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!
Darkness stood at the edge of a high tower, looking down on the city. By day, he was just a regular guy, by night he was a superhero. Albeit, a superhero with no powers, but a superhero nonetheless. A real hero can be a hero without power. He protected the city, allowing the powered heroes to save the world. Sometimes he was overtaken by Spider-Man or the Punisher, but most times, he was able to take on any force.
Pane from the future levitated in front of him, "Ready for round two?" he grinned.
A portal opened and Logan fell through! The Hollow walked out after him. The streets were busy, but the alley they were in was the perfect spot. Logan coughed, rising to his feet. The Hollow just looked around.
"Where are we?" Logan asked.
"Back in your reality." The Hollow said, "Is this not what you wanted?"
"Yeah, but could ya warn me first?" Logan said.
"You should get back to the X-Men." The Hollow said.
"Where're you goin?" Logan asked.
The Hollow stopped, "I have to understand this place! I have no place to go." He said.
"You could always go back with me." Logan said.
"I could also skin you alive." The Hollow said, walking away.
"So, your body is encased by metal? That is so cool!" Connor said, talking to Piotr, "I mean, how many mutants can do that?"
"Just me that we know of, comrade." Piotr smiled, "But I have to keep in shape if I am to keep up with the other mutants."
"I hear you, at least you've got that cool armor to protect you, I've just got this skin." Connor said, pinching his skin.
"Well, comrade, it's much easier for you to not be noticed." Piotr laughed.
"I guess you're right." Connor said, "But I still say your powers are cool!"
"Do you have to work out?" Piotr asked.
"Sometimes, I'm still not to the level I want to be." Connor said, "The most I've ever thrown is half a car."
"Do not worry, you shall be stronger someday." Piotr said.
"Daddy's home." Kitty said, noticing Logan walk through the door.
Logan didn't say anything, he just continued to walk to the elevator, hopping on and riding to the subbasement. He got off and walked directly to the War Room to see Professor Xavier in deep concentration.
"Hey, Chuck, I think we got a problem." Logan growled.
"Yes, indeed we do." Professor said, turning to him, "Are you alright?"
Logan wiped dust off his jacket and raised an eyebrow at him.
"Of course." Professor Xavier said, "I assume you tried to get him to come back with you."
"It's not that easy, Chuck." Logan said, "This thing is smart."
"And powerful, do tell me about it." Professor said.
Logan told him the story. Professor Xavier looked at him, mildly shocked.
"Was he ever a person?" Logan asked.
"No." Professor said, "I have been meeting with contacts, trying to put together the Hollow's origin, but it has somehow eluded me."
"Eluded you?" Logan asked, astounded, "That's hard to believe."
"But it is true." Professor said, "I do believe that the longer he stays on this Earth, the more he will come to feel."
Logan thought back to what the Hollow had said, about feeling pain.
"No one knows quite how to stop him." Professor said.
"Hackin him to pieces don't work, tried that." Logan said. Logan thought about it. This thing was walking around in his friend's skin, an innocent person's skin.
Professor smiled, "It is hard to fathom, isn't it, that he's gone forever." He said, "Would it be more just if it had been a villain?"
"I know the answer you're looking for, Chuck, but my answer's yeah. At least they deserve it." Logan said.
"I have used Cerebro and every resource I have, but there is no trace of Pane's astral signature." Professor said, "I fear that he may be gone, forever. That poses the question of killing the Hollow. There may be no hope."
Logan looked at him slowly, "There's got to be some way to kill `im." He said.
"Kill him?" Scott asked, standing at the door, "We're not killing anybody, we're the good guys, remember?"
"There may be no other choice." Professor said.
"Ya didn't see this thing!" Logan said, "Our boy ain't in there."
"Haven't we lost too many people already?" Scott asked, "We cannot do this."
"We may have to." Professor said.
"I won't." Scott said, "I know there's another way." He said, leaving.
"When the time comes..." Professor Xavier started.
"I'll do what I have to." Logan said.
Pane and I, as crazy as it sounds, stepped out of the portal and into the streets. The street wasn't what I expected it to be. The street was...nice and futuristic and everyone dressed like Zenon, which was totally freaky.
"And this future's bad?" I asked, looking around, "Okay, the style may be a little...urgh."
"Look around, what do you see?" Future Pane asked.
I looked around and everybody seemed to be on the same wavelength. I noticed that there was no distinction. I felt them, all of them. Normal.
"Yes." Pane said, "Centuries ago, there was a thing and it turned into a thing, then there was a baby...it's such a long story. Mutants are still around, though. And thanks to S.H.I.E.L.D. and...me, they're all in custody."
I looked at him oddly. Who was he? What had we been through?
"Chilling, isn't it? Live it." Pane said, "You will."
"I won't!" I said, "You helped them trap the mutants? How could you?"
"They were dangerous." Pane said, "I was given immunity. Freedom to live my life alone."
I shook my head, "This is who you're hiding from?" I asked.
"No. I don't hide." Pane said, "I've always been out in the open."
"You hide! You hid! You're pathetic." I said, walking away.
"You know what's even more pathetic? You're going to turn into me." Pane said.
I stopped and turned to him, "We're such drama queens." I said, "How was it necessary? How was turning the other mutants in necessary?"
"What do I care? It's not like I like the humans more! I have no allegiances anymore! All my friends are dead!" Pane shouted.
I looked at him, sympathy written on my face, "What about our kids?" I asked.
Pane looked at me angrily, "I am hundreds of years old! I can only watch my descendents and help them from afar." he said.
There was a motorcade on the road now.
"We've got to go!" Pane said, grabbing me.
"What? Why?" I asked.
"They're coming." He said.
"You!" Darkness said, bringing his cowl over his face.
"Oh come on, that never worked." Pane said smiling.
Darkness prepared to hurl another flash bomb at him, but before he could, his hand froze and he levitated off the stone gargoyle!
"What are you doing?" Darkness asked, his dark voice reaching out through the night.
"Just so you can hit me with that doo-hickey in your hand." Pane said, looking him over, "You're still beautiful."
"What?" Darkness asked.
Pane shrugged, "You made me fall." He said.
"Sorry, it was only meant to stun you." Darkness said, trying to move his limbs.
"I know. I know." Pane said, "Doesn't mean you didn't do it." He said, hurling Darkness backwards into the cement wall!
The Hollow sat on a park, watching little kids play on the playground. He couldn't figure out what this was all about. The Hollow had seen the future of this sorry planet and it was doomed! It was all doomed! These humans would fight to prevent it, but it wouldn't do any good. Would it?
"They're so precious, aren't they?" the woman sitting next to him said.
"No." The Hollow said, "Nothing more than ants. Lower than ants."
The woman looked at him oddly, then laughed, "You're so funny," she said, extending her hand, "My name is Cloris."
The Hollow tilted his head, looking at the hand.
"I'm not much of a hand shaker, either...all those germs." Cloris smiled, "Dumb, I know, having kids and being a germophobe is pretty pointless."
I do not speak, yet she speaks.
"I do not speak, yet you speak." The Hollow said.
Cloris chuckled, "Are you from out of the country? Oooh how fun!" she said, "Where are you from?"
"Terra ut est." The Hollow said simply, "I miss it terribly."
"Oooh, sounds exotic, where was it? How was it? I never got the chance to travel." Cloris said.
"It was splendid! We ruled! We were kings!" The Hollow said, "There was no feelings or children. Just us."
Cloris chuckled, "I can relate. I love my children, but what wouldn't I give to have a little time to myself." She said.
"Time?" The Hollow said, looking into the distance, "Time."
"Yeah, seems like there's just not enough of it." Cloris said.
"Or too much." The Hollow said, realizing what he was saying.
We ran blocks before stopping. My chest felt as if it were going to explode at any moment, but we couldn't stop. Pane must have been good at outrunning these guys because he wasn't even breathing irregularly. His face was especially blank.
"How far into the future are we?" I asked.
"Far enough." Pane said, still peeking around the corners of the alleyway we had found ourselves in.
"Can you answer my question, please?" I asked.
"No." Pane said, "I've spoiled nearly our whole future, some things shouldn't be known."
"So, past the Invasion?" I asked.
Pane finally looked back at me, "Now I know why people found me annoying." He said.
I looked at him, a little hurt, "Annoying? Really? Cause I thought I was particularly spunky and generally loved by all." I said.
"People loved us." Pane said, "They're gone."
I looked down, knowing my face showed what I was thinking. I couldn't shield it anymore.
"We tried to save the world, to work in teams, but we're not team people, not right now." Pane said, "We made a mistake and our mistake, combined with the mistakes of so many others, made the world over."
"What was the mistake?" I asked.
"Knowing." Pane said grimly.
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Well, if you liked it please tell me so I can start work on the next one. I really need feedback, especially if you like it. If you don't, I need advice and suggestions, please.