That was very beautiful. You got Rics voice down very well.

now I'm just going to wipe my eyes now *sniffle*

Date: 2011-11-04 03:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thank you very much! I'm glad he sounded right to you.

damnit...

Date: 2011-11-04 08:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gambitgirl1974.livejournal.com
...i had to go get a tissue in the office! that was GORGEOUS.

Re: damnit...

Date: 2011-11-04 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Aww, thank you! I'm really happy you found it as moving to read as I did to write.

Date: 2011-11-04 11:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] benjaminrussell.livejournal.com
:'( - but in a good way.

Date: 2011-11-05 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

Date: 2011-12-20 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ldydragon7.livejournal.com
This was amazing. Sad but it captured their relationship so well. Love Ric's rules, and yes Star is a Warrior Angel, love that image.

Date: 2011-12-21 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading, I'm glad you liked it :)

T___T you made my eyes hurt

Date: 2012-04-02 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drkcoffee.livejournal.com
YOU!!! made me cry Hard!! i was happily reading but after the second paragraph i was crying my heart out, once i understood rictor was gone and Star was alone. Poor Star. the last rule made me cry even more! it was soo good but very very sad.good job T__T sniff... sniff

Re: T___T you made my eyes hurt

Date: 2012-04-13 08:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kiev4am.livejournal.com
Oh, thank you for reading it! I admit, I was pretty choked up myself when I was writing it - it was a surprisingly painful idea for my first fic, but there was something about that bedside image that I couldn't shake off until I'd written it.

Thanks again :) *hands you a tissue for eyes*

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