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my sun, my earth, and my star

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Wind blew through his hair, picking up some of the loose strands and throwing them back in his face. He looked down over the edge, sucking in a breath as he considered it for another moment longer. His feet were dangling, hands at his sides. This made it look like he was simply enjoying the view, the breeze, the clear night sky. Well, it was clear for New York's standards. He swore up and down that Mexico had a sky twice this bright, and three times as many stars. Maybe that was wishful thinking.

It was a long way down. In retrospect, that meant it'd be a quick death. Most people die from a heart attack quite a ways before hitting the ground. Painless, almost. As painless as dying could be, he had to guess.

*What was he doing? He, Julio Richter, the man that was gifted the power to move mountains...considering jumping off of a roof. It wasn't the first time he'd been up here. Since he lost his powers, since Shatterstar left, since the mess with Rahne, Julio found himself coming up here to think. He wasn't the same person he was when he was taken from Mexico; hell, he wasn't the same person as he was a couple of months back. He'd never get back some of that time. He'd never get back some of his own tenacity. He'd never get back his powers. He'd. He'd never get back to those times where he felt like he could really, really breathe.

Maybe that's what he came up here for. Some time to breathe. Another thing taken from him. With his seismic control went his connection to the spirit of earth, and that...that was like breathing to him. Laying down in the grass, palms down, face toward the sky with his eyes closed, he felt like he was home. Waves on the shoreline thrummed with his pulse, a volcano erupting was his laugh, the great winds forming into a tornado were what filled his lungs, and earthquakes...they were his soul. Julio was built of the earth, he was sure, and...without that bond, he was soulless, breathless, void of laughter, void of a pulse. Dead.

Might as well be.

Julio didn't realize he was shaking until his hand slipped, causing him to snap his eyes wide open, suddenly hyper aware of the lack of ground beneath his feet. If he had the voice to make a noise, he probably would've called out in fear. But he was trying to catch his breath and back away from the edge. His feet touched the roof and he was fine. He was safe. He wasn't dying that night. Not by his own means, at least.

His hand was holding his chest and he could feel his heart hammering against it. Christ, when had he started crying? When did tears become so fucking hot? When did he start grasping for air again?

What would Rahne be saying to him now? That he scared her half to death? That he needs to set himself straight and screw his head on right? That she's going to check that there's nothing in his room that could kill him? God knows she'd be pissed at him, but would tell him she still loves him, even though he's a damned (in the most literal sense) moron. Rictor would let her have at him, scream and yell and cry and whatever else she needed to do to get it out of her system. Hell, he wants to do it to himself. To just be able to say he needs to get himself together and it work. But it wouldn't. Give a plant water all you want; if it's deprived of oxygen it won't stay alive.

Julio clambered to his feet, one of his hands shaking at a subconscious level. He took one last look over the side, and decided that, nah, tonight wasn't the night after all. He'd go back downstairs, act like nothing happened, like he was just enjoying the view or some shit, grab a beer or two and let himself sleep for as long as he needed because why not at this point in the game? He'd maybe survive the next day of getting his ass kicked without his powers, and then come back up here on another night. Whether he'd actually jump or just repeat this shitty process, he wasn't sure for now. It'd come to him in the moment.

Julio made a move to step forward, but he couldn't. His feet weren't moving. Frozen in place. Flashes of the Arctic tundra filled his hazy, confused mind. He was being pulled back. It was like vines, and suddenly he could hear those very things moving in the Amazon. He felt the air leave his chest once more. A gush of wind. No, that wasn't a memory of his geoconnection; it was real wind. Touching him. Pushing him backwards more and more to the edge. He felt the end of the rooftop and suddenly he was struggling to maintain his balance. His hands were reaching out as if someone was meant to pull him from the roof, talk him down, but they weren't helping. They were pushing him. It was the wind doing it. It was the earth. His foot loses its hold and suddenly he's not falling; he's drowning. Drowning in his own self-loathing, his depression, his frustration of wanting to be the man that causes tremors again. It was all building up around him, causing him to sink, lower, lower, lower until the gushing wind around him became a voice, cold and deafening in his ears, in his head.

"No more mutants."

Julio woke up with a gasping breath for air, a hand clutching his chest and his eyes wide. It was dark, the air was stale, and he couldn't breathe. He needed to get out, get out, get out. His mind was racing fast and his feet were faster, moving him forward until he was outside. Raining. It was raining and the earth under him was clinging to the bottom of his feet. He turned his face upwards to the sky, eyes squeezed tight while the tears still streaked down his cheeks and mixed in with the raindrops hitting him.

Rictor ran a hand through his shoulder-length hair, now soaking from the rain, and let out sputters that were attempting to be dry sobs. What was he doing? Why was he still dreaming as though he was just human? Wanda fixed her mistake; she gave him back his abilities and, with them, a piece of his spirit. So why, why, was he so torn up over something he wasn't going to do anymore? He had his mutation, he had Shatterstar, he should be happy. Why...Why wasn't he happy?

Julio's hands were shaking and for once he wasn't sure if it was caused by his seismic control. It could very well be the thoughts running through his head. He wanted a break. Scratch that, he needed one. He needed to take some time to himself, go for a long ass walk and don't look back for a while. Hell, why doesn't he think bigger? Why not bring Shatterstar with him, have him make a portal and go to a place where they have some solace. If Jamie and Layla could run off to Vegas and get married, why can't he and 'Star go to Michigan, have some quiet time to themselves and be able to breathe? Christ, he didn't quite know the answer to that, or maybe answers, but he wasn't sure he wanted to.

A taller presence made himself known by Julio's side by touching his arm carefully. As if he could break. If anyone else treated him like that, it'd piss him off. What? Just because he lost his powers for a while, just because he was crapped in the head for a bit there, he needed to be handled with care? But 'Star...he'd always been like that. Always careful and cautious, always treating him...less like a timebomb, and more like someone he was trying to care for, trying not to hurt him simply because he's strong, and he's been taught that one is supposed to be gentle with one's partner.

Ric leaned into his side just a little, 'Star's solid mass never wavering. He simply looked down at him and gave a worried, concerned yet curious sort of look. And for that moment, while he tore his eyes away from the night sky to gaze up at the only star that had somehow made his way from the sky and into his arms, the brightest one there is, Julio felt like nothing else mattered. 'Star had a hand on his cheek, wiping away the tears with his thumb. Must've been something he picked up from another couple, on or off the screen. Julio leaned into his touch a little more, and suddenly all those promises that everything was going to be alright were real.

In that moment, under the blanket of rain and the comfort of Shatterstar's arms, Ric felt that Mother Earth stopped the world from spinning just for them.