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Read below for pointless babble or bad stories....
She could still remember the first drink she'd had. She was about fourteen and Star, who at that point didn't really go by Star, had sneaked a bit from his parents. It hadn't been a lot, just enough to get two kids on the far side of tipsy. She'd felt warm and light, like she was floating. It was the first time in a long time her mind had been unconcerned, her leg hadn't been pulsating with a dull burning that refused to be ignored. For an hour, maybe two, everything seemed like it could be okay. Funnily enough, it was also the first time she'd kissed her best friend, though it hadn't been anything to write home about. It was sloppy and wet and there was more giggling than actual kissing, but it was one more thing that made the night more memorable. She had never thought about traversing the path of romance with Kai, and she was fairly sure he would say the same about her, the feeling of closeness was one she treasured.

Getting addicted had never been a thought worth entertaining. She had a drink every now and then, with Kai or some other friend, but that was it. Drinking alone didn't appeal to Ada, and her brother had not been a happy camper when he'd heard about her first drinking escapade, so she'd had to be more careful since then. Drinking was a social thing, something to do for fun with her friends, and that was all. Sure, she's heard of the dangers of excessive drinking, but she never thought it was something she'd have to worry about. At least, not until Kai didn't come home.

Ada was sixteen, just barely, when Kai and his father went on a mission into the city. Night had been reluctant, she spent enough time in the Bryson house to know that much, but Kai was young and a dreamer who needed to save everyone. She wanted to go, she always did, but Night would fluff her hair and make a joke about needing her to hold down the fort while they were gone. Ada hated it, but she'd smile and wish him well; she'd seen them off that day, the image of their beaten up truck fading into the forest something she couldn't forget.

Night Rider never came home.

They didn't get the news for a couple days after, but Ada could pinpoint the moment her already beaten heart shattered. She'd spent her nights with Snipes since they'd left, like she always did when the men went off to war, but her stay was longer than anyone predicted. She was there when they unloaded his body, clutching tight to the hand of the woman who was not her mother but might as well be. A low buzzing noise filled her ears as they were told there had been no second body. No one knew where Kai was, let alone whether he was alive or not. She'd stumbled blindly back to the tiny room she shared with her brother, feeling numb as she crawled under the threadbare sheets and stared at a spot on the wall so long she could have been surprised that there wasn't a hole forming. For the second time in her short life, the world had come crashing down around her, and she was too weak to hold it up. She had let them go, why had she let them go? There hadn't been a time she had talked them out of one of these missions, but maybe if she had tried, done something, this could have been prevented.

At first, she tried to go on like it hadn't happened. There was nothing she could have done, nothing she could do now to change it, what was the point? There were things to be done, machines to be fixed, but she couldn't bring herself to do anything. She'd stare for hours down at the disassembled object on her tiny desk until her brother came home and basically carried her to bed where she'd stare up at the ceiling until she passed out. Nothing had been heard from Kai, not from their people scouring the city or the woods, and each empty report was a new stab in the gut. He wasn't dead, he couldn't be dead, but then where was he and why hadn't he come home? Sleeping was hard, and eating was basically impossible, and the slightly snug clothing that had been handed down to her became baggy. In a desperate attempt to get her to consume something, a friend had slipped her a half empty bottle of whiskey that she wound up downing in one go. It had taken the edge off, just enough to keep her going until her best friend came home a few weeks after he'd left.

Looking back on it, she couldn't be sure that Kai ever really came home either.

Star had always been close with his parents, a concept that was both surprising and not for Ada; her own parents had been an extremely unpleasant couple that never should have been allowed to reproduce, but his were everything she ever could have asked for in parents. Sometimes she was jealous, but she tried her best to keep that to herself, especially after the incident. It would have been an awkward conversation, to say the least. Hey Star, sorry your dad is dead, but at least he didn't beat you, right? Definitely awkward.

Regardless, Ada hadn't quite known what to do with this new change in her best friend. She had been beyond relieved when he'd returned, going so far as to insist she stay the night at the Bryson's that first night, but something had seemed so... off. Kai had gone to war, and now here was as Starshooter. They were the same person, technically, but to Ada they seemed worlds apart. The bright and loving boy she'd known now seemed so... broken.

For years, he squirreled himself away from the world and for years, Ada did her best to fight it. She needed him, needed her best friend, and she knew that he needed her just as much. No matter how many annoyed looks she got or how many times he brushed her off, she would always come back. He needed space, she knew that much, and she tried to give him as much as she could, but those weeks where he'd been gone... she had almost started to believe that he was dead. Her second half ripped away from her again, like a curse. She couldn't do it, not again. Star might not want to admit it, but he needed her there, needed someone there, even if it was just so he wasn't truly alone.

Bed time, finish later.

Krombopulos Michael
Community Member
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