Chapter 1

Within the usually quiet hall of the Japanese museum, the sounds of battle could be heard echoing off the walls. The two heroes had been called to protect the priceless artifacts of the new display from the hands of one of their many enemies. A tall blond man slowly lost ground as he struggled against a pack of monkeys dressed as ninjas. His partner, a petite redheaded woman, was deftly dodging the attacks of the former English lord now known as Monkey Fist. Neither knew why the villain wanted the stolen katana he was currently using, nor how it related to his mad ravings about a mystical power. But they would do everything within their power to stop him, just as they had done all these years.

As the young man finished with his opponents, he turned to help his friend; and the scene he witnessed would forever haunt him. Time seemed to slow down as he watched the redhead jump back to dodge the thrust of the sword only to look down at her abdomen in confusion. Her opponent was now holding the spear that was protruding from her back. With a sick grin, Monkey Fist gave the spear a twist before he was suddenly holding a katana again. The young woman touched the gaping wound and brought her blood covered hand up to her face in bewilderment.

The blond rushed to her side and caught the woman as her legs buckled. Easing her to the floor, he cradled her in his lap and didn't notice as the villain and his minions escaped with their prize. "It's going to be ok, Kim. Wade will've called, gotten a med team on the way when your vitals dropped."

Kim coughed, blood speckling her lips. "No good. He hit my liver. Help won't arrive before the contamination spreads too far."

Ron looked around desperately, tears streaming down his face. "No! There has to be something we can do. It can't end like this. It should be me; the world needs you more."

She caressed his cheek with a blood stained hand. "I'm sorry, Ron."

"For what, KP? You did your best," he asked putting his hand over hers.

"I never told you how much I love you. Been wanting to tell you that for fifteen years. But I was afraid."

"Shh, you're going to be fine. They'll be here any second, and you'll be fine."

"Please, tell me how you feel," Kim pleaded. "Even if you don't love me back, I have to know."

Ron chuckled humorlessly. "How could I not love you. I was afraid you'd never love someone like me. You've always deserved someone better than me."

The woman frowned. "I have never met another man better than you. If anything, you deserved someone better than me. You've suffered more than anyone should have to."

"I know, KP. Just save your strength. I know they'll be here soon."

Her eyes fluttered as her breathing became shallower. "I'm just glad I could be in your arms like this, just once," she whispered, smiling.

Ron watched in horror as his friend exhaled for the last time. For what seemed an eternity, he waited silently for her to draw breath once again. But she never did.

It was another five minutes before the Global Justice med team arrived to find him crying as he clutched her body to his chest. Her body was removed and another team searched the scene to try to find a clue to what Monkey Fist was planning. After the drugs Ron was given took effect, they debriefed him and offered him a lift when they left. The blond declined saying Wade had already set up a return ride when the mission started.

Once alone, Ron looked around at the artifacts. Curiosity took hold of his thoughts, and he looked at the display case for the sword Monkey First had stolen. Fortunately, Japanese was one of the various languages he'd learned over the years. "'Lotus Blade. C. 338ad. Legends state Lord Toshimiru carved a monastery out of Mount Yamanouchi using only this sword. Some believe the sword magical properties when wielded by a master of Tai Shing Pek Qwar.' Guess Monty wasn't as crazy as we thought." The blonde continued walking around the museum, not wanting to leave and face a world without his best friend. He laughed at himself because it was only in Kim's death that he actually found interest in a place like this.

A statue off in the corner caught his attention. It was seven feet tall and depicted a man, though most of the details had been worn away. In its left hand was held a book. The right hand was held up, palm out with a spoked wheel sticking out from it. He checked the plaque. "'Name Unknown. c. 700bc. Believed to depict a forgotten spirit of fate. By seeing the paths one can take, he would protect others from personal calamity. He holds the Book of the Dead and the Wheel of Fate,'" he read. Anger welled up in his heart stared up into the empty eyes of the statue. "Where the hell were you to protect Kim! That was definitely a fucking personal calamity!" He swiped at the wheel, causing it to spin violently. "This is bullshit. I should have done something. This isn't supposed to happen!" the young man yelled. A look of utter despair filled his face, his voice lowering to a whisper. "If only I'd been able to do more. Been there for Kim more, for all of them. Why is it everyone I love gets hurt, and there's never anything I can do."

Sighing at his own helplessness, Ron turned to leave. Before he was halfway across the room, he heard a strange scrapping sound. Turning to look behind him, he saw the head of the statue had turned towards him. Without warning, a bright beam of light shot out and engulfed him. For a brief moment, he felt like he was seeing all the secrets of the universe; and then he was nothing.

A/N

This was an idea I had rolling around my head for a while. I'd had about half of written down and lost it without typing it up. So, I sat down and wrote up what I remembered and ended up finishing the chapter. Things will be explained in the next chapter. This will be a story that won't get updated often after the second chapter since I'm not really sure where I want to go with it.