Star slowly wakes up and panics when she's not in her room. She realises she's in Marcos bed and panics again until she hears a choked sob from behind her. In a daze, she turns around and realises she is being mercilessly hugged by Marco, with his wet eyes shut tight and small whimpers escaping from him. She gasps out of surprise and confusion but quickly hugs Marco back in an embrace of her own, making calming noises that seem to be working. While rubbing Marco's back and stroking his hair, she nearly yelps when she notices Marco's head on fire. She quickly remembers the events from yesterday and looks at her own body while sadly sighing. 'Marco's being strong for me.' She thinks, while feeling Marco sniffle every so often. 'I have to be strong for him.' She decides, 'I'm not the only one that's changed.'
''Marco?" She softly asks, trying to wake him. His eyes shoot open imminently and, in a panic, tries to escape Stars hug. "Marco, Marco, it's alright, your home, your safe." Star comforts him, struggling to hold him down. "Star?" He asks, he looks at her body and his, as a look of recognition flashes through his eyes.
"Sorry." He says guiltily, relaxing into Star.
"Its okay. Bad dream? What to talk about it?" Star asks, letting him out of her hug. A pained expression makes it onto Marco's face and he quickly shakes his head at the question. "Okay. We have to get ready for school." She says grimly.
Marco cringes at her. "…I forgot all about school." He groans.
"Let's get dressed, then we'll see your parents together. Sound good?"
Marco has a guilty look on his face. 'I never thought I'd see my parents again...' Yea quickly snaps out of it to answer Star, "Yeah, sounds good." He forced a smile. Star awkwardly smiles back before running out of his room and into hers.
They both come out of their rooms. Marco, looking normal save for the fire floating above is head, and Star looking exactly like she did during mewberty except she has her normal blue eyes. They both wordlessly walk side-by-side down the stairs into the kitchen where the smell of pancakes are originating from.
"Marco, Star your up!" Angie excitedly says turning around. "I made –" Angie stops talking and stares at the two intently.
"H-Hi mom." Marco awkwardly says.
"Good morning Marco, Star." She greets back. Angie shakes her head and softly smiles. "You two have to tell me about this. Now or after school, your choice."
They both breathe a sigh of relief and Star answers, "After school. And… Ummm. Thanks for not freaking out." Star says.
"I'll love my son no matter how he looks, and as long as your both healthy, I don't care how you look either Star." A genuine smile creeps up on both their faces as they sit at the table and eat the pancakes. Angie weakly smiles to herself as she remembers last night.
Angie heard a lot of strange noises and Star talking upstairs, enough to go check on Star and Marco. She was just about to push open Marcos room when she heard sobbing from inside. She stopped dead in her tracks with a concerned look on her face and slowly put her ear up to the door.
"Don't worry Star, everything will be okay." She hears Marco say.
"But this has never happened before!? What if I'm like this forever!?" Star asked. Angie frowns and silently opens the door to peak inside. Her eyes widen in shock when she sees a purple, 8 limbed Star hugging Marco while crying into his chest and Marcos head seemingly on fire with neither of them caring. She silently closes the door and gives them their privacy as she heads to the couch to take this all in.
'I gotta call Raftel.' She thinks while pulling out her phone. She calls him and he answers quickly.
"Hello Angie honey."
"Hello Raftle sweetie. I'm just letting you know that Star's appearance has drastically changed and she is very sensitive about it at the moment."
"Is she alright?" Raftel asked, concerned.
"I'm not sure… I think Marco changed as well."
"What!? Ill be right over."
"No! No, just leave them for now. I saw them crying in Marco's room. Just be patient and don't overreact when you see either of them."
"…Okay honey. If you say so." Angie smiles.
"Okay, just wanted to tell you. I should go now."
"Okay honey, bye. I love you."
"I love you too. Bye." They hang up. She walks back up the stars to check on them again.
"Could I, could I sleep in here tonight?"
Angie nearly squeals from excitement. "I think we both need each other right now." Angie's smile drops when she hears the uncertainty and sadness in Marco's tone.
"I'm scared." She hears the both whisper. She takes a shaky breath and continues on with her day, wondering if there's anything she could do.
Star and Marco finish eating their pancakes. "Thanks Mrs. Diaz. We gotta go catch the bus Marco, come on." Star says as she pulls Marco out of his chair.
"Your welcome." Angie tells her.
"Bye mother-mum-mom. Um, bye." Marco awkwardly says as he gets dragged out of the house and to the bus stop by Star, leaving behind a slightly confused Angie.
Almost like Star can know what he's thinking, "Don't worry, your moms really nice remember? Are you going to tell everyone what happened?" Star asks carefully. Marco shrugs then grins wildly.
"Are you going to tell everyone what happened to you?" He asks back playfully. Star felt her cheeks heat up and quickly looked away.
"Sorry I was so clueless Star." Marco says awkwardly, avoiding eye contact.
"Huh?" Star looks back at him.
"Back when we were kids – are kids – I mean now." Marco heavily sighs. Star raises an eyebrow at him.
"What?" Star asks, even more confused and curious than before.
Marco takes a deep breath and expels his nerves, "I'm sorry I didn't realise you had a crush on me." Star freezes stiff and keeps her eyes forward without any signs of moving, a million thoughts running through her head. Marco notices this but continues, "I've had a lot of time to think about my past life – this life. I always thought when I came back, I'd tell you how I really feel. No matter how awkward or unwanted it would be." Stars eyes widen even more and her mouth drops open in shock. "I missed you the most Star… Eventually, I was able to move on from everyone I knew. Everyone except you." They both stand in silence for a few seconds.
Star opens her mouth to try to say something but nothing comes out.
"What I didn't expect however, was time passing only 8 minutes for you and not 16 years. So, I'm going to break up with Jackie and take a break from relationships for a while. I'm a 30-year-old man, about to go to high school, where I currently have a 14-year-old girlfriend, and that makes me feel… Weird." Marco says as the bus comes around the corner.
"M-Marco…" Star mumbles as she looks at him. He scratch's the back of his head and awkwardly smiles.
"Sorry to just… Dump all of that on you Star." She wants to say something but can't seem to find any words, so she just nods at Marco with a shocked expression still on her face.
The bus pulls up to them and the door opens to a surprised bus driver, but she shrugs it off quickly enough. The bus is full of teenagers talking until Star and Marco walk up the stars. All the boys scream or yelp at the sight of Star and hide under their seats. Star looks down in shame until Marco puts a hand on her shoulder and gives her a reassuring smile. He leads them to an empty seat and lets Star sit at the window while he takes isle. The bus trip is silent, and Star and Marco awkwardly smile at all the occupants of the bus that are currently staring at them in interest for the girls and fear for the boys. When the bus stops at school and the door opens, nobody moves until Star and Marco get up and walk out of the bus.
"Okay, rocky start." Marco admits. "But don't worry, we have friends here, I think. Sorry, its been a while." Star smiles at him while he opens the door to the school's hallway. Marco and Star casually walk inside and as people take notice of them, the hallway becomes as silent as the bus, unnerving both Star and Marco. All the boys flinch at Star and people seem memorised by Marco's flame. Jackie and Janna walk up to the duo. One with a worried and confused expression, and the other with a huge smile and mischievous look in her eye.
"Hi Jackie, hi Janna!" Star greets nervously.
"Hi Star, sup Marco." Janna greets back without missing a beat. "So, what happened to you guys?" The whole school shuffles around closer so they can hear. Star blushes and Marco suddenly gets lost in his mind. Janna, being as perceptive as she is, can obviously tell they don't want to answer, so she is about to force it out of them, until Marco speaks up.
"Basically… I got a new job." Marco replies to Janna with a smile. He points a finger at his flame. "This is my badge, I'm basically an interdimensional magic cop." Jackie bursts into laughs but quickly stops when no one else is, Marco chuckles at her reaction.
"Don't be modest Marco, it's a bit more important than that." Star excitedly tells him.
"Star, you're not going to start kidnapping boys again are you?" Jackie asks with a little worry in her tone. Star laughs to help her steel her nerves but its not working.
"I-I don't know. I haven't yet." The bell rings, saving Marco and Star from further questions as everyone starts walking to class and starting to warm up to the new Star and Marco. Janna sticks with them out of interest and notices Marco constantly scanning his environment and following Star to class.
'That's strange, usually it's the other way around.' They make it to the classroom and everybody stares at them as the enter. Marco is looking lost until Star grabs him and points at his seat at the front of the class. Making the whole class and Mrs. Skullnick raise an eyebrow at them. Marco walks over to his desk and chair and eyes them suspiciously. He casually checks under his chair and desk before he sits down and notices the whole class including Star look at him strangely.
"Sorry, force of habit." He calmly says, sitting down.
"Whatever. Marco, Star." The troll gets their attention. "Try not to distract the class with your new… looks." During the class Marco cannot for the life of him, pay attention, and decides to refamiliarize himself with his class mates. He doesn't even remember half of them, the rest he recognises but can't put a name to the face, and the rest were his friends – are his friends. He corrects himself.
"Marco!" Mrs. Skullnick yells, prompting a very large response from Marco. Who stands up so fast it flings his chair backwards and pushes his desk to the ground as he gets in his fighting stance. The troll steps back in fright and all the students lean back as the fire on Marco's head erupts down to his shoulders.
"Marco! Calm down, its alright!" Star yells from the back. He turns and scans his surroundings and calms down when he realises there's no danger. The fire on his head dies down until its back to normal and he relaxes from his fighting stance.
"Sorry…" Marco starts as he notices the blackened roof and furniture spread around him. Next thing he knows, Star has him by the arm and is dragging him out of the classroom.
"Excuse us for a moment." She politely says before she kicks the door open and drags him out of there. Leaving the class in a state of shock while Janna is intrigued. "Marco, what happened in there?" Star asks, near some lockers.
"S-Sorry Star, I couldn't concentrate so I tried to remember people in the class and I let my guard down and the troll snuck up on me and-"
"Okay Marco, I get it." Star says calmly, putting a finger up to his mouth. "You just returned from a long, dangerous journey and your having a little trouble adjusting back to your old life. I get it." He takes a deep breath and calms him nerves fully before he looks into Stars eyes.
"I think I should sit next you, just in case that happens again." She smiles and nods in agreement.
"Remind me not to surprise you if I'm not looking for a fight." She jokes, making Marco smile in return. They enter the classroom again to meet the eyes of everyone in the room, 'Starting to get used to the attention' Marco thinks.
"Sorry for disrupting your class Mrs… Errr-"
"Skullnick." Star reminds him.
"Mrs. Skullnick." Marco finishes.
"Ummm. Don't worry about it, Marco. Why don't you take a seat next to Star?" She suggests. His face brightens up.
"Yeah, good idea, thanks." He says as he and Star walk to the back of the class, checks the chair and desk again, and sits next to Janna. Janna smiles wildly at him, like she would at something dangerous or on fire… oh wait. The class continues on like normal but Marco is staring off into space with Star worryingly glancing at him every so often and Janna studying the situation until she figures this out. Marco begins to look at his hands in concentration.
'I was on fire just before. If I can do that consciously, maybe I can learn how to control it.' He focuses on the tip of his right index finger and notices sparks, making him excited. He can feel a small trail of fire flowing down his arm and is pleasantly surprised when it reaches his finger and lights on fire. He grins to himself and tries to light his other fingers on fire. Star does a double take she notices Marco's beaming smile and finger on fire and glances at Janna grinning like a maniac towards Marco's hand. The class finishes and everyone rushes of to lunch to go gossip about Marco and Star.
"It was crazy, his head lit on fire and he was about to fight Mrs. Skullnick before Star dragged him out!"
"Star probably dragged Marco out to make out with him or something. She looks the same as when she went boy crazy that one time."
"Mrs. Skullnick was calling Marco and he ignored her until she yelled at him. He launched his chair back and threw his table on the floor before he nearly set fire to the school."
Rumors and gossip like this was flying through the lunchroom while Star and Marco were held back by Mrs. Skullnick with Janna listening right next to the door.
"I don't know what's happening with you two but I think you should both go see Mr. Candle." The troll says. Marco shoots her a confused look while Star frowns.
"Who?" Marco asks.
"The counsellor Marco! Geez, how did you forget our names overnight?" The troll replies annoyed, completely missing the dark look Marco gives her.
"You two are dismissed." They exit the classroom to find Janna greeting them.
"So, you two gonna go see Candle?" She asks. Star and Marco look at each other.
"After today, maybe its just best everyone knows?" Star asks.
Marko grimaces, "Yeah, I guess your right. But what am I going to do about Jackie?" Marco questions back.
"Jackie? What's she got to do with this?" Janna asks. Raising an eyebrow at the pair. Marco sighs.
"I have to break up with her."
"WHAT!?" Janna yells, making everyone around look in their direction.
"Why?" She hisses at Marco. "You've been spending your whole life chasing after her, you got a date, and now you need to break up?" She sarcastically asks, glancing at Star suspiciously.
"It's a long story, but basically I'm a 30-year-old man in a 14-year old's body, I feel like a pervert right now and I just want to stop feeling so… Dirty." He loudly whispers to Janna, who's eyes widen at the announcement. "I'm not sure when I'll be able to start dating girls my age again, but my conscious is screaming at me to get out of the relationship immediately. How do I let her down and still be friends?"
"I-uh-um…" She looks between Star and Marco worryingly, and Marco instinctively jumps to the side with his back to the lockers in a fighting position until he sees Jackie standing behind where he was before. Marco relaxes but does a double take when he recognises Jackie and her hurt expression.
"Jackie!" Marco yells, surprised. "How much of that did you hear?" She lets a tear roll down her eye and skates away in the other direction, pushing people out of the way who looked back towards a very surprised Marco, Janna and Star.
"Shit." Marco says. Star and Janna absent mindedly nodding in agreement.
If the rumors weren't crazy enough already, they got even worse.
"Marco broke up with Jackie for Star."
"Marco cheated on Jackie with Star and she found out."
"Even Jackie's best friend knew about them but didn't say anything." Ferguson and Alfonzo quickly found Marco and Star.
"Dude! The school is going crazy!" Ferguson yells with misplaced glee.
"Yea man, people are saying you fought the teacher, tried to burn down the school, cheated on Jackie with Star, even made Jackie skate home early." Alfonzo adds. Marco facepalmed and groaned while Star looked at them worried.
"Marco Diaz and Star Butterfly to the counselor's office. Marco Diaz and Star Butterfly to the counselor's office." Marco groaned even louder.
"I guess we are going to see Mr. Candle." Star remarks.