DISCLAIMER ~ Static Shock and all characters therein are the property of KidsWB, Milestone and DC Comics. This story is written for fun, not profit.

A/N ~ I have no idea where this came from, but it stuck, and so you're all going to suffer it along with me. Please return your seats to the upright position and buckle your safety belts. Thank you.

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'Terminal Dignity' By Scribbler

February 2004

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'There is only one terminal dignity - love.' ~ Helen Hayes

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One day Sharon Hawkins was going to write a book. It would be called 'How to Date a Superhero', run to hundreds of pages, and be a best-seller. She'd already decided on half the chapter titles, foremost of which would be 'Conducting a Dinner Without Broken Limbs'.

Of course, the whole idea hinged on knowing how to do it for herself. Especially that part.

One would think attending the ritziest hotel in town to mark their third anniversary would be simple enough. Even Adam Evans, the man who oft-times ran around fighting crime in purple underwear, could sit down to a nice, normal meal without mishap. He'd proven it many times before when he stopped over at her house for dinner, or she dropped by his apartment and joined him for re-heated takeout. It was not a difficult task, and certainly not beyond him.

Heck, the whole idea of commemorating the occasion in the first place had been his idea. Sharon had been quite happy to stay home watching rented videos and eating boxes of Ming Sau Takeaway's finest chop suey. It had been Adam who insisted they make a big deal out of three years away from the singleton wilderness. He'd booked the table, paid for their tickets, arranged the limo, hired a suit and everything. When he turned up at the door, she'd half expected him to produce a corsage.

For her part, Sharon had blown a heftier chunk of her funds than she was willing to tell her father on a dress and hair-n'-nails treatment at the swanky salon Celia from work went to. Just-starting-out psychologists weren't the best paid people in the workforce, but despite her bank balance looking less than healthy she had positively glowed when they stepped from the limousine, linked arms and breezed by the hostess like proper celebrities. It wasn't a card Adam played very often, but tonight he'd made an exception.

It was just downright inconsiderate of Hyde and Kangorr to choose tonight for a robbery. And not just any robbery. No, they had to go all pre-planned and actually *design* their heist, with forethought and all the trimmings.

Who would possibly be in the exclusive part of town at that time of night except richissime and wimpy luxuriants? Superheroes patrolled down and out places – warehouses, derelict buildings and the like. Perfect spots for degenerates. So if the degenerates moved, they could rob and run before Static et al even sniffed anything was up. Perfect.

Damn Adam and his proclivity for playing hero. Damn Hyde for growing a brain. Damn them for choosing that restaurant for their special night out. And damn the stupid ice pack for being so damn cold.

"Adam!"

"Be there in a second, honey."

"Well, hurry up. DeGracie's on MTV and I can't reach the remote to change over before my eyes start bleeding."

"What? Isn't the remote on the coffee table?"

"Yes."

"It's barely out of reach. Can't you get it yourself?"

"I have a towel full of ice-cubes pressed against my foot. May I remind you why I have a towel full of ice-cubes pressed against my foot? A dirty towel, no less. Is the word 'laundry' even in your vocabulary? And may I remind you whose *fault* it is that I have - "

"Okay, okay." Wisely, Adam decided not to pursue the argument. His voice turned vaguely muffled for a moment, like he was speaking from the depths of a cabinet. "Hang on a second and I'll be right there."

Sharon settled back, easing the cushion up her spine a little and readjusting the cold compress. Though she had played no real part in it, the scuffle outside the restaurant had left her with two broken toes and a sprained ankle. The price she paid for keeping pepper spray in her purse and a sign on her back saying 'hostage material'.

Chapter Eighty-Six – How Not to Attract Hostage-Takers.

One trip to the emergency room and one bandaged ankle later, here she was, propping her foot on the coffee table and abusing her status as Sick and Injured.

Adam entered from the kitchen carrying a dusty, but otherwise immaculate package of Twinkies she didn't remember ever seeing before when she went poking around inside his cupboards. From the layer of grime on the plastic she surmised they'd been tucked into a corner someplace out of sight. Possibly by the apartment's previous owner.

"Sorry." He passed the remote and sank down next to her on the couch. She lost no time in switching channel from the annoying hiphop wannabe. "This was all I could find approaching edible. I kinda forgot to go grocery shopping recently."

"How recent is recently?"

"Um…"

"Adam."

"I think I went at the beginning of the month. I think. Maybe."

Sharon rolled her eyes. "No wonder you're always mooching at our house."

His expression melted into a childish pout. "I thought you liked having me over."

She ignored his attempt to steal her sympathy and gestured to the Twinkies. "Not really a fair exchange for that meal we had to leave, is it?"

"Not really. But hey, at least now we get to watch movies like you wanted."

"Yay. So, you gonna open them, or what?"

A few moments later they sat, idly flicking channels and munching on not entirely stale cream-filled pastry that boasted no redeeming nutritious value whatsoever. Sharon had grudgingly given up the remote upon realising she couldn't hold down the ice-pack and eat at the same time, and interjected every so often for him to stop or move on.

When she'd given the same command three times in a row she tore her eyes from the screen to find him looking at her with a strange expression. She wasn't entirely sure she liked it, and regarded her boyfriend through narrowed eyes.

"What? Do I have cream on my chin or something?"

"I'm sorry." It was said so sadly, and with such weariness that she immediately forgot about the television and the Twinkies and diverted all her attention to his suddenly careworn face. She'd rarely seen him look so exhausted, even after battling Ebon and his crew.

"Adam?" The word encapsulated all questions she could think of, and the subsequent sigh he emitted sparked a thousand new ones. Superheroes did not sigh like that unless the apocalypse was nigh. Which didn't bode well for the remainder of their evening.

"This isn't really romantic, is it?"

"Is that what's bothering you? Hey, I'm not difficult to please. Really. Who needs fancy food with names you can't pronounce and high-faluting society when you have pay-per-view?" Disregarding her earlier sniping, she flashed him a smile to show that she wasn't really upset. It was just in her nature to pick fault with Life, Love and All That. Too many years of living with Virgil showing its ugly head, most likely.

Last year they had gone to the most expensive restaurant in Metropolis in an attempt to celebrate in style. That fiasco had ended abruptly when one too many reporters brought up National Enquirer gossip about Adam's wholly fabricated affair with one Aqua Maria.

Sharon Hawkins was not Kate-Moss-svelte. She had hair that refused to be stylish, the fashion-sense of a clothes horse and - as more than one reporter had spitefully pointed out since she started dating The Famous Rubberband Man – possessed more curves than was considered 'attractive' by contemporary showbiz. She was, in short, not a media luvvy, and the camera didn't like her, but that night she'd been less than ten seconds from a full-scale punch-up with one journalist.

Compared to that, tonight had been a dream.

Adam fiddled with the sleeves of his shirt. The jacket had been around her shoulders for the jaunt to the ER, and ended up flung across a chair somewhere when they finally trawled back into his apartment in the wee hours, far past the point of sleep but too tired and cranky to stay out. His cufflinks glinted in the soft lighting.

"This isn't going exactly as I planned…"

"Hey, so long as neither of us is splattered across the pavement someplace, I'd chalk tonight up as a success."

A wan smile tobogganed across his face, but fizzled out again almost immediately. He abandoned the cufflinks to clasp both hands behind his head and made a strange, strangled noise, like a dying hyena.

"Adam, you okay? Don't tell me we have to go back to the hospital - "

"No," he cut her off. "No, I just… I just…"

"Just what?" she prompted, when no further words were forthcoming.

In answer, he reached into the pocket of his pants and placed a small maroon box on the couch between them.

Quietly, Sharon picked it up and opened it. A small gold ring stared back at her. At its apex was a tiny, glittering diamond prisming rainbow light in a bar across her nose.

There was no preamble, no getting down on one knee or surge of melodramatic music. Just the ring and a badly-worded, half-finished apology that their evening hadn't gone better.

All at once, the pure ridiculousness of the situation hit Sharon like a freight train between the eyes. She was sitting in an apartment watching poorly-acted B-movies, eating Twinkies instead of lobster, and her boyfriend-who-occasionally-helped-save-the-city was proposing to her.

At least, she assumed that was what the ring and restaurant palaver had been for.

It was inexplicably and extraordinarily hilarious - in a vaguely hysterical sort of way.

There was a long silence. Ice ages came and went. Planets formed and died. A thought occupied Sharon's mind that had no verbal form. Then someone laughed using her vocal chords, and she heard her own voice asking, "Is this for me?"

Adam's face was a mixture of woeful, earnest and oh-my-God-I-can't-believe-I-just-did-that. He'd never been very good at articulating his emotions, and he didn't let her down this time, either. "Don't see anyone else around." He redeemed himself, however, by leaning across and kissing her forehead.

Sharon felt something lodging in her gullet, and she stared at the ring some more. Then she looked at Adam. Then back at the ring. Adam. Ring. Adam. Ring. She felt like her eyeballs were going to ping around her skull and back into place like a slot machine, but couldn't help but look between the two again and again.

Adam adopted a frozen mask of forced smiling when she still didn't answer.

Letting out a whoosh of breath, Sharon plucked him by the ear and brought him close enough to muscle an awkward kiss.

Maybe tonight hadn't been a total disaster after all, then.

However, she'd have to rename her book.

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FIN.