the sign said stop but we went on whole-hearted
Summary: Marianne Poe, codename "Sibyl", muses about her late husband, the famous Storm Starter. Companion/kind of prequel to weather girl you are the queen of my world.
Disclaimer: yeah, I actually wrote Sky High. SIKE.
As part of PROJECT REVAMP, this was redone as of 12/1/12.
AND THEN ON 4/22/13 I WENT BACK AND FIXED ALL THE AWFUL TYPOS & DE-SONGFIC-IFIED IT. Hopefully I got all the mistakes. Let me know if I didn't!
I bet your fortress fades,
belied your fort of lace;
It is by the grace of me
you never learned what I could see.
Oh, you silly stupid pastime of mine,
you were always good for a rhyme!
And from the first, to the last time,
the sign said 'stop,' but we went on whole-hearted;
It ended bad, but I love what we started.
It said 'stop,' but we went on whole-hearted;
It ended bad, but I love what we started...
-Fiona Apple, "Parting Gift."
As someone gifted with the power of premonition, there's not a lot that goes down without me knowing about it. Few things in life truly surprise me, and even fewer things catch me off guard. I always see them coming and there isn't a thing I can do about it. But there was a time when I believed I could change the future - that my visions didn't have to happen the way I saw them. I was young and idealistic, I guess. Since then, I'be learned (the hard way, might I add) that fighting the futures I see is pretty useless. You can't fight fate, you know?
Josef Storm: the most handsome boy at Sky High, bar none, back in the olden days when I was a student there. He was the best friend of Baron Battle. Later on he became a hero famous for his control over the weather and an uncanny ability to travel in shadow. Strangely enough, he would also become my husband. In school, like most of the other red-blooded females, I thought Josef was the epitome of human genetic perfection, the best looking of the best looking! He had this dark hair that hung in his face until he pushed it back casually, and his blue eyes had this uncanny ability to burn away your soul. Everything about him was so intense…the way he looked at people, his attitude towards school work, his loyalty to his friends. I wanted so badly to be on the receiving end of that intensity. It wasn't until after we had graduated Sky High – he a year before me – that I found myself there.
One night, I was at a bar with my best friend Kat. She probably knew it at the time, but chose not to tell me that none other than Josef Storm would be bartending. A real glamorous cover job, as you can imagine, and one he later discarded for journalism. Anyhow, Kat knew Josef pretty well because he knew her brother- in fact, the two were best friends. Kat's full name was Katianna Battle and the now infamous villain was indeed her brother. But in those days, he was just Baron and him and Josef were just best friends. And I was just the quiet girl with a massive crush on him.
Being the more reserved of the two of us, I sat at the bar nursing my drink while Kat flirted with a flurry of guys, including Josef. He seemed a little reluctant to flirt with his best friend's sister, understandably. Even now, all that girl has to do is lean over and show a little cleavage and the men can't resist her. I was surprised then, as you can imagine, to find Josef did resist, much to Kat's disappointment. After she bounced off to find some other unsuspecting but more susceptible victim, he turned to me. Yes, that's right, Josef Storm turned to me and at that moment I knew deep in my bones (and, you know, I saw it too) that we were going to be something.
We had a whirlwind romance, but I saw that coming too. We were only together for about a month before he proposed to me. Everyone thought we were crazy - which we were (crazy in love, as cliche as it sounds). I remember it like it was yesterday.
He didn't take me out to some fancy dinner and have the waiter put the ring in a piece of bread or anything like that. Thankfully. It was far more casual than that; we were sitting on the couch together, watching a movie. His arm was lounging around my shoulders and the other was in his pocket. As the movie ended, I could tell there was something he wanted to do, something he wanted to say, but at that point I hadn't put the pieces together yet. It wasn't until his arm left its place around my shoulders and he started to move that I remembered one of my previous visions. A while back, I'd had one in which he had proposed. It stuck out to me as strange because I thought it was odd that I was holding a bowl of popcorn, in the middle of stuffing my face, when he chose to go down on one knee. Watching it actually happen was just as strange, and I couldn't believe it was happening to me.
"Marnie, will you marry me?" he asked, and I both laughed and cried at the same time. Not sad tears, just very emotional, happy ones. If a year before someone had told me that would happen, well, I wouldn't have believed it. My reply was enthuiastic and quick.
"Yes, yes, of course!"
The thing, really, about whirlwind romances is that they aren't very well thought out. There is a reason they have a reputation for both excitement and subsequently for failure. Barely a month of dating didn't exactly give us a good amount of time to know each other properly and because of that, the beginnings of our marriage was full of getting to know each other. Not that other newlyweds don't do the same, but for us it was even more true. Even then, there are still things you don't tell one another, things you can only find out when the situation is right.
Around that time I started having the dreams. Not all of them were bad...I saw us with our children, for instance. At first it was just one boy, then two, and then a little girl to go along with them. I was happy - we were happy! Running around with our children, loving each other. Then I saw us fighting...I saw him with another woman; I saw him so angry at me that he couldn't bear to look at me; I saw him leave; I saw myself raising my children alone.
But they were just dreams, right? That's what I told myself. It's what I had to tell myself. I knew, though. I didn't want to believe it but I knew in my gut that they were premonitions, not just the manifestation of my deepest fears and desires.
Josef was a wonderful father, just like I knew he would be and just like I saw. When I first told him I was pregnant with Brad, I was a little afraid of what his reaction would be. We hadn't really talked much about children - what if he was disappointed? What if he didn't want any? But my fears were stupid because he couldn't have been happier. Then came Drew, and we found that we had these two little monsters – partners in crime – on our hands. He loved our sons so much. I loved them all so much my heart felt like it would burst. We argued sometimes in those days, sure, but that wasn't unusual for married couples. Fighting was normal, and anyway it was most often over silly, trivial things. Nothing to worry about, and so I told myself it was proof that those dreams were not the future, despite the children. And even if they were, I could change the future. After all, what was the point of having second sight if I couldn't use it to save my marriage?
Things started getting bad right around the time Senka was born. They didn't go to hell all at once, though, and at first it wasn't all that bad. Josef couldn't have been more excited to have his own little girl. Yes, he loved Brad and Drew, that much was clear. But there was something so very special about him and Senka. Even early on they seemed to have this intense bond that couldn't compare to the one he had with his sons, or even the one I had with her. And oh the look on his face when they told us it was a girl! I knew, of course, but had chosen not to divulge. I knew after that Josef wanted her so desperately. It had been a while since I was last pregnant, and I can't say I'm one of those women who loved being pregnant, but the fact that Baron's wife, Leticia, was pregnant also, helped. We were all very close during that time, but we somehow failed to notice something stirring within Baron. Something dark, and sinister. And none of us thought it would tear everything apart.
Warren was born a month and a half before Senka. I can only guess that something about becoming a father changed Baron. It changed him in the way it does most men - that is to say, in good ways. But it changed him in bad ways too. I suppose none of us we could have fathomed where it would lead. I was too focused on my own marriage and children to consider those things anyway. Now that I had my little girl…I was so much closer to the future I'd seen over and over in my nightmares, the future I wanted more than anything to change. I was scared but equally as desperate not to let it show. Instead, I let myself become absorbed in using my visions to help fight crime.
I didn't really notice it, but I was also withdrawing from my friends and even from Josef. When I wasn't working, I poured all my remaining energy into my children. Senka, as it became strikingly clear to me, was special. I wasn't sure how, but I knew it. Just the way I knew things in my bones, without having to see them in premonitions first. Though I did have a premonition about her, to be fair. Before she was born, I knew she'd be more like Josef than anyone would imagine. I had this premonition while I was pregnant that she inherited his shadow power – as well as a few other things about her – and that's when I knew what I wanted to name her. My little Senka…my shadow.
I thought that things would be good, you know? I thought that I could change what I saw in my dreams. What I didn't see, though, was how my actions – throwing myself into my children and work – would push Josef away. Things were rough between him and Baron in those years after Senka's birth (as well as Warren's) and I knew both he, Kat, and Leticia were concerned but didn't know what to do about it. I felt helpless. I didn't really feel distanced from him, maybe I just didn't notice, but he felt distanced from me. That much became obvious fairly quickly.
One night, he came home really late from work. Sure, he'd been coming home later and later every night but I had tried not to think about it. I focused on other things, accepted his half-hearted excuses and explanations, told myself he couldn't...he wouldn't. But that night…that night he walked in, more tense and distracted than ever, and I felt this overwhelming sense of déjà vu. It was what I had been dreading for years and it mad me sick to my stomach. When I went with him to help put Senka back to sleep (his arrival had woken her), I almost started crying when I saw the telltale lipstick on the collar of his shirt. Part of me was angry that he'd been so careless, the other part terrified because I knew exactly what it meant. I followed him to the kitchen and confronted him, even though I really didn't want to know the truth. Even though I already knew it.
"Joey," I asked, using my nickname for him. "Where were you tonight? I hate that you come back so late and wake up the kids."
"Sorry," he answered nonchalantly, almost unapologetic. "And what do you mean where? I was at work. Where else would I be?"
"Oh, I don't know…" I trailed off, suddenly not in the mood for his charade. "With the woman who left her lipstick on your shirt."
The look on his face wasn't one like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Instead, it was sad. Hell, I was sad. I couldn't help but feel my entire body sag against the counter, knowing his silence to be admission of guilt. I couldn't help but let the tears run down my face.
"Marnie, you know I hate to see you cry," he said softly, coming closer to me as if to comfort me, but I pushed him away.
"Please, just…don't touch me. Not right now," I told him. He looked hurt, but I knew he understood that I was hurting too, more than he was, and with more of a right to hurt too.
That night marked the beginning of the end. Of course, the beginning might have been somewhere else, but it was when I had to face the facts: what I saw was real and in my denial I had let it happen. I felt like I was grasping at thin air during that time. I could see our relationship falling apart and I knew the inevitable ending but I couldn't accept it. I refused to accept it and told myself there had to be something I could do. Anything! How could I face that this life we had built together would come crumbling down? It didn't help that while we should have been struggling to fix our marriage, Josef was caught up in Baron's ever downward spiral. Kat told me that Baron was angry all the time, sometimes even violent. He often spent his time alone and disappeared without explanation. No one knew what to do or how to reach him.
It broke Josef's heart even more than he was breaking mine.
I was working on a project when he stomped into the house one night. He was so angry that it practically radiated off of him in intense waves - that intensity that first drew me to him. There was so much emotion in the air, in his face; there were so many emotions I couldn't make them all out. The look on his face though... it was so exhausted. I gave him a sympathetic look and stood up. He sighed and gathered me into his arms, holding me tight against him as if I were his only lifeline.
"What's the matter?" I asked quietly, my cheek against his chest. He was silent for a long moment and I looked up at him.
"The world is on a manhunt for Baron." was his throaty reply. All I could do was gasp.
Just like no one knew how to handle Baron in those days, none of us knew how to deal with what he had done. I don't know why he did what he did or became what he became, but I felt like he was ruining my life. Which was selfish of me, I know, but I couldn't help it. Everyone around me was depressed and mopey; Josef was constantly on edge and praying that they would catch him and at the same time that they wouldn't. The children would ask me "Mom, what's wrong with Daddy? Is he going to be alright?" but I didn't have an answer.
Then, I had the dream that changed everything. So many times I wish I had never seen it, or that I had never acted on it. But then I chastise myself... even though it marked the death of our relatinoship, I still know I did the right thing.
In that fateful dream, I saw Baron standing in a rotting building. Fire was everywhere and he was laughing maniacally. He was so...twisted. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. Even though I knew it was him, he was almost unrecognizable to me; there was nothing of the Baron I'd known for years in that man. Then the shot panned to the other side of the flames, and I could see Steve and Josie Stronghold. In a moment of quick thinking, Josie flew Steve over the roaring circle of fire. I don't know about the details of the defeat, because the dream began to fade. Before it finished, the vision shifted and I saw the familiar site of a pier along with a set of former industrial sites. More than that, I saw the name of the warehouse in which the previous interchange had taken place.
The next morning, I didn't even have to think twice -I relayed the information to the Strongholds and the Police. When I told Josef later about what I'd done, he gave me a look that told me he would never forgive me. Thinking about it still burns a hole right through me.
"How could you do that to Baron? To me?" he yelled, anger etched into every feature of his beautiful face.
"He's hurting people Joey!" I replied, helpless. "What was I supposed to do? How could I just let him continue without saying a word to stop him?"
"He was my friend." Josef whispered, his voice suddenly hoarse and ragged.
"He was mine too, and you know it. But we both know what he's done isn't right. Even Leticia and Kat would agree with me," I explained, trying to calm him.
"Betray your own brother or husband, you mean?" he asked, sounding weary but still harsh in judgement.
"I'm not the villain here, Josef. Leticia would hunt him down herself if she wasn't crying her eyes out and trying to shelter her son," I said, thinking of how she'd locked herself away since Baron disappeared.
"So if you were in her position, would you betray me?" he shot back, and I stared at him with wide-eyes.
"If you were killing people... I guess I wouldn't have a choice!" I choked out through tears. He sighed then; Josef always hated it when I cried. He just...couldn't handle it very well. Instead of comforting me or letting us try and comfort each other, he walked off. He slept on the couch that night and every night afterward.
They apprehended Baron because of what I saw. Steve and Josie knew where to go, and he was arrested...all because of me. But I stood by my decision and that was it for Josef and I. In his grief and misery, he couldn't stand to look at me anymore, couldn't stand to touch me or be in the same room with me if he didn't have to. By then, I knew what was coming. It was inevtiable and I'd accepted it. I felt so tired, so heartbroken, and I couldn't lie to myself anymore, you know? That's when I realized I couldn't change the future, not even for one second.
Josef blamed me for what happened to Baron. Looking back, I can see why; after all, he needed someone to blame and I was just an easy target. We had our final argument and all I remember was that he told me he wasn't leaving me or our children. Just that he needed time to be away. Promised that he'd be back when he was ready. He said he loved me, over and over, but I knew he wouldn't stay and I think he did too. I am usually a calm person; my temper is hard to agitate and it was rare for me to yell or lash out. But I did then.
"I thought I knew you, I really thought I did, Joey! But apparently not. Apparently I don't even know you at all, cecause the Josef Storm I married would never lie to me like this and say he loved me! Take it back!" I screamed, and he looked so startled that at first all he could do was stare at me before managing a reply.
"I do love you!" he argued, like he couldn't believe I would accuse him of such a thing.
"How can you say that to me right now?! No, you don't love me. If you did, you wouldn't leave me. You wouldn't leave our children. How dare you say you love me when you are breaking my heart!"
He left that night and gave me custody of our children without a fight. After that, I quit my job working with law enforcement and opened up a private company with Kat. We were both so lost and I needed her, just as much as she needed me. I threw myself into life so that I wouldn't have time to think about Josef, about our relationship, or anything about who we were. Sometimes it was hard. Especially at first...especially with my daughter, looking at Senka and learning not to see him there. I know she struggled growing up, more so than the boys. They were always so resilient. Bitter? Yes. Angry? Also yes. But compared to them, Senka barely remembered her father, if at all, or hearing me cry at night over him. Unlike Brad or Drew, she had to deal with being so very much her father's daughter.
To be honest, I didn't think I would ever see him again anywhere other than my dreams, and I don't mean the premonition kind. So when I saw Josef on my doorstep, well, what else was I supposed to do but faint?
He was one thing I never saw coming.
tbh I don't understand why some people hate songfics so much. I think they can be well done. but I went back and changed that about this since there's all that crap about lyrics and the public domain and whatnot.