I hate God's War. It's terrible. But the idea of the cyborgs getting psionic power upgrades fascinates me and has far too much potential to waste on such a bad story. So, I took it and this is the result.
(Psiborg tumblr tag)
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GB woke to the sounds of a camp already active, despite the dim light telling him just how early in the day it was. The morning chill manifested in the icy cold touch of the basin he slept in, despite the nearby campfire, and he surged over the side as soon as he registered it. He plucked a stray leaf out of his chest as he shifted into his default form and looked about the camp as soon as his eyes reformed.
And immediately had to protect said eyes when Jet took off a few yards away, kicking up sprays of sand with the first few sweeps of his wings before he caught the wind over the lake. Further down the beach, Geronimo sat feeding Ivan, and Pyunma could just be seen floating in the water. GB let his gaze wander over the lake, taking in the tranquility, until he felt a presence at his side. “You don’t get scenes like this in the city.”
“No,” Chang agreed. GB leaned into him, soaking in the warmth the shorter man emanated. He glanced around, checking for their unaccounted teammates, and found them still asleep on the far side of the fire. “Should we wake them?”
“No.” The flames in Chang’s eyes glowed faintly as he looked up. “We don’t know when Dolphin will be back from feeding, so we might as well let everyone rest up. Besides,” he added, sounding more chipper, “it looks like there’s good fishing in this lake.” He pulled away, ignoring GB’s protest, and spooned a mug of soup from a pot buried next to the fire. “Now, go enjoy the morning.”
GB laughed and looped his free arm around Chang’s shoulders in a quick half-hug before he let himself be shooed away. Chang’s cheerful humming followed him as he joined Geronimo and Ivan. Geronimo gave him a nod in greeting when he sat in the sand next to them, while Ivan blinked at him through his fringe. ‘You’re in a good mood.’
“Yes, well.” He tilted his head back, let the breeze run over his face, and watched Jet loop through the perfect blue sky. “It really is a lovely day.”
“—and what do you call that? She’s so off pitch that—”
“What are you watching?” Albert interrupted GB’s rant, looking dubiously at the act playing out on the television.
“Eurovision,” GB answered. Albert waited, hoping for some elaboration despite GB’s tone implying that that one word was the only explanation necessary. GB finally glanced over after the silence stretched, an edge of incredulity on his face. “You know, Euro…” he trailed off, gaining the faintly guilty expression everyone wore when they’d forgotten when, exactly, their teammates were from. It was quickly replaced with determination, and he motioned for Albert to sit with him on the couch.
“The Eurovision Song Contest,” he began gravely, “is the most important event of the year. You see…”
It took until GB got to the contest being a replacement for war, his studied tone laid over a backdrop of glitter and Europop on the television, for the ridiculousness of it all hit Albert. He covered his mouth to hide his chuckles, trying not to interrupt the history lesson.
To no avail; GB cut himself off with a delighted grin. “Have I entered an alternate universe or did you really just crack a smile for me?”
Albert let his hand drop. “It’s because of your way with history.”
“Wait until the voting and I’ll tell you how it reflects our geopolitics.”
“I’m just saying, if you’re going to spy on me, at least—”
GB wasn’t the only one who stiffened at the shout, though likely for an entirely different reason than the others. He turned on his heel to see an older woman in a blue cardigan and matching pillbox hat determinedly bearing down on the group. “Mum?!”
006 had time to repeat, “Mum?” while 003 murmured, “Grant?” before he found himself yanked into a crushing embrace.
* * *
“I was afraid someone would find you dead in a ditch.”
GB stared down into his cup of tea, the sadness and guilt of the past few days a familiar lump in his chest. They’d relocated to a nearby pub, a light lunch providing GB with something to give him time to think. If only so he could think of a proper revenge on his traitorous teammates who’d disappeared as soon as they’d realized exactly what was happening.
“If I hadn’t read the reviews, would I have even known you’d resurfaced?”
“I’m sorry, mum. I wasn’t planning to be in town that long…”
The glare he received told him exactly how well that excuse went over. “And where have you been?”
“Rehab.” While she blinked at the lie, he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. “And after I got out, I needed some time to figure things out. So I’ve been traveling.”
She made an intrigued sound. “With your friends from before?”
“Yes. We’ve been…” He laughed, relaxing away from the lies and half-truths. “We’ve all been going through some hard times. Being there for each other when we can has helped.”
She made that sound again, slowly sipping the last of her tea and setting the cup down with a sharp click. “You are coming home to dinner tonight.”
“And bring your friends. If you’re traveling with them, I’d like to at least meet them.”
She nodded sharply and stood up, rounding the table to drop a kiss on his head. “I’m glad you’re safe, my darling boy.”
“Is this legal?”
“What?” Francoise leaned closer to Pyunma, oddly unwilling to take her eyes from GB and Chang’s discussion on whether the ceremony should be performed by Elvis or Frank Sinatra.
Pyunma shifted beside her – probably elbowing Jet again, trying to get him to stop laughing – before elaborating. “Neither of them are American citizens. Can they legally get married here?”
Francoise could feel her forehead crease at the question. “I’m not sure it’s legal for two men to get married here.” That wasn’t a topic anyone thought to update her on. She was sure, though, that GB and Chang weren’t about to let that stop them.
They’d stopped here because everyone was climbing the walls, snapping and arguing as they made their way home. For the sake of their continued good health (Pyunma would kill anyone that damaged the Dolphin during an argument), they’d decided to make a pit stop at the nearest city.
The nearest city had been Las Vegas.
They’d scattered almost as soon as they’d booked hotel rooms, eager to spend a few days not in each other’s pockets and planning to meet back at the Dolphin in three days. Barely a day had passed before GB had contacted everyone, panicky and excited and insisting that everyone had to come meet him, it was important, as soon as possible!
More than a few of them quickly hid guns when everyone arrived at a small chapel instead of a Black Ghost attack. Francoise was fairly certain the minister thought they were a very strange gang.
GB and Chang met them in front of the chapel, happy and beaming. Jet had taken one look at their matching ‘I <3 Las Vegas’ t-shirts and burst out laughing.
He was still laughing even as GB and Chang arranged themselves at the front of the chapel (they’d gone with Frank Sinatra; Francoise couldn’t help but approve). She tuned out whatever Pyunma was doing to quiet him, even tuned out what the minister was saying, and just… watched.
Chang and GB didn’t look like they were paying any more attention to the minister than she was. GB had a bouquet tucked under one arm, his free hand clasped in both of Chang’s, and they were smiling at each other. Not the wide, beaming grins they’d greeted everyone with, but something quieter and far more content than Francoise could remember seeing either of them.
She couldn’t help it. She sniffled.
A hand slipped into hers; she looked to her left. Joe wasn’t looking back at her, but gently squeezed her hand. Across the aisle, Albert did send her a small smile as he handed Dr. Gilmore a handkerchief, and Junior held Ivan up higher to get a better view. She glanced to her right; she couldn’t tell if Jet was still holding back snickers, but he’d wrapped his arm around Pyunma’s shoulders.
She looked back up front, holding in another sniffle, and returned Joe’s hand squeeze as Chang and GB kissed.
* * *
“You could have given us some warning,” Albert said as they left the chapel, making room for the next wedding party.
Chang waived the complaint. “It was spur of the moment. We were lucky they had an open slot.”
“Still, we could have at least dressed up if we’d known,” Francoise said.
“I don’t know, Frannie. The bride looked lovely.” Jet shot a grin over his shoulder at GB, only to get hit in the face with the bouquet.
“I’m sure the next bride will be even lovelier, right 008?” GB answered, smugly draping an arm over Chang’s shoulders.
Francoise fell back to walk next to Junior and Pyunma, briefly considering saving the bouquet from Jet – it didn’t deserve to be battered over GB’s head like that.
“I’m sure the wedding will be lovely,” Junior told Pyunma, voice dry as the desert.
Pyunma chuckled. “I’m sure.” His face took on a thoughtful edge, and he bumped Francoise’s shoulder. “Maybe someday, right?”
Francoise felt herself blush, but couldn’t help glancing back to Joe. “Yes. Maybe someday.”