Continuing Tales

Noticing Adam

A He-Man & She-Ra Story
by Foxy11814

Part 19 of 55

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King Randor stood amongst the rubble that was slowly being cleared away by numerous guards and volunteers from across Eternia. He knew he should show a little more gratitude to all the workers, but he found it difficult to greet them and show pleasantries considering everything that had happened that day.

"Sire," said Duncan, walking up to the king to get his attention, "perhaps it would be best if you went inside to rest. Everyone has been making comments about how distraught you seem."

"Why should I hide it?" he replied. "Duncan, I'm at a loss as of what to do right now. Both my son and daughter are on Etheria right now, and I have no way of knowing if I'll ever see either one of them again."

"Prince Adam said he would return, my king."

Randor turned and met his best friend's gaze. "Yes, but how do we know if he truly meant to keep that promise?"

"Adam has never lied..." began Duncan, shaking his head adamantly at the king's question.

"HE LIES ALL THE TIME!" cried Randor. He shook his head and whispered, "Don't you remember that is what started all of this! Regardless of the fact that Marlena thinks she is to blame for Adam's conduct, the truth of her involvement solves nothing. Adam is still hiding from us and worst yet, now he's running. And, even though no one has stated it directly, I know I'm possibly more to blame than Marlena. She's right, isn't she? I have been treating Adam as one of my subjects and not my son."

The king could tell by looking at Man-at-Arms that his chief advisor did not know what to say. He needed the truth, and at this point of time—knowing that the man probably knew more about Adam than he did right now—he hoped he would provide it.

Duncan knew the king was hurting, and like he had wanted to do for several days now, he wanted to offer some words of solace. He wanted to tell Randor that he knew everything would turn out all right, but the truth was he didn't. He knew Adam was acting a little irrationally right now, but he also knew it was thanks to the pressures the prince had endured protecting Grayskull, the Widgets, and the entire planet. The constant need for He-Man recently had become this unbearable mountain of pressure for the boy, and his mother and father had only added to it…

"And, he toppled," he muttered.

"What did you say?" asked Randor, who had been waiting intently to hear the Royal Inventor's reply.

Duncan cleared his throat and responded, "There might be some truth to the queen's statement, but it's not entirely accurate, either. Adam knows you love him. He knows you care about him and only want what's best for him, but right now, he's under so much pressure…"

"What pressure is this?" asked the king, sounding genuinely confused. He started pacing back and forth as he considered the possibility. "I know I make Adam attend the proceedings that take place in court, but aside from a few meeting here and there, I don't ask a lot from him. I know he's not too interested in state affairs right now, so I haven't required much from him in those regards."

"Did you ever think that might be one of the problems, Your Highness?" Duncan knew he had to be a little truthful or the king would continue to search for answers, and ones he could not reveal.

"What do you mean?"

"Sire, the prince takes more of an interest than you give him credit for. I remember when he wanted to be your special bodyguard for your diplomatic mission a while back. He had been talking about you choosing him for weeks, but instead of him, you chose He-Man. Adam was devastated at the time, and I know your comments about He-Man being the better choice during the actual trip had to upset him." Duncan shook his head. "Out of all the people in Eternos, I'm the one who is with Adam the most. I see what he does on a daily basis, things that no one gives him credit for or notices. Do you know he knows all the guards by name and has a firm knowledge of what's going on in their everyday lives? Just last week, Trooper Kendas' mother became terribly ill. He walked up to Adam after a combat lesson with Teela and thanked him for visiting her. I didn't know she was sick, and I didn't even know Adam had gone." He paused for several seconds. "I can't tell you how many more incidents like this have occurred throughout the years and a lot of them with your average citizens, as well. Have you ever wondered why your people love Adam so much? Do you think they blindly accept him because he's your son, or do you think perhaps they know and love the prince?"

Randor turned his back on his man-at-arms and sat on a nearby boulder. He looked up at the sky and answered, "I don't know. The truth is I never wondered too much." He paused and turned around on the large rock to face Duncan again. "I suppose I am guilty of treating my son unjustly. I just wish I knew the true source of all this anger he's displaying. Is it really me, or is it from something else that I'm unaware of?"

Duncan walked over to the boulder and said, "Do you want me to answer that honestly, sire?"

"You know I do."

Duncan looked up at the sky and answered, "Your questioning and accusations drove Adam to the breaking point, but he was well on his way to this point long before now." He sighed when he turned to look at the king. "I failed to recognize the signs until it was too late. I took Adam…and his natural tendency to love and find the good out of life and everyone for granted. I forgot that he is just like the rest of us, capable of making mistakes and feeling overwhelmed at what life throws at us on a regular basis."

Randor sighed when Duncan finished his speech. "So, we're both guilty of taking Adam for granted and ignoring his needs…But by the Ancients, Duncan, when I tried to take notice and become more involved in his life, he reacted with such hostility and told such blatant lies!" He closed his eyes because he undoubtedly heard his voice getting louder and louder with each passing word. He took a deep breath and said softly, "I may deserve the hostility for how I have treated him in the past, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still hiding something and that he's still lying to me. Marlena said she knew Adam would never do anything we'd consider wrong, but knowing that isn't enough. One of my jobs as a father and king is to protect him, and I can't very well do that without all the facts and knowing where he is and what he is doing! Doesn't he understand that?"

"It's a difficult situation, Your Highness, and there are no easy answers. Adam has become his own man who is not accustomed to sharing, much like his father, I might add. I say we wait for Adam to come to us, see what he offers us when he comes back from Etheria. Let's give him some space. Maybe that will be enough to allow him to calm down and open up." Duncan felt like a heel for giving the king such false hope. He knew Adam would never open up, and if he did, it would cause even more problems, more than he could probably even imagine.

Adora stared at her brother with wide eyes as he finished his story.

"And, here I am," said Adam, and he quickly fell into silence.

"So, Mother knows you're He-Man?" whispered Adora. Even though she hadn't been protecting Castle Grayskull's secrets for as long as her brother had, she knew the situation was grave. What could all of this possibly mean for Adam? Did the Sorceress know their mother possibly knew the truth? Would they have to…wipe her memory of the knowledge somehow?

Adam shrugged. "To tell the truth, sis, I had a suspicion that she knew for quite some time, but I never confirmed it because I liked the idea that she somehow knew. I wanted to keep believing it so I never asked. Her knowing my secret made me feel…better about things."

"But now it doesn’t?" Adora could tell this entire situation was eating at her dear brother, and she didn't know how to fix it. And, even more importantly, she didn't know how to feel. In one instant, she wanted to be mad at her parents just like Adam, but the next, she felt sorry for them. It had to be awful to know that your son was lying to you and hiding things from you…things that obviously led him to getting hurt and making your own friend lie to you. That's exactly what was going on in Eternia. No wonder everything was exploding. Everyone had a legitimate reason to be hurt or angry. There wasn't a bad guy in this situation, no one He-Man could point out as the guilty party. Sure, their mother laid herself up as the sacrificial lamb, but even she had a legitimate reason for her actions.

Adam, unaware of his sister's thoughts, groaned and turned back to lie down on the bed again. "I don't know," he mumbled. "I just got so angry when I realized she was the reason Father was suddenly questioning me all the time. Our relationship kept getting worse and worse, and she did that."

Adora scooted closer to her brother and laid her head on his shoulder while wrapping an arm around his waist. "I don't know if it's fair to blame Mother for everything," she said, honestly. "It seems to me Father made her feel the need to do this, and of course, you must have, as well."

She felt Adam stiffen, so she immediately lifted her head and turned to face him. She placed the palm of her right hand on his chest and pushed down heavily. "And, don't you even get angry at me for telling the truth!" she snapped in her Horde Force Captain voice.

All the air that Adam had been taking in to prepare for a verbal fight with his sister suddenly left him. He relaxed his body, and Adora immediately put her head back on his shoulder and resumed her former position.

After lying there for several minutes, both contemplating the situation, Adora stated, "I think part of the problem, brother, is that you are completely overwhelmed."

Adam smirked and said, "You could say that."

"I am," replied Adora, who also sat up and turned to face him. She squinted her eyes at him and said, "And to be perfectly honest, I could almost be a little upset with you, too!"

"W—what?" he stuttered.

Adora continued to glare at her brother. She knew he wasn't completely to blame, but she knew part of the reason why Adam was in such a dire situation: he had been pushed and prodded by Skeletor for a long period of time and he hadn't asked for any help. He just kept fighting and fighting and saving and saving. All the while, he never got any relief! He just kept going, and of course, when their parents started to take notice of his emotional and physical state, he became scared and lost it.

"Why didn't you ask me for help?" she asked calmly, even though she was leveling Adam with a look that would have made even the worst villain squirm.

"What?" he questioned again. "Adora, nothing was going on that warranted me to…"

Adora jumped up from bed and shouted, "By Horde World, Adam! Skeletor was running you ragged, and obviously, you needed someone to talk to long before now. Either situation should have made you contact me. Instead, you decided to stew alone in all of this. You didn't have to go through this alone, you know. I would have been there in an instant. If you had contacted me early enough, a lot of this might not have even happened. Sure, Mother probably would have made Father get on your case, but perhaps you wouldn't have reacted so harshly, maybe you would have thought through your words and actions a little better if you hadn't been so tired and irritable." When she stopped her tirade, she stared at her brother and tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for a response.

Adam's mouth was gaped open. "Did you just say 'By Horde World'?" he asked, sounding incredulous.

Adora sucked in a breath quickly and then said, "Oh, no, we are not turning this around onto me! That's an old habit that slips out every now and then. What we are going to do right now is discuss you and why you didn't ask for help."

"I didn't think I needed it," he answered.

"Adam, She-Ra has already attempted to heal you with the Sword of Protection, and even then, it didn't heal everything. How could things have possibly gotten that bad and you not know you needed help?" She knew the answer, but she wanted to see if Adam would admit it.

Adam closed his eyes and shook his head as he sat up from Adora's bed. "I didn't think things would get that bad, and when it did, it was already too late:  my relationship with Father got even worse. He started dictating what I was going to do and accused me of things I hadn't done. He also kept questioning me about where I was and what I was doing. He didn't care before. And, as for Skeletor, his antics just kept happening. It was becoming routine, almost. It never crossed my mind to ask for help from you, Adora."

Adora crossed her arms and said, "You think you can handle everything on your own! You can't, Adam! Don't you see that?"

Adam sighed, sounding and looking defeated. He swung his feet off the bed and turned his back to her. "I see that," he answered. "So, what are we going to do now?"

At that, Adora walked around the bed, wrapped her arm around her brother, and laid her head on his shoulder again. "It's simple," she answered. "We go back to Eternia and face it all together."

Adam and Adora stepped through the dimensional gate and were immediately greeted by the Sorceress on the other side.

"Welcome back to Eternia, Prince and Princess," she said with a smile.

Adora grinned nervously and said, "It's still going to take me a while to get used to that title."

Adam also smiled and wrapped an arm around her waist comfortingly. "It will come in time. You just haven't spent a lot of time on Eternia to get used to it, yet," he replied.

The Sorceress watched the twins with feelings of relief. It was obvious that the short time Adam had spent with Adora helped calm him. Undoubtedly, the Sword of Protection had done its part, as well. She stepped forward and stated, "I'm happy your trip to Etheria wasn't as long as everyone had been anticipating."

Adam grimaced slightly. "Uh, yeah, probably everyone thought I'd never come back."

"It had crossed some people's minds," she admitted.

Adora, refusing to allow her brother to slip into another funk, interjected energetically, "Yeah, well, won't they be surprised when they see Adam merely left to bring his sister home once again?"

The Sorceress smiled and replied, "Yes, they will be." She started walking away and the two siblings immediately followed. When they arrived to the throne room, the Sorceress turned around and said, "I suspect things will be better on Eternos now that you are both here, but I must warn you: despite the king and queen's feelings of remorse, the king still has questions for you, Adam. He still knows you're holding something back from him."

Adam shook his head in annoyance and sat down on the stairs that led to the Sorceress’ seat atop the throne. "Well, what am I supposed to say, Sorceress?" he asked, sadly. "He wants to know one of the secrets of Grayskull, one that you've said I cannot reveal."

"That is something for you to decide, Adam. I cannot answer that for you," replied the Sorceress.

"Why not?" he asked running his hand through his hair slowly. "It would be so much easier if I knew what to say that would solve all of this."

"There are no easy answers. This is your secret to bear and you must find a way to handle all threats concerning that secret."

Adora walked to her brother and sat down beside him. As she watched her brother slip into his thoughts, she questioned, "Why can't we just tell Father? Mother already knows and it hasn't caused anything catastrophic."

Adam huffed through his nose and quipped, "Speak for yourself, sis, I think Mom has caused enough problems because she knows my secret. I cannot imagine how worse it would be if Father knew."

"But how do you know it will cause a problem? Maybe her knowing caused problems because Father didn't also know. Maybe both knowing would resolve everything."

Adam looked at Adora hopefully, but both were startled by the Sorceress' sharp "no."

Adora stood up and went to the Sorceress. "I can't begin to understand everything about Castle Grayskull. I wasn't raised on Eternia, and I don't know you, Mother, or Father like I wish I did, but I just don't see how keeping this secret from our parents helps anyone."

The Sorceress lifted her hand to silence Adora's words. "Nothing would be the same if King Randor knew the true identity of He-Man."

"Is that so bad?" questioned Adora.

The Sorceress nodded. "Yes, it would be. King Randor, despite his occasional harsh treatment of Adam, loves him very much and only seeks to protect him. He has a fierce devotion to that desire. That is why he attacked his problem with Adam with such tenacity. He fears losing his family: he has feared it ever since he married the queen and it only intensified after you were born."

As Adora opened her mouth to respond, Adam spoke, "Why does he have this fear in the first place?"

The Sorceress faced Adam, glad that he was listening and curious enough to try to understand his father's actions. "Adam, you do realize who your mother is, don't you?" she asked.

Adam straightened and said, "Of course, she's the Queen of Eternia…"

The Sorceress raised her hand to silence the young prince. "Before then," she clarified.

"She…" his voice choked. He cleared his throat with a forced cough and tried again. "She was an astronaut from the planet Earth."

The Sorceress smiled and nodded. It was clear to Adora that this was supposed to answer Adam's question. "And?" she asked, still clueless.

The Sorceress turned to her and explained, "Your father never found love until he met Marlena. Before he disappeared, his father King Miro had wanted his son to settle down and was in the continuous process of finding suitable courtiers for Randor since no one had caught his son's eye. Your father knew he needed an heir, but he wanted to fulfill his obligations with the right person. As soon as he helped your mother from her ship, he knew she was the one."

The Sorceress paused as she watched Adam leave the steps and come to stand beside his sister. Both were listening intently to her story. "I know it seems like everything worked out perfectly from that point onward, but that wasn't the case. Terrible backlash had occurred once everyone was made aware of Randor's intention to marry Marlena."

"Why?" gasped Adora and Adam simultaneously.

"A few had a problem with the notion that an…‘alien’…would help rule Eternia," she replied. "Some of the arguments born in that time were brutal and unfair. Marlena, more than once, questioned if she should marry your father. And, each time, your father had to convince her to stay, to remind her that she shouldn't care about what others thought."

The Sorceress met Adam’s and Adora's eyes with her own. "Don't you see? Randor was scared of losing Marlena. He was scared the people would never allow him to marry her, and even more terrifying to him was the possibility that she would want to return to Earth. That's why he never pestered Duncan to find a way to restore her ship to working order. Of course, Man-at-Arms took that upon himself later."

Adam and Adora turned to each other briefly before looking at the Sorceress again. "And, what does this have to do with me?" asked Adam, softly.

"From the beginning of their relationship, Randor lived with the threat of Marlena leaving him one way or another. When you both were infants, Hordak stole Adora away. He lost you, Adora, and he lived with the constant fear that someone would try to take you, Adam. Imagine the king's pain to realize that he is responsible for driving you away. Imagine the king's terror when he realized he had no idea what you were doing and who you were doing it with. All those insecurities of losing his family once again bubbled to the surface. It's little wonder the king didn't forbid you to go anywhere or do anything once he realized you were disappearing."

Adam shook his head and said, "He basically did."

"What?" gasped Adora.

"I didn't mention it when I was telling you everything? One of Father's grand solutions was to keep me busy at all times. He was going to give me more responsibilities and he said he was to be made aware of my location at all times."

Adora looked at the Sorceress and pleaded, "There has to be some way to compromise. It isn't fair for Father to live with this constant threat and pain of not knowing. Wouldn't telling him solve it?"

"No, Adora. King Randor would not be happy to learn of your secret identities. It would make things ten times worse. Imagine if either one of you had a son and you learned that he was facing the universe's most dangerous villains on a regular basis, as well as endangering himself to save lives during natural disasters or whatever else occurred on the planet. How would you feel?"

Adam cleared his throat. "I wouldn't like it. I would dread every time something wrong happened," he answered.

Adora added, "I'd wonder everyday if today would be the day that the unthinkable happened, that I would lose my family."

The Sorceress nodded.

Adam closed his eyes briefly before going back to sit on the throne steps. Adora watched his slow progress and without turning to the Sorceress, she said, "We can't possibly be in an impossible situation! I refuse to believe that—there must be a way to resolve this!"

The Sorceress smiled and said, "I'm sure with you and Adam working together on this, you'll find a solution. I have no doubts."

Adora nodded and turned back to her brother. "Well, my brother, I believe that's our cue to get to Eternos and start working our way to an answer...together."

Noticing Adam

A He-Man & She-Ra Story
by Foxy11814

Part 19 of 55

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