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!
"Where am I?" I asked.
That statement echoed through the changing space. It had been so blah and now it was alive with color. It looked like Eden now. I thought maybe I'd fallen asleep and this was my dream's way of telling me that...wait, I don't remember going to sleep. I remember...a mission. A cold mission. Betrayal. A cold Betrayal. I remember an explosion and falling. That's it. I wasn't asleep, I was...
"No, you're not." Jace said.
I turned to see him standing before me. He was paler and there was blood on his shirt. I ran to him quickly and grabbed him before he fell.
"We're in the astral plane." Jace said, "Don't you remember it?"
I chortled, "How could I forget?" I asked.
"It was so long ago."
"What happened?"I asked.
"I don't remember." Jace said, "It's not important."
"It's damn important!" I said, catching myself, "It's always been important."
"I guess you can be with Max...guilt-free."
"You dummy, apparently something went wrong with me too!" I smiled sadly, "I don't want him."
"Was I such a bad boyfriend?" Jace coughed.
"No! Not at all!" I said frantically, "You were the best."
"Me. That's about me. My insecurities and fears. My need to be happy all the time and I always miss it, huh?"
He gave a weak smile, "It is your world. The rest of us just live in it." He said.
"Are we going to die here?" I asked.
"One of us, I reckon." Jace said, "It's all getting darker, ya know."
"Yeah." I said, "I feel like I'm being pulled."
"Don't be sad."
"How can I help it?" I asked.
"Where is he? Can you feel him?" Connor asked Declan.
"No! He's not conscious." Declan said.
"We'll never find him in these mountains." Max frowned.
"Can you teleport to him?" Connor asked Raiden.
"No. I can't feel him." Raiden said, "I don't see him either."
"How are we going to find him?" Declan asked, "And what do we do if we find him?"
"What do you mean?" Raiden asked.
"He can't be alive." Declan said.
"You obviously don't know him." Raiden smiled.
Down below there was so much debris and fire spreading even though they were in the mountain. The gang hadn't heard about Jace yet. They were trying to find Pane, who was lost in the white snow and debris. They knew that he had been in the craft when it broke apart. The mountain was filled with the bodies of those who didn't survive the crash. The gang hadn't given up hope. Pane had come through much worse. For this to kill him would be unreal.
"We're going to find him." Connor said, "We keep looking."
They all nodded.
The cold was the first thing I felt. The undeniable, irrevocable coldness. I opened my eyes to see metal above me. The metal around me. I arched my back from the metal I was laying on. In my position, I could see that I was protected by the metal above me. It was as if the metal had protected me. That was the goal now, getting me out of this position. I tried to roll over but couldn't. I strained against the metal. It dug into my skin a little and I grunted, stopping all motion. I was so cold. I couldn't see the sun. Snow was still falling and I was starting to go numb.
(This is what we've been reduced to?)
"I'm cold." I said softly.
(Of course you're cold. We're in the mountains.)
"How do I survive this?" I asked.
(It depends on what you mean.)
"I killed Sinister. I saved the world. I keep losing people. I just lost..."
(Wah, wah, wah. You know this isn't going to kill you. You know by now that it takes so much more.)
"I don't know. I feel pretty dead." I said, "I can't lose him too."
(I've seen more incredible things.)
"What are we?" I asked.
(Nature. We control nature. We ride the winds, we sound the thunder...we are nature.)
"The control over molecules, not getting hurt after soaring through the air, and all the other things...The Hollow is Nature." I said.
(We've been here before.)
"We're not letting this happen again." I frowned.
Metal was of the Earth. Everything was. But I had to concentrate on the metal. If I made an explosion, it could cut me in half. I had to move the metal and not the space around it. I closed my eyes and prayed that this would be true. If my power came from the Hollow and the Hollow is of nature, I needed to be one with it once and for all. I had accepted it as a part of fate. I needed to accept it as a part of me. I opened my eyes and concentrated on the metal. The metal began to bend away from me and snowflakes began to fall into the hole that was made! It was working. I pulled myself from under some of the debris and began climbing to the top of the debris heap. Once I made it to the top, I realized there was still no sun. But I also realized that there didn't have to be. It didn't make my fight to the top of the heap any less poignant. The sun was shining somewhere and I fought to rid myself of debris. It was cold and it was unrelenting, but it was also freeing. There was air here. I could feel the air against my skin and breathe it into my lungs and I was free. I kneeled as an explosion not far off rocked the side of the mountain. There was a rumble not far off. I figured that the mass of snow would be coming any minute now. I looked around at the bodies that littered the snow. I thanked my lucky stars that I wasn't one of them. I felt tired and very unsure. I was lost on the side of the mountain; this mountain was slowly losing its form. They were starting to look the same. I felt everything again. I hadn't felt this in a long time. My mind scanned the area. Connor's mind was the strongest. I locked onto it and informed him I was alright. He said that Declan could feel me and that they were on their way.
We'd gotten back particularly fast. I was still reeling from, you know, falling from the sky into a mountain and being covered by debris. There was little talking on the flight back because we'd all been a little rattled. Jace had been stabbed and was in some kind of coma. I don't know why we were rushing back. No had seen it. Barton had come upon his body and thought he was dead. First thing I'd do after visiting Jace is to find whoever the traitor was. There was inconsistency with the whole situation. I couldn't trust anyone who was still there. Somebody is going to pay for this. When we arrived, we bypassed the harsh winds quickly. They were nothing compared to the wind on the mountain. When I reached Jace's bed side, I was instantly hit with guilt and sadness. He was so pale. He wasn't moving except to breathe.
"You need to be alone?" Max asked.
I shook my head.
"Who could have done this?" Raiden asked.
"The traitor, I suspect." Connor said, "The question is..."
"Where is Barton?" I asked.
"What?" Declan asked, "What about him?"
"He knows the emergency protocols. He knows the plans. He is there all the time. It can't be the inner circle." I said, "We were all gone."
"Wait, so there was question before?" Raiden asked, turning to Connor, "Did you know?"
"Yes. I knew but I couldn't tell you. I didn't know who was listening." Connor said, "Now with good reason."
"Your right. The other interns don't know as much as him." Max said.
"He's been with us longest and he's always around." I frowned, "And now he's the one who finds him? And he didn't see anyone coming or going from the office?"
"I'm sorry to interrupt," Hank said walking in, "But I found some disturbing news."
I folded my arms, "Hit me." I frowned, "Literally. Can you guys go find our traitor while I talk to Hank?"
"We're on it." Raiden said, leaving with the gang.
I turned back to Hank, "What's wrong? Why is he in a coma?" I asked.
"The reason for the coma is not physical." Hank said, "He has traces of the chemical found beside his body."
"Traces of...the chemical. What chemical?" I asked.
"Weren't you aware of the drug, Rave, that was found beside his body?" Hank asked.
"Rave? What is it?" I asked.
"It boosts powers in mutants. The X-Men took care of the main problem." Hank frowned, "Apparently, they did not."
"I know where you're going with this." I frowned, "I'm not calling him."
"This drug...how long has he been taking it?" I asked.
"I may have understated it earlier. These traces have stored a significant amount within his system." Hank explained, "This addiction isn't new."
I nodded, "Is he going to be okay?" I asked.
"Physically. Mentally, his power is overwhelming him. His body craves the drug." Hank said, "Without his mental self, his physical body can't heal."
"You're killing me." I frowned, "Is there something I could do?"
"Pray." Hank said, "I'm still treating him. I'll do all I can."
Hank was walking but stopped and turned to me, "I'd advise you to call him. He might be able to help you. I think we all need each other for whatever's coming next." He said, leaving.
I nodded, "That is what I'm afraid of." I said turning to Jace, "You stupid, inconsiderate ass! I can't exactly talk, can I? Drugs? You were doing drugs? And not just drugs. Superhuman power boosting drugs. Where'd you get them?"
"We found the bastard. He was about to leave." Declan said, "The gang is hanging with him so he won't escape."
"You wanna stay with him?" I asked.
"I want to watch the interrogation more." Declan said.
"Really? You're going to let me come?" Declan asked.
"Sure." I said, "Get him guards and come to the interrogation chambers."
When I arrived, Maria Hill, Raiden and Connor were watching Max interrogate Barton. Barton looked like he'd been in a fight, but Raiden said it was from Max. Connor let me know that Barton hadn't said much. He hadn't even confessed yet. Maria said she needed this to end quickly with a confession.
"He's a spy." Maria said, "We need to deal with this politically."
"How are we supposed to make him talk? Isn't this your job?" Raiden asked.
"I'll make him talk." I frowned heading into the room.
When I stepped into the very metal room, I saw that the window was a double mirror. Max and Barton looked to me. Barton smiled with a bloody lip.
"I was hoping I'd see you." Barton groaned.
"Max, leave." I frowned.
"But I was..."
"Leave." I said quietly.
Max nodded and moved out of the room. I imagined that he went behind the mirror with Connor, Raiden, and Hill. I moved closer to the table, not taking my eyes off Barton. He seemed at ease with me. It was mutual.
"Why?" I asked, "No, scratch that. I really don't care."
"This would be the moment where I go into hysterics, saying that I regret being a..."
"Traitor?" I asked, "You will pay for it."
"You should have seen the light go out of his body." Barton chuckled, "You don't know how hard it was being your lapdog while simultaneously trying to rid the world of you. Of course, breaking up your relationship was some of my best work."
I was taken back.
"Who do you think told Jace where to find you?"
I walked over to him and slapped him. I wanted to punch him but there were questions I needed to ask.
"Why hurt me?"
"The money pays well." Barton said, "He came to me with an idea...a good idea."
"He?" I asked.
"A lot of people want you dead. The world might have forgotten what you are and the power you hold, but there are pockets full of people who know and remember." Barton said, "I work for someone who wants you alone."
"You work with the new Brotherhood. Sinister." I said.
Barton looked at me.
"You've been with the company for a while. Somebody is going through a lot of trouble just to kill me." I frowned.
"Be flatter. You are a hard man to kill." Barton smiled.
"They knew you'd catch me. They're so far ahead of you." Barton said.
"You alerted them." I frowned, "You knew you'd never get out, so you sent for reinforcements."
"It's going to make what I did a couple of weeks ago look like a Molotov." Barton said.
"You killed a close friend." I frowned.
"I don't care." Barton said, "It's my job to not care. Just like I don't care about the hundreds of people that are about to get hurt."
I stopped dead, "What does that mean?" I asked.
Suddenly, there was a noise. A far off noise!
"Little explosives. Call it severance." Barton smiled.
I walked over and shoved my palm into his face, causing him to fall out of his chair backwards! I walked out of the room to see that Maria, Raiden, and Connor were gone. I commanded that Max stay and sped off towards the violence.
I had to use the stairs because of the elevators being in lockdown. As I ran up, I was caught by people running in the opposite directions. When I got to the floor where the infirmary was, I saw debris laying everywhere. I knew where I was heading. I stopped at the door to see Ethere standing with Jace over his shoulder. Declan was on the floor. I was about to send Ethere flying when I was hit by a pain bolt that made me drop to a knee. Three clones of Force walked past me. Olivia did also giving my head a not-so-gentle nudge.
"I've missed you, you crazy kid." Olivia smiled, "The shepherd leading his lost lambs. A trival aniecsh."
"Now you speak gibberish?" I frowned.
The pain hit me again.
"You lose." Force smirked.
"You should have died in that crash." Olivia said, "Poor little tink tink."
"Put him down." I growled.
"We can't stay. We've got to pick up a friend." Olivia said, "Ethere...do the honors."
"I will come for you." I said.
"You won't have to." Olivia smirked.
They all disappeared just as quickly as they appeared
"Wow...this place is really going to Hell."
I turned to see that Melissa was standing behind me.