|In Brightest day
Author: Malaizjan DeJesus PM
Kaldur stumbles upon a cargo-jacking in progress and bites off more than he can handle. Can he get out of this one? And who's the girl? KaldurxOCRated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Romance - Kaldur/Aqualad - Words: 3,665 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 5 - Published: 04-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7999057
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
In Brightest Day…
By: Malaizjan Dejesus
**Hi everyone! This idea would not leave me alone so I had to take a break from writing Future Dividends in order to write this. It's a one shot that I plan use to launch a different story later on. After Future Dividends. This was written due to the lack of good stories dealing with Aqualad. While he's not a favorite of mine, he deserves a good story. There are many decent ones of Aqualad though... ***
Kaldur'ahm his behind a stack of crates, wishing once again the he had radioed for back-up. He heard the lids to various crates being popped open with a crow bar.
It was nearly midnight on the crispy cool night and Kaldur was on a midnight swim in the bay when he noticed a cargo ship docking illegally by the warehouse. He felt he should investigate before he called for Superboy and Miss Martian to help. Everyone else had gone home for the night.
Aqualad managed to sneak in and get behind some crates. But now, he had no clue as to what was going on. He stole a peek around the corner of the crate.
"So…should we keep looking, PM?" asked an overweight henchman in black.
The odd man leaning over a large crate stood up straight. The man was tall, about six-foot-five, wearing a gray pinstripe suit and old shiny white shoes. "Open a few more crates. That statue has to be here!" The man's voice was oddly raspy and high-toned, and Aqualad's ears hurt just listening to him. "If we don't find it, we torch the place!"
Hearing enough, Kaldur used his water-bearers to attack the thugs. Shouts began as water came at them, knocking them into walls as fast as the young hero could make them. There were twenty of them but for someone as skilled as Aqualad, they were quickly subdued. He came out of hiding after he believed he got them all.
PM kicked at Aqualad, nailing him in the stomach. He hit the wall pretty hard but he managed to hold onto his water bearers. "So…now Aquaman's screwing with my operation! Since he sent the lapdog, fight me boy."
"Who…are you?" Aqualad asked. He steadied himself against the wall.
"Pyromick. I wonder…" He snapped his fingers, which became engulfed in flames. "…Can a fish survive on land?" The villain touched the wall with his flaming hands. The wall burst into flames.
Kaldur leaped off of the wall and his water-bearers formed a large water mace and smacked Pyromick in the face. The water mace hissed as it hit the flames that licked out of the man's face.
Pyromick threw a fireball at the smash crates, setting them ablaze. Aqualad sent a stream of water at the villain, which hissed as he made contact with the man's skin.
Meanwhile flames tore their way through the crates and it didn't take long for the whole warehouse to smoke. And for Aqualad, a raging inferno was never a good thing.
Two shadows hugged the fence surrounding the warehouses near the bay of Happy Harbor. There was a tear-like seam in the fence and the two shadows squeezed through it, an overly-large military grade duffle bag following seconds later.
One was a tall girl about 16 years old with red, mid-back length hair pulled back into a quick braid. She wore skinny jeans, combat boots and a gray hoodie. The night air was chilly, which didn't seem to bother her.
The other was a small girl of around 11 years old, wearing a heavy black jacket that was too big, and red jeans. She wore tennis shoes that were once a bright pink but had dulled over time. Her hair was a strawberry-blonde color and fell in loose ringlets that were held in a low ponytail. She had a dull pink backpack hanging over one shoulder. "Starshine, I'm tired."
The older girl, Starshine, looked down at her younger sister. "Soon, sis. Soon." The teen girl took her sister's hand and walked over to the nearest warehouse and checked the doors. Those doors were locked. She tested the locks for any give and they had none.
They went to the next warehouse. Starshine checked the doors and they were locked also.
The third warehouse was successful. There was an unlocked door that led into the large, empty building. Off the immediate left was an office. Starshine led her sister to the office, which was furnished. An old leather sofa was off to one wall, a desk off in the middle with a chair. "Soleil, take the couch."
The young girl sat on the sofa with a plop and sighed. Soleil curled on the stiff sofa. Starshine opened the duffle bag, pulled free a thick, handmade quilt and draped it over the younger sister to keep her warm. Starshine smiled as Soleil drifted off to sleep. She hopped up onto the desk and lay upon her back. Staring up at the ceiling, Soleil's older sister began to think of their next move.
Starshine's name was really Stara De Parra. Her and her sister were the last of their family. Over a period of six years, their mother, two older brothers, their younger brother and their father all died. All under suspicious circumstances. Their dad was the last to die and that was because they got lazy in watching for the signs, and staying in a place for too long.
At least their dad trained her in the use of her powers.
Stara was the only meta-human in the family. She could absorb sunlight and channel it by blowing up whatever she touch, burn bright to blind people or use it as an energy blast. She was trained in martial arts, getting black belts in first Tae-Kwon-Do and then at the age of thirteen, Shaolin Ru (also known as Shaolin Kung Fu). That combination has kept them alive.
There was an eerie glow coming from the window, and Starshine got off the desk to check it out. Her heart sank.
There was a fire in a warehouse near the one she was in. She looked over at her sister and swore softly. She hated pranksters that set fires for the sake of setting them. She decided to leave quietly and steal out into the night to check it out.
Stara ran over to the other warehouse and pushed on the front door. It wouldn't budge. She could feel the heat on the other side of the door. There was a moment of hesitation from the teen girl. She knew from experience that fire was destructive. Lives were ripped apart by the all-consuming flames of red, orange and yellow. But the young heroine knew she had to check it at least and make sure the fire-starter wasn't trapped, like in the last city she was in.
She focused all of her solar energy into one hand for several seconds before placing her left hand on the door. The metal door was blown off its hinges upon the brief contact.
The heat and flames greeted the girl as the door crashed inside. Starshine took a breath and ran inside. She scanned the flame-engulfed area, looking for any bodies. At first, she saw nothing.
On her second scan, there was a dark lump in a corner surrounded by large crates that weren't on fire just yet. It was hard to tell if it was a body but she had to check it out. She really hated fire-starters.
Stara started her jog around the flaming crates as she picked her way through. A few of the wooden beams above her started to crash to the floor randomly and Starshine had to quickly dodge a few of them so she didn't get pinned.
It took a few minutes for her to get to the dark lump in the far corner. She realized that it was a dark-skinned young man. And it wasn't just any young man.
It was Aqualad, Aquaman's protégé.
The smoke was getting to Starshine as she coughed. Her eyes were burning as she lifted the young man up. She realized that she had grown too weak to lift. But she got Aqualad thrown over one shoulder and picked her way through again as everything was now ablaze in burning fury. The wooden beams were free-falling as she tried to jog her way back out.
The heat was intense and the flames danced all around her, eager for something else to consume. Stara coughed as the smoke started to take all of her air. She stumbled slightly but caught her footing before she fell. Aqualad was heavy to her but she had to get them out of the warehouse.
The doorway was slowly coming alive with the flames and Starshine paused, old memories threatening to overtake her. She shook her head to clear it.
Starshine sized herself up and made a break for the doorway. Her head was down as she burst through the doorway and ran as fast as she could.
The windows shattered behind her and she turned so the pieces of glass would hit her. A few pieces found their way to her hoodie and she back-peddled to avoid the large chunks of glass. Once she was clear, she made her way over to the other warehouse and opened the door. She closed it with her foot and entered the office where Soleil was still sleeping. She laid the unconscious hero on the desk and ran over to the duffle bag to get the first aid kit and a bottle of water.
"Stara?" Soleil rubbed the sleep out of her eyes and sat up.
"It's okay, sis. Go back to sleep." Starshine went over and laid her sister back down, pulling the quilt up over her.
Soleil yawned loudly and rolled over. She was asleep again in a few moments.
Stara was grateful her sister didn't smell the smoke on her. Starshine placed the first aid kit on the desk and set to work on Aqualad-he had a gash on his head, and it was at the hairline. Tipping rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball, she lightly dabbed the item on the gash.
A soft hiss escaped Kaldu'ahm's lips.
Stara found herself checking the teenage boy-hero out. His lips looked soft and inviting and she wanted to kiss them just to see if they tasted like water. So she made herself look away. His gills at his neck startled her slightly but she saw that they were bruised and lightly dribbled some water over the gills. Upon closer inspection, she saw a handprint on both sides of his throat.
She then looked at his shirt…well, his dark red tank top and it was covered in soot. There was a blast imprint right where his stomach was. Starshine went back to the bag and pulled out a small pair of scissors. She went back to Aqualad and after trying to start a cut to remove his tank top from the top (it was tight-fitting), she cut it from the bottom to the top, his chest revealed. Starshine blushed- she couldn't stop staring at his well-developed body- six-pack abs so well defined and muscles to match. 'Daaammmnn! I had no clue boys could look so good…whoa, what am I saying!'
Then the scorch marks on his stomach brought her back to reality. Grabbing a new cotton ball and soaking it on rubbing alcohol, she dabbed on the marks.
Upon the featherweight touch, Kaldur was awake. He saw someone standing over him, dabbing at the marks on his stomach. It stung something fierce but he remained still. All he saw was red hair pulled into a ponytail, a gray hoodie and tight jeans. He kept his eyes nearly closed, so as to observe what this girl would do next.
And he knew this was a girl.
Aqualad knew that he shouldn't have gone solo tonight. He met Pyromick and the villain knew his powers enough to knock him out and with his sensitive nose, knew the warehouse was set on fire. Had this girl saved him? He smelled the smoke on her. So she must have.
Was she friend or foe?
Batman had told the team to take in everything you see and everything you know to determine if you are safe or not. From what he knew and seen so far, and felt, this girl was no enemy.
So who was she? Why was she here?
Starshine happen to look over at Kaldur's face. The hero was still out cold. That worried her. "Aqualad? Can you here me?" she whispered.
Her voice hit him in the gut. The gentleness, the tone, the beauty of it stirred him in ways that he didn't know possible. But how did she know his name?
He decided to open his eyes, for while he had the advantage with them closed, he felt safe. So he did. And stared into hazel, cat-like eyes that took in his silver-blue ones. He was lost in her eyes for several seconds before he realized that her lips were moving. "Huh?"
"I said, are you alright?" Starshine allowed Aqualad to sit up. "Sorry about your tank top but you took some hits."
"I remember fighting Pyromick."
Starshine's eyes widened in shock and there was something else too that Kaldur saw…fear? "I…I…" The teen girl was at a lost for words.
"Is something wrong?" Kaldur asked her.
"We have to go." 'It was fear. Was Pyromick after her?' Kaldur wondered.
"We?" Aqualad was confused.
"My little sister." Starshine nodded her head over one shoulder.
Kaldur'ahm looked over the other teen's shoulders and saw a small bundle under a heavy quilt on a sofa. At one end, was the top of a head, strawberry-blonde hair falling out. "Why are you here?" he asked suspiciously.
That was when the warehouse that had been burning exploded, the office window exploded and the building they were in shook.
It woke Soleil up. Starshine ran to her sister, using her own body to protect her sister. It was a sudden explosion and as quickly as it started, it stopped. The teen girl heard the younger girl whimper. She uncurled herself to stare at her sister. "It's okay, Soleil. We're safe."
"Are you injured?" Aqualad came over to the two girls.
Soleil saw Aqualad kneeling next to her and she squealed. "It's really Aqualad! Oh my god! It's Aqualad!" she jumped the teen hero, hugging him fiercely.
"Omf!" Kaldur fell back against the floor. The young girl got off of him after a minute of hugging.
"I can't believe it! I'm meeting the Aqualad!"
Starshine giggled. "Soleil, let him breathe!"
"How do you know me?" he asked the girls.
"You and Aquaman were in t.v. Some helicopter caught your capture of Killer Frost." Starshine began to fold up the quilt. "And we better move. This place is going to be crawling with cops soon."
"I'm in love!" Soleil declared, batting her eyes at Aqualad.
Kaldur nervously cleared his throat. "We should stay and tell our story."
"And Soleil and I will in up in foster care. No thanks." Starshine put the quilt into the duffle bag and went for the first aid kit.
"Why would you end up in this foster care?" Aqualad asked.
"We're orphans," said Soleil sadly.
"Soleil!" Starshine scowled harshly.
"Orphans…your parents are dead? I am sorry. We should go." Aqualad did not want the girls to get into trouble and to ease their fears, he would agree to whatever they wanted. Being the absolute gentleman, he took the duffle bag from Starshine and the three of them left the warehouse in silence.
The silence remained for after escaping through the hole in the fence, going across the street and moving down the dead streets for several blocks. The sirens got louder and a fire truck had gone by in that short time. Aqualad waited until they were in a well-lit street area before he stopped walking. "I need answers. Now." Even he sounded harsh to his own ears.
Sighing heavily, Starshine and Soleil stopped walking.
"Who are you?" he asked directly.
"I'm Starshine. You've met Soleil."
"That's an unusual name, Starshine."
Soleil giggled. "That's her codename, silly."
Kaldur'ahm looked hurt. "Do you not trust me with your name?"
"Do you?" Starshine asked him.
Kaldur was taken back by the snappy comeback but understood her reluctance to reveal her true name. He wasn't so forthcoming with his. "We should keep moving."
"I agree. Where's the nearest bus depot?" Stara asked the teen boy.
"A mile or two from here. You are leaving?" Kaldur was hurt. He just barely met these girls and now they were leaving? "Why?"
"Pyromick works for a guy name Firecracker. I thought we were getting ahead of them, staying clear of them but guess not. Firecracker is the reason we are orphans," Starshine explained. "I know he has ties to the League of Shadows."
"This Firecracker killed your parents?" Kaldur felt horrible for them. The League of Shadows must want something from them.
"And our brothers," Soleil said sadly, tears in her eyes.
"I am sorry. I did not mean to bring up such painful memories."
"No harm, no foul," Starshine told him. When he looked confused, she explained, "It means it's okay, you didn't know."
Kaldur nodded in understanding. "Why is the League of Shadows after you two?"
"I think my dad crossed them. I'm not sure. But they know I'm a meta."
Once again, Kaldur was confused.
"She's a meta-human," Soleil said.
"You have powers?" he asked Starshine. She was so unnaturally thin. Why kind of powers could she possible have?
"She absorbs sunlight and converts it to energy blasts," the younger girl explained.
"Soleil," Starshine warned her sister. "I'm also a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and Shoalin Ru."
"Do not leave town. Come with me to Mount Justice," Kaldur offered. 'And what was Shoalin Ru?'
Starshine gave Kaldur a look of are-you-insane. "You mean the Hall of Justice? The last thing I need is a bunch of grown heroes telling me what to do! I've done fine for the last three years! NO thanks."
"Starshine, why are so intent on dealing with this alone?" he asked her.
"Nobody else has to die! That's why! I will not be responsible for anymore deaths!" Starshine screamed. Aqualad looked hurt and Stara regretted her words. "Aqualad, I…I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. You were only trying to help."
"You were being honest." Kaldur sounded hurt though. Was he taking it personally? He wasn't sure.
"Please understand that it's best that we leave town. You know how dangerous Pyromick is. Maybe we can get them out of your town before they really cause trouble." She still saw the hurt look in his eyes and took his arm. "Aqualad, it's nothing personal. My powers have kept us alive for three years."
"And when these powers fail?" he asked her.
Stara blinked, hesitating for a few. Then, "That's why I have two black belts. And weapons." With a secretive smile, she flicked her wrists and out from her oversized sleeves came two escrima sticks, both white in color. She held them up.
"I see." And he didn't know how two small sticks were considered weapons but she did say she had two black belts. But still… "I must stop here, Starshine. It has been a long night. I must thank you for rescuing me."
"It has been a long night. And it was nothing." Starshine was sad. Was she really that desperate for company? He wasn't bad to look at, either. "Why don't you come with us?" she asked him.
Soleil stared at her sister, surprised.
"I cannot. I have…responsibilities here." Aqualad was torn, however. For the first time in years, he was torn between duty…and something else. He felt the need to protect her and her sister. "Are you sure you will not reconsider?"
Stara was tempted to stay. But she could not bear Aqualad's death on top of her family's deaths. "I…I can't."
"Then take this." Kaldur pulled off his ear piece and handed it to Starshine. "It's a communicator. If you are in Happy Harbor again, just tap it. I'll hear you." The look in her eyes as she eagerly took the comm piece was worth losing it.
"Thanks." She took the duffle bag from Kaldur and draped it over one shoulder. "Take care, Aqualad. It was nice meeting you." Her and Soleil turned to leave.
She turned to look back.
"My name is Kaldur'ahm. But my friends call me Kaldur."
The girl knew she had been trusted with a secret. She could do no less for him. "My name is Stara. Stara De Parra. Bye Kaldur. I hope to see you again." She kept walking away, a smile on her face.
Aqualad waited until both girls were out of ear-shot before saying, "Me too, Stara. Me too."
*** So this one-shot was stuck in my head while trying to finish ch.27 of Future Dividends. So I finally got it out and finished the chapter in the same day. Look for the next installment of Starshine and Kaldur in "In Blackest Night…" ***