A/N: I'm BACK! Long time no see ladies and gents. But I am back, back again, ready to check it out, dial it in, amp it up, and play to win! Oh wait...that's Action Man, and he's not in this fic. BUT, the newest recruit for the League is!
Before I go into the chapter, I need to make one thing clear. In the Jim Carey movie "The Mask", it is referenced that the Mask actually turns the wearer into Loki, the Norse god. Now, I don't mean to step on anyone's toes religiously here, as I am a Christian and believe in God and Christ, but I will be treating Stanley as if he truly is the heir to Loki when he puts on the Mask, god-hood and all, though I have Harry explain a bit more about them in the chapter. Now, with that being said, it's time for the master of the anachronistic Xander Xone , the Boy-Who-Lived, and 007 to meet the god of Mischief and Mayhem. Ladies and Gentlemen, my I present the next chapter of LXG: Rebirth of the League!
Peace and Out,
Pwn Master Paladin
Chapter Five: The God
Upon arriving at LAX, Xander, Harry, and Bond found a car waiting for them, just as Gibbons had indicated. They quickly loaded up and headed out. Xander turned towards the other two.
"So, what's this guy's deal?"
Harry responded rather than Bond, noting it seemed to take Xander by surprise. "Ipkiss is actually an average guy, a bit repressed, a bit comedic, overall just your average nice, good guy. You'd probably never think about him twice if you passed him in the street. But a few years ago, a diver uncovered one of the most dangerous magical artifacts to date." Harry pointed towards the case in Bond's hand. In that case is a God's Mask."
Bond looked down at the case and then looked up at Harry. "M was not very clear on that, just what exactly is a God's Mask. I understand that it can give anyone who wears it a lot of power, but..."
"Not just power. A God's Mask is a very dangerous object. If it was in its original state, it could quite literally turn the wearer into the god it represents. I think you two need a history lesson on exactly what the gods were." Harry leaned back in his seat and pulled out his trunk. Xander raised his eyes as the case returned to full size.
"Must have a lot of room in those pockets. Packing light elsewhere little man?"
Harry didn't stop moving, merely pointed his wand at the NSA agent. "You know I can cast a spell to make you think you are a three year old girl, have you doing ballet in a tutu on top of a moving vehicle, and make it so no matter what you eat, it will taste like asparagus for a week, right?"
"Whatever you say Boy Wonder"
"That's the guy in Jump City in the red tights. As much as I hate the title, I'm the Boy-Who-Lived. You're going to insult me, at least get it right." He pulled a book out and began flipping pages. "Ah, here we go. Got to love Hermione, she makes sure you have at least one book on any topic that might come up. Anyway, the gods were very powerful creatures. They weren't fully human, as they did possess the powers they have been said to. Zeus and Thor could both control lightning, Hades was a master over the spirits of the dead, etc. What was NOT true, was their immortality. They could not be killed, but they would age and die, like your everyday human, albeit over a much longer time. The average lifespan of a god was 600 years. Try to cut off their head? The blade would break on impact, but strap them down and block any means of escape? They would die, eventually. It was a cruel punishment, but over time, it happened more and more. Some were killed in the very temples their worshipers built, by the wizards and witches of the times. Some in an honest attempt to give punishment for treating the rest of the world so callously. Some, for more nefarious purposes. Now, for some reason that no one is truly sure of anymore, gods could not pass on their powers to their children. The child got a new power of ability, but never the powers of the parents. Hercules with his strength as opposed to power of lightning like Zeus. So, to ensure that their legacy and legend would survive, the gods used their power and created the God's Masks. Upon the death of a god, their essence, spirit, soul, pick your term, would coalesce into a Mask that depicted them. Then, the children would find an unsuspecting human, and place the mask on their head. The person would be gone, eradicated form the earth, and the god's spirit would take over the bodies, ensuring that the god continued to reign for another 600 years or so. You see, it wasn't the bodies of the gods that gave them their lifespan, but the power and soul. The magic they used that allowed them this restart, so to speak, has been lost to time, though it has been modified into the horcrux ritual that Voldemort used."
"What does any of that have to do with this Mask and Ipkiss?"
"I'm getting there. One of the more...darkish gods, was Loki. He wasn't evil, he just had no qualms about getting things done, however he needed to. A trickster through and through as well, hence his title as god of mischief and mayhem. He had a much more varied repertoire of powers that then other gods, but in exchange, was not as powerful. So, he used cunning and trickery to get what he wanted. That does not mean he was weak, however. Loki could have kicked Voldemort, Dumbledore, and my asses if we had faced him at the height of our powers, in a joint fight. So, when the wizards of the time were finally able to defeat him, they cast a spell. They bound his powers, for as long as the sun was in the sky. They figured that if he should by some means escape, or his Mask was found, then the trail of destruction and vengeance he would create would be obvious, and upon the morning, they could retrieve the Mask from the person who had taken it. What they hadn't counted on, was the effect this binding of powers had on the Mask itself. Rather than being destroyed, the person's spirit was changed, brought out. Whatever their true nature was, that nature was revealed when the Mask was placed on their head."
"So, if you were a good person at heart, then that good would be magnified?"
"Yes. but the reverse is also true. For example, if Yorgi had found the mask and put it on? The world would have been in even more danger than it was."
"So, not a ultimate weapon for the good guys then."
"No Xander, just a tool that can be wielded by either side. It pulls your very innermost spirit out, and you become that figure. A mobster got his hands on it once, while it was here before, and the darkness inside him would have lead to the deaths of hundreds of people in one night, and it would not have stopped there. Back to the history lesson. After Loki's death, other Masks were treated to the same ritual, sometimes the Mask would be used in the day only, sometimes the night. Which is why we get stories of Ra in Egypt being God of the day, and Apophis being his equivalent in the night, for example. Loki's Mask was eventually found and stolen by a thief who was a good man at heart, who stole because his family was poor and needed food. He thought to sell the mask to earn enough money to save them. However, in the struggle to get the the mask, the temple it was housed in began to burn down, trapping the clerks who had been there inside. As he went to leave, he heard their cries, and being a good man, turned back to help. However, he tripped, and the mask was placed on his head."
"So guy got a few super powers and helped out huh?"
"Exactly. The man saved the people using his powers, and then traveled away in the night. He used the mask for years, helping as he could, and upon his death, the family sent it out to sea with him, locked in a chest. Over time the other Masks were found and destroyed, but Eris' Mask, the Greek equivalent of Loki, and this one remained lost. Now, we fast forward to a few years ago, when Ipkiss finds it. Ipkiss was like the original man who had found the Mask, a good man at heart, but he was also a hopeless romantic and a bit of a repressed comedic soul. The Mask pulled these aspects out, and you have the wave of crimes and adventures that happened here a few years ago."
"The bank robbery, the mobster you mentioned, all that fun stuff I missed out on?"
"Yes. The reason we need Ipkiss, is that along with his good core, he was able to do something that no one else has. He was able to take of the Mask, at night, and willingly give up the Mask. After the ritual, The Mask gave Loki's powers to a mortal while letting them stay the person they were before. Once you had a taste of that power, according to legends, it was almost impossible to give up. To willing throw it away shows that despite the Mask offering powers he had never before had, his will was strong enough to resist it. The enchantments that were placed on this Mask have been lost to time, and should they ever fail, we will need that will power, in order to save Ipkiss form the Mask, and to possibly destroy it if needed."
"Got it. So where is he now?"
"He and his wife live in a nice sized house on the outskirts of the town. I understand they have done fairly well for themselves, as he rose to be a manager at the bank he worked at and she became a very successful club singer before her retirement a few years ago."
Adrian threw his glass against the wall in frustration. "Damn it. The League seems to have gathered a few allies already, and powerful ones as well." Damien scowled down at the report of the six cars he had lost, as well as the uncovering of two of his three agents in MI-6. The last had been instructed to go to ground until such time as he could get reinforcements. It was much easier to get someone new in when you had one in already, after all. One of the secrets of his success, have a back-up, to your contingency, to your Plan B. And there were more opportunities. Right now his priority was the Mask. Ipkiss would have to go. Without a confirmed good Mask, the LXG would have no choice but to destroy Loki's Mask, lest it fall into the wrong hands. He moved over and pressed the intercom.
"Send a team to Edge City, make it look like an accident, but I want Stanley Ipkiss dead. He's a prominent person in the community, and one time wearer of Loki's Mask. Use our contacts in the BPRD if you have to, but find him and kill him before the League can recruit him."
"Yes sir. And sir?"
"What is it?"
"Mr. Trevelyan has arrived. He wishes to speak to you."
"Ah, send him in." A bit of good news to go with the bad then. The first of his allies had arrived. Uponseeing the shocked look on the other mans face, he let out a genuine laugh. "Not who you were expecting I take it?"
"Not really." the heavily scared man sat down across the desk. "Although, it does make things seem a bit more clearer now."
"Indeed. Tell me, Mr. Trevelyan, how would you like another chance at your revenge?"
"I would be in your debt, for another chance at Bond and Britain"
"Kill him, and there is no debt. He's gotten in my way over the years almost as many times as my other main foe. He wishes to reform and lead a new LXG, then perhaps, you would like to lead my own version. A Dark League as it where, to pull the darkness of night over the world, and prepare it for the dawn of a New Age of Eden..."
"Hard to believe that the guy who once wielded all this power lives here in suburbia." Harry was looking around at the houses in the neighborhood Ipkiss lived in. Not a bad place, and not cookie cutter perfect like Privet Drive had been. It seemed a good area.
"Don't be fooled Scarhead. Suburbs are homes to some of the most dangerous people and worst sins. I feel at home already."
"Are you trying to get me to curse you?"
"Gentlemen, a little quiet if you please." Bond looked back to the two to see they both had 'I'm so innocent I must be guilty' smiles on their faces. "Lovely. This is wonderful. Remind me to ask M to let me retire after this." Bond ignored the laughter of the two behind him as he rang the doorbell. A stunningly gorgeous woman came to the door. "Mrs. Ipkiss?"
"Yes, can I help you?"
"We are here to speak with Stanley Ipkiss, is he home?"
"Yes, but what's this about?"
"I would rather wait to tell him inside, hate to un-mask all the details more than once you know." Bond softly tapped the case, and with the emphasis he had put on the word mask, the woman's eyes widened a little before allowing them in.
"Have a seat, I'll go get him."
As James and Harry made themselves comfortable, Xander looked around at some family photos. "How the hell did this guy manage to land that girl?"
A new voice spoke up from behind the three. "Sometimes nice guys finish first, that's all. I'm Stanley Ipkiss, can I help you?" The three turned to find that the man still resembled his picture, though there were the beginnings of gray hair here and there.
"Yes Mr. Ipkiss, but first, I think we need to let you see exactly what is in this case." James moved over and opened the briefcase. A pale green light shown on what appeared to be a simple wooden mask, only the sharp intake of breath from the two others in the room let the three League members know that the couple recognized the item. "So you know of Loki's Mask."
"I threw that out into the ocean, even after Milo brought it back. How did you find it?"
"That would be the work of my people Mr. Ipkiss. I'm Harry Potter by the way, the gentleman on the couch is James Bond, and the man who keeps trying to sneak glances at your wife is Xander Cage."
"I'm not trying to sneak glances Harry. I'm looking openly."
"I'm used to it Mr. Potter. She comes home with me every night, so they can look all they want."
"Nice attitude, call me Harry."
"Then I'm Stanley."
"Xander or X"
"And I'm Tina. What do you mean your people Harry and what do you need with Stanley?"
"My people found the Mask, and at the request of MI-6, turned it over to them, rather than destroy it. My Ministry has a good man leading it finally, and he works well with the Muggle government."
"Let me explain." And so Harry did, giving them the details of the existence of the magical world, the origins of the Mask, and the situation that they found themselves in with Adrian. "So you see Stanley, we need the Mask, and since you are someone who we know has the kind of character who will help us, we can risk it. It's completely voluntary of course, and if you say no then we will not force you, in fact I will take this back to London and send it through the Veil, destroying it once and for all. but, we truly could use your help."
The Ipkiss' were silent, sharing looks that spoke volumes. "Do you need an answer now, or can we discuss it tonight and tell you tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow should be fine, we will return then."
"Oh no James, please, we have a large house here and plenty of room, you should stay. We had hoped to have a larger family, so we have 3 bedrooms that are just unused right now."
"We appreciate it."
"I hate to bring this up now Stanley, after you have been so kind as to welcome us into your home, but I may know why you were unable to have children. The Mask. With the ritual that changed it so heavily still in play, the fact that you have not been able to have children may very well have been a side-effect, as is the fact that you both look like you have only aged a couple of years, and it has been over 10. It has happened before when a Muggle was exposed to a highly magical artifact, and the Mask is the one of the most powerful on the planet. I can't be certain, but whatever your decision, I would be happy to get you both in touch with my Healer, Poppy Pomfrey, who can do a much better diagnoses than I. She may even be able to help you."
"Thank you Harry."
As the three members of the League went to their rooms, Tina and Stanley sat on the couch and said nothing for a few minutes. Finally, it was Tina that spoke. "You want to help them, don't you. I can see it."
"They need me. This Adrian sounds like bad news, even more so than some of the other super villians you hear about these days. And the fact that it seems like for every hero we have, there are more and more bad guys. How many enemies does Superman have? What about the Fantastic Four?" Stanley stood up and looked down at the Mask on the table. "Ever since the super power groups started to emerge I wondered if I should have thrown this away. I could have done some real good in the world. I never regret staying with you, but I have to wonder what I could have done with this power."
"You care about people Stanley, its one of the reasons I love you. So, I guess we are going to sell the house then?"
"You weren't thinking of leaving me behind, were you? I may not have super powers but I bet they could use someone as good with computers as I am. And if you are going off to save the world I WILL be coming, is that understood?"
"Yes dear, I unders..." Stanley cut off as he noticed a line of red light coming through the window. "Get DOWN!"
As the two dropped, a hailstorm of bullets tore throughout the house. The three League members immediately made there way back to the main room, hoping the Ipkiss' were still alive. Seeing they were, the group huddled down and took stock of the situation.
"Harry, what can you see?"
"Looks like they have a few wizards helping them out. There a several Notice-Me-Not and SEP charms layered all over the property. The presence of the Mask out in the open must have hidden the casting. I've got 10 on my side, no telling which one is the wizard though, or if more than one are."
"20 assholes over here." Xander popped up and fired three shots. "Make it 17"
"Nice work X. Unfortunately, the back door is covered by at least another 20. I think we might be in trouble."
The bullets continued to pour in, Harry's magic and Xander and James shots able to keep the group from advancing, but not able to take them all out either. Stanley moved closer to the table near the Mask, and Bond suddenly had an idea. "Harry, you said the Mask gave the wearer Loki's powers while bringing out the wearer's inner personality right?"
"Yes, but I don't see the..."
"What about the invulnerability?"
"Of course! Stanley, have you ever been injured while wearing the Mask?"
"No! I've even been shot multiple times without getting hurt."
"Then if you're joining we could use a hand here!"
"Got it!" Stanley moved closer to the Mask, grabbing it and ducking behind cover again. He stared at the Mask for a moment, seeing that same electric green glow that had mesmerized him so many years ago. "Here we go again!" And with that, Stanley put the Mask back on.
A whirlwind of energy went through the house, gathering speed and power. The bullets stopped flying for a moment and somewhere in the background Harry swore he heard Hey! Pachuco! starting up. the three looked upon the figure before them, and saw a man with a green face and bald head, dressed in a canary yellow suit.
"Somebody STOP ME! I'm BACK baby!" The green and yellow dervish whirled over to Tina. "Miss me?" He laid a searing kiss on her. Her shoes actually went flying off and hit two of the men in the backyard in the head, knocking them out. He set here down before turning to the others. "Oh yeah, I still got it! Seems to me these guys are crashing the party. You three care if I take care of them? No? All-righty then." Before the other three could say a word he was off again, spinning, twirling, before stopping in the front lawn. "Hey boys, come here often?" A rapid firing of bullets was his only answer. "Now that wasn't very nice." The group watched as the holes ejected the bullets onto the ground A quick spin and the god was in a new suit, one from many years ago. "Don't you know that 'You Can't Touch This.'" And in front of his wife, the League and the mercenaries that were still trying to kill him, the Mask broke into the M.C. Hammer dance. All the while the bullets form the mercenaries were actually striking each other as they ricocheted of the dancing man in front of them.
Suddenly the green figure raised his hand. "STOP!" Amazingly enough, the group did. He looked around for a second before reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a long, carnival style hammer. "HAMMER TIME!" The rest of the mercenaries quickly left, as they saw the green skinned man in front of them literally slam the hammer down on top of his opponents, ending them instantly.
The three League members and Tina looked on, watching as the only two left were the two he had knocked out with her shoes earlier. Tina whimpered a little. "My God, I don't remember him being so violent before."
"They tried to kill you, and unlike Dorian, they did not have the excuse of the Mask influencing them. These men set out to kill you and him, and he knows it. I think he's doing exactly what I would do."
"Agreed James. Like I said, the Mask brings out all your innermost aspects. Including Stanley's protective ones of you Tina."
"I guess it's a good thing I am going with you then, isn't it? And before you argue Mr. Bond, I understand I don't have any powers, but neither do you or Xander over there. I can help with any computer things you need, or communications. After I retired from singing I took up learning both as a hobby. So I am coming, I wont be a burden, and I think we had better leave soon."
"Agreed ma'am, agreed. Harry, can you keep those two unconscious? "
"Easy enough." a pair of stupefy spells later, and the group was ready to go. Harry began to repair the house while Stanley took the Mask off again, then going over and standing in front of his wife, slightly ashamed of what he had done under the Mask's influence. A smile and kiss from her seemed to reassure him, and the two went to pack while Harry finished fixing everything up. "That should do it. Once you two get packed, I can contact a few friends to put the house onto the market and come back and handle any questions that arise."
"Thank you Harry, we will be ready in a few minutes." While the group waited on the two, James put in a call to Gibbons and M, arranging for someone to come and pick up the two unconscious men and clear the bodies of the rest away, and then put the phone on speaker.
"Alright lady and gentlemen. The leak is still there, or else Adrian had more information to start with than we thought. Either way, this is not a good thing. So, M, with your permission, I'll send out a few agents I know I can trust to retrieve the other and have them met here at the new X division headquarters. It's not finished yet, but enough of it is so they can meet here without fear of being overheard."
"Agreed. James, gather the League members you have with you and head back to LAX now. I contacted the pilot and made arrangements, he is already back in route to you, and with a refuel, can have you in the air 10 minutes after you arrive. We will talk more then."
After hanging up the phone, and allowing the Ipkiss' time to pack a few necessities the group loaded themselves into the van they had arrived in. "Get some sleep if you can folks, things are heating up. I think its only going to get faster and harder from this point forward."
"That's what she said."
"Good night, X."
A/N Mark 2: There we have it folks. The League is heading to meet its members in one group, rather than take up another four chapters. You didn't think I would string you along forever, did you? BWAHAHAHAHA
Just a quick note on something I may have forgotten to mention. I am mixing a LOT of realities here. DC, Marvel, Harry Potter, 007, and others. The movies and books such as Triple X and Harry Potter are pretty evident where I get that material from. Likewise I am drawing from the 007 movies for his character. DC and Marvel are the two complicated ones. For DC, I am taking shows like Static Shock, Justice League, Batman the Animated Series and Superman the Animated Series. For Marvel, it will be primarily the newer movies that have come out. for example, I will mention as many have guessed that Spider-Man is one of the planned recruits, and it will be set somewhere between Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, while should they ever meet Stark and Iron Man, it will probably be after Iron Man 2. I am also playing fast and loose with continuity. for example, Gear and Static from Static Shock will be older, and one will be in the Justice League, while the other is in the Avengers, despite the fact it was a DC show. Hope its not too confusing, and I will actually have an explanation from the characters in a later story, I just wanted to let you know that I am intentionally twisting MULTIPLE canon stories from MULTIPLE universes to fit my needs. Hope you enjoy!
Peace and Out,
Pwn Master Paladin