Story:Am I Alright?

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Am I Alright?
Written by Blades


*Buzz!* The final buzzer of Howlerween! Was hours back but felt like mere minutes in the Raccoon's mind. A resounding victory over the Howlers in their first game of the season. He managed to hit some threes and at the least held his own against a member of the olympic team...fitting start for a revenge tour...least knowing Ash that's what'd likely be going through his mind...but was it?

After the game, of course he was tackled hugged by Suzanne, still in her Lance Wildfyre costume. "Ashley, Ashley! That was so awesome!"

"Lance? That you?" chucking a bit. "Hey, glad you liked it so much Suzie." patting her on the head.

"That was way better than any candy I coulda gotten trick or treatin'. Thank you so much."

"Nothin's too good you my baby sister." Kneeling down and hugging her tightly. "And there's lots more to come."

Suzanne smiled and giggled happily. "You're the best big brother I could ever have Ashley...well, one of them."

"And y'know...I don't mind bein' tied for first in that competition. My case, i'm happy just havin' one again." shutting his mouth, realizing he might have told a little much to Suzie.

"Again?"

"Oh...don't worry about it. You just keep on smilin' and enjoy the ride alright?"

"Okay Ash. Love ya big brother!"

Later that night...

It was a fun ride back home, little bit of partying on the team jet to celebrate an awesome start to the season. The revelry helped lighten the mood, even if only for the moment. But once the festivities and flight were concluded...back home it was for Ash. To his reality...which was...still good in a lot of ways. Still not fully used to seeing Elena very clearly with child. Even in her state of pregnancy she seemed to keep most of her bright personality about her.

Elena was seated at the kitchen island, having a light snack. Her flight had managed to get the family home before Ash. "There's my Balla!"

"Elena! That's my Bandits girl!" hugging her gently, minding the bump.

"And you know i'm still one of your biggest cheerleadas!"

"Of course! You think i'd ever forget 'bout that?" resting his hands on her shoulders and swaying. "Not even for a second. Hey! You see the nursery yet?"

"Where is it again? Been a bit since I been here Ash."

Elena found herself scooped up and carried up the stairs by her love. Soon enough, just down the hall from the master bedroom on the second floor was a freshly painted nursery, themed after Winnie the Pooh. "So...what do ya think?"

Elena looked around with a smile "Wow Ash...you really went for it. This is incredible." looking at the character murals on the walls. "You did those all by hand?"

"Yeah...sure did babe. I'm really tryin' to get this whole fatherhood thing right. Figured i'd really go for it on the nursery."

"I sure think it shows. Our kit's gonna have a real good life."

"I know he will...or she will, docs still ain't sure about the gender and all." Elena began to yawn. "Think it might be time to turn in for the night."

Ash merely nodded, carrying her down the hall to the master bedroom. When he stepped in, Ash gently laid Elena down on the bed. "You get comfy babe...i'll be right back." giving her a kiss before heading out toward Suzanne's room. The bedroom was in a fantasy princess motif, canopy bed, brimming toy box and all. Suzie was tucked in already, armful of plushies including of Ash, Lance and Snoopy.

"Hey now...there's the world's best little sister!" Ash patting her on the head and kissing her forehead. "And all your little friends at your side." making a point of patting each of them on the heads. "Now, how about a story?"

"Please..." Smiling widely.

Ash nodded "Alright, one story comin' up!" pulling a book from the nearby shelf. "Here we go...once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in a land far away..."

About fifteen minutes later....

"...And they all lived...happily ever after...the end." Ash shutting the book gently, seeing Suzanne had drifted off to sleep. Ash carefully stood up, not to wake her up. Sliding the book back in the shelf and slipping out the door. He got about halfway back to the room as he stopped, leaning on the banister. Suddenly feeling oddly weak...

"Ohhh...oh no..." putting a hand to his head. Seemed as if...memories were flooding back. Visions of his time on the streets, of bad games, moments he'd lost his cool...all rushing back to haunt him. Why'd he have to be visited by this now? He was home...he was safe...

"C'mon...better shake this...damn..."

"Ash...you okay honey?" Elena calling from the bedroom.

"I'm...i'm fine babe. Promise..." stumbling back to being upright. "Sorry about the hold up." stepping in and climbing onto the bed. "Now...where were we?" He asked with a grin.

"For starts...you're a bit...overdressed." slipping a paw under his shirt with a chuckle. After some light playing, Ash found himself at ease and not so overdressed. Wrapping tails, close holding and some gentle strokes on the chest and it seemed the troubles of his mind began to melt away...

Hours later...

It seemed the peace was short-lived. He was turning and tossing violently in bed. The thoughts from earlier all giving chase once again. Mumblings of panic and desperation before finally awaking with a panicked gasp. Looking beside him, Elena still sleeping soundly. He did his best to slip out of bed without disturbing her and slung into the master bathroom.

Immediately he clutched the edges of the sink counter, running cool water as he looked in the mirror. Sweat covered his face and his hair was a bit of a mess from tossing. A mess as always...As he continued to stare into the mirror with a mixture of bleakness and distress, the memories and images from earlier flooding back once again. He clutched his head now, silently pleading for it all to stop.

He began splashing the cool water on his face. "C'mon...snap the hell outta it!" he quietly said to himself. "...Memories...blessed and cursed with them..." continuing to splash his face until the fur on it was eventually a bit drenched...hard to tell if was water or tears at this point. Whatever it was...seemed to mask the worst of his emotions. He snuck his way back into bed, luckily not stirring Elena even slightly. He faced away from her, eyes wide and his mind still running a mile a minute...better shake this and quick...

Featured Characters

Ash Van Zant

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