Author's Note: Another one-shot song-fic. And this is with one of my weird pairings that I'm starting to like more and more: Starling and Dark Ace. Set right after Ace betrays the Storm Hawks for Cyclonia.

Disclaimer: I own neither the song "Decode" by Paramore nor the Storm Hawks.


Starling stared at the radio in surprise. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't. But…why in the world would the Sky Knight Council lie to them? So it had to be true.

She turned to face her own squadron, confusion and pain evident in her expression. "Ace," she whispered, "He betrayed us all. He took down the Storm Hawks. He's Cyclonian now."

The Interceptors could only stare as shocked as their leader. At age sixteen, she was the youngest Sky Knight yet. When she began dating the also-young seventeen-year-old Storm Hawk, it seemed like a dream come true. It seemed like the perfect couple. If Ace's betrayal hurt them, how must she be feeling?

How can I decide what's right

When you're clouding up my mind?

She stared at the piece of paper in her hand.

'Starling, I need to talk to you. Meet me in our secret place tonight at midnight. Come alone. Please.'

There was no signature, but she didn't need one. She knew whom it came from.

Ace. Or she should say, Dark Ace.

She sighed. She knew that she shouldn't go meet him. He had betrayed her. He had betrayed them. He had killed her friends. She knew Lightening Strike's four-year-old son. Who was going to look after him? Ace—no, the Dark Ace shouldn't be given the chance to beg for forgiveness.

The hanger doors screeched open, and she revved her skimmer. Memories of his chiseled features, his cute little smile, his gentle kisses filled her mind. She couldn't just leave him, not without saying goodbye.

I can't win

You're losing sight

All the time

The place brought back old memories of their first date. He was taking her to Terra Atmosia to have dinner with the rest of the Storm Hawks, as they had invited her and her own ride was under construction. Ace had offered to pick her up and bring her. Of course, she accepted. She had a crush on the cute young Storm Hawk, and any excuse to spend time with him she would take.

His skimmer had "broken down" above the deserted Terra. It seemed just like another unlucky coincidence. Until, she saw a picnic dinner laid out and candles lighting up the scene.

It was her first date, he first kiss.

He was her first, and only, love.

Not gonna ever own what's mine

When you're always taking sides

But you won't take away my pride

No, not this time

Not this time

Why did he expect her to come? Did he think he could just betray them all like that? Did he think he could just saunter back and be forgiven? Did he think that he was above the rules?

Well, he didn't own her! She wouldn't forgive him, and she would never join him!

That made him the enemy.

How did we get here?

I used to know you so well

How did we get here?

Well, I think I know

The hum of another skimmer alerted her of his presence. The Dark Ace had come, too. Silently, he landed about twenty feet from her and dismounted his skimmer.

She whipped out her purple nunchucks, giving the unspoken but clear message that they were enemies.

How did they reach this point? They had loved each other! Did that love mean nothing to him?

The truth is hiding in your eyes

And it's hanging on your tongue

Just boiling in my blood

But you think that I can't see

What kind of man that you are

If you're a man at all

"Starling," he began, "I'm so sorry."

"Like hell you are!" she snarled. "You bloody betrayed them! You killed them! You betrayed us all!" Her voice lowered, nearly cracking. "You betrayed me."


"Do you think that I'm just going to forgive you?" she screamed. "You've been lying to me! Every time you said you loved me, that was just a lie! If you even knew what love was, you wouldn't have betrayed us all! I don't know you! I hate you! Get away from me!"

Well, I will figure this one out

On my own

(I'm screaming, "I love you so")

On my own

(My thoughts you can't decode)

She didn't need him. She didn't need him. That was what she kept telling herself. She could get through on her own. She didn't need him. He betrayed her. She hated him for that.

She still loved him.

How did he do that to her? Make her so angry but at the same time so weak? What should she do? What could she do? Because despite all he had done, she still loved him.

He stared at her furious face, her roiling thoughts well-hidden behind her angry glare. He had no idea what she was thinking.

How did we get here?

I used to know you so well, yeah

How did we get here?

Well, I think I know

Somehow, she ended up in his arms, sobbing. "What did you do?" she cried. "Why did you have to betray us all? I love you, but we can't be together. Not now. Not after what you've done. Why, Ace? Why?"

He was comforting her. His hands were rubbing circles on her back and shoulder. Her head was curled in the crook of his neck, and he treasured the feeling of closeness. Her soft, petite body pressed against his.

How did everything come down to this? Were they enemies? Were they still lovers? He wasn't sure.

Right now, though, she needed him, so he was there.

Do you see what we've done?

We've gone and made such fools

Of ourselves

'I came to tell him that we couldn't continue this. I came to scream at him for betraying us all. I came to see if it was really true.'

'I did not come to hold him. I did not come to feel his arms around me, but somehow, now I'm in his embrace.'

'I tell myself that it would never work. I tell myself that he's the enemy and I'm a Sky Knight, but none of that seems to matter. I tell myself I'm a bloody idiot.'

'I don't care. I snuggle closer to his chest.'

Do you see what we've done?

We've gone and made such fools

Of ourselves

'I told myself that I didn't need any of them. I convinced myself that this was the best way. So far, I had no regrets.'

'Then she came along. I should have known that Starling would try to pull me away from Cyclonia. I thought I had braced myself for it. But when she screamed at me, when she cried in my arms, I knew I couldn't leave her behind.'

'I was in such a mess. Traitor of the Atmos, now ready to throw away my position in Cyclonia for this girl. What a mess.'

'But I loved her, so I was willing to make the sacrifice. As long as she'd still take me, I'd sneak out to see her. I loved her.'

How did we get here?

I used to know you so well, yeah

How did we get here?

Well, I used to know you so well

I think I know

I think I know

He gently raised her face so that her watery emerald eyes gazed into his crimson own. Their faces were dangerously close.

"We shouldn't," she whispered.

"We're in too deep already," he replied, then leaned down, kissing her passionately.

Surprisingly, she kissed him back.

There is something I see in you

It might kill me

I want it to be true

It was dangerous, the Sky Knight and the Talon Commander. Every time they met, it was snatched seconds out of their busy lives. They always had to watch over their shoulders, make sure no one suspected anything.

It would only be so long before someone figured out what was going on, and it would be the death of both of them. Yet they both clung to this semblance of love, because they couldn't let go. They needed some sliver of truth in their lives, and strangely enough, they found it in each other.


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