Disclaimer: Don't own Biker Mice From Mars, just using the characters

Rating: PG-13

            Sometimes you see a black cloud over head and sometimes everyone sees the black cloud before you do.  You start to feel that rain on your head and then you look up.  There, staring back at you is this massive dark grey blob with drops of water hitting you in the face.

            Throttle slumped over his handlebars.  Despite kicking Limburger's goons' asses, his day had been bad.  He had nearly fallen off his bike after hitting a patch of oil on the highway.  His bros had laughed at him and didn't waste a minute in telling Charley.

            Charley hadn't said anything.  She had just smiled.

            As if things couldn't get any worse, they did.  After leaving for the perch he was at now, he hit by a balloon filled with stuff.  It looked like Elmer's glue in water.  Now it was on his fur and his vest.  To make matters worse, the Windy City was blowing dust and dirt around.

            Throttle got off his bike and climbed down the ten-foot cliff to the small beach on Lake Michigan.  He slid the last few feet, but managed to stay on his feet.  He took off his vest and looked at the mess.  White particles, covered in brown dust and dirt, were splattered on the back shoulder area.

            Throttle touched the mess and found that it was still wet.  Now it clung to his fingers.

            "Damn it!" Throttle cussed.  He stuck his fingers into the cool water and managed to get the glue off of him.  He took off his wrist bandana and soaked it in the water.  He wiped at his vest until the glue came off.

            He placed his vest down and reached his left hand to feel the back of his right shoulder.  He hated this spot.  It was hard to reach and there was definitely some glue there.  He put the wet bandana into his left hand and tried wiping all of the glue off.

            There were a few hard pieces that wouldn't come out of his fur.  He tried to reach them with both hands and managed to get most of them out.  He put his vest back on.

            Climbing back up the cliff, which he did with out any trouble, he sat back down on his bike.  The sun was starting to set.  He heard his father's voice in his head.

            Stick with science, boy.  You'll get somewhere in your life.  His father had been a botanist.  One of many who had tried to save the Martian plant life.  He had been killed when Throttle was sixteen.  A whole platoon of Plutarkians raided the botany labs and destroyed everything, including the occupants.

            'Maybe if I had gone with science I wouldn't be here' Throttle thought to himself.  He thought about the guys and Charley and then took back what he had thought.  He thought about the roles of life, then his life, and finally his role that life had dished out to him.  He was the leader whether it was official or no. 'Pop, sometimes I don't want to be the leader.'  He looked at the wet bandana in his hand. 'Leaders don't get glue filled water balloons thrown at them.  They don't slid on small patches of oil.  They don't get made fun of right to their face.'

            He threw the wet bandana into a compartment on the bike.  He'd have to wash it later.  The sun cast red light onto the ground and for just a second it looked like Martian soil.  Throttle could feel the emotions well up in his chest.

            His mother had poured "perfect" upbringing into Throttle.  Fight in the war, meet a girl, get married, have kids, and retire.  That's what all Martians were doing.  That's not what Throttle wanted though.  A small part of him liked the thought of going back to Mars and raising kids, but the other part had no interest in raising kids.  It told him to wait until Modo or Vinnie had a kid or two.  Then he could play the role of the cool best friend that they called 'uncle'.

            The thought of kids made him think of Carbine.  She had been his first, but not his last.  They had broken up so many times that Throttle had started to look forward to the fights.  While they would be broken up, he'd go out and find a girl or two.  One, maybe two nights of hot sex and he'd call it quits.  He wasn't even sure if Carbine knew about his sleeping around.  If she did, she didn't care.  It had all stopped when the Plutarkians had taken him.

            Throttle let out a long sigh.  Again he heard his father's voice.  You'll never amount to anything with those awful Freedom Fighters.  His father had been part of the team of army botanists.

            Throttle ran a hand through his hair.  His head was starting to hurt now.  He didn't want to listen to his own thoughts.  He turned the radio on and put on his helmet.  He started his bike and left to try to get rid of his thoughts.

            Sometimes when it rains, it pours.  It can pour down rain for hours or just minutes.  But, it's the eye of the storm that really seems to sharpen the storm.  The rain seems to be like pellets, the clouds seem darker, and the electricity can almost drive you crazy.

            Throttle went back to the Last Chance.  Modo and Vinnie had left.  He pulled in and saw Charley working on an older bike.  It still had its original cherry red paint.

            "Nice bike" Throttle said.  He took off his helmet, but remained on his bike.  Charley smiled at him and stood up.  She wiped her hands on a rag.

            "You okay, Throttle?" Charley asked. "Vinnie and Modo feel bad about you running off."

            "I'm alright Charley-girl" Throttle said. "Maybe just a little depressed, but I'm alright."

            Out of everyone, Charley was easy to talk to.  His chest felt heavy with emotion again.  His libido wanted Charley, but his mind told him that Charley wasn't a one-night stand.

            "Throttle?" Charley said.  Throttle blinked and looked back at Charley.

            "Yeah?" Throttle said.  Charley had come closer to him.

            "Are you really okay?" Charley asked.

            "I told you, I'm fine" Throttle said.  He snapped at her when he didn't mean to.  He sighed and brought his hand up to rub the bridge of his nose.  Charley put a hand on his shoulder.

            "Why don't you go inside and relax" Charley suggested. "I'll make some dinner soon.  You can eat here tonight."

            "Thanks Charley" Throttle said.  He got off of his bike and soon found himself sitting at Charley's dining table.  He looked through the mail and opened the new 'Cycle World' magazine.  He flipped through it without really looking.

            Images of having any type of sexual encounter with Charley came to mind.  He could picture her in high black heels with stockings and a garter belt.  Maybe in a short green dress that was skintight.  He could almost feel the fabric.  He thought of how her lips would feel on his mouth.  He had never kissed a human before.

            His thoughts were interrupted by Modo's voice.  Bro, you gotta stop sleeping around.  If not for yourself, do it for Carbine, bro.  The guys hadn't been too keen on his bad habits, though they didn't see many of them.  Modo had taken it the worst.  Of course, Modo didn't just have upbringing, he had his mother shoving it down his throat every second she could.  And, of course, Modo had tried living up to it.

            "Fucking Rats" Throttle whispered.  A group of Rats had come along and killed Modo's pregnant wife.  Throttle leaned on the table and put his head on his arms.  He wanted to cry, or at least his body wanted to cry.

            He heard Charley in the hall and sat up.  She shouldn't have to worry.  He looked down at the magazine.  There were a bunch of pictures showing different crankcase designs.

            "What do you feel like eating?" Charley asked when she came in.

            "I don't know" Throttle said.  In truth, he wasn't very hungry.  He heard the chair across from him slide along the floor.  He looked up and Charley was sitting there.

            "Do you need to talk?" Charley asked.  She had a look of concern on her face.  The air around Throttle felt heavy.  Charley must have sensed it. "You seem really tired."  She stood up. "I'll make some food.  Go find something on tv and don't get too involved with it.  Okay?"

            "Yeah" Throttle said.  He did as he was told.  'The Forbidden Planet' was playing on Sci-Fi.

            This is what Charley liked to do.  Turn the volume down and talk.  If you didn't want to talk anymore, then you watched tv.  Sometimes, it helped and sometimes you'd just end up watching tv.

            Throttle felt uncomfortable in his jeans.  They felt heavy.  Charley had made them keep an extra set of clothes and pajama pants at her place.  Throttle got up and went to find his pair of pajama bottoms.

            Throttle pulled on his pair of black pants.  Charley had bought them.  She had even managed to find their favorite colors.  He felt more comfortable with the lightweight pants on.  He tossed his vest onto the cot where his pants were and pulled on a flannel shirt, that he kept unbuttoned.

            When Throttle went back out to the couch, he found a plate with carrots and ranch dressing.  The buzzer went off and he could hear Charley pulling something out of the oven.

            'Good' Throttle mused. 'Anything but hot dogs.'

            Charley came out with a plate full of chicken strips and barbecue sauce.

            "Guess it's time to put on something more comfortable" Charley said setting the plate down. "I'll be right back."

            Throttle sat down on the left side of the couch and munched on a few carrot sticks.  Charley came down in green pj pants and a black tank top.  No matter what anyone says, Charley doesn't waste time dressing or changing unlike most girls.

            She sat down on the right side of the couch and picked up a chicken strip.  Throttle picked one up too.

            "So what's up?" Charley asked.  If Throttle had a hat, he'd pull it over his eyes.  Instead, he ate his chicken and shrugged. "Want me to guess?"

            "No" Throttle said after swallowing the bite of chicken. "I don't even know if I want to talk about it."

            "If you didn't want to talk, then you would have left" Charley said.

            "Do you think I need to cut my hair?" Throttle asked.  Charley looked taken aback.  She looked at his hair.  It had grown a lot since she had first met him.

            "I like it" Charley said. "It has that early-90s Christian Slater look to it now."  Throttle nodded.  He really didn't care about his hair.  Charley crunched a carrot. "You're not really worried about your hair, are you?"

            "Not really" Throttle said. Charley turned so she was facing him on the couch.  She had that 'well-what-is-it' look.  Throttle didn't want to tell her that he thought he was a bad leader or that his libido was long over due for some action or that a part of him wanted to have kids or that he should have gone into some sort of science.

            "Look, we don't have to talk" Charley said.  She picked up a bottle of red nail polish from the coffee table that Throttle hadn't noticed. "But I'm going to paint my nails, unless you want to paint them."

            Charley had meant it as a joke, but Throttle snatched the bottle from her.  This would get stuff off of his mind.

            "I'll paint them" Throttle said.  He didn't smile about it.  He had a sister.  He knew how to paint nails.

            "I was joking" Charley said. "You don't have to paint them.  Do you even know how?"

            "I had a sister Charley-girl" Throttle said. "I know what I'm doing."

            "You had a sister?" Charley said.  Throttle nodded.

            "She died" Throttle said.  He hadn't thought about Lex in a long time. "Her name was Alexandra, but we all called her Lex."  She had died with their mother in an explosion. "I…don't want to talk about it, Charley-girl."

            "It's okay" Charley said.  She put a foot on his lap and wiggled her toes. "Still going to paint them?"

            "Yeah" Throttle said with a smirk.  He threw a pillow onto Charley's stomach and laid down.  This is how he had always done it with his sister.  With Charley, it seemed to be strange.  Somehow more intimate then with his sister, but he pushed the feelings away.  They went to the metaphorical bottle where he kept all of his other emotions.

            He started on her right foot.

            Sometimes it starts to rain, to pour, and you don't have an umbrella.  You're caught in your regular clothes or worse, nothing, and all you have are the cold wind and rain.  It doesn't stop until you find shelter and by that time, you're usually sick.

            Charley had gotten Throttle to start talking.  She was propped up against a few pillows and still had Throttle painting her nails.  He was starting his third coat of paint.  Charley listened and ran her fingers through his hair.  She had French braided it, braided it into a crown, and was smoothing it back out.

            "—The guys didn't approve of what I did" Throttle said. "I guess, looking back, I don't really approve either.  I just had to do it, you know?  I didn't know how else to deal with my emotions."

            "A lot of people have that sex phase Throttle" Charley said.  She started to part his hair. "It doesn't mean you're a bad person."

            "I guess not" Throttle said. "I don't know why I'm even thinking about it.  That was years ago."

            "Maybe that's the reason" Charley said.  Throttle was working on her big toe and never faltered once.

            "What do you mean?" Throttle asked.  Charley pulled Throttle's hair into a ponytail, then into pigtails.

            "How long has it been for you?" Charley asked. "I know I haven't seen Carbine in a year.  So, how long?"

            "Two in a half years" Throttle said.  He paused.  He hadn't thought about it.  Well, he had, but not as the root of his problems. "And, two years before that."

            "Then maybe that really is your problem" Charley said.

            "Do you think I'm a good leader?" Throttle asked.

            "Yeah" Charley said. "The guys would be lost without you."  Throttle started on Charley's other foot, but Charley reached around him and took the bottle. "Throttle, I think they're red."

            "Sorry" Throttle said.  Charley capped the nail polish.  Throttle had tensed up while talking.  He started to move her feet to sit up, but Charley put her hands on his shoulders. "What?"

            "Keep talking, Throttle" Charley said. "My toes still have to dry."

            "What should I talk about?" Throttle asked.  He jumped when he felt Charley's hands push the collar of his shirt aside.  He relaxed when she started to knead the muscles of his shoulders.

            "Tell me about" Charley said. "Anything.  What's on your mind?"

            "You don't need to know what's on my mind" Throttle said.  What was on his mind could be more embarrassing then having anyone make fun of him.  Charley was on his mind now. 'Note to self, never talk about sex with Charley.'

            "Well, what was on your mind?" Charley asked.

            "The future" Throttle said after thinking about it for a few seconds. "I don't know where I'm going or what I'm going to do.  It bothers me."

            "Aren't you going back to Mars?" Charley asked.  Throttle's back muscles loosened and he felt himself sinking against Charley.

            "I don't know" Throttle said. "I'd like to, but I don't know if I want to stay there."

            "Do you want to stay here?" Charley asked.  Her hands slowed down.

            "I don't know that either" Throttle said. "I like it here with the trees and water, but I can't even go to the store without someone noticing the fur or tail."

            "Maybe you can go back and forth between planets" Charley said.  Her pace picked up some.

            "I don't know Charley" Throttle said.  He grunted as a tight knot released.

            "I'm not hurting you am I?" Charley asked.

            "No" Throttle said. "Feels good."

            There was that awkward moment of silence between them.  Throttle pulled Charley's hands from his shoulders.  He pulled them down so she was pretty much hugging him.

            "You're awesome Charley" Throttle said. "I don't know how or why you put up with us, but you do."

            "You make it sound like you three are hard to deal with" Charley said. "I love you guys.  You're my family."

            Friends.  Good enough to be her family.  Throttle sighed and released her hands.  He sat up. "I think I should go."

            "Why?" Charley asked. "I mean, we were in the middle of talking."

            'My thoughts aren't very family oriented' Throttle thought.  Instead of saying that, he said "I have some thinking I need to do."

            Someone once told me that the storm lightens up when you think it'll go on forever.  Sometimes it takes the storm a while to figure out how long it's been raining and sometimes it knows.  When it knows, it stops; otherwise it just keeps raining until it's out of water.

            Throttle stood behind the couch.  Charley had reached out and grabbed his shirtsleeve.

            "Throttle, I've never seen you this depressed" Charley said.  Throttle moved his wrist and put his hand in the hand she had had on his sleeve. "Is it something I've done?  Something the others did?"

            "No" Throttle said. "It's…just me."

            Throttle didn't move or let go of Charley's hand.  She didn't loosen her grip either.  Charley moved her other hand so it was on top of Throttle's.  She played with the light fur there.

            "Throttle" Charley said softly.  Just his name.  Throttle wanted to melt.  She was what he wanted in a woman, but he stayed in the same spot.  His lewd thoughts beat at the back of his brain.

            "Sorry for ruining your night, babe" Throttle said as softly as Charley had said his name.  He gently pulled out of her grasp and walked towards the spare bedroom.

            'Come on Charley' Throttle thought. 'Just ask me to stay or at least give me some kind of sign.'

            Charley didn't say anything.  Throttle stretched his neck and went to get dressed.  He pulled on his jeans before hearing a knock at the door.  Throttle's heart beat a little faster as he opened the door.  He didn't even waste time buttoning his pants.

            "Throttle, Vinnie's on the phone for you" Charley said.  She handed him the portable phone and looked him over. "You look like you should be on a calendar."

            "Thanks, Charley" Throttle said with a smirk. 'Was that a sign?'  "Hey Vinnie."

            "Hey bro, you hitting on my girl?" Vinnie asked.

            "Your girl huh?" Throttle said.  Charley rolled her eyes. "Charley, you his girl?"

            "I'm nobodies girl" Charley said with a smile.  She took off towards the kitchen.

            "She says she's nobodies girl, bro" Throttle said.  He held the phone between his ear and shoulder while fastening his jeans. "What's up bro?"

            "I just wanted to see if you were okay" Vinnie said. "You ran off and we didn't know what upset you.  I mean, if it was because we were kidding with you, then we're sorry man."

            "It's okay" Throttle said. "I had a lot on my mind.  I'm okay.  We're all okay."

            "Bros?" Vinnie said.

            "Yeah, bros" Throttle said.  Over the phone Vinnie called out to Modo saying 'we're bros again.'

            "We're just watching a few movies and playing monopoly" Vinnie said. "We'll see you when you get here."

            "Okay.  Later, Vin" Throttle said.  He went to the kitchen to put the phone in its charger.  Charley was leaning against the counter with a root beer in her hand.

            "You guys okay?" Charley asked.

            "Yeah, we're cool" Throttle said.  Charley smiled and tried to hide it by taking a sip of her root beer. "What?"

            "Nothing" Charley said. "It's stupid."

            "So, what?" Throttle asked. "Now I look stupid or something?"

            "You know that's not what I meant" Charley said.  Throttle padded across the kitchen to pull a root beer out of the fridge.  They watched each other while they drank their sodas. "It's only nine o'clock.  You don't have to go yet."

            "Do you want me to stay?" Throttle asked.  He crossed the kitchen and got a cookie from the cookie jar that was next to Charley.

            "I wouldn't mind if you stayed" Charley said.  That emotional kick to the chest came back to Throttle and he leaned forward with both hands on the counter. "Throttle?"

Charley touched his arm.  Throttle whipped his head around to look at her.  He stood up without the cookie or drink in his hand.  He took the soda from Charley and let his head hang down.

"Charley" Throttle started to say.  He couldn't think of the right words.  He took a deep breath.  Charley found his hand and held it. "Just tell me if I go to far, okay?"

Throttle pressed his mouth to Charley's in one quick movement.  It was better the he had imagined.  The metaphorical bottle of emotions spilled just a little.

When Throttle pulled away, he kept his eyes closed.  He didn't know if Charley would approve.  Her grip on his hand had tightened, but he couldn't remember if that was a good thing.

Throttle let out the breath that he was holding and started to step back.  Charley grabbed his waistband.  Throttle met her eyes and let his jaw drop in surprise.

"You haven't finished your cookie" Charley said with a smile.

When it stops raining, everything looks fresh.  The leaves seem greener, the smells seem newer, and the air seems crisper.  Sometimes that's all it takes to appreciate the storm.

The End