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!
I sat in my office, in my chair, looking out the window. Everything was so different now. Peace of mind seemed so far away. There were so many more choices now. Every second is a change and after every change are the consequences of that change. I remember when I first began saving the world...I was just a kid. I remember the world when my biggest worry was Scott being mad. I remembered my first day, when Bobby showed me around. I remembered the Med Bay, which I was always in. The trips from the mansion gone wrong. The turns to the dark side and subsequent consequences...maybe not that. I was just a kid. To some degree, I was still that kid. Just hardened. Just refurbished.
"Hey." Raiden said.
I turned to her and flashed a weak smile.
"We need you in the conference room." Raiden said, quickly ducking out of the room.
I was expecting this.
"We think you're...losing yourself."
I had made it to the conference room where my friends, minus Melissa, were sitting around and creating an intervention. Melissa had taken time off, as suggested. Jace stood in the corner with his arms folded. The rest were united across the table, except Max, who seemed to be by himself.
"And everyone feels this way?" I asked.
"Would it matter to you if we said oh Hell yeah?" Raiden asked.
"You think I'm losing myself? I'm not lost." I said, "I would think that Connor would understand."
"I do. But there is stuff going on that we can't deny." Connor replied.
"This again?" I sighed.
"Why not `this again'?" Jace asked.
"Because, it's over and done with." I said, "Not turning back."
"See...the old you would have never said something so...cold." Raiden frowned, "You were the moral compass for all of us."
"Me? I was your moral compass?" I asked.
"You weren't perfect, but you always knew who you were." Raiden argued.
"I was a child." I said quickly, "I didn't have a choice."
"And now that you have a choice, you choose darkness." Connor asked, "Where does that leave us?"
"I think you're all ganging up on him. Everybody changes." Max said quickly.
"It's fine." I said, "Before I was saving the world, I was a kid. When I was saving the world, I was a kid. Now that I'm not saving the world, I'm different? Hell yeah, I'm better. I still know who I am. Maybe we all changed. Maybe the fact that you don't know me and understand me shows that you haven't had the development you think you have."
"Don't you turn it around on us!" Connor frowned.
"What about Melissa and David?" Jace asked.
"You were pretty cold to her." Declan said.
"I was honest."
"You were an ass." Raiden said, "Own it."
"I do. I'm an ass. I'm a bitch. I'm everything you're saying. I'm strong. Get like me." I said, walking to the door, "Own that." I said, leaving.
"Did he just...I think..." Raiden stammered.
"You got served." Declan smirked.
"This is serious." Raiden said.
"You don't understand." Connor frowned.
"And you do?" Max asked, "You were part of the hater club."
"There's no hate." Raiden said, "Just concerned."
"He's out of control and spiraling." Jace frowned.
"How would you know? You barely speak to him." Max said.
"That's none of your business." Jace said angrily, "And he's not just pissing me off, he's pissing Raiden and Melissa and everyone else off."
"You've never been a true leader."
"How do you know that?" Jace frowned.
"Because you don't understand the hard decisions." Connor said, "I can't argue either way. I'm for keeping the peace."
"We need to be concentrating on defeating the band of buggered anyway." Max said.
They looked at him.
"The New Brotherhood. Ken, Olivia, Hastings, the teleporter and the cloning telepath. Band of Buggered..."
"Right. I was beginning to forget they exist." Raiden said sadly.
I was walking to my room when I stopped. I felt faint. Something was wrong. Before I could call out to anyone, I fell to the ground.
I woke up in the infirmary. So much for wanting things to be like they used to. Having me back in the Med Bay was just like old times. Yay me...or nay, as it is. I felt like someone had hit me with a very big, very sturdy truck. I rolled onto my side and came face to face with Ken. I jumped a little, whereas he smiled.
"It didn't worked."
"What didn't work?" I asked.
"Switching our essences." Ken said, "It was supposed to body swap us."
"And it transported you?" I asked.
"Pane?" Doctor Pettis asked, "Who are you talking to?"
I looked to Ken. Doctor Pettis looked also and seemed unnerved.
"I'm talking to Ken."
"Telepathically?" Doc asked.
"He can't see me." Ken said, "I'm inside your mind."
"Get out!" I said with disbelief. I turned to the doctor, "You're honestly telling me that you can't see him."
"You're worrying me."
"He thinks you hear voices." Ken smirked.
"Maybe you should lay down."
"Lie down." Ken smirked.
"Shut up!" I said angrily.
"I'm sorry." Doctor Pettis said quickly.
"No, not you." I frowned.
Doctor Pettis looked more shocked than ever.
"I mean...there was telepathy and that telepathy breeds voices. Someone out there is saying a lot." I said, walking past him, "I just...I feel better. Thanks doc."
"This is where you operate? Nice digs. I mean, coming from humble...very humble beginnings..."
"What are you blabbing about?" I asked.
"The place Olivia said she met you wasn't this place. Kudos. I'll be sure to keep it in tact when I rule the world."
"You're dreaming." I smirked.
"Not so hard. First, I take out the only thing that can stop me...then the world."
"I'm not the only thing. Scott and Steve..."
"They can't do anything close to what you can. Your powers...I've heard stories and I've got to say, I'm a little disappointed. You took this mystical mind-walk and all you got was an absence of boyfriend, which by the way, is gross."
"Will you please give it a rest?" I asked standing from my desk, "What, are you going to bore me to death? Is that the plan, make me go insane?"
Ken didn't seem phased, "You know the real tragedy, besides the power you have and the inability to use it? You think you're doing something good." He smiled, "How much good can you do from your ivory castle?"
"Dammit, you shut your mouth!" I screamed.
"Who are you talking to?" Jace asked.
I turned to the door to see him standing there.
"Please tell me you're not talking to yourself." Jace frowned, "I heard Doctor Pettis when he said it, but seeing it..."
"No. I was...screaming at the birds on the window."
"To shut their mouths?" Jace asked.
"They were chirping for...for fuck's sake." I chuckled.
Jace was staring at me.
"I'm sorry. I just...what did you need?" I asked.
"It was wrong to gang up on you earlier." Jace said quickly, "You're doing big things. You're a freaking superhero."
"But..." Ken smiled.
I quickly glanced at him and back at Jace.
"But I don't want you to lose anything that makes you...you. I fell in love with him. We all did, on some level. Seeing him slip away would be worse than death." Jace said, "We have the chance to do so much good and none of that could have happened without you." Jace said.
"You're giving me too much credit. You've helped people without me." I said.
"You're right." Ken said, "You're just some dummy that is going to fight and die. Without you, they'll go on."
"What's wrong?" Jace asked, "You seem...a little...out of it."
"You're slipping and everyone can feel it."
"Say it, slipping." Ken chortled.
"You need to take a break." Jace said, "Get yourself together."
"No. I can't." I frowned.
"You need it." Ken said, "And we'll be there to kick your sorry asses when you do."
"There's a lot to do." I said, "Have you guys made leeway with the whole `Apocalypse Rising' mess?"
"No. We're just finding stuff we already knew." Jace said.
"What about the Brotherhood?" I asked.
"The New one? A little." Jace said.
"And our mystery caller?" I asked.
"He's a part of us." Ken said, "He's one of your own."
"What?" I asked.
"I didn't say anything." Jace frowned.
"He's a part of that brotherhood." I said.
"We'll run it..."
"And he's one of us." I said slowly.
Jace looked at me with confusion, "How do you know?" he asked.
"I know. I just do." I said, "We need to find who did it."
Jace nodded and headed for the door.
"I never apologized."
"Yeah, you did." Jace said, stopping.
"Not for breaking your heart." I said, "I apologized for everything else and what I should have said was that I'm sorry for doing to you what you would never do to me."
"That means a lot." Jace smiled, "It's what I needed to hear."
"What...you didn't say that." Jace said.
Ken looked at him in amazement.
Jace walked over to where Ken was standing, "There's something here...can't you feel it?" he asked.
"How..." Ken began.
"You're a telepath. Duh Meggan!" I smiled, "You are so busted."
"You can see him? Or...it?" Jace asked, "Why can't we see him?"
"It's Ken. He did mojo." I said quickly.
"How long has he been here, with all our secrets?" Jace asked, "When were you going to tell us."
"Whenever I woke up from this horrible nightmare I'm having." I frowned.
"You went this long without telling us?" Connor asked.
"I hoped it was my subconscious." I frowned, "Besides, what could you possibly have done?"
"Now you're getting it." Ken smiled.
"Shut up!" I yelled.
Everyone in the room looked at me oddly.
"Ken, he's talking." I frowned.
"What's he saying?" Max asked.
I listened for a second, "He's saying you should mind your business." I said, "His words, not mine."
"He's a prick." Max frowned.
"And these are your glorious protectors? They couldn't even save you from this." Ken smirked.
"No one saves me. I can save myself." I said quickly.
"You're doing a bang-up job." Ken clapped.
"Don't listen to him." Jace said, "We're going to get this freak out of your head."
"So says the mutant." Ken said.
"Rather be a mutant than psychotic." Jace said.
"Careful...you extend yourself too much..."
"Don't threaten him." I said quickly.
"Your love sickens me. The fates send the world a warrior and he's you? Have you seen you? You're not a warrior. You're just a man." Ken said.
"Don't listen to him." Jace said.
"I'm here among your secrets and the only thing you can do is not lose your mind and that's questionable." Ken said.
"Get me candles." I said quickly.
Declan nodded and left the room.
"What are you doing?" Ken asked, for the first time losing his smirk.
"Fighting you with my mutant abilities would be a waste." I smirked.
Declan came back in with two black candles and handed them to me.
I smiled, "So, I'm going to fight magic with magic." I said setting the candles in a circle, "You seem worried."
"I'm more skilled." Ken said with a hint of fear.
"But who has the power?" I asked, throwing my hand forward and lighting the candles, "Can someone get the lights?"
Raiden flipped the light switch and smiled to me.
"You guys might want to leave." I said, "Things are gonna get hurty."
No one budged.
"How many of your camp would stay?" I asked.
His eyes scrutinized me. He was thinking and he let it show. I was positive that he was scared. Suddenly, he closed his eyes and began chanting. I quickly closed mine and began chanting a different spell, one to expel dark spirits. It became so intense that Jace kneeled down and placed his hands on his head. The rest of the group followed. Suddenly, through all the chanting, Ken stopped and began writhing on the floor. I smiled as I kept the chant going. I wasn't entirely truthful. It wasn't a spell to expel dark spirits so much as vanquish them by weakening. I walked over to Ken's astral body, which was laid out on the floor.
I looked at him slowly, taking in the sight, "You know what they say about playing with fire and such. It's just a little spell. Sinister wanted a warrior and he sent you?" I asked, "I want to know what you know."
"I don't know his plans. Olivia is the mastermind, not me!" Ken said, struggling against an unseen force.
"He knows where my twin is. Where is my twin?" I asked.
"He's in the city. He wasn't in the city until a few weeks ago." Ken said, "He's held up in a dingy apartment in Queens. Hinderclen, apartment 132"
"Dispel." I said, causing his astral body to disintegrate. I turned back to my friends, who stood staring at me, "I assume you heard all of that."
"How did we see him?" Declan asked.
"I drew his astral self out with magic." I explained, "I disintegrated his astral body."
"You...disintegrated his astral self?" Jace asked, "Without his astral self, he's dead."
"It will reform...eventually." I said, "I'm headed to Queens."
"Can we talk?" Jace asked.
"Do I have an option?" I asked.
"We're here for you." Jace said, "This has got to be...well, tough."
I stared at him.
"You don't have to keep it all inside." Jace said.
"As fruity as his advice is, he's right." Max said quickly, "You're not alone."
"In the end, we're all alone." I said, "I understand how I look to you guys and I'm sorry, but I can't afford to feel anything right now. This is all riding on us."
"When did we become that group?" Raiden asked, "That have responsibility beyond saving the world. I mean, isn't that enough?"
"When we joined the Avengers." Connor said, "That's the exact moment."
"Maybe this is too high a cost." Raiden said, "This has been fun and whatnot, but..."
"Maybe it's time we go back to doing what we do best." Jace said.
"We've come so far. We were a team." I said, "Anybody not feeling like a team can leave. Staying isn't mandatory. I'll understand." I said walking to the door.
"You're putting us in a hard place." Raiden frowned, "How are we supposed to choose between you and how we feel?"
"I'm not asking you to feel anything. I'm asking you to remember what we do. Through all this. We fight the things no one else can and if any of us have strayed from that, it's our own fault and not this job's fault. That's what changed. You lost faith in us and what we're doing...I haven't." I said, leaving.
As I exited the elevator, I stopped cold. An apartment door at the end of the hall was opened. Kicked in, actually, and there was smoke coming from inside. I could hear something faint. The sound of silenced bullets zipping out of the apartment and into the wall. I ran to the opening and stood there. The smoke was so thick I could barely make out two shapes standing in the hallway. As I crept closer, I saw that there were men firing guns at an overturned couch. I crept closer and when I was right behind them, I grabbed one of men and turned his hand to his friend. He immediately began firing wildly into his friend, who dropped to the floor. I wrenched his hand upward and smacked the gun out of his hand. I kicked him in the chest and forced my palm into his chest. He hit the wall and slid down. The smoke started to clear and there was a person behind the couch. He was aiming at me. I yelled out, telling him who I was. He still aimed at me and began shooting. Bullets whizzed past my head and into something behind me. Once the fear let go of me, I looked back to see another guard. I turned back to him and he had now lowered his gun. I nodded to him.
"I know who you are." He said, "Just what the fuck are you doing here?"