Disney owns, I own squat! I apologize for not sending anything before now, but I've been ultra busy with work and a whole mess of personal issues. I won't be able to update everything as quickly as before, but I'll still be updating regularly. Of course, you'll be able to tell my days off instantly with a multi-chappie day, so I hope those will make up for any downtime!
Oh, and for those just joining, this story takes place shortly after "Redemption". Also, Susan is Shego, Henry is Hego, Michael is Mego, and Will and Wendell are the Wegos, for those that didn't catch the earlier story. Thought it would make it easier to explain it right off. This is also just a one-shot!
He paused at the door, hesitant to go in. He'd tried to visit every day, but it always tore him up inside so much to see his brother like this.
It had only been a couple weeks since it had all happened, but the consequences of the disaster had many lingering effects. Europe was still cleaning up from the devastation brought upon by Monkey Fist. Thousands had lost their lives. But for him, it was much more personal than that. He had lost his two younger brothers, and his eldest brother, as a result of that, was committed to a psychiatric ward. So many times in the last few days, he just wanted to give up, to put everything aside, and just stop, but he knew he couldn't do that. His brother needed him, he had to be strong now, more than ever.
When he finally opened the door, he saw his brother Henry lying there on the bed before him, eyes closed, a smile on his face. He envied his brother that sense of calm. Henry had always been the optimistic one, ever able to find the bright side of any situation. His control over his abilities had always been top-notch, so much so that he was the only one in the family that could hide his skin pigmentation, that slight skin discoloration that had marked them ever since that comet had affected them. But now, seeing him lying here every day, he realized just how quickly that control, that optimism could be shattered. When Will and Wendell had died, Henry had broken down. He hadn't responded, hadn't reacted, for the longest time. When he finally started to respond, he swore he could see the twins, that they were there with him, had convinced himself that they weren't really dead. His mind hadn't been able to grasp that simple concept. It was at that point that Michael realized just how tenuous things could be. If the strongest person he knew could be reduced to this, what did that say about him.
He had always had the most useless power, never been the most heroic, always more focused on himself and what he could get then. He wasn't the one with the strongest will, he wasn't the smartest, the bravest, or any of those other things that are usually used to define a hero. Susan had always been the smartest of them all, the most fearless, and she had turned to the dark side. He didn't know the whole story, but he knew it had to do with Chaos and what had happened. She had been captured, Henry came to the rescue, and then no sign of Chaos since then. Didn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out. But the point was, she had broken. Henry was the strongest of them. He was brave, he was virtuous, he was everything a hero should be. But when the twins died, he broke as well. He feared it would only be a matter of time before he did as well.
Michael made his way into the room quietly. He pulled the chair out from under the desk beside the bed, turning it around so that the back of it was facing the bed. He sank down, resting his arms on the back of the chair, lowering his chin to rest on them.
"Henry, you awake?"
He slowly stirred, his eyes fluttering open. Squinting against the light, his head turned, and Henry's eyes slowly began to focus. He smiled when he saw his brother.
"Michael, you look like you're doing well. How are you?"
Michael just shrugged. "I'm doing good. The question is, how are you doing?"
"I think I'm ready to get out of here!"
The smile on his face seemed so earnest, that what he had to say next almost hurt. It wasn't the look on his face, or his body posture that betrayed him. It was that momentary glimpse of his eyes to a spot behind him that tipped him off.
Michael sighed, casting his eyes down, refusing to look into the earnest face of his brother. "You still see them, don't you?"
The smile faded slightly, but never faded too much. "No, I'm telling you, I'm better now. I really don't need to be here!"
Henry flopped back onto the bed, trying to push his head as deeply into the pillow as he could. "All right, I still see them. But I know they're not really there, that it's all in my mind. Isn't that enough?"
"Henry, you can't just…"
The explosion that rocked the wall caught them both by surprise. The wall seemed to collapse inward, and the force was more than enough to knock Michael back, throwing him against the hospital room door. He blinked, shaking his head, as he looked to where his brother lay, the bed having fallen to provide some measure of protection from the falling debris. Quickly, he stood up, and was shocked by the sight he saw before him.
The villain sat upon the back of his giant condor, a gleeful look on his face.
"Foolish heroes. You survived my first attack, but I shall have my vengeance upon you, now that you are at your weakest. When I return, my feathered fury shall be unleashed upon you as you have never seen before!"
With a laugh, the maniacal figure flew off. Michael felt the door behind him try to open, and he dragged himself up off the ground. The attending nurse opened the door a little more, and stood in shock at the large hole in the wall in front of her. Michael moved quickly, bending down to check on his brother. Henry lay there, shaking his head, trying to clear it, before looking up at his brother.
"I'm fine! How are you doing, you looked like you got thrown pretty hard?"
Michael just nodded as he helped his brother to his feet. "I'm fine!" He checked his brother quickly, before turning back to he large opening in the wall before him. His face hardened, his jaw firmly set. "I should go, I have a couple things to take care of."
Henry could only stare after his brother, concern etched on his face. He had seen that look, that flash in the eyes, only once before, and he had hoped never to see that look ever again. It was the look his sister had before they had lost her, the same look she had in her eyes when he saved her from Chaos, as she had looked down at the man that had tortured her. He paused only briefly to tell the doctor what was going on, before heading out after his brother. He knew where Michael was going, and he didn't plan to lose his brother as well!
Getting in was almost ridiculously easy, almost as if Aviarius wanted him to get in. No security on the exterior, no traps, no alarms. The villain would quickly learn just how much of a mistake that was!
Shrunk down to the size of a common rodent, it had been simple to slip through the venting system. A quick look down onto the large room below him told him everything he needed to know. Aviarius sat there on his throne, an almost imperious smile on his face. His fingers were steepled in front of him, as if contemplating his next attack. Not that he'll ever have that kind of chance again!
Michael slowly lowered himself down, keeping his head turned to keep an eye on their persistent foe. He didn't seem to notice, as he appeared to be lost in thought. When he reached the ground, Michael wanted just to sneak up on him, and finish this quickly, but he thought it only fair that his foe knew just what he was going to suffer for.
Aviarius looked up, surprise evident on his face, as Michael returned himself to normal size just twenty feet from where he sat.
"Ahh… my young foe. I don't know how you got in here undetected, but you have saved me the trouble of tracking you down. Now, I can finish the job I had started earlier today!"
Michael's face remained a solid mask, betraying no emotion. Not fear, not concern, not even hate. It unnerved the villain greatly!
"Aviarius, you've threatened more than enough people. You've bothered my family for the last time. This ends, tonight!"
Aviarius just smiled. "Foolish boy, you think me defenseless? Heat seeking hummingbirds, ATTACK!"
Michael just smiled grimly as the walls opened enough to allow a stream of mechanical hummingbirds to burst free. Michael instantly shrunk, and the birds passed harmlessly overhead. When they were far enough away, he returned to normal size, completely untouched, much to Aviarius' surprise.
"You programmed them to ignore anything smaller than a child sized person, didn't you? Just to prevent them from chasing after rats and such? I figured you had, since you never counted on me as much of a threat when I was that small. That's going to be your last mistake, old man!"
As Michael stepped closer, Aviarius began to get concerned. That almost ironic smile on the face of his foe was greatly disturbing him. It was almost scary. He quickly pressed a button on the seat behind him, revealing an opening behind him. "Condor, ATTACK!"
The large bird blinked momentarily, as light flooded its crevasse. It quickly sighted the one that did not belong, and spread wide it's wings. With a screech, it launched itself downward, diving towards its assigned prey. Michael just glanced over at Aviarus, the sly smile never having left his face, and then he launched himself into the air. The bird, on a downward descent, didn't have time to compensate, and it quickly found its prey holding tightly to one wing. With the considerable weight overbalancing it, it crashed heavily to the ground. Before it could recover, it felt a pressure on the back of its neck. It heard the crunch, as the hollow vertebrae in its neck shattered, and then it knew no more.
Aviarius cringed at the sight before him. He watched his young foe slowly lift his foot from his loyal companion's neck, recognized the twitching of its body as death throes, and for the first time in a long time, felt great fear for his own life. Until now, it had almost been a game. He strikes, they strike back, he gets captured, he breaks free, and they begin the game all over again. Now though, with the death of his pet, he knew that this was where the cycle would end. One of them wouldn't walk away from this.
Michael advanced on his foe, who had backed up against the wall. He could see the fear in the eyes of Aviarius, and his smile widened.
"What's the matter, old man? Don't tell me that's all the tricks you have?"
"St… stay back. I will hurt you!"
Michael moved closer, only a few feet from his foe. "Hurt me? You're a pathetic old man who fails every time. What makes this time any different?"
Aviarius threw a shot at Michael, which he easily ducked. A quick sidekick was easily blocked, and Michael allowed his foe to attack. After several attempts, and still no contact, Michael had had enough. When he ducked under a swing, he brought his own fist up, catching his opponent in the solar plexus, driving the wind from his lungs. Aviarius stumbled back, only to catch a right across the face, driving him to his knees.
"You think you can attack my family, and expect everything to be the way it was. You've been harassing my family for years. It's time to end that!"
When Aviarius looked up, Michael lashed out with a kick, catching the man under the chin. His head snapped back, bouncing briefly off the wall. Michael kicked again, and Aviarius fell onto his back.
Michael grabbed him by the front of his costume. "You're never going to hurt my family ever again!" A quick right caught him in the eye, and it immediately began to swell. "I'm going to make sure you never hurt my family again!" A series of rights, and Michael could feel the blood, warm on his knuckles, as he glared down at his fallen foe. The smile had never left his face. Michael's hands wrapped around the villains throat, and he began to squeeze. Aviarius weakly tore at the hands gripping him tightly, but couldn't find the strength to tear the hands loose.
"Mego… Michael… please, you have to stop!"
Michael whirled, his hands never losing their grip. He wasn't prepared to see his brother standing behind him, let alone not in costume. "Henry, what… what are you doing here?"
"Michael, this isn't the way!"
"It's the only way! I have to stop him, right here, right now! I can't let him hurt anyone else!"
Henry stepped closer, but made no move to stop him. "Michael, this isn't the way to do that though."
Tears began to form in Michael's eyes, as he watched his brother approach. "What, you mean jail? That hasn't worked before, it never does. I need to do this, before he can do something else. If Ron Stoppable had done that with Monkey Fist when he had the chance, none of this would have happened. I'm not going to make that same mistake that he did. I'm ending this tonight!"
Henry stopped, tears in his eyes clearly visible. "Do you think this is what the Twins would have wanted? For you to become a murderer?"
"It's not murder, it's JUSTICE!"
"Michael… look at him… look him in the eyes…"
Michael turned to look at his foe, the struggles of his foe having almost ceased. He didn't want to do what his brother suggested, but he had to. When he looked in the man's eyes, doing as his brother had said, what he saw there made him jerk his hands back quickly. He saw the same thing there that he had seen in his brother's eyes when he had laid dying, a hole through his stomach. It was that same look of pain and fear he had seen in his brother's eyes only weeks before. Just seeing that made him sick to his stomach, and he slowly backed away, as Aviarius, now free of the grip on his throat, slowly backed away, his eyes never leaving Michael's, as he gasped for breath.
Michael crawled backwards, unable to tear his own gaze away. "Oh… oh God… what have I done?"
Michael felt the strong arms of his brother wrap around him, holding him tight. "Don't worry Michael… it's over. You stopped yourself in time!"
The tears flowed freely from his eyes, as he lost his control. Henry held him, letting his brother get it all out. For weeks, Michael had been holding it all in, all the pain, all the grief, all the loss, and there on the floor of Aviarius' lair, he let it all out. None of them moved for quite some time.
Michael awoke the next day, surprised to find himself lying in his own bed. He didn't remember what happened, how he had gotten back home, but he knew he had Henry to thank for that. A quick look at the clock showed him it was early afternoon, and he slowly crawled out of bed, his body protesting that it was still too tired.
As he made his way down the hall, he noticed his brother sitting at the conference table, his arms crossed in front of him on the table, a frown on his face.
"Henry, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be…"
"I'm… fine now. How are you doing?"
Michael shrugged, and sat down himself. "I'm feeling… better. Tired as hell though. So, when you say fine, you mean you're not…"
"Seeing the Twins anymore? No, I'm not. When I realized what you were going to do… I just… I just couldn't lose you… not like we lost Susan."
Michael just frowned, looking downward. "So… she did…"
"Yeah, she did. I should have stopped her, but after everything she had been through… everything that had been done to her… I didn't know it would drive her away like it has. I just… I couldn't let that happen to you too! You're my brother, and I love you. If I lost you too… I doubt I could go on."
Michael hastily brushed the tear from his eye, before smiling up at his brother. "Well, you still got me, for what that's worth!" Michael stood up, and turned to go. When he reached the door, he paused. "So, what do we do now?"
Henry looked up at his brother. "I don't know… move on somehow? We'll figure it out, as we get there." Henry rose to his feet, hands flat on the table in front of him. "We'll figure it out when we have to. Right now, I think we should just take some time for ourselves. What do you say, Beuno Nacho, on me?"
Michael smiled lightly as he turned back to his brother. "Sounds good." He waited for Henry to get over to him, before placing a hand on his brother's shoulder. "But seriously man, we have to get you off that Mexican garbage, it has got to be rotting you internally or something!"
The two brothers shared a genuine laugh for the first time in quite some time, as they made their way through the hallway.
Author's Notes – I know I promised I would never do Aviarius, but this story came to mind, and I just had to do it. He was the only villain who could have worked in this situation. I hope you'll all forgive me, though I'm betting this will be my least read story.
I'd like to thank Matri, campy, MrDrP, mattb3671, userx, kpultimatefan, Riverfox237, and KP4me for reviewing Rufus Goes Solo!