Legend: Thoughts = <>
Stray thoughts = ()
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Ok, guys, all the disclaimers apply, that means all thanks goes to Marvel
For the X-Men, I'm just making the story. And I do read all the other
Stories and they're great, keep up the good work. They inspire me!
Connor [Pane, can you please reply?]
Melissa [Maybe he's annoyed with all your talking.]
Connor [Pane, there's a demonoid near the...]
The demonoid looked around, unaware of the attack that was about to befall it. I jumped down from a taller building and slowly crept up behind it, sticking it through the heart from the back!
Connor [You got it.]
"You've been taking risks out there." Connor nagged as we walked down the Hallway to my room, "It could have pulverized you, if it would have caught on."
"If is the big word." I said, flinging my jacket over the chair in my room, "I've been assassinating these things for months now."
"Yeah, and the way you've been doing it is too impulsive." Connor said, "None of the other team takes unnecessary risks."
"None of the other team can do what I do." I said.
"Yeah, about that, you don't seem suped up." Connor said, "You seem the same."
I looked at my bedspread and waved my arm, causing it to gently fold itself back. It was slow but rough, like somebody inexperienced in their power.
"But I know you and there's got to be something behind all this work." Connor said, "Let me in."
"You're in." I said, "As much in as `in' gets."
"Is there something I'm missing?" Connor asked.
"I just have this new role and I want to be good at it." I explained, "The X-Men are sticking their necks out for us. We're their sleeper team and we've got to get the job done."
"Yeah, and as head of the team, I should be the one up at night without sleep and..."
"You are." I said, "But I just can't sit around and do nothing."
"What about Richard?"
"What about Raiden?" I snapped, but I looked down, "Sorry. Richard is swamped and we haven't been able to do everything we wanted."
"Then this is your chance, go out and date and be merry!" Connor said, "God knows Max and Melissa have."
"I think I'm going to hit the punching bags for a while." I said.
"The X-Men are counting on us to be at our best. When we go off on our own, we're not the best." Connor said.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you sound like Summers." I said, leaving.
I stood at the punching bag, striking it as hard as I could with my punches and my kicks. I took a step back and focused. I closed my eyes and raised my hand toward the punching bag. I could feel the space around me bending and moving, but the punching bag was still. In a sudden burst of energy, the bag flung off its chains!
"Got yer powers back, did ya?" Wolverine asked.
I turned to see him, "Somewhat." I said, "You totally missed me kicking Mega's ass. It was bordering on epic."
"So I hear." Wolverine smiled, "Had a few of those in my day."
"You are getting a little up there aren't you?" I asked.
"I can still kick yer ass, bub." Wolverine smirked, "Summers thinks this is too much too soon."
"Summers needs to suck my left nut...again." I said quickly.
"Whoa, there's some fire." Wolverine smirked, "You and Summers not getting along?"
"Try having two of him around at all times." I said.
"The glorified weightlifter giving you a hard time? Want me ta...'talk' to him?" Wolverine asked.
"I want you to stab him a few times." I said, "Shouldn't you be doing something a little more bloody than hanging around here?"
"I do have some Avengers type things to do. You sure yer okay?" Wolverine asked.
"Nothing I can't handle." I smiled.
"There's a war brewin, kid. Are you going to be there?" Wolverine asked.
"No, my team is getting nowhere near this war. This isn't our fight." I said quickly.
"You're already involved." Scott said, causing me to turn, "All the X-Men teams need to be together on this. We've come too far."
"Gosh Summers, need a bell?" I asked.
Wolverine chuckled, "Ya do got a way of sneaking up on him." He said.
"Just me?" I asked.
"I could smell him coming a mile away." Wolverine said.
"Look, your team has been out of the battle since M-Day." Scott said, "We need you."
"We're taking care of the demonoid problem, isn't that enough?" I asked.
"Not this time. Cable is back and he brought Hope." Scott said, "We need help keeping her safe."
"And?" I asked.
"I think he's pleadin'." Wolverine smirked.
"I'm damn near powerless." I said.
"That's not true and you know it." Scott said, "Utopia needs you."
"Utopia is a joke. It's a way to cut yourself off from the rest of the world. What happens when the mutants start being born again?" I asked.
"No mutants are being born." Scott replied, "When did you get so..."
"What? Go ahead and say it." I asked.
Scott sighed, "We need to be together on this. All of us!" he said angrily.
"I agreed to be your team on the outside of Utopia. I agreed to work with you despite our past. I agreed to stomach you showing up at random times, asking for help. When does this end? Now you want me to put my friends in very real danger because your island full of mutants won't protect themselves? Make them fight. I'm tired of losing ground with you." I frowned.
"Is this really about the battle or is this about you and me?" Scott asked.
"There is no `you and me'." I said quickly.
"I should leave." Wolverine said.
"Yeah, that's a good idea." Scott said, "Your teammates are looking for you."
Wolverine left the room, leaving Scott and I quiet.
"What have I ever done to you, but love you?" Scott asked.
"Isn't that enough?" I asked.
"This conversation isn't happening again! No matter what I say, I'm the villain in all this! I'm happy with Emma." Scott said.
"Then why are you here?" I asked.
"To ask for your help. Hope is angry with me, my team is angry, and I don't know the woman I married! I'm asking you for this one thing from you and you're acting like I'm asking you to die!" Scott yelled.
"You are!" I shouted, turning my back to him, "You are. I don't normally survive these things and you're asking me to walk right into a battle for something I don't believe in."
"The X-Men? You don't believe in what you do anymore?" Scott asked, confused.
I turned to him, "I don't believe in Utopia." I said blankly.
"It's our haven from the world."
"It's where you and the rest of the mutants are hiding." I said, "I refuse to hide like some dirty little secret."
"You're scared and I understand that, but if I thought there was a chance you would die without coming back, I wouldn't let you anywhere near the fight." Scott said, stepping closer.
"Because you still love me?" I asked, looking away from his eyes.
"Yes." Scott said, "I'm trying to protect everybody."
"But you're leaving yourself too open." I said, "You have real issues and you need to deal with them but don't lose sight of what you're doing. You're saving lives."
"Will you help me save lives?" Scott asked.
I nodded, "I already am." I said.
Scott nodded, "I better be getting back." He said.
"I love you, too." I said as he walked to the door, "It's a different kind of love now. You're always in my heart and you'll never leave."
Scott smiled, "What's his name?" he asked.
"Richard." I smiled.
"I brought someone to meet you." Scott said, "I think he needs a mentor."
"Oh, hey, I'm nobody's mentor." I said.
"This'll give you a bit of a reason to help us." Scott said, "Anole!" he yelled into the hall.
"Is he deaf?" I asked.
"No, I'm green." Anole said, stepping into the room. He was, in fact, green. And short. And cute in a totally jail-baited sort of way, "It's okay, you can stare. I get that a lot."
"No, I'm not staring because you're green. Or the hair," I smiled, "You're a cutie."
"Thanks." He said, blushing. It was hard to tell but his cheeks changed colors.
"I'm glad you guys are hitting it off." Scott smiled.
"I gotta talk to Scott. Mind if we have a moment?" I asked.
"Sure. The lady in there was showing me some cool things." Anole said, walking out of the room.
"You sneaky son of a bitch!" I growled.
"It was the only way." Scott said, "I have to get you to see what's at stake. All those kids you love, they are going to die unless..."
"What about this Hope chick?" I asked, "And who says that I'll be able to help? This all seems so...impossible."
"Hope needs to be protected." Scott said.
"So, she should be protected while the rest of us die?" I asked.
"You know what I mean." Scott sighed with frustration.
"Yeah, sadly, I do." I said, "This girl used to be me."
"Pane, there are going to be innocent women and children there and I'm not sure we can do it alone. We need every available..."
"I know the pitch." I said quickly. I thought about it. I mean, he was right, they needed every mutant they could get, but what if something went wrong and my team didn't make a dent in whatever was going to attack? What if this Hope chick isn't the mutant Messiah? If all this was true, Scott was leading mutant-kind right into death. I could feel it.
"So, you're going to help?" Scott asked.
"After this is over, you're going to let Hope go find her family. And you are going to take a break from all this." I frowned, "And, this is most important, you're not going to ask this of me or my team again. Other than the regular help we give anyways, we're not doing more."
Scott looked to be mulling all of it over, "Is that your way of telling me to get out of your life?" he asked.
"I meant what I said. I love you, but I can't...we can't keep doing this. I move on, you move on, and then we move backwards. It's not healthy and it's not something we should be doing." I frowned.
"You think it's something I enjoy?" Scott asked, "To come here and see that you've got this new life with this new guy? And this new family? You think it's easy to see that you can and most likely will live without me? All I really want at this moment is your help. It's not even...it's what I need."
I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to throw myself on him and kiss every part of him, but I knew that was wrong. He was right, I have a new family and a new guy. And he has a wife, as slutty as she may be, she was still his wife.
Scott stood and stared at me, then he turned to leave.
"I won't," I said, causing him to stop, "I'll never stop wanting you. I will never be over you. It's a constant struggle and when I'm not around you...I don't know if it gets any better. But it's just getting to the point of bearable."
"Really? Because it's really not getting any easier on this end." Scott said, his hand still on the doorknob.
"Anole...he's gay?" I asked.
"Yes. And I think you should help us. He hasn't experience anything yet." Scott explained, "I also want you to meet Hope, who hates me."
"I like her already." I smirked.
"I'm sure you do." Scott said, "Don't be too long." He said, leaving.
I nodded and watched him walk out. I stood at the door, watching him leave the office.
"You didn't tell him about Rich." Connor said, joining me at the door.
I shrugged, "What's to tell? He asked me to marry him and I said no. He dumped me." I said, walking back into the room.
"You told him a lie." Connor said.
"My son's father dumped me." I chuckled, "I wanted him to move on."
"So, you lied?" Connor asked.
"I don't want to talk about it." I said quickly.
"That's becoming a thing with you..." Connor said. He sighed and then asked, "This girl, Hope, sounds like she's worth dying for. How does it feel to not be the mutant Messiah?"
"I'll tell you after we die." I said darkly.
"You really think we're going to die? After everything we've been through, now you think we're going to die?" Connor chuckled, "Have you not been paying attention?"
"Have you?" I asked, "He asked us to die. We're expendable."
"He asked us because it's tactical genius! If they can't handle it, then they have a back-up plan." Connor said, "You're like the Messiah to the Messiah."
"I don't like that word. I mean, Jesus is the Messiah. This girl's just another mutant." I said.
"Another mutant? Did you hear how Scott talked about her? She's not just another mutant!" Connor said excitedly, "Aren't you excited to meet her?"
I looked to him, "Connor, this is like your Viagra, isn't it?" I asked.
"First ray of Pane I've seen since..." Connor paused.
"It's Utopia." I said, "I just don't think Utopia's supposed to be us separate from the rest of the world."
"Sometimes, you take what you can get." Connor said.
"Sometimes..." I started, but I stopped.
"What?" Connor asked, looking around.
Before I could answer him, a portal opened and sucked me and Connor through a portal!
Connor, Melissa, Max, and I were pulled through the portal and landed in the desert! It wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't landed face-first! We all got up and dusted ourselves off, looking at our surroundings. It looked like we were standing on what used to be a city, but it was now desert. Melissa asked behind me, "Where are we?" and I shrugged. Max told us to come quick and when we got to him, he was dusting the ground. He dusted it off to reveal that it was the time of a torch.
"What in the Hell is that?" Melissa asked.
"It's...Lady Liberty." Connor said, looking around at the ground.
I took in my surroundings. There were buildings, but they weren't as big as you would think. They were maybe eight stories and were seriously damaged.
"It's the future." I said, "A possible future."
"How'd we get to the future? Did you do this?" Max asked.
"My powers aren't even working, so it's a resounding no!" I spat.
Melissa looked around, "I've never been to the future." She said in awe.
"I always envisioned it with sprawling cities and, you know, people." Connor said.
"Usually it is." I said quickly, "And kids."
"Kids?" Connor asked.
"Future's been changed." I said, "Somebody strong pulled us here."
"We need to find out who that was." Connor said.
"We're in the middle of the desert. We need to find food and shelter." Max added, "It's kinda a must."
"The buildings..." Melissa started.
"Something's really wrong." I said, looking into the distance, "There are brainwaves, but they're not coherent. Not logical at all. I can feel Wolverine and X-Factor, but they're on the other side of the world, it seems like."
The group exchanged confused looks.
"How close are these `illogical' thinkers?" Connor asked.
I looked down. So did the group. Something materialized out of sand and into a humanoid form and slapped me across the sand! I stopped a few yards away from where I was originally standing.
"What the Hell!" Connor said, getting knocked back too!
Melissa sent electricity, but the figure turned back into sand and absorbed it! The figure disappeared in the wind and materialized behind Melissa and grabbed her by the neck, about to snap it. Max threw something at the sand monster, causing it's arm to freeze and break off! The creature put its broken arm to the ground and dust storm to overtake us! When the storm disappeared, we were left scratching our heads. I stood up and dusted myself off, thinking that maybe this wasn't the best time to time travel to. But something perplexed me, it didn't feel like time travel per se. It felt...weirder?
"What in the Hell was that?" Melissa asked, massaging her throat.
"Demonoid?" I asked.
"No. It's build is similar, but more human." Max offered, "It was female, also."
"And you know this because..." Melissa asked.
"It's breasts and the vagina." Max said.
"Wow, that billionaire, playboy thing really is just a cover." I snarked, "I think we need to find some weapons."
"I think we need to pray. Hard." Connor said, "This would be the time when my mother would have...well, sent me to church."
"If you can find one, go right ahead." I said, looking around, "We really are in the middle of the fucking desert! This is unbelievable. When I figure out who brought us here, I'm going to mental suggest a razor bath."
"We're here for a reason." Max frowned, "Maybe a higher being brought us here?"
"To the future?" Connor asked.
"Wouldn't be the first time Pane's time traveled." Melissa said.
"You're missing one epic detail...I'm not the only one here." I said, "Why bring us all here?"
"Maybe it has something to do with the Sahara in Manhattan." Max said, putting together his surroundings, "This is where we were, just in the future."
"This is all very cute, but only something powerful could have brought us here." Melissa said, "I'm betting on our resident powerhouse."
"I told you..." I started.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you now didn't, but maybe you in the future did." Melissa said.
"I think maybe she's on to something." Connor said slowly.
"No, I think I get it. I must be here in the future. Either me or Hope. We just need to find whoever summoned us here." I said, "We need to find us."
"We need shelter, I say we take our chances inside these buildings." Max said.
"We need weapons. If that thing comes back for us, I want to be ready." I frowned.
"Mel and I will search around. You guys set up base in that building." Max said.
"Should we really split up?" Melissa asked apprehensively.
"It won't be for long." Max said, walking off, "One of those building should be a pawn shop or something, if this isn't too far into the future."
Melissa looked to Connor who nodded. She reluctantly followed Max as we headed in the opposite direction. I looked back at the stores all lined up close together...I had forgotten what home looked like. It wasn't this and it was New York. Home was Oklahoma. Somehow, I guessed, Oklahoma probably wasn't there anymore.
The building was a high rise, lucky for us, and there were already beds and living rooms and...it was somebody's home once. There were antiques and knick-knacks and it felt very lived in besides the dilapidation. I was getting sheets out of the closet while Connor was sitting on the sofa, writing something on a sheet of paper. I pushed the sheets on the sofa and folded them.
"We didn't change anything, did we?" Connor asked.
I shrugged, "Doesn't look like it. We might have put this off for a couple of years." I chuckled.
Connor looked at me oddly, "This isn't funny. We've spent the better part of the last five years fighting against this and if it's going to end up like this, why even fight?" he asked.
I thought about it, "I hate to say this, but we fight because it's right." I said with much trepidation.
Connor again looked at me oddly, "On a list of things I didn't think you'd say." He said.
"Apparently, I'm doing a lot of things that I never ever thought I would do." I chuckled.
"You don't think it was you, do you?" Connor asked.
"I'm not even sure we're still in our world." I said, "Everything is so different..."
"That's because it's not your world." A familiar voice said.
"Did you just..." Connor asked.
"No." I said quickly.
We both turned to see me...An older me. This me was wearing brown leather pants, combat boots, a matching zip-up vest, showing that he was more muscular than I was, and chainmail across his chest. There were holsters on his back and in front with guns. His hair was cut, but messy. It's hard to explain how a black person's hair can be short and messy but you could tell by his facial hair that there were very little razors in this world.
His voice was way deeper than mine, "This isn't your world, sparky." He said cooly.
"Did you bring us here?" I asked.
"Nope," Another voice said, walking into the open. It was a Raiden, who was wearing a tank-top, dark brown capris, a jacket, and a hat with combat boots, "That was all me."