Title: Of Love and Egotism

Author: Altheak

R: -17. Blood. Allusion to violence and NC sex. Nothing graphic though.

Young Avengers

Teddy/Billy

Starring the Super-Skrull

Allusion to Annihilation: Super-Skrull

Note:

I had this weird dream last night. Allan Heinberg revealed that Billy, in Young Avengers Special, was drawn after Hillary Swank in Boys don't cry. Especially the ears. Deadpool was sobbing against Copycat's shoulder because he could not stand the idea of seeing his favourite nubile hero drawn after a girl and Copycat kept saying that she was the only one who could play Billy. She is used to playing Billy… Then, Teddy woke up screaming, terrified by the idea - quickly followed by my own wakening for the same reasons.

A few hours later, I had this nightmare:

&&&&&

Of Love and Egotism

A blur green shape, whose stern features could not be mistaken for Teddy's, bent over Billy.

How long had he been lying on the wet tiling of the bathroom? Hours? Felt like days. Or just a few minutes, prone, as the shock warped his sense of time.

The Super-Skrull was staring blank, lost in thought.

Billy faintly smiled, as he croaked: 'What's the matter, Kl'rt? I'm not your type, am I?'

'Human derision. The strength of insignificant beings.'

The Super-Skrull stepped back as Billy rolled on his side, fumbled and grabbed the side of the bathtub. He tried and heaved up. The young Avenger avoided looking at his reflection in the broken mirror. He rummaged in the file case and wrapped himself in a towel. Then, he crouched down to the empty bathtub.

'I'm a dove of peace, Billy.'

The ghost of a smile spread across Billy's face.

'I'm acting in the interest of my people and achieving success would prevent the Skrulls from invading the Earth.'

The Super-Skrull gave him a steaming mug.

'I just need you to stay out of my way.'

Billy glared at the small pieces of orange which were floating in hot wine.

'How tactful. Now, you're trying to poison me.'

'If it were the solving to all our problems, you'd already be dead. I'm afraid it doesn't work this way.'

A bunch of Skrulls boiled behind Kl'rt. They could not stay quiet any longer and started to bellow:

'Where can we find him?'

'Where is he?'

The Super-Skrull marvelled at the dark fire in Billy's eyes that the veil of tears failed to quench. The young man suddenly realised he was crying. He wiped his cheeks and his answer was muffled by the towel. Among Billy's volley of swear-words, the Super-Skrull managed to get his answer: 'Over my… body…'

'We did!' a Skrull snapped.

'Didn't get how it could worth the rule of an empire though', another muttered.

Billy jolted and hoarsely shouted:

'What's between Ted and I, you can't destroy it. Nothing you would attempt against us could destroy it. It's beyond you, beyond you all, you can't even…'

'Love, uh?' Kl'rt interrupted with a calm voice. 'What's between you and Prince Dorrek, I mean.'

He motioned the Skrulls to go out of the room. Then, he sat down on the edge of the bathtub. Billy's split upper-lip restarted to bleed. He swabbed it with his towel. The Super-Skrull came nearer and asked: 'Do you know what love is?'

'Do you?', Billy immediately retorted.

'You're, what, sixteen? Seventeen?'

'I'll turn seventeen in two months.'

'Seventeen. So you think you know everything about love and that I'm an old Skrull, old as the hills, who rambles about vain thoughts.'

'Not exactly the first thought that crossed my mind. You're the one who beat the shit out of me and watched when your… '

'Love', Kl'rt grandiloquently said, 'is the joy you feel when you see in your partner's eyes the same amount of interest you give to him. Love is based on an exchange of praises. It's an unconscious process, of course. Most of the time. But love…'

Kl'rt kneaded Billy's cheeks to make certain that the young man paid close attention to his conclusion: 'Love is pure egotism.'

He nodded to emphasise his statement and stood up.

'No offence, we all are. Egotist, I mean. We need to be egotist. It's the first determining factor to our own survival.'

Billy stretched his legs in the bathtub and hissed as the lower part of his back brushed the enamel. Nevertheless, the coldness of the bathtub seemed to soothe his pain.

Kl'rt began to pace in the bathroom.

'Love is always a matter of egotism. When you love someone, you love being loved in return. When you're in love, you're anything but pure-hearted. Once you've acknowledged this… Well, love's dreadful consequences look more pathetic. When a Kree warrior betrays his own country and mingles with a Skrull Princess, this is egotism.'

'When the only hope of ending the war between two powerful empires is thwarted by a mere schmaltzy crush, this is…'

'Egotism?' Billy suggested while he sipped the drink Kl'rt had offered to him. It was sweet and tasted like cinnamon. The sourness of orange on his sore lips made him wince. The Super-Skrull noticed his scowl, grabbed the mug and gulped down the whole drink.

'No, crime against two alien races.'

'The Baroness S'Bak realised that you weren't the future Emperor, didn't she? You ran away. And your… they're not Super-Skrulls in training; they're not even soldiers, only mercenaries. You're lame. You're lame and you know it. You know that the only way for you to be rehabilitated is to find and bring them the Emperor. Let me tell you that you won't. He is with me. We love each other. You're screwed. Ha!'

'I have an egg.'

'Uh?'

'We… My wife has laid an egg.'

Billy arched an eyebrow. Kl'rt sighed.

'Skrulls don't have babies as humans do. We're oviparous.'

'I know.'

'Anyway, the egg will hatch next month. In a decade, my child will have a weapon in his hand. If the conflict gets worse, he will be enrolled in six years only. I'm supporting the cause of the Empire for a very personal reason. I'm supporting the cause of my people in order to avoid the discomfort I would feel in seeing my child in the battlefield.'

'Too bad for you. None of my business', Billy snapped.

'You're being egot...'

'You know what? Let's do it. Let's give a crown to Teddy. Do you really think it'll immediately put an end to the war? Do you really believe this? What do you expect? He has been raised as a human being. He doesn't know thing one about Skrulls and Krees…'

'You're an egotist loser. You're so obsessed with your self-comfort that you can't see further. You're a fan-boy who dances in the shadow of the past heroes without taking any risk. There is a war. Billions die. Some of our soldiers are younger than you. Dorrek is our last hope.'

'He won't go.'

'We need him.'

'He can't go.'

'He might need your help.'

'I won't go.'

'You don't understand. I am here to offer you to help him not to miss the Earth.'

'You're asking me to zap him?'

'If you want to. His… mood is in your hands. If you've got a smidgeon of selflessness, you'll choose to ease his departure without unneeded sufferings.'

Kl'rt walked to the door and added:

'Take your time. Pull yourself together. The Empire has waited for seventeen years. We can afford to wait a couple of hours more.'