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!
"Are we sure he's safe? I mean..."
"I know what you mean, Jace." I frowned, "And I don't know. I just...I can't leave him alone to be picked off."
"Why did he even leave Sinister?" Raiden asked, "How do we know?"
"I think you're transferring." Jace said.
"Transferring?" I asked.
"You couldn't keep Perry, so you want to protect your clone." Jace said, "He was sent to kill you."
"He was born in a test tube..."
"So were many other, normal people." Raiden frowned.
"That's just it. He's not a normal person. He's me. If you trust me, why can't you trust him?" I asked.
"Because, despite what you think, he's not you." Max said, "I don't mean to be on the opposite side you're on, but seriously..."
"They all have valid points." Connor said.
"Well, I'm the leader and I say he stays." I frowned.
"Is this the way it's going to be? You're the leader and we're all just your lackeys?" Raiden asked.
"Dude, I'm nobody's lackey." Declan frowned.
"Why are you so confrontational? About the dumbest shit. He's me. I'm him. If you can't trust him, you can't trust me." I frowned.
They all looked to each other. I wasn't a scientist or anything but they were debating, thinking it over.
"Just tell me one thing, are you a good bitch or a bad one?" I frowned.
"Hey, that's my wife." Connor protested.
I stood at the door, watching the other me. It was weird to see me but it wasn't really me. I hadn't given him a name. He was called clone 643 by Sinister. He'd told us most of what he knew. I had convinced the team to just wait and see like I was doing. Raiden and Max had agreed to go on a mission for the Avengers. Apparently, the new Brotherhood's resident psychotic scientist had concocted a special gas that brought your worst fear to life. Like some comic book villain thing. Figures. Connor and Jace were in his office going over strategies for the Brotherhood. Declan was in the training room, preparing his powers. Barton buzzed behind me, asking if there was anything I needed. I waved him away and turned back to the clone. That was harsh. He wasn't just a clone. He was somebody. He was me.
"I've watched television for months now...nothing's ever on." He said, not looking away from the screen, "I mean, you'd figure there'd be like...Buffy's not on"
"Yeah, that ship sailed. Docked. And swam to a little island called comics." I smiled, "It's still really good writing and stuff."
"You took me in." He said, "You came for me. You're either really stupid or..."
"How do you know if your friends are right?" He asked, "I was trained to kill you."
"I know that I'm right." I said, "You don't just have my face, ya know."
He turned to look at me.
"I know myself a lot better than they know me." I smiled.
He smiled for a split second before letting it fall, "I trust you." He said.
"I trust you too." I smiled, "Gives a new meaning to self-esteem."
"I have these memories. They never happened to me. Imagine waking up to find yourself alone and having to figure the world out through tv and memories that aren't yours." He said, "He trained me to kill you. I don't understand these things that I have to do and someday I will betray you."
I nodded, "Won't be the first time I've betrayed myself." I said softly.
"He's too hard on himself." Jace said, standing at the door, "You both are."
The clone looked to him once and disregarded him.
"Did you come up with a name for him?" Jace asked.
"I was think Maurice or DJ." The clone said, "What, it's better than Pane."
"What about Peter? Or Potter? Or Pablo." Jace said.
"Or Peris." I said, "With an E-R-I-S."
"I actually like that name." The clone said, "It's nice. I've been there."
"That settles it, then. I'll have an identity built around that name." Jace said, walking to the door.
I walked up behind Jace and grabbed his hand, causing him to turn to me, "Thank you." I said quickly.
Jace smiled to me, "You're right. He's you and if we can't trust him...but we can." He smiled.
For a second we just stared into each other's eyes. I was about to say something, to do something, but I broke the eye contact. He smiled and nodded as he left.
"You know, there's only one Scott for a reason." Peris said quickly.
"Can we not talk about it?" I asked.
So, why aren't you with Jace?"
I had been sitting at my desk going over everything for the day that psycho killed a good friend. It was the day Melissa lost confidence in us. I went over all the evidence and the only thing I could see is that Declan left the room and was gone for God knows how long. It brought up questions, not just with me, about what he was doing. Declan was a very new member of our group but up until now I trusted him. I couldn't say I still did. Not fully. Everyone else had been with me too long to do something like this. Yes, lately, the line between us and them had been blurred but how could any of them betray me like this? At least my clone had told me that he'd betray me someday. This was unexpected. I was trying to reconcile it all in my head when I heard this and looked up to see Max. I was remembering a conversation we'd had earlier. I couldn't get it out of my mind.
"I mean...it's not because of me." Max said, "If it were, you'd be with me. You'd show interest in me."
I looked down at the desk.
"If your friendship is all I'm going to get...I think I could learn to live with that. But I want you to be happy." Max said, "I want for you to be happy so much."
"Don't lie." Max frowned, "You're not happy. You're stressed and alone, even with all of us around you. I've seen this before."
"He deserves better." I said quickly, "You deserve better, too."
"If he deserves better and I deserve better, be better. You're so better than all this." Max frowned.
"I can't change. If I change, we might lose all this."
"This mission. We're saving people and helping people and if I don't do my job..."
"Sometimes, it's not your job." Max said, "You've never understood that. Still don't. "
"I'm holding onto things so hard that it's cutting into my hands." I chuckled sadly, "I'm going over that day over and over."
"What day?" He asked.
"Melissa was right. I've been running around here consumed with everything that I missed something. Somebody among us is a traitor." I frowned, "I refuse to let this all be too much."
"What if, by some silly stretch, it is? This power you have is destroying you and everything around you." Max said.
"That's the mission statement. I'll fight until the very end." I smiled.
"That's the mission statement this week?" Max asked.
I sighed, "I think that's always been it." I said.
Max smiled at me and I looked to the door, the same door where Barton appeared now.
"There's a problem." Barton announced.
When I got to the Conference room, the group was there. Declan, Peris, Connor, and Jace were seated around the large, oval table. They all looked uneasy. Barton had let slip that Raiden and Max got captured. I walked with the utmost urgency. When I got there, a distress call was already playing. It was Raiden and she was exhausted. She had teleported all the way back to the aircraft. The message cut off abruptly over the sound of fighting. When the message stopped, I glanced over to Connor, who was clutching so hard on the table that it was bending under the pressure. I reassured him that it would be okay and turned to Barton, telling him to ready the mini-jet. Barton bounced off quickly and I turned to the gang.
"I'm going." Connor growled.
"Are you sure it's a good plan?" I asked.
"I don't give a fuck about your plans." Connor said angrily.
"I should go too." Jace said.
"Wait, we can't go in with everybody. Somebody has to stay behind." I frowned.
"If you don't take me, I'm going on my own." Connor said, "And after that I'm going to kick your ass."
"Maybe." I said, "Listen...Declan and Peris..."
"I'm not getting left behind with the kid." Peris groaned.
"Jace, you stay with Declan." I said, "Connor and Peris, suit up."
I stood outside Connor's door. I wasn't sure of how I should approach the situation. I was the leader now, but he had been my leader before and I knew that he was beyond pissed. I would be too. I was surprised I wasn't more pissed that she was gone. I think I had been desensitized by all the violence. Sure, they'd been captured, but we'd get them back. We were the good guys. We'd win. There was no other option. I wasn't losing anymore of my team to this group or anyone else. I walked to the door and saw that his office was a mess. Everything that was supposed to be on his desk was on the ground and the desk itself was overturned. He looked to me from the window. He looked out of breath and upset.
"I told her not to go on this mission." Connor said, "But no, `it's just a reconnaissance mission'. It's a freaking death trap."
"We're getting her back." I frowned.
"How? We're going in with no idea what we're facing!" Connor thundered, "I'm sorry. I don't mean to take it out on you, but what if they've hurt her? Or Max?"
"Then we end them like we're going to inevitably." I frowned, "Sinister's bringing a war upon himself. He wants a group to group face-off, he's got one. He crossed the line by taking two of our members."
"He took more than two." Connor said, "She's not going to be the next..."
"I think this is the point at which I assure you...I can't do that." I said looking directly at him.
He frowned and nodded, "I know." He said.
"I won't stop until we have her back. One way or another." I said, turning and walking away.
"Yeah, yeah, I heard it before. I'm not ready or some other bullshit." Delcan said, walking away.
He was angry because he had to stay. I made a very educated and battle-worn decision and I wasn't changing my mind. Too many people would ruin the mission rather than help it. And taking him along was a risk I wasn't ready to make right now. I turned when I felt a hand on my shoulder. Jace smiled at me.
"Don't worry about him." Jace said.
"I am." I said, "If I don't let the boy out of his cage, he's going to go rabid."
"He's not ready." Jace said, "How are you doing?"
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Raiden's your best friend and I know you care a lot for Max." He said with a little anger.
I smiled, "Me and Raid have been drifting...couldn't you tell?" I asked, "And I care for Max as a friend."
Jace smiled before hiding it, "Is this the point where we kiss or I do something and we reconcile?" he asked.
"No. This is the moment where I ask something of you." I said.
"What is that?" He asked.
"Watch Dec." I said, "I know you know about the traitor and I've been thinking and I don't think it's him but just because I don't think it doesn't mean the higher-ups won't."
"This is the point where I tell you to be careful." I said quickly, "There are a lot of bad guys after us now. You have to be ready to do things you haven't done before."
"Okay, then this is the point where I tell you to be more careful." Jace smiled.
"Walk away, cowboy." I smiled.
Jace nodded and left the room. I looked around and I was alone. I felt the pressure very clearly. Life, was once again, on the line. It was once again in my hands whether my friends lived or died. It was getting old.
"We could always hop on a plane and go on vacation." Peris said standing at the door, "I know you're all a family but this doesn't seem ideal."
"Did you get your suit?" I asked.
"The spandex? Yeah, not wearing that." Peris said, "IS this yours? Gold and Brown Spandex with boots that go up to your knees with straps going up the length? Dude and what is that?"
I grabbed my serape, "It's awesome is what it is." I frowned, "It's like my whole persona."
"The Hollow?" Peris asked.
"Yeah. It's my part in accepting it." I smiled, "I mean...That's my new Alias andI'm of the Earth, ya know."
"What I'm getting at is...are you sure you want to do this?" Peris asked.
"Save my friends? Yeah."
"Somebody on your team is betraying you." Peris said, "How are you sure it's not a big trap."
"Doesn't matter. They're my friends." I said nudging his shoulder and walking to the door, "See you at the jet." I smiled, leaving.
"Any idea where we're headed?"
"One of Sinister's new bases." I said, "It's high above a mountain range, barely visible."
"He's got a new one?" Connor asked.
"Of course." Peris said, "He's got many bases. When he loses one, he just spirits away to another."
"Are you sure you're fine with this?" I asked.
"Too late to turn back now." Peris nodded.
"So, how exactly are we getting in?" Connor asked, "I've looked over the schematics of the craft and I have no idea where we'd begin to look."
"We're going to blow a hole." Peris said, "We're going in the way that's useful to us."
"Dude, you're a strong-man. You're supposed to like to make a mess." Peris said.
"I'm strong but I'm not invincible." Connor said, "Neither are you."
"I'm a natural-born power-house."
"You weren't born naturally." Connor said, "And as good as I'm supposed to feel about this plan, I actually don't."
"Good. No plan is perfect." I smiled, "How many times have we done this exact same thing?"
Connor looked at me.
"Now I'm all sad." I frowned.
"Why?" Peris asked.
"The last time we did this...I found out about you and the loss of my baby was just...a lot." I said, "Now I can kick a mean ass."
"We're not alone." Peris said, "We haven't been since we got here."
"What?" I asked.
Peris walked over and grabbed something, pulling it to view.
"Declan!" I frowned, "What in the Hell is going on?!"
"You wouldn't let me come. So I came myself."
There was an awkward silence.
"That came out wrong." Declan said quickly.
"That's the last thing you should be worried about. I'm about to kick your eighteen-year old ass!" I said angrily.
"I know why this is so angering...it's something we'd do." Peris smirked, "I'm starting to like this kid." He said, folding his arms.
"Now we have to turn around." I said.
"No time." Connor said, "He's got to come with us."
I knew he was right. We'd wasted enough time and now we needed to get our guys. I found myself coming into the idea. Declan was an empath. He was capable of something we couldn't do, changing moods and junk. We could mess with the mind but not the emotions. This could work in our favors. Then I remembered that he wasn't as skilled as he we needed him. I could only hope...
There was an explosion under us. The Jet had stopped and was now hovering a few meters above the newly formed hole. The wind was cold as it whipped across my skin. I could hear the voices behind me saying something but I was in the zone. I knew that if this was to go the way it should, we needed to be like a well-oiled machine. Each of us had to do our jobs. We'd used Declan to wrangle up fear among the many guards. It was taking its toll on him, though. Connor was biting at the chance to save Raid and Peris was looking for a fight. I told Declan to stay on the Jet with the pilot. He was weak and we needed someone to stay behind. We'd surmised that the place we blew up would be the holding cells. Connor would get Raiden and Max out while Peris and I dealt with Sinster's new group. These terrorists were dangerous and the higher-ups knew it and so did I. Everybody did. It was time to shut this terrorist group down. I wasn't in the dark about this. I knew the terrible things Sinister would do. I knew how far she would go but the rest of the team didn't know. They only saw half the bad stuff. He was so much worse than all this. He was saving the worst for last. The alarms sounding drowned out all the noise in my head. There was nothing left. Nothing but the mission. If this mission didn't end well, I wouldn't have a team. So here I stood, with the wind whipping across my face. I pulled myself back in and walked to Connor. Neither of us said anything, we just nodded. Peris jumped off the ramp of the jet and Connor followed him. I took a breath and ran, jumping off the ramp! As I careened to the Earth, I felt the overwhelming urge to shiver and scream. As I fell, all the thoughts of failing dissipated. There was nothing but me and the wind. I could see parachutes going into the holes. I didn't feel the urge to pull mine. There was fighting in the hole and I could see lasers firing and distinct shapes. Lasers were also zipping past me! I moved right, then left and flipped backwards, narrowly missing lasers as I entered the hole. I wondered myself how I would survive the fall without the parachute! I, once again, flipped from head first to feet first and landed so hard that it sent four guards flying! When I stood fully from my crouched position, I realized how truly epic it actually was. When you'd see it on television, it lost some of the epicness, but I felt really epic. It grabbed the attention of the other five guys who were fighting Connor and Peris, who quickly disposed of them. They walked over to me and stood, surveying the damage.
"We actually did it." Connor said.
"There's more guards coming." Peris smiled, "This'll be funny."
"Get to Raiden." I said walking forward.
"But.." Peris said.
"You want fun? Go and help some people." I frowned.
"I'm not one of your employees." Peris said.
I turned to him, "That's right. You're not. So the policy about not putting my hands on you is null." I said, "They need your help."
"You need my help." Peris frowned, "I don't really care what they need."
"If you help them, you help me." I said, "Now go."
Peris frowned and turned to Connor, both of them jogging away. I knew that we didn't have much time. The gigantic hole in the side of the craft was going to be a problem. We didn't have a lot of time. I knew that the worst part was over. We'd gotten in. Getting out was easy...it was just in what condition you want to leave. I had unfinished business to take care of. I walked until I got three centimeters from a corner. I felt three normal signatures and down the hall was five mutant signatures. I looked up to the three cameras at the crossing halls. I lifted my hands and shattered all three camera simultaneously. The three guards hurried around the corner, but I grabbed the gun of the guard in front and clubbed him with it. I levitated into the air kicking both of them before dropping to the ground. The guard that got to his feet first was met with an explosion that took him off his feet. The last guard grabbed me from behind but I brought my foot up against the wall and pushed back, causing us to crash into a wall! I elbowed him before flipping him over my shoulder. I straightened out my suit and continued on to the open room at the end of the hallway. I wondered why Sinister preferred open rooms. Two mutants that I couldn't identify were loading something into a smaller crafter. Sinister was watching them and turned to me with a mischievous smile. It was then that a hand fell out of the slab they were pushing. I realized who it was. Ken.
"I was wondering when you'd show." Sinister smiled. He was looking weak with scars that were almost healed.
"It's your lucky day." I said, noticing the others.
There were two other mutants. The African American teleporter, Marcus, and the cloning telepath from the trailer park. The mutants loading Ken onto the craft turned and I saw who they were.
"Bianca?" I asked, "Toby?"
Bianca and Tobias?! They were dead. I knew this for a fact. They looked like zombies. No doubt Sinister's idea of a good experiment.
"You like my creations?" Sinister asked, "I thought you would. Ethere, Force please welcome our guest."
"Ethere? Force? Original." I said, "At least you're a consistent psychopath. You bastard, you resurrected my friends?"
"All while you thought I was dead."
"Oh, believe me, it's coming." I frowned.
"I had so hoped that we'd have more time." Sinister smirked, "I've heard that you know my plan."
"Apocalypse? Again? Yeah, I know." I said, "And I'm going to stop you."
"At your core, you know that it is coming." Sinister said, "It is, of course, regrettable that you will not reach your full potential. To be the Earth itself."
"What?" I asked.
"The Hollow. You still don't know what's inside of you?" Sinister asked, "Pity. I'm afraid I have to go. I have a menace to resurrect."
"You can't help Ken. It's not science." I frowned.
"That is correct. I cannot bring back Ken. I can, however, make him my creation." Sinister smiled, "Until we meet again."
"You think I'm going to let you leave?" I asked.
"You don't have a choice." Sinister smiled.
At the moment, I just wanted that fucking smile off his face. I swung my hand, causing him to fly backwards! It was time for Ethere and Force to step in. I took the time to take Ethere (the teleporter) off his feet with an explosion. Force cloned herself and surrounded me. I could see the telepathic energy building at the last second, I jumped into the air and levitated as the pain bolts all hit the clones, throwing them back! I dropped.
"You didn't bring your A game." I said, "I was expecting Olivia."
"No...My A game is with your boyfriend." Sinister said.
My blood went cold.
"The wolf is among you. It has always been among you, the one of you that you would least expect." Sinister said, boarding the craft.
I felt it for the first time. Steel on the back of my neck.
"I told you that I'd betray you." Peris said.
"You did." I frowned.
"It's not controllable."
"The chip in your head." I said, "I know about it."
"And you let me stay anyways?" Peris asked, "You're either stupid or..."
"Optimistic." I said quickly.
"I'm sorry." Peris said, walking to the craft.
"I will save you." I frowned.
Peris looked back, with much effort, then boarded the crafted. The two mutants had gotten up and slinked over to the craft and boarded it. I couldn't move. I had to. Jace was in trouble! I turned to see Raiden and Connor running down the corridor. Suddenly, there was a lurch and a cracking noise as the aircraft ripped in two. The last real image I saw was Raiden and Connor disappearing as I was falling to the mountains below us!
Back at the office...
Jace was on pins and needles. He hadn't heard from the gang since Max had said that he and Raiden had been recovered. That was almost twenty minutes ago. He was alone in his office, waiting for any news that everything was alright. He couldn't stay still. He was also mad that Declan had stowed away. He couldn't blame him but it was still wrong. Jace walked to the door but dropped the papers halfway there. He bent down to pick them up and his last canister of Rave slid out and rolled under the desk. He moved to the desk, trying to fish out the canister, not realizing someone was at the door. Barton. Jace was shuffling with the papers. Before he even knew what was happening, Barton plunged a dagger into his back!