Fandom: Runaways, set just after vol. 2, #8
Word Count: 1,131 words
Summary: Molly has her first birthday since running away from home.
Author’s Note: A birthday fic for candyflosskillr.
Molly hummed a cheerful tune as she came down the steps to the main gathering area. The others had to be up by now – Molly had been up for hours.
Halfway down the staircase, she stopped humming and stuck out her tongue in disgust. She was humming that dumb Barney song! Oh, my God, I need to scrub my brain out or something… She shook her head violently, the ears of her cap slapping the sides of her head.
But she quickly forgot about the awful song. Today was her birthday, and she wasn’t going to let anything get her down.
“Chase! Gert!” she called to the empty room. “You up yet?!”
Only echoes of her voice reached her.
“Nico! Vic? Karo—”
Her voice died in mid-shout. Karolina was gone. Going off to marry her Skrull guy… girl… Never coming back.
Molly really missed her. Couldn’t Xavin have waited a little bit longer to take her away? That would have made this birthday so great…
She tried to shrug it off, and jogged lightly toward Chase and Victor’s room. It was so hard to hold in all of her energy – she needed someone to bounce it off of! As she got close, though, she could hear voices – it wasn’t Chase arguing with Victor over some roommate issue, but Chase and Gert instead. Molly slowed down, unable to help eavesdropping.
“Well, what do you think I can do about this, huh?” Gert sounded more annoyed than usual.
Chase answered, “I dunno – you’re the brains around here, sweetheart. I bow to your superior intellect.”
A playful oof – she probably punched him in the arm – and her voice softened. “I’ve been running a lot of ideas in my head, but none of them really seem like a workable plan…”
Oh, good, some sort of team stuff. They didn’t sound like they were getting all mooshy with each other or anything. She walked up to the doorway and poked her head in. “Hey, guys! Good morning!”
Chase jerked for a moment in surprise, but Gert simply turned with half-lidded eyes to look at her. “Hey, Molly.”
“Mornin’, Molls.” Chase grinned. “You are just way too cheerful. You manage to get some of those Sugar Bombs anyway?”
“Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs,” she reminded him indignantly. “And… no,” she finished with a slight pout. “Whatcha workin’ on, anyway?”
“Not much of anything,” Gert frowned.
“We’ll figure it out,” Chase said.
Molly opened her mouth to ask what they were trying to work out… but then shut it. They were starting to look at each other in that way again – which might lead to kissing or something. “Um, okay. See you later!”
She quickly sidestepped over to check in on Nico – she was probably sleeping. Molly peeked in anyway. Nico actually was awake, sitting on the bed, fully clothed, her back to the door. She was nearly motionless there – what was she doing?
Nico didn’t answer.
“Are you okay?” Molly tiptoed into the room, getting closer. “Nico?”
“Oh…” Nico said with a weary start, curling her hand around something in her palm. “What did you need?”
“Nothing, just wanted to see what we’re doing today…” Hoping that there were some fun plans that involved an outing… a cake, possibly…
Nico turned and placed the object under her pillow, but Molly could still see what it was. Karolina’s bracelet – the one she’d given Nico before she left for outer space. “I don’t know, kiddo. Hasn’t been much excitement around here since Karolina…” Nico looked down again, biting her lip.
Molly hadn’t meant to open that wound again. She walked backwards out of the room, pretending to be oblivious. “Okay, well, whatever… maybe I’ll get out a board game or something…” Nico didn’t really seem to hear her at all.
Well, shoot! Molly slumped down into a chair at the table. Some birthday this was going to be! Chase and Gert all caught up in each other, Nico all sad that Karolina was gone… Last birthday she had was so fun! Mom and Dad threw a party for all her friends, and…
Molly frowned, unhappy with that comparison. Last year she had parents and a home, friends and a real birthday party. So what if her parents turned out to be evil and their lives a complete lie? It didn’t make this birthday suck any less.
Her good mood was now officially ruined. She laid her chin down on her folded arms and closed her eyes.
Someone sat down beside her, then. “Why so sad?” Victor. At least the new guy cared.
“Birthdays suck,” she pronounced, not opening her eyes.
Victor laughed. “I thought only middle-aged women thought that.”
Molly growled and turned accusing eyes on him. “What does a dumb robot know about girls?”
Victor held up his hands. “Whoa, whoa! I thought we were friends now. What’s with the bite, chica?”
Well, maybe she didn’t mean to sound so harsh. He was the only one really talking to her today after all. “It’s just my birthday, and…” The rest of the words came out in a rush. “…and my parents are gone, and we live in this hole in the ground, and we’ve got no money, and people are looking for us, and trying to use us, and taking one of us into space, and we don’t even know what we’re supposed to do next, and why can’t we just go to Magic Mountain like normal people do?”
Victor placed a hand on her shoulder. “We live in a rollercoaster ride. I think that’s enough for me.”
“Yeah…” she sighed.
“Heck, you could probably lift the Colossus by yourself,” he teased.
She grinned back, a mock-menacing flash of teeth. “Watch it, or you don’t wanna know what I’ll lift…”
Suddenly, a call from the bedrooms turned both their heads. “Hey, Bruiser. You hungry?” Chase held a cake in his hands, mismatched candles ablaze on the top.
“You got me a cake?!” she squealed, all gloomy thoughts vanishing in an instant. She bounded over and read the top. “Happy Birthday… Harold.”
“Hey, beggars can’t be choosers… and mistake cakes taste just as good.” His voice was more apologetic as he added, “Sorry we can’t do a lot more than this, kid.”
“I don’t care, this is great!” And she really didn’t, now that she thought about it. It was no fun being all emo, anyway.
Everyone sang, and she tried to think of a good wish. To have a normal life again? For Karolina to come back? For a friend her own age? For everyone to live happily ever after?
Aw, wishing was for babies. She just blew out the candles, cheeks puffed out. Chase didn’t even seem to mind the icing that got on his shirt.