Thunderstorm

"In which Lexi needs comfort from a certain bunny, who might just have the perfect fix... a dance, memories, a story...and a kiss goodnight... Acexi oneshot."

Lexi shivered under the blankets of her bed. A big storm was raging outside HQ; the wind was howling, big clamps of thunder and flashes of lightning, that illuminated her room, ghostly shadows of things making creepy shapes. Or maybe it just looked creepy because of the nightmare she had just had; the images kept flashing her mind the more she tried to get rid of them. "That's it," she murmured, getting out of bed and tugging on her pink slippers. She would never fall asleep here. Slipping out of her room, she made her way over to the main living room and sat on the couch, hugging her knees to herself. "I can't believe a thunderstorm like this is scaring me...and a stupid nightmare added on to...well maybe it's not too stupid..." she muttered, annoyed with herself.

Her ears stood up straight as she heard footsteps from the kitchen. Familiar footsteps. It must be Ace, she thought. The usually yellow clad bunny always got up during the night for a glass of water. One day when the two best friends were taking a break from sparring (Lexi: one, Ace: zero) she had asked him why he did. He said it calmed him down. It didn't really clear anything up for her, but she let the subject drop and they went on to talking about something else. Anything really. She was never afraid to think aloud around him, since he knew he wouldn't judge her. Although there were certain thoughts (mostly about him,) she would never voice.

She did her best to hide in the dark couch. Knowing Ace he would stop and talk to her if he saw her, and even if it's what she knew she needed right now, she didn't want to disrupt his sleep. The poor guy pushed himself so hard to keep the city, the team...and her, safe, everyday. And she knew he hated it when he couldn't protect them all.

"Lexi...?" Ace said, squinting in the dark. The doe cursed his optical enhancement and she sat up.

"Hey," she said gloomily. Ace moved over and sat beside her worried about his friend.

"Wat are ya doin' up Lex?"

"Nothing." She lied. Ace gave her a pressing stare. He could easily see right through her.

"Really?" He said, his tone light and casual, eyebrows raised. He was trying to wheedle her secret out of her. "'Cause most people aren't up at two in de mornin' for nothing."

"The thunderstorm...is freaking me out, I couldn't fall back asleep." She admitted, embarrassed, not wanting to say anything about the nightmare she had had...it had -was- been so real, so frightening... "I know it sounds silly." She hoped he hadn't noticed her spacing out.

"Being scared ain't silly." He wrapped an arm over her and she was thankful he didn't have super hearing, because he would've heard her heart beat speed up. Although his seemed quicker than usual too. "Everybody's scared of someting. I'm scared of lots of tings."

"Oh really? What?"

Please don't ask for an explanation, he silently begged. "Martians."

"Martians...?" she repeated blankly. He knew he would have to tell her.

He grinned, ever so slightly. "Ya remember dat martian, Melvin?"

"Yeah." How could she forget the checker obsessed creepo?

"I was really scared when ya left for his deal Lex," he said, grateful it's dark, because he's blushing furiously. Lexi smiled softly, her cheeks heating up. She hadn't been too excited either. It had melted her heart when the guys had come for her. And how Ace had been defending her against Duck. She knew the mallard hadn't really meant it, it was just his way of dealing with things but with Ace, he had been 100% genuine.

She smiled. "You're not getting rid of me that easy Chief." They shared a smile as thunder rumbled overhead. "You said lots of things scare you. What else is there?"

Ace laughed. "Alright, I know dis is gonna seem strange but roller coasters...and...never mind." He trailed off.

"Come on Ace, you can tell me." But even as she said it, she knew he wouldn't. It was the look in his eyes. He was holding something back, he was aware she knew that, but she didn't press the issue anymore and let it drop.

"So, I said wat I was scared of, wat are ya scared of?" He said, determined to move the conversation along.

"Lots of things actually," Lexi said. She brushed a lock of air out of her eyes. "I'm claustrophobic. I'm the youngest and only girl in my family, and when I was really little my brother Danny zipped me up in a duffle bag." She explained before he could ask why.

"He zipped ya up in a duffle bag?!" Ace asked incredulously. "How long were ya in dere?"

"Only about five minutes, my mother freaked out and Danny got grounded for a whole month, he was twelve at the time."

Ace and Lexi laughed. "Well, enough 'bout fears, why not some music?"

"Music? At two am?"

"Well, do ya really tink either of us are gonna fall asleep anytime soon?"

"No." she admitted. "So what song?"

Ace walked over to his room and brought out Lexi's MP300 player that she had hidden in his room to keep away from Duck. The mallard was always taking her and Ace's stuff, so they had formed a silent agreement to protect each other's.

"Dis is one of yer favourites," Ace said slyly. The music was low so they wouldn't wake anyone else up, although most of the team (especially Slam, Duck; so-called beauty sleep; and Tech, who needed sleep whenever he wasn't pulling an all-nighter in the lab;) were heavy sleepers.

Lexi grinned when she recognized the song. Ace took her hand and pulled her onto the "dance floor". Laughing, she placed one hand in his, the other slightly around his neck, one of his hands holding her own, his other loosely on her waist.

'I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you'

Lexi, laughing into Ace's shoulder while they spinned around, hummed lightly to the familar words of Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts, while in her head she couldn't help but associate the words with the bunny she was dancing with.

They had both gone through getting their heart broken. Although, the night they had been telling those hurtful stories, sitting side by side on the balcony late at night, staring up at the stars, they had heartily agreed that they had liked those people, but hadn't loved them...

"Lexi, if I ever meet one of does jerk who hurt ya, I might have ta go ta jail for wat I'll do," Ace said in a joking tone, although they both knew he was pretty serious.

Lexi laughed, feeling happy that someone she cared about cared a lot about her too. "Thanks but no thanks Ace. Who do you think is going to be bailing you out?"

He laughed, a sound Lexi loved to hear. "Too true. Duck would be thrilled, he'd be closer ta being leader." He glanced up at the stars, which they could see because of Acmetropolis' low pollution rate, thanks to their technological advances. "Dere's de north star," he said, pointing. "Dey say it'll always lead ya home."

"We are home," Lexi said, slightly confused. HQ was home for the team.

"Nah, I don't mean home in a building. As in 'home is where de heart is," ya know?" He grinned at her, expecting to be teased for saying something so sappy.

"Cheesy Chief, but true." Lexi laughed. They glanced at each and leaned in...Lexi closed her eyes, were they about to kiss...?- and the perfect moment shattered with Duck's voice:

"HEY YOU TWO, GET BACK IN HERE, WE WANT TO STAR THE MOVIE!"

Lexi sighed slightly, thinking of the memory, and wondering what life would be like without Ace...Her nightmare flashed before her eyes, and she felt sick. It must have showed on her face because Ace stopped moving and smiling that smile she loved.

"Lexi?" he asked, confused and concerned. "Is someting wrong? Did I do someding wrong?"

It's so like him to blame himself, Lexi thought. "No, you didn't do anything wrong. But something is bothering me..."

"Tell me Lex." She wants to lie, because maybe saying it aloud might make the horrible nightmare come true, but when she looks at his face, his concerned face, a little frown, a furrowed brow and worry shown in his eyes, she can't.

"The reason I woke up at all is because I had a nightmare." Ace nodded. Nobody, not even the bravest girl he knew, was invincible to nightmares and getting scared by them.

"Wat did ya see Lexi?" he asked softly, knowing it must be something really bad and that it would take a lot for her to say it. The doe had always had trouble confiding in anyone, or anything in that matter. Growing up she was bullied for being different than other girls which made her a "loser" by some mean, popular girls at school. Instead of loving make up, clothes and boys, Lexi preferred pool, basherball and video games because of all her brothers. She didn't have any friends to tell her worries to, so she had a journal (because she refused to call it something as girly as a diary) and that was ruined too when some of her tormentors found it and read it in front of everyone.

She had kept a lot in, and these three years of working on a team like this had helped a lot, and she had told a lot of her bad past to the guys, who could relate to the bullying or being misunderstood. Her main confident was Ace, he knew stuff nobody else knew, not even her parents did. But it still wasn't always easy.

"You..." she whispered, her eyes stinging. "You had died...and it was all my fault and I kept seeing it over and over...and I couldn't do anything to help..." tears spilled from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. Ace, no stranger to tears or to comforting Lexi (it wasn't that she was weak, she had to be the strongest person he know) or to being comforted by her, he hugged her tightly.

"I'm here Lexi," he whispered soothingly into her hair, "I'm not goin' anywhere." Lexi's head was in his chest, her breathing shaky, but starting to steady, and the tears had stopped. She was just listening to his constant, reassuring heartbeat. Ace was here. Ace was alive with her in his arms, even if it was only a friendly hug.

"Thanks Ace," she said softly, her reply muffled. He grinned down at her and they broke apart from the hug.

"Dere's someding my moder would always do for me when I had a nightmare," Ace said fondly. Lexi was a bit surprised, because Ace rarely talked about his parents, who had died when he was little, and she was touched he wanted to share one of the few memories he had.

"Okay," Lexi said, not even caring her hair was a mess and her eyes were red because she knew Ace didn't care about how she looked. And right know, unbeknownst to her, he still thought she was the most beautiful -inside and out- girl he had ever met. He took her hand and led her to the kitchen. He went to the fridge, cupboards and microwave 240 and started to make hot chocolate.

He placed two steaming cups of the liquid in front of her and one in front of his seat beside her before sitting down. "Foist she would make hot chocolate," he said smiling, "an' den she would tell me a story." Lexi smiled too, both of them thinking about their younger days, when the world was a lot more simple to navigate.

"What sort of story?" Lexi teased. "A brave knight rescueing a princess?"

"Actually, de brave knight is de princess. But let me start at the beginning...Once upon a time..."

"Corny chief."

"Do ya want ta hear it or not Lex?" he joked.

"Okay, okay, I'll be quiet now."

"Good. Okay, so once upon a time deir was a kingdom. Deir was a kind king, a beautiful, generous queen and their lovely daughter de princess. One day though, someding went wrong. A horrible dragon called Nightmare kidnapped the queen. De king was too old and had to look after de kingdom ta search for her. All of de knights were too scared to volunteer for de quest, so de princess said she would go ta look for her mother. De only problem was she didn't know anyding 'bout quests or fighting, so de king got one of the young men of de kingdom to help train her.'

"Dis young man had always wanted to be a knight, but had never had enough courage to audition for a position. He taught de princess everyding he knew, an' along de way dey became friends. Once she was trained and ready to get her moder back, he volunteered to come help her. The duo set out ta find her.'

"Dey had to defeat many monsters and cross many dangerous rivers, but eventually dey came ta a tall, black castle. Nightmare de dragon was perched on de tallest tower, de queen on the balcony near. The young man helped the princess in her armor up onto de roof an' she pulled him up. They approached the huge dragon, who spoke:

'If you want the queen, one of you will have to trade yourselves.'

De young man and de princess looked at each other and realized dat dey loved each oder. Dey didn't want de oder ta go wit de dragon. So each drew deir sword and attacked. Using deir strength and the magical love between dem, dey managed ta defeat de dragon and brought the queen home safely.

De young man was made a knight, and he and de princess got married.'"

Ace finished. Lexi smiled at him, impressed that he had remembered the tale so well, and proud of his mother for instilling respect for women in him. If this was a tale Ace heard often, it was easy to tell his mother made it clear that women were just the same as him, and they deserved to be listened to and treated with respect.

"No happily ever after?" Lexi joked.

"Neh, is anyding ever completely poifect Lex? Well, besides ya." He added before freezing. Had he really said that outloud? Lexi had turned red, flattered. He changed the subject before she could comment on it though. "So, are ya okay now? Will ya be able to sleep?" They rose from their chairs.

She nodded."Thanks Ace, for the cocoa, story and for just being there for me." They started walking to their rooms, which were right beside each other's. He hugged her.

"I'm always gonna be dere for ya Lex."

"Ace," she said, still hugging him but looking up at her. "What was that other thing you were scared of?"

Looking into her green eyes, he can't put off the answer this time. "Ya know how I always get up to get a glass of water everynight?" She nodded. "Well, it's because of nightmares too."

"You get nightmares every night?" she said worriedly. How long had those scary dreams been hurting her leader.

He nodded, smiling sadly. "It's been happening for 'bout a year now." She does the calculations in her head. It had been right after the Melvin episode and before they met the Apocozons. It's always the same. It's ya, getting killed or taken away before I could tell ya..."

"Tell me what?"

He took a deep breath, scared. What if she didn't feel the same way? What if they wouldn't be best friends anymore? He thought back to that night on the balcony, when it had seemed they were about to kiss. Had that just been his hopeful imagination, thinking she had leaned in? "Dat I love ya Lexi." he said simply. It was done. He had finally told her.

Her heart just about stopped. He loved her. He loved her. It hadn't just been onesided. "I love you too Ace," she said softly. They gazed at each other, content to just be in each other's arms. After what could've been one minute or one hour, they broke apart. Lexi opened her door but still stood in it slightly, facing him.

"After the hot chocolate and the story," Lexi said, already suspecting the answer, "did your mother do anything else?"

Aced smirked, happy. "A kiss goodnight." They leaned in, filling the small gap in between them, finally enjoying what almost happened on that balcony so many weeks ago. It wasn't like fireworks though; it was like thunder. Lightning ran down every inch of their bodies, cold rain filling them with the desire do hold each other closely, thunder rumbling overhead, blocking everything else out except each other.

Lexi didn't want to break apart, but it was the need for oxegen and not wanting to have their teammates walk in on them kissing in the morning that made her pull away. "I'm guessing your mother didn't kiss you like that." She joked. He laughed, giving her a quicker, less passionate kiss this time.

"See ya in de morning Lex?" Ace said, opening his own door. She nodded, grinning. "'Night."

"'Night." the doe replied, humming Bless the Broken Road and getting into bed. Right now, nothing, not a nightmare or a thunderstorm, or anything, would scare her anymore...because she had Ace right beside her, ready to hold her in his arms. Maybe I should get scared more often, she thought mischieviously, snuggling down into bed, imagining Ace's arms around her. She cued her super hearing to let her hear his heartbeat and drifted into a peaceful sleep, a perfectly happy smile on her face.

The End.


A/N: Okay, I'm not really happy with the way this ended, but I really like the rest of it and I hope you do too. If you do, review, let me hear your wonderful thoughts my dear readers.

I listened to the song "Bless the Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts while I wrote this, and I couldn't help but think of how the lyrics fitted them...beware, a songfic may churn out of me later...and I hope this kinda makes up for my sucky updates.

Also, I came up with the story, so copywrite, belongs to me. I might use it for a future story...guess who the princess and young man is? Haha, jk. :P

What do you think of the way I wrote with the bold dialogue? Some of the authors on this site (one of my favourites, Lana 8D and Mitch 566; both of whom should enjoy this oneshot) do. Do you like this style or ordinary dailogue more? A small thing, but I'd like to know.

(Sorry for the long author's note. XD) I had a smile on my face the whole time writing this, I'll have one when I read your reviews, and I hope this story makes you smile.

Until next time,
~Loonatics Lover13