Ms. Marvel - Truth and Consequences Part 1
" This occurs directly after the events of New Avengers Annual. This series will be devoted to Carol Danvers examining her life and finally coming to grips with the events (many of them truly horrible) that have made her the person she is today.
Ms. Marvel - Truth and Consequences - Part 1.
Clint was saved. We had lost Cap's home and our base but we had saved Clint and that was more important. We'd struck at the heart of Osborn's evil empire, defeated his soldiers, misdirected him and his bad copy of the Avengers and saved a team mate. Not a bad days work.
I watched Bobbie help her ex-husband into their new room. She was holding him, murmuring endearments and then as they enter their bedroom she slapped him hard on the back of the head "...And if you EVER do anything as stupid as that again I'll kill you myself."The door closed.
I smiled. Then frowned. It brought back memories. And feelings. Feelings I hadn't felt for a very long time.
Jessica went to check on her baby and Spiderwoman went to make coffee. I was alone. I knew that if I wanted to I could go to one of them but not yet. I didn't need sympathy. I needed clear sighted understanding first. I needed confront all that I had never really accepted. Charles Xavier had given me the memories of my past but everything associated with it. The feelings had been lost. That had changed. I realised with sudden clarity that I needed to find home. Home. For so long I had told myself I didn't have a home. Not yet. But I was going to. And to do that I had to confront my past. It had taken a vampire to make me realise that. But at least I was finally going to do it.
I changed into warm winter clothing and walked out. I wasn't needed here for the moment.
"I'm going out for a while," I called out. "I've got my mobile."
Spiderwoman and Jessica Jones both stuck their heads around different corners. "Is everything alright?" They both asked, concern on their faces.
"Not yet," I said, deciding finally to be honest. "But I'm going to be. And Í'll be back." I waved to them then walked out the door. And into the rain. Really heavy rain and bitting wind. Nice! Sighing and putting my head down I began to walk. Home. I'd like a home. A family. A purpose beyond punching the bad guys until they stop being bad. Which never happened anyway! They never really stopped being bad.
*FINALLY! About time you realised that. &*$% Girl, I thought you were bright!*
Oh Goody, My subconscious was going to give me lip!
*Well it about time. You haven't been listening before. So listen to yourself now, Carol Danvers. Really listen this time. How many times have you sat in the shower bemoaning your life. How life sucked. That you sucked. That everything sucked! That was crap and you knew that.*
Hey, I didn't rush head long into a fight anymore. Not unless there was any other way. I worked with the team. I wasn't Warbird anymore. And I didn't run away from my responsibilities either. I learnt not to seek security inside a bottle. I stopped and looked up at our new secret base. I was coming back. I wasn't leaving. I just needed to get things straight. I knew my responsibilities and I would not shirk from them. Nor did I solve them by simply killing my problems. That was Warbird as well.
*Don't blame Warbird. Warbird is you stupid. There is only you. There has only ever been you. And you forget that you were not only a super hero and an Air force officer but also a daughter.*
Damn. I was right. I had so compartmentalised my life I didn't think of myself as one person but as multiple persons. And all of them had never included my family or my home.
*Ok good, at least you realise that now. But lets deal with one problem at a time. As Ravenwood had said "Build a bridge and get over it. And you have a lot of bridges to build.*
I walked on, not really noticing where I was going. Where to start? Where had it all gone wrong? My Death? Nah death hadn't been so bad, and hardly life changing! Although I had started to feel just before it happened. I stopped, actually enjoying as the rain lashed me. I had started to feel minutes before I died. And I had felt anger and then hurt. Anger for one man and hurt from another. A man who had been so important to me.
Rossi, Michael Rossi. My first true love. And the man who had used me, betrayed me and my country from the very beginning. And he had done it with the first man to really hurt me, Ghazi Rashid. The man who had tortured me. Shattered my arm, ripped out my fingernails. How did I feel about that? Rossi I had learnt was dead. He had been executed three days after I went boom over Hong Kong. By a man who had been my first mission to capture. Go figure. How did I feel about that? Rashid was probably still alive, although no one had seen him since. I understand I had fried him pretty good, even if I couldn't kill him. So there was still unfinished business there. Meh, bad guy.
Like bad penny's they always come back.
I'd deal with him when I had to. Rossi. I couldn't ask him why. I couldn't hurt him as he had hurt me. I ember how horrified I had felt when Rashid had revealed his betrayal. I let the rain hit my face. Pissed. Really Pissed. Anger welled up inside me. I had loved him. I could feel it, really feel it again. I remember Paris, I remember how I felt. How much that young, 22 year old had felt. I had been in love, so in love. AND HE BETRAYED ME! I threw my head up and screamed. "*$% YOU! Michael ROSSI! I HOPE YOUR BURNING IN HELL FOR WHAT YOU DID." I wanted to fly. To unleash my anger.
But I didn't. Because I didn't need to. Yes he had betrayed me. Betrayed me unto my very death. And yet here I was. Actually better than before. And where was he? In some grave in Rio, rotting. Nothing more from that quarter. I looked at my feelings. He had fooled me, but he had fooled a lot of people. I wasn't to blame for Rossi, or Rashid either. And because of me, directly or indirectly they were both either dead or not in any condition to hurt me.
Was that it? Was that all I had had to do. Face my pain, my humiliation? Maybe. I knew I would always feel the pain of his betrayal but I could live with it now. Acceptance. Not denial. Huh. I'd just saved myself a $500 an hour visit to a Shrink!
*That's one bridge, Princess. There is plenty more to cross before the end. And compared to that one you have some real %$%) to cross* Ge, thanks. I'm so encouraging. I stuck my hand in my jacket pockets and started walking again. A line ran through my head.
"I have a long way before I can come home."
To be continued
Interlude: Ravenwood - Consequences and Truths Part 1
The storm had not let up for two days. True the lightning had passed once my will had released it but the wind and the rain continued to lash the city of New York. I was at a loose end. I had come to this city, bound by my code of honour as a noble and a gentleman, to assist a lady who had done me a great service.
That service rendered Ms. Marvel had returned to her team of Avengers (sadly while she had no personal racial dislike of vampires the same could not be vouched for by her team-mates). So she had left and I was alone. Those who do not understand cannot conceive how boring immortality can be. I was in a city that was not my usual haunt, without a purpose. being a vampire is not all night partying and sucking down on a beautiful neck, or any other body part. Well, I suppose it can be, but after a few hundred years of unlife that does loose its appeal.
I hunched forward against the rain, more from habit than any real care whether I was wet or not. The cold did not trouble me but I prized what little human habits remained to me. Their loss only further lessened my hold on my humanity and increased my descent into bestial monstrosity. There were few humans in the street. I saw a group huddling in an ally and hoped that they were not gang of ruffians out way lay some lone passer by. As I approached the mouth of the ally they moved out into the main street to block my way. If I had breath I would have sighed. When it comes to humanity always bet on ruffian and you won't be disappointed. I glanced around. No one else on the street. Even the car traffic seemed to have fled the rain. I reached into my long coat and felt for the hilt of my Katana sewn into the lining.
"Hey man, gotta couple o'bucks?" The child, maybe 20 in age, was pock marked with a livid scar running down his right cheek. They were all pasty faced and young and if they were not careful they would age no more.
"I have nothing of value to give young sir but advice." I replied, casually glancing from one to another eager, bellicose and nervous face. 8 of them. One looked only 12. "And that is to go home."
"Oo lisen to him! You a Limey. I bet you got plenty to spare for da boys." I suppose I could have simply left. Or could have used my powers to control or frighten them away. But I was still chaffing from my imprisonment. Little jackals needed to learn to respect the lion. I let them come on. The leader pulled a knife while his crew began to produce an assortment of tire irons, baseball bats and iron pipes that had been leaning against the ally wall. I gave a rye smile. First night in New York and I was about to be mugged. How droll.
The boy lunged with the knife.
"Naughty," I chided as I slipped to the side allowing the boy's arm to pass, then quickly grabbed the limb and twisted both dislocating and breaking it at once. Even as he opened his mouth to scream I spun around kicking out with my left foot. It connected with the next boy, wielding a baseball bat, in the groin. As that boy buckled over I threw a punch into a teen with a scraggly beard smashing his nose. The other 5 recovered and yelled allowed and charged.
Now numbers can be an advantage in certain circumstances. Those circumstances do not include an alley, at night, in the rain, with three of your buddies already making the area congested. Its how the English won Agincourt. One idiot crashed into his mate with the crushed testicles. They slipped and fell in a heap. Two more, wielding pipes tangle each other up leaving two to actually reach me. I ducked under on wild swing which, comically, hit the other in the face. As he went down I jabbed the other once in the stomach, rupturing his kidneys. Leaving these two groaning on the ground I confronted the two who had tangled themselves up. They stood there, uncertain what to do as they surveyed the wreckage. I moved forward with my supernatural speed, snatching the two pipes from them and used it to bludgeon the two ruffians. That left only the kid who had tripped over his mate. He had now got to his feet but there was no fight in him.
"P..please Mister. We ..We ddina mean nuthin. It was a joke." He squealed. "Please. Don't hurt me."
"He won't hurt you." Came a voice from behind. I slowly turned. Lightning flashed to reveal some idiot in a beelzebub bodysuit.
"Cute. This is a private mugging. There is nothing here for you." I said, waving the costumed vigilante away. At least in Britain all the Super Heroes were registered and concentrated on important matters such as alien or supernatural invasions. here they were all over the place. No wonder they had a Civil War!
"Picking on children. You will cease now." The Red Devil declared pointing a red stick at me.
"Children. These little hooligans!" I scoffed. This was getting boring. I focussed my eyes on his. I ...I found nothing. We stared at each other and I could not penetrate his eyes. To dominate his mind. But there was nothing. Damn. He was blind. Well this was annoying.
"You will surrender. Now. All of you will be turned over to the police." Red Devil ordered.
"Yeh, Yeh. Anything you say DD. It was him. He started it." Squealer said, pointing at me. The Daredevil (yes I knew who he was) looked from the boy to me.
Interesting.. he couldn't see but somehow he could sense..what movement?
"Enough! You claim to be a protector. These 'children' attempted to assault me. I have defended myself. I refrained from killing any of them. Now I'm leaving."
"No you.....HEY!" Daredevil started looking around wildly. Of course he couldn't see me as I had turned to mist and flowed down through a grate into the sewer below.
I travelled, in mist form, for a few blocks before rising back up through another grate into a deserted ally.
I reformed once more. I was alone. Alone. What a pass I had come to. Three months ago I had come to the USA as ambassador of the Lord of the Vampires, Vlad Dracula, to negotiate a treaty with Norman Osborn. I had, like many other vampires been under his highness' thrall, required to obey his will. And his will had been the invasion and conquest of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. That I disagreed was overruled, and why, a English Vampire of long standing was sent elsewhere when the invasion began. It was a disaster and I still to this night believe that Dracula and the Vampire Nation were manipulated, and not for the first time either, by demonic powers playing their own games. As soon as it was confirmed that Dracula and his army was defeated Osborn revoked my ambassadorial status and imprisoned me, subject to tests and trails to determine whether he could create a super soldier from vampire blood.
And I would have been there still if not for the arrival of one remarkable woman. An angel it had seemed to me, glorious in form and personality. A warrior.
She had rescued me and I had supped on her delicious blood, blood charged with an energy that was akin to a goddess. And she forgave me my need. This had been truly amazing to me. Without coercion she actually forgave me my assault. Naturally I felt honour bound to aid her. We had fought, back to back, through the fortress of Norman Osborn, bringing that monstrous place down and wiping out his experiments. I had aided her in meeting her friend, Tony Stark, and helped her restore the health if not the man. We had then gone on to launch an attack on Osborn's very citadel of power, and while he himself had not been there, we had left his underlings hanging, as decorations, from a Christmas tree of her making. She was strong, and hard and single minded, but she had a rare sense of humour. And she was loyal. And that's why she was gone. Leaving me, alone.
Alone, and for the first time in quite a while I felt it. I didn't realise how much I had enjoyed HER company. I'd grown accustom to her presence. But She was off, saving another member of her team of Avengers, the one called Ronin, the one time original Hawkeye. I held onto my broad brimmed Akubra as a gust threatened to snatch it from my head. Last thing I needed was to loose my hat. I loved Akubra's and I was not about to fly back to Australia to get another!
I pulled my full length Black over coat closer. I didn't feel the cold but I disliked ruining my suit if I could avoid it. I was wandering, aimlessly. I couldn't get that glorious blond warrior maiden out of my head.
"DAMN!" I snarled. This was ridiculous. I had been operating alone for centuries. Why was I suddenly missing one mortal woman? I paused. Considering the question. Because I had enjoyed her company, I forced myself to admit.
Because I was doing something for others and working with a person I had come to admire as an equal. It wasn't some mundane sexual attraction nor the hunger for more of her delightful essence. It was the feeling of companionship that I missed.
Vampires, by our very nature are solitary creatures, unless we form a harem and then it is the relationship of Master Vampire to his/her thralls. Hardly the stuff to encourage friendship, companionship, or love?
There was no answer. Not yet at any rate. And so I walked, in the rain. And considered my immediate future.
Ms. Marvel - Truth and Consequences Part 2
" Continuing Carol's journey to resolve her many issues from her past. No action sorry but it will, imo, tie into the last three issue of Ms. Marvel as she confronts Mystique, Captain Marvel and her future.
Ms. Marvel - Truth and Consequences Part 2
It continued to rain and I kept on walking. I didn't know where I was going but something seemed to guide me as I turned down one street but ignored others. What a wonderful way to spend the night before New Years I suddenly thought. Alone, in the rain, on a freezing New York evening. There was hardly a soul around. Correction, one soul. I looked up and saw, seemingly skulking under an ill lit awning a man. At least I assumed it was a man. It was difficult to tell. For some reason I shivered. I stopped and looked at him. There was something familiar about this figure. I suddenly felt both cold and hot and felt a tension build within me. I tensed ready to fight if needed to. Then a sheet of lightning flashed revealing the shadowy figure. He was tall, wearing a black hat and long coat, the hat at a rakish angle.
" Damn it Ravenwood, you …" I paused, I was not going to admit to him he had made me nervous. " You could get yourself killed doing that!"
He stepped out of the shadows, taking off his hat and sweeping the pavement in a deep, antique bow.
" Pardon moi, Ma Coeur," I was simply taking cover from the rain. I didn't mean to startle you."
" You didn't startle me," I returned hotly, annoyed by his broadening smile at my lie. " What the hell are you doing here?" I looked around and realised I had no idea where I was. The buildings were all old, and distinctly gothic. Lots of columns and gargoyles. The more I looked around the more I noticed that the whole place looked not quite right.
" Welcome to Olde New York," Ravenwood said.
" Olde New York?" I turned to face him. " How did I get here?" Ravenwood frowned and looked down and I realised he was uncomfortable and embarrassed.
" I owe you an apology," He looed up into my eyes. His warm brown eyes held no guile or power. "I will confess that I was thinking of you and quite unintentionally I … called to you."
"Called to me?" I was confused. "How could you..?"
"We shared something, back at the H.A.M.M.E.R. facility where you rescued me. I bit you."
I blushed but forced it down. "You'd been tortured. You had been starved. It was a reflex action. I…I understand that." My neck began to throb deliciously and I could feel certain parts of my anatomy began to react. I could feel my cheeks warming again. "What has that to do with this?"
"My humble apologise, My Lady." Ravenwood went on. "I had no intention to do this. However I would guess that when I bit you I must have torn my own lip. Some of my blood has mingled with yours."
"WHAT!" I gasped in shock. "You mean I'm a .a"
"No, no, no no." Ravenwood eyes were full of concern. "You are not a vampire, nor will you turn because of this. However we have a link. I was unaware of it until I saw you come up the street. Be assured I will be more careful in future."
"You better," I growled, my fists clenching and energy crackling. "I've been manipulated by men and I'm never going to let that happen again. Wait." My anger suddenly drained away. "You were thinking of me?"
Ravenwood's eyes were raised in surprise, then that annoyingly charming smile appeared on his face. "I was. I find it hard to get you out of my mind. You are a very striking woman. In more ways than simple beauty, intelligence and wit."
I stared at him, not realising my mouth had dropped open.
"As way of apology may I buy you a late dinner? This is one of the finest in Olde New York."
Still trying to come to terms with what he had just admitted I glanced behind him. The awning, under which we were both standing, protected heavy double doors. Above the doors was written in gold 'BEAUFORT TOWER'. A coat or arms below the title was half gold fleur de lis on a blue background and half a black eagle on a gold background.
"Allow me," Ravenwood moved silently and opened one of the doors, bowing as he did. In most men this would have felt condescending but when he did it I felt like a lady. Through the open door I could see a very plush red carpet, mahogany walls and a glinting crystal candelabra, all lit by candlelight.
"I. I'm not dressed for such a place," my anger drained away at my embarrassment at entering such an obviously upper class establishment in an old leather jacket, jeans and a shirt, all soaked to the skin. I felt self conscious as I entered the building. On the right was a desk where coats could be checked in. I was surprised at the strange thin man, dressed in eveningwear behind the desk. He had incredibly large eyes, a long beaky nose, and his fingers were incredibly long.
"Not a problem. Your ability to change into your Ms. Marvel costume. I presume it's an energy-matter conversion? So change, then change back, keeping the boots, gloves and the sash."
I did as he advised. I must admit I had never thought to use my ability as a way of quick change. Not only were my clothes but my hair was also dried and coifed.
"Now take off the jacket and pull out the blouse." As I did as he asked he took off his overcoat and hat and handed it to the then his frock coat and waistcoat, which he handed to me.
"Try that on." He said as he put his coat back on. I took the black waistcoat, embroidered with red Chinese patterns. I looked down at my self. White blouse, red and black waistcoat, black jeans with a red sash wrapped around my waist, black jeans and black above the knee boots."I look like a refugee from Pirates of the Caribbean!" I said as I looked in the mirror that the coat guy pulled out. Damn, I silently cursed. I did look good despite the piratical theme. I glanced across at Ravenwood who simply smiled a bowed. Double Damn.
"You will be fine, as you will see." Ravenwood offered his arm, which I took, with a sigh. For the first time I looked over his own clothes. The frock coat was black, very well cut, and probably Italian. There was a subtle pattern running over the coat, which I couldn't clearly make out. On his lapel he wore a broach depicting two masks, one sad and one happy – the Greek Tragedy and Comedy masks. He had a white silk shirt and a red silk cravat, which he had tucked into his open shirt, which had lace at its collar and cuffs. His pants were also black and his shoes were impeccably polished. He smelled .. nice. Looking at his trim waist, broad shoulders, and slender hips, I had to admit he did look good.
"Let's eat." Ravenwood announced and led me through the inner set of double mahogany doors.
And into a fairyland.
I stared in amazement. The dinning room had a central dance area, with a band playing at the far end. To either side of the door way were three tires of dinning tables surrounding the dance floor. A series of columns surrounded the dance floor, thirteen in all, and seemed to be petrified oak trees, bleach white. The whole room smelled of lilac and diaphanous hangings of purple and white silk complimented this theme. The tables continued this theme with tablecloths of purple and white with lilac and white begonia flower arrangements. The dinners were dressed to a theme, 18th Century, by the looks of it. Airy light danced around the large room and then I realised that they were real fairies. And the waiters were..?
"There you are, you won't stand out, other than your own natural beauty." Ravenwood whispered to me." Oh and yes they are fairies, and the waiters are goblins. The gentleman who took our coats was a half-troll. Welcome to the Unseelie restaurant."
We were shown a table, on the first tier closest to the dance floor. I looked around. There were many pale men and women, whom I guessed were vampires. And usually their dinner partner was human. But there were other beings, human like but pale. But not vampires.
"They are Elves, Unseelie." Ravenwood answered to my questioning eyes. "Sometimes called the Drow or Dark Elves."
"So their evil?" I asked looking at them more closely. They were uniformly beautiful, in an ethereal sort of way. Tall, 5 foot 10 inches, pale hair, incredibly blue eyes and an aura of other worldness.
"What is evil. You are, I may remind you, dining with a vampire." Ravenwood said ironically. "No the elves, Seelie and Unseelie are merely different. Is Summer or Winter Evil? That is what the elves are. They are children of Gaea just as I and other vampires are the children of Chthon. Life and Death. That's the problem humanity has never been able to come to terms with. They do not accept any other being to be a rival, or superior to themselves. I recommend the Hart, it is, I am told particularly tender."
"Huh?" I was trying to take in all that he had just said. He point and I realised an Elven waiter was standing at our table. "Oh um of course, well done, please."
"No, she did not mean disrespect." Ravenwood suddenly intruded. "It will be cooked as the chief wills. And I will have the blood plant wine." The waiter, at first shocked, bowed and walked away with a shake of his head. "My apologise, but the Unseelie are very touchy on all matters related to their art, their music, their way of life, including their cooking. I will assure you that the meal will not disappoint."
"Ok. I … trust you." I said. "Now what were you saying before?"
"Elves are creatures of Nature while the Vampires are the highest form of unnatural being that is tied to this plane of existence. We have both been driven underground or even from this very plane by Man."
"Wait, so you're say vampires are not evil blood sucking monster?" I pressed.
" No, of course not. We were created after all as Chthon's soldiers of destruction. But we have free will. We can control our nature if the host has the strength of will. Vampires. Like werewolves are to beings inhabiting the same body. One is from another dimension, a demon, bodiless and totally animalistic in nature. When they enter this plane two things can happen. One, the demon takes over the host and you have a ravening monster. Or the host has a strong enough will to resist the host enough to retain some semblance of their former, human self. Depending on that will they can still be driven by the lust for blood and are easily dominated by their sire, or they can take on the demon and achieve a balance where the host is in ascendant. Such as your humble servant." Ravenwood smiled and bowed.
"So what is Dracula?" "Ah, yes, well Dracula is a special case. He was a pretty twisted and nasty individual before he became a vampire." Ravenwood looked thoughtful, then chuckled. "Actually I suspect he scared the demon when it came to possess him!" The waiter returned with our meals. Ravenwood drank deeply from the large stone goblet and sighed appreciatively. "If only the Elves would allow us to cultivate the tree of life. We could live off this for eternity. How is your steak?"
I cut a piece of the tender meat and tentatively put it in my mother. The flavour was incredible! "Wow!"
"I thought you would like it. Now to continue Dracula is driven, just as Varnae was to provide all vampires with a true home. This has ranged over the course of centuries from Global domination to attempted Godhood. Strangely enough the vampires that are human ascendant are happy to live their unlives in this world just as they are. The post-Renaissance Vampires anyway. The old guard, which includes Dracula can't forget their "Noble" backgrounds and their so-called divine right to rule. It's a pity too. He can be quite chivalrous and even charming. But there is a rage inside him, and a contempt, that goes beyond being a vampire. Something that happened to him when he was a man, probably when he was held as a prisoner of the Ottoman Turks. He cannot forgive, or forget. Sort of like you and Rogue."
"What? Now wait a minute." I chocked on a piece of meat and had a coughing fit. "What the hell are you talking about."
"You and Rogue. You have never really accepted that part of your life. Sit down." Ravenwood raised his hand and I stopped and sat down again. "Let me explain. I have drunk your blood, Deeply. Vampires have the ability to connect with their donor on more than a physical level. I know more about your life than probably you yourself want to acknowledge. Such as Rogue." He looked at me and I could read only concern and a desire to help in those warm brown eyes. "I know you are going on a journey. I'd like to help. If you will let me?" "Do I have a choice?"
I was feeling embarrassed and scared. "You planned this didn't you."
"Maybe." Ravenwood smiled. "But that's what friends are for. Now, on the surface you have forgiven Rogue. You even defended her when your alternate Warbird from another dimension came to kill her and you. You also learnt that this other you had travelled dimensions, killing every other Carol Danvers and Rogue because they had got past what had occurred. What was different when she came to this Universe was that you had not really forgiven Rogue and she offered to join forces with you to kill Rogue. And that's when you refused and fought Warbird and defeated her."
"Yes I did, and I told Warbird that I did forgive Rogue and accepted her as a member of the X-Men and a good person. And I didn't kill Warbird either." I said hotly not liking where this was going.
"Hmm yes you did, and when Rogue came in to protect you when Warbird looked like she was gaining the upper hand, you broke her ribs as way of thanking her for supporting you." "It was my fight, not hers!" I cried out which caused a hush to descend around the room. Great, now I had an audience! "Listen Mister," I whispered fiercely. "It was my job to deal with her, not Rogue's."
"And yet it was she who came to you to warn you about this other you. And you were in trouble when she came to help. And I believe you still haven't apologised to her." "There has been a lot going on recently. I died after all."
"Death is no excuse. I have died as well, twice actually, and in its own way they were horrific and painful. I killed my Sire who caused my first death, and have had a long talk with Dr. Strange concerning my second which I quite understood and accepted. The fact is you still haven't truly forgiven her for what she did, as a sixteen year old. And if I may be so bold, you are using this as an excuse for the real issue."
"Look, I have forgiven her. She was a kid. She was being manipulated by that homicidal $*$!% Mystique. She didn't understand her powers. She didn't mean to suck the very essence of me inter herself. I get it. And I promise to go and see …. Hey what do you mean I'm using this as an excuse. Excuse for what?"
"Lets dance." He rose and walked around to my chair, pulling it back and raising me up even as I tried to protest. As if by magic we were on the dance floor and the band started playing "Begin the Beguine".
"Cole Porter?" I asked incredulously. "Oh!" I gasped as he spun me around and we began to dance. I a lousy dancer but in his arms we seemed to float. "I don't dance."
"You seem to be doing a descent impression of it." Ravenwood smiled and swept me around the dance floor.
We danced and I let the music wash away my anger. He was just trying to help. Yes I hadn't found time to apologise to Rogue, and I should have. I had been busy but I could have found the time, should have found the time. I thought about it, even as Ravenwood spun me around the room. I had forgiven Rogue. Mystique was the one at fault. Not Rogue. I knew that now. I'd go and see her. So what was Ravenwood talking about. The song ended and then the music changed.
"Your kidding me. The Goo Goo Dolls?"
"You don't like the Goo Goo Dolls?" Ravenwood said in mock shock, then began to sing:
"And I'd give up forever to touch you,
Cause I know that you feel me somehow.
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be,
And I don't want to go home right now.
And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breath is your life
Well sooner or later it's over I just don't want to miss you tonight.
And I don't want the world to see me,
Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's meant to be broken
I just want you to know who I am."
He looked me right in the eyes as he sang and my heart began to race. He sang it so mournfully and yet with so much passion it was heady.
"I think your Mother and Brother would like to know who you are. Transportartis domus Danvers."
We froze in place, the room blurred and there was a feeling as though I was being pulled in every direction. Then it stopped and we were suddenly on a street. A street I knew.
"Bar Harbour, Maine. My Lady. Outside the family home. Your Family. Your Home." Ravenwood said, quietly.
"No it was never my home. They moved here only a few years back. I've never lived here. Please Take us back."
"Your Family lives here. So its your home as well." Ravenwood gently moved me forward. "Its beyond time you rejoined And sorry I can't take you back. That spell needs a lot of power to cast and I can only do it once a night. You might as well accept the truth and suffer the consequences.."
"But I..I don't belong," I pleaded. "I can't feel them. I have the memories but I don't.."
"Crap." Ravenwood stated, startling me. "I have your memories. The last time you were here. When you were leaving after saying goodbye to your dying father."
"I don't remember." Even as I said it I knew it was a lie. "If I loved these people the way I'm supposed to I couldn't do what I need to do right now."
Ravenwood was in my face. "To kill Norman Osborn. Well you have had plenty of chances, My Lady. And you haven't. You even tried to talk Ronin from doing the same." He then turned without waiting for my reply he marched up to the door and rapped on it, loudly.
"No don't I..Oh. Hi Mom." The door opened and my Mother was in the doorway. She was startled to see Ravenwood then saw me.
"C..Carol?" She stared at me.
"Mom. I..I'm sorry. I shouldn't have bothered you." I cringed. God she must hate me. Why had Ravenwood done this. And then she was down the porch and hugging me.
"Oh thank God you came back. You belong here. I was wrong. I'm so glad you are here." And then she began to cry. I was shocked and horrified. Oh God I was going to do it to her again. I was going to hurt her again. Damn Ravenwood. I couldn't feel. She was not real to me. No matter how much I wanted …. Then I began to cry. It started as an ache in my heart and a single tear, then a sob and then I couldn't stop. I cried and held my Mother and she cried with me. Ravenwood quietly walked away leaving the Danvers women to rediscover their love.
"Happy New Year Carol Danvers." He watched the two women enter her mother's home. Her home. He looked out into the night and the realisation struck him. "Damn, It's going to be a long flight back to New York." He then turned into a giant bat and flew into the night.
Ravenwood: Consequences and Truths Part 2
The rain had stopped and had been replaced by snow and fog. The roads were like ice rinks and the snow drifts were already banking up. The cold snap had already killed at least 40 of the homeless who tried to survive in Manhattan with more out in the region of Great New York. Most of the homeless had been driven underground which both added and hampered my current quest. I was in debt. In debt for the dinner I had bought for Carol Danvers at the Unseelie Restaurant of Olde New York. And sadly the Dark Elves that ran this establishment did not take cash. They took in kind. For most this meant servitude to the Elves for a period of time (usually in the decades). Not wishing to be some Fey's plaything I opted to pay in kind. A mystical artifact for a magical meal. Unfortunately the artifact, an Elven princeling's circlet, that I was required to obtain as payment happened to be already owned.
Good news I knew who this was. The bad news was that I knew who this was. I was a block from the Avengers Tower. It seemed that, including my own break in with Ms marvel, she had hit the place again in concert with her fellow female Avengers and then, only a week ago, it seemed that Dr Doom had had some sort of falling out with the Avenger's resident leader, Norman Osborn, and had caused some more damage. Not surprisingly security was now at an insane level (which, given that the Iron Patriot was more than likely insane, meant the Tower was a paranoia's wonderland).
So going, guns blazing, was really not the way to do it, and certainly not on my own. I also had no intention to call in Carol as the whole point of taking her to the Unseelie Restaurant in the first place was to give her the chance to re-unite with her family. I was not going to waste all that just to pay my debt. And, there is a reason why vampires prefer to operate alone. We do solo very well.
First thing I had to do was breach the security without alarming anyone. The change in weather was most fortuitous. I do not have the power to summon weather like Lord Dracula. I can however manipulate the weather that is already in existence. The first thing I did was to tweak the conditions enough to raise a fog. Soon the island of Manhattan was enshrouded in a thick fog. Once that was done I concentrated the fog around the Tower, pushing it into the building through the many still damaged areas. I slipped through the fog until I was standing outside Avengers Plaza. The noise of the city was muffled by the fog but so far I could detect no raising of any alarm. Yet. I released my control on the fog and turned to mist. Time to pay another visit to Avengers Tower.
Ms Victoria Hand was not in a good mood. Bad enough she was constantly surrounded by incompetents, but she worked for a boss who refused to accept any responsibility for any mistake he made, blaming everyone else instead. And the last couple of weeks had not been good. No matter how she had beefed up security people had been coming in an out of Avengers Tower with embarrassing regularity. Dr Doom, the female members of the New Avengers rescuing Ronin, Ms. Marvel and some still identified male who had hung up half the Avengers like Christmas ornaments and probably the worst of all, Pepper Potts, Tony Stark's secretary, waltzing in disguised and Madame Masque and rescuing Maria Hill and Natasha Romanova, the Black Widow. Osborn and the other Avengers never failed to remind her of that little incident. So she had become a bit paranoid herself and had demanded that every little glitch needed to be reported to her. The problem was that last week Dr Doom's Doombot had caused significant damage, which had still not been completely repaired. There had been a lot of false alarms since then and she had had very little sleep. And now it seemed to be getting colder as well. Her com beeped insistently.
"Yes WHAT!" She snapped.
"Ah, I'm sorry Deputy Director," The officer on the other end of the comlink stammered. "You did insist on being informed of any change in security, no matter how small."
"YES." Victoria said testily.
"Oh right. Um well there's a fog that's come up around the city. But that's not the strange part." He went on hurriedly as Victoria growled. "The fog is penetrating the building and it's causing the building to drop in temperature."
"Alright," Victoria rubbed her forehead. "Put the Tower on alert and see if you can increase the temperature. I'll be down shortly."
She put on a scarf and her jacket before marching out of her office.
"What the hell of a place are you running here?" Demanded the young dark haired woman in white who confronted her in the corridor. Its freezing in here!" She wrapped herself in her cloak shivering.
"MISS White Spider. It is the middle of winter and this building has been attacked more than once over the past weeks. There maybe minor fluctuations in the heating." Victoria replied curtly. "Lodge a request with building maintenance." She then stalked by the furious young woman. "Save me from spoilt little Princesses!" She muttered under her breath.
I had easily slipped into the building without raising any noticeable alarm although I had noticed that the air conditioning had been increased to combat the cold. I had entered the air ducts to and could sense the increased heat flowing through them as the system battled my invading fog. It would take long for it to dissipate the fog so I pushed on faster. Slipping through the ducts I finally came upon a room where there was only one person working at a terminal. Bad luck for him.
My mist form wafted out of the vent and down onto the floor unnoticed. I moved up behind the man who was intently looking at the screen in front of him. So intent was he at studying the pictures of nubile and unclothed women that he did not even detect me as I reformed into my corporeal form.
"It really was not the night for surfing the Net for porn," I quipped as I grabbed him, one hand over his mouth to stifle any cry while the other held him to his chair. He gave out a muffled moan as I struck, sinking my teeth into his neck. His struggles subsided as I drank deeply. Manipulating the weather and turning from a corporeal to mist form is a draining experience to those vampires that actually have the necessary will and power to even achieving it. I left the gentleman with enough blood to stay alive but he would be unconscious for hours. I dragged him out of his chair and stuffed him under an adjoining alcoves desk.
I then returned to his desk. A little while back I had been rescued from a HAMMER/AIM facility by Ms. Marvel. During that escape we also captured the resident Scientist Supreme. Her intel, acquired under mind control, had been of great and included the fact that AIM had created a back door into HAMMER and the AVENGERS Tower networks. I hacked in and found out where the artifact was being held. I then logged out, turned into mist and headed back into the air vents to where the artifact was being held.
"Well, is the Fog cleared?" Victoria Hand demanded of her security chief. She thanked God Director Osborn was in Washington today. The last thing she needed was Osborn hassling her about the temperature.
"Um yes Maam," the agent replied hesitantly.
"What is it?" Victoria had picked up his lack of confidence.
"Well Maam, the fog has been dissipated and the temperature is coming up, but…"
"Well I'm getting an anomalous reading in the air vents. There is a area of cold travelling along vent 20 B. An there surveillance cameras show some mist ."
"So. Its just a bit of the fog that hasn't been blown away." Victoria could feel a headache coming on. Was the man completely stupid?
"But Deputy Director, it's moving against the airflow."
Victoria went very still. "Where is this again?"
"Um, the mist has just left the vents on floor 20 in section A."
"Section A? Damn that's the Vault 2 where the mystic artefacts are being held. Sound the alarm!" Victoria almost yelled.
I entered the corridor and moved along the ceiling. This way I hopefully missed the sophisticated security systems that I could see and could imagine were placed there.
I moved into a room full of computers but I moved to one section, which I knew hide the vault I sought. I found that the vault was sealed, even against my mist form. I moved below the obvious security camera and reformed. I reached up and eased the camera so that it was no longer able to scan the wall where the vault was. I then walked up to the computer panel and entered the code I had recovered during my earlier access. The computer bank slide to the side. I punched in a code on the vault panel and the second door opened revealing the vault . Knowing I would have little time I ducked in and quickly scanned the series of draws that surrounded the room. No 155. I tried to pull the draw open but discovered it locked. I realised that it required two keys to open. At that moment the alarm went off.
"Damn, so much for subtlety!" I said and I ripped the draw out. Inside was a box made of ancient wood. On the top of the box was the ancient symbol of Unseelie royalty. I slide open the catch and raised the lid. Within was a simple circlet of silver which, glowed with a quiet blue light. "Excellent." I shut and locked the box and slipped it inside my coat. "Now all I have to do is get out of here."
I heard the thump of combat boots coming down the corridor. On of the limitations about turning to mist is that, while a vampire can not only turn himself to mist but also his clothes and other mundane items, magical items have an aura that resists this transformation. I took out the box and placed it on the floor and prepared, drawing my katana from its hidden scabbard within my long coat. Half a dozen soldiers came round the corner. However it was the leader who caught my attention more. Ares, Olympian God of Bloodshed and Chaos. (I consider his sister Athena the true Goddess of War). I had briefly met him the last time I had visited the Tower. Cutting my palm so that the blood flowed .
"Fires of Hell summoned, fed by the Power of Life, be released and consume mine enemies!" I extended my hand. My dripping blood turned to flames which built up in front of me.
"Ware the sorceror!" I heard Ares warn. A shot was fire, which missed me. Before another was fired I released the now wall of flame which flowed down the corridor. There was a series of bursts of gunfire and I ducked to avoid them. Then I heard screams that were cut off as the flame consumed the soldiers. I rose. The corridor was scorched down its length and half way down a pile of chard bodies lay smoking. Only Ares stood, somewhat blackened but otherwise unharmed by my fire. He twirled his massive axe one handed.
"Prepare to be cloven in two, Sorceror." Ares growled. Then he roared and charged. I retreated back into the room and then sidestepped his swing as he entered, bringing my own sword slashing across his arm. Ares, for all his size was super quick but a vampire is quicker while he has the blood to power him. It was fortunate also that the room was large and while it was lined with computer banks the room was otherwise clear. We danced for a minute, him swinging that great axe of his while I dodged and weaved, inflicting small cuts where I could. And all the while I waited, concentrated.
"Dance all you like Wizard, I will soon cut thee down to kindling." Ares growled. Your spells and incantations can do me no harm."
"But I like to dance. And especially with a big, strong boy like you, Twinkle Toes," I ducked under an axe swing and then blew Ares a kiss. "Especially as I hear your sister is the real God of War."
"Pervert! Doth thee think the Son of Zeus wouldst … YARGH!" Enraged he leapt forward Axe raised. Just what I was waiting for. As he came down I turned to mist. His axe fell through my non-corporeal form and buried itself in the tiled floor. I reformed on my knees, facing away from Ares and drove my katana under his Cuirass into his belly through his spine until it hit his back plate. Ares grunted and fell to his knees.
"You….cheated." He gasped as he fell forward onto my shoulder. Catching him I eased him to the ground. I bent down to his left ear.
"Vampire." I whispered then plunged my fangs into his throat. His initial roar was quickly muted as I pumped what some have called vampire venom into him, calming him as I drank his blood.
His blood! I had never tasted anything like it. It was so strong, rich. I had heard Dracula regale how choice the blood of the Lady Sif of Asgard had tasted and I could only believe it was similar to that of the Olympian. As I drank I felt his god like energy flow into me. I felt like a God incarnate! But I couldn't take it all. Even with my desire to drink and drink, I could only take so much. I raised my head and howled in triumph and then I was hit by a force that catapulted me back from Ares and into the bank of computers, shattering them.
"Get away from him you Monster!" In the door way was a lithe, brunette clothed all in white, from her Gucci boots, leather pants, bustier and cloak.
"And whom may you be? Emma Frost's daughter?" My rib cage was crushed but with a mere thought all the bones refused themselves and the tissue damage was repaired.
"I'm the Whyte Spyder and you just attacked my team mate." She raised her hands and unleashed another wave of what I could only think was some sort of seismic shock wave at me. This time I was prepared and turned to mist, the wave shattering the wall behind me, revealing another room behind. This one had windows. Perfect.
The blast had created a lot of dust from the destroyed concrete wall so to the young Lady in White I must have seemed to have been pushed through in to the next room.
Another set of guards were behind her.
"Go, through there," she pointed through the breech. The men advanced through the dust into the next room even as I flowed forward through them to behind Miss Spyder. She had knelt by Ares.
"Ares, Ares, can you hear me? Oh God, look at you. This is Whyte Spyder, I need a medic on Floor 20 Section A 12, immediately!"
"He will be fine." I said as I reformed behind her, quickly grabbing her and sinking my fangs into her neck.
"Hey! Oh! OH! Ah oooo." The young woman cried out, tried to fight then moaned as she felt my fangs penetrate her flesh, quickly succumbing to my venom. Her blood was surprisingly sweet indicating her soul was not as tarnished as I would expect one who worked for Norman Osborn.
"You are now mine, Whyte Spyder." I intoned. "You will order your team to leave the other room and widened the search." I then pulled my katana out of Ares and turned back into mist. Whyte Spyder stared dazedly for then shook her head as if coming awake. The leader of the squad stuck his head back through the hole.
"Maam I can't find anyone. He may have survived and left the room."
"Expand the search, Captain. I'll wait here with Ares. And order this floor to be sealed until we find him."
"Yes Maam. Control Seal all access to level 20 now!" The Captain turned around and ordered his troops to follow him.
"Excellent, My Lady," I said as I reformed, picking up the box, and walking back to the entranced young woman. "And don't worry about Charles Atlas there. His Olympian healing power will allow him to recover completely." As if to support that Ares groaned, his legs twitching. I headed toward the other room, then stopped and turned around and walked back to the young woman. I reached out and caressed her cheek and then her neck. She gasped with pleasure and shuddered.
"If I may offer a suggestion, My Lady. I think you are worthy of a better company." I glanced down at Ares. "Both of you." I leaned forward and kissed her fully on the lips with passion and she responded in kind, moaning softly. I stepped back with a smile. "Sleep now. And Remember Me." As she signed and collapsed next to Ares I bowed then spun around and went through the whole and entered the other room. It was a conference room. The Spyder's seismic shock wave had not only blown out the wall but had driven the large conference table across into the full pan glass windows, cracking the bullet proof glass. I leapt onto the table kicked out the glass. As I stepped to the opening the soldiers burst back into the room. They stared stunned as turned into a giant Chiropteran Bat, grasped the Elven box in my now clawed foot and leapt into open space before the soldiers began to open fire.
I suspected the Old Norman would be none too pleased to discover his fortress had been breached yet again. There are nights when it is truly wonderful to be a vampire.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Marvel theme or references in this fic. The Character of Whyte Spyder belongs to FeralFemale and Ravenwood belongs to me.
The Vampire Ravenwood's story will continue in Horror of Ravenwood.