Disclaimer: I dont own Marvel or any Characters assosciated with Marvel what I do own are the main characters of this fic.

Hey guys, this is a prequel to my Upcoming story The Hunt. This one features all my OC's and hints at things to come in my fic True Heroism as well as plot points that will come up in my main "Struggle of the Apprentice" series. This is connected to my other stories like Echo of Destiny and the Rise of the Dead. In fact this is sort of a aftermath of the Echo of Destiny, showing what some characters are up to. If you havent read those series, if you havent heard of my OC's and seen the profiles I've posted in stories like Rise of the Dead then you'll probably have no idea whats going on. So, now that that's out of the way, please enjoy this one-shot that includes a teaser of things to come.

Italics is Uatu the Watcher speaking!


The World I Watch, the World They Protect!

Greetings, I am Uatu of the Watchers; my purpose has always been to watch and remember events of great significance. These events are often the first steps of a journey. I have witnessed the birth of planets, the downfall of civilisations and the deaths of great men and women. Throughout my existence, there has been one planet that has always caught my eye, Earth. This small planet is considered by some in the grand galaxy to be a backwater world of little importance. But I know that this small planet is more important than anyone believes. Because it is here where we see the first steps of a battle that may very well decide the fate of the universe. But before I show you the present, I must first show you the past, the origin of an equally important man in the events to come.

Sven Reilly was an average student, a Naïve boy and a person who didn't often think of the future. Even then his thoughts were not occupied by the opportunities he may miss. For at that moment in time he was focused on his survival and the survival of his friends. His classmates had gone to a Stark presentation, but an attack by super human terrorists cut their school trip short. Members of the class were separated and forced to run as fast as they could from a mad man. He spoke of prophecies and the necessity of the lives he was taking. His right hand glowed with a red energy; the power of that arm was also his name, Destruction.

"Your deaths are but the first steps of a sacrifice that will save mankind," The mad man said, firing blasts at the children as they ran.

Sven and his best friends, Lazlo and Tito ran down a small corridor, breaking off from the main group. Destruction pursued them until they reached the end of a walkway. They then overlooked a massive vat of red liquid at the end of the walkway. Tito cowered in fear while Sven and Lazlo looked back. Destruction walked towards them, raising his glowing hand.

"SVEN GRAB TITO AND RUN!" Lazlo yelled.

He ran at the madman, ready to die if need to be. Destruction threw his arm forward, cutting a hole straight through Lazlo's chest. Blood sprayed onto Sven's face, staining his blonde hair. Lazlo coughed, weakly shoving Destruction. It was a futile attempt as he fell to his knees, at the mercy of this super human. He looked back at his friend, blood flowing out of his mouth.

"Live Sven…survive!" His last words bought tears to Sven's eyes.

Destruction continued to walk forward, his hand stained with the blood and bone of a teenager. Sven yelled as he ran forward. Destruction ran forward as well, swinging his arm straight through Sven's chest. He tried to lift the boy off of the ground, but much to his shock Sven held his arm firmly.

"I wont let you…GET AWAY WITH IT!" Sven yelled.

He mustered the last of his strength and pulled Destruction with him off of the walkway. They fell and Destruction pulled his hand out of Sven's chest. The terrorist fell to the ground, yelling as his shoulder dislocated. Sven however, fell straight into the vat. His blood joined with the liquid as his eyes went blood shot as the serum flew down his throat. He thrashed his arms around, desperately trying to reach the surface. His mouth and eyes wouldn't close and the pain he felt was beyond anything he'd ever experience. The liquid began to spark with electricity and bubbled like a saucepan. Sven screamed in the water as he felt his skin burn. He reached the glass of the chamber, his nails clawing against it. The bones of his hands twisted and his nails fell off and his skin bubbled.

"SVEN! SVEN!" Tito screamed but his words didn't reach him.

That day Sven Reilly's heart stopped. But when it started again it beat faster. It was not fear or anger, but a newfound courage. A courage that drove him to become a hero.

The glass shattered and the red liquid flooded the floor. Destruction looked at where the chamber once stood in shock. Standing before him was a being in grey armour, with spikes protruding from the back of the helmet and black fabric around the hands. The two eyeholes suddenly lit up, revealing two furious red eyes.

He became Fusion, and then eventually he took the name Aeon. For years he fought and one day the fight finally claimed his life. I cannot tell you whether he discovered the answer to a question he long asked himself. Nor can I tell you how he died; these things are of little importance. Because he came back, in the wake of an alien invasion and the downfall of Norman Osborn, Aeon returned. In the past he made a plan that utilised his strengths and resources to save the world. Now in the present he forms a new plan, along with his allies.

Standing in the centre of the cavern bought back memories. Time hadn't yet taken its toll on the cavern he called home. He had found this cavern under the city and called it his base. Now it was empty, gone were the computers, the training dummies. In fact he had to dig his way through carefully placed rocks his allies had planted to hide the cave when he had died. But he was back now and in need of a place to call home. His white and red armour shifted into a grey colour as the nostalgia of being there bought back painful memories. But those memories faded as he heard a footstep.

"Nice try!" He said, his helmet amplifying the echo of his voice.

He swung around, bringing his hands up. A volley of shuriken rebounded off of his gauntlets, clattering to the floor. Aeon braced himself as the intruder jumped out of the shadows. He blocked a kick, and then grabbed a fist that was thrown toward his face. But the intruder attacked again, sweeping his leg round. Aeon took the hit, keeping his feet firmly set to the ground. Then he swung his fist forward, stopping it inches from the intruder's nose.

"Like I said, nice try!" Aeon said.

The intruder sighed, stepping back. He was a man a few years younger than Aeon. In years past he may have been considered a "sidekick", but he liked to think of himself as more of an apprentice. His costume consisted of a white suit that had little armour, allowing him to fully utilise his acrobatic skills. A red circle was emblazed on the chest of the shirt, with two red lines splitting towards the shoulders. His mask was white around the neck, but red around the eyes, which were covered by white lenses. The rest of the mask left his mouth and red hair exposed.

His name is Jason, a boy whom was adopted into Sven's family. He is his brother, his student and his friend.

"Being dead has made you sloppy, in the past you would have just kicked me in the chest and left me coughing on the ground," Jason said.

"You don't give yourself enough credit, you've gotten stronger…and taller I see!" Aeon ran his hand over Jason's head; the young man was just as tall as him.

"You know with all the fighting and cosmic scale wars going on, we haven't had a chance to do one thing we both really have to do," Jason sighed.

Aeon nodded his head before they hugged. Jason squeezed his adoptive brother tightly, trying to see whether he was dreaming this time. It was no dream, his friend was back and they could fight together again. They continued their hug, remaining in place and savouring the time they had. Before someone interrupted it:

"If you're done with the reunion could we get down to business?" A voice asked from the shadows.

A young woman sighed as she walked towards Aeon and Jason. She wore a simple red business dress and kept her blonde hair neat with a hair band. Her employer walked behind her, wearing a sharp business suit. The one who spoke stepped out of the shadows. His body was covered by blue armour, which included a helmet based on an eagle's beak and a mask that covered his face. He kept his arms crossed over the blue bird symbol on his chest, indicating he had little patience to be here. The woman shook her head at the man and smiled as she hugged Aeon.

"Its good to see you Sven, ignore Kyle, he's just grumpy you took away from his brooding time." The woman said.

"Thanks Gloria, good to see you too James," Aeon nodded his head at the businessman, whom smiled back.

She is Gloria, an alias to hide her true name just like her employer. James is a businessman with a company whose funds are waning. However that has not dampened his carefree spirit. Unlike Kyle Summers, who has developed a darker approach to a darker world. He bares the name Azure Eagle to hide the carefree man he used to be.

"Hurry this up, I don't have all day," Kyle said.

"We've just got one more person to wait for,"

Aeon looked to the entrance and smiled as his closest friend walked towards the group. He wore brown and gold armour and carried a sword over his shoulder. Once he got near the group he nodded his head at Aeon and planted his sword on the ground.

Lazlo Collins died, but he was later revived to lead an army of angelic beings. However he saw that he was being used and rebelled against his master. Now he goes by the name Albion to protect the world and the friends he was once forced to fight.

"I think we all know why we're here right, you want to make another to do list don't you Sven?" James asked.

"It was a good way of me tracking my long term goals, but we're going to have to go into more detail now. Things weren't pretty when I got back, the world was being invaded and Norman Osborn was more worried about his own ambitions than to save lives. Now the people are afraid and are nervous about moving back into the major cities." Aeon explained.

"With good reason, they've reached the point where enough is enough, they're tired of shit going on that we have no fucking control over yet they blame us anyway." Kyle's voice as fierce as he cut into the briefing.

"Yeah, Stamford was unfortunate, I suppose I can see the people's point concerning that,"

"The people…the people are a pest that live off of the freedom we sacrifice ourselves for. And when things happen that aren't under our control they moan and accuse us as if what happened was our fault when they don't know a damn thing about the life we live."

"Kyle calm down, we're not here to discuss that," Lazlo said.

"Anyway I was thinking about this new world and I thought it's about time we did our part. That's why as a favour I'd like you all to keep an eye on the people on my list. They are the ones that I think have important roles to play, Azure Eagle, your already working on the streets so could you keep a close eye on Daredevil and Spider-man for me?"

Kyle disregarded Sven's request because he was already watching the two heroes. Peter Parker became a hero at a young age and was faced with many hardships. But despite these hardships he has not crossed the lines that heroes must never cross. Even his contract with Mephisto has been reversed without him knowing. A future offspring of Spider-man's learnt of the pact he had formed with Mephisto and travelled to the present with the soul purpose of reversing the contract. He deceived Mephisto by trading his soul for the contract that Mephisto formed with Peter. However, the reunification of Mary Jane Watson and Peter Parker resulted in an alteration to the time stream. The future son's existence was wiped away and Mephisto was robbed of a soul. Peter Parker and Mary Jane had no memory of the contract they formed, but unbeknownst to them the new contract that Peter's forgotten son formed with Mephisto had given him not just his Aunt but also his daughter. Mayday Parker had been given back a life she had been robbed of.

But not all heroes have been given the gifts that Parker had. Matthew Murdock was blinded at a young age. However his other senses improved and after learning fighting skills from a man named Stick, Murdock became a man without fear. He protected Hells Kitchen as the Daredevil and endured many torments, including the deaths of many of his lovers. Recently he had been approached by the Hand to lead the group of ninjas. He tried to steer them towards a better path. But he failed, and as part of my torment I am forced to watch as a good man degrades into a monster. It is not the pressure of leading the Hand, but his possession of the Hand's Beast, a creature that has influenced him to build Shadow land, to further drive fear into the populace of New York.

Azure Eagle stood on the roof of a building, looking at the fortress of the Hand. Shadow Land was guarded by Hand ninjas, ones that could be seen in plain sight and others hiding in the shadows. Kyle couldn't see them, but he knew they were there. He huffed at the sight of the castle and walked away. His steel wings burst out of his back as he jumped off the roof. With a flap of his wings, he raced across the city. Slamming his clawed fingers into the wall, he stuck to the surface, looking down an alleyway. His sharp hearing detected the sounds of a fight, and the sound of a voice.

"You know I'm not seeing much bird based stuff here. I mean Raptor…where are the wings? Plus Birds don't have guns you know!"

Kyle groaned, it was the troublesome Spider-man. He spread his wings out and flew down the alleyway. Spider-man was fighting an apparent new villain. Raptor was dressed in a mixture of blue and purple, which included a cowl and military gloves and boots. He fired two Uzi's at the Wall Crawler, whom flipped across the walls. As usual Spider-man wore his signature red and blue costume. Azure swooped downwards, slashing the man's guns with his wings.

"I don't know what's going on, but your both going to stop now," Azure Eagle said as he grabbed Raptor's shoulder.

Suddenly a pair of bone claws burst out of Raptor's wrists. He roared at Azure, snapping his elongated teeth at the armoured man. Azure Eagle jumped back, drawing his gun blades.

"Okay, so that's why he calls himself Raptor," Spider-man said.

"THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!" Raptor yelled.

Azure Eagle hovered forward, swinging his swords round. Raptor blocked the strikes and thrust one of his blades forward. Kyle flew back and then rammed his knee into Raptor's face. Spider-man jumped behind Raptor and fired webbing at his legs. With one tug, Spider-man pulled Raptor to the ground. Then he fired more webbing, trying to tie Raptor's arms. But the man slashed the ropes and got off of the floor. He thrust his claws at Azure Eagle, who blocked the blades with his wings. Azure Eagle then elbowed Raptor in the face and grabbed the man by the neck. He threw the man against the wall, throwing several blades into the sleeves of his costume, pinning him against the wall. Spider-man then fired webs at Raptor's chest and legs, sticking him firmly to the wall.

"Well that was a good team up, I heard about you from the X-men," Spider-man said.

"Yeah, well its pretty easy to find you, come on Hammer should be by soon to pick up this nut," Azure Eagle said.

Spider-man climbed up the wall towards the rooftops while Azure Eagle flapped his wings. The two heroes swung and flew respectively until they reached a safe distance from the scene. Azure looked back at Shadow land, contemplating the presence of the fortress. He sighed and turned to Spider-man.

"Why was that man fighting you?" He asked.

"He attacked Peter Parker and his family," Spider-man said.

"Why?"

"Don't know,"

"I can tell that you're lying,"

"He thought that Parker was a dead man, Ben Reilly,"

"I see, was anyone hurt?" Azure Eagle asked.

"No thankfully, his daughter came close but she's fine, she's five years old," Spider-man explained.

"Her life ahead of her…sometimes I think raising a kid in this dangerous world would be an act of cruelty,"

Spider-man chuckled, not seeing the seriousness of Azure's speech.

"Trust me, raising another life beyond your own is worth it, the feeling of being a father is incredible…better than the rush of saving a life." Azure Eagle could tell that Spider-man spoke from experience.

He lowered his head, a man like the Spider was able to face foes like Osborn and yet he kept his sanity. His life was no doubt filled with more hardships than happiness. And yet he cherished the happy times, no matter how few they were. Best of all the man was able to protect a wife and a child.

"I actually remember, this is the spot where he died…Ben Reilly," Peter said.

"I see," Kyle said.

Azure Eagle spread his wings out and looked back at Spider-man.

"There's a case I've been working on, I'm wondering if you could help," He said.

"Sure, we'll call it the Amazing Spider-man and the Blue Guy," Spider grinned.

"But no bad jokes," Azure groaned.

The two heroes swung away unaware of the hooded man who had been watching them. He lifted up his hood, revealing a face covered by a black helmet. Yellow techorganic circuitry was attached to the arm he carried. It had belonged to a servant of the long dead Selene. He ran the hand across the ground, stopping as it glowed at one specific spot. Water began to seep out of the ground, the puddle got bigger and bigger. Suddenly, the water began to form the limbs and face of a Caucasian man. He groaned as his watery form turned to flesh and blonde hair. The man whom resurrected him threw a costume onto his back. It was a red suit with a blue sleeveless top and web shooters. He looked up, gazing into the red eyes of the man who pulled him away from the afterlife.

"Who are you?" He asked.

"I am a blade of Death, whom must use the dead to save the living. Tell me Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider, did you meet Mattie Franklin before you passed?"

Make no mistake he has been dead before. Cade Hunter's time is coming, the time where he will shatter the fabric of the world, as we know it. But this is not his time, now I return to watching Sven Reilly and his own allies.

"Wow, you got to team up with Spider-man, what did it feel like?" Gloria asked.

"God he's more annoying than Jack," Kyle said.

Sven and the others laughed as Kyle groaned. Their Speedster friend Jack was currently on a well-deserved break after his actions defending Westchester from an army of the dead.

"He was annoying, but we did make some progress in our investigation into a disappearing person's case," Kyle said.

"Really, who are you looking for?" James asked.

"We could ask a psychic like Emma Frost to help," Gloria suggested.

"Don't bother," Lazlo cut in "The X-men do help people but they aren't big on taking the Initiative, unless they're killing people that is," Venom dripped from his voice as he described the mutant heroes.

"What's that mean?" Sven asked.

"It means Cyclops has his own little hit squad led by Wolverine. They've been trying to wipe out the Purifiers and any other anti-mutant organisation." Lazlo explained.

"They don't get that wiping out racism with blood shed will only lead to more killing, I'm not above getting your hands dirty but this "X-Force" is becoming nothing but a band of murderers" Kyle added.

"That's enough you two, I'm sure Scott's doing everything he can," Gloria said.

"Sieg was with the X-men for a time, they cant be all bad if he chose to be with them," Sven said.

"Oh I'm not saying they're bad, misguided yes but they have good intentions. That may have cut it ten years ago, but its no good now." Lazlo explained.

"You've been watching them more closely, what are they like now?" Sven asked, touching his friend's shoulder.

Lazlo closed his eyes, thinking of the most recent experience he had with the X-men.

As you are well aware the X-men have always fought for mutant protection. But in the past year mutants have dwindled to a handful. It began with M-Day, when the Scarlet Witch announced "no more mutants" and stripped a majority of mutants of their powers. Many of them were X-men, like Jubilee and for a small time Polaris. But the X-men recently made a series of revelations that shook the team, when the Phoenix Corps attempted to destroy the universe. They learned that the Cyclops they knew was a fake, a Skrull implanted deeply within the team to rip it apart from the inside. But he was exposed, killed and the universe was saved. Jean Grey was resurrected and reunited with her husband. Now the team fights again for mutant survival.

A bulky thug of a man was sent crashing through a brick wall, a red beam slamming against his chest. Men in white masks brandished crowbars and ran towards a blonde haired woman. She wore a blue shirt with a star symbol on her chest and a jacket. Her eyes lit up, knocking the thugs back. Dazzler smiled as a pink haired girl teleported beside her. The girl wore a blue and yellow X-men uniform and had Pixie wings that matched her name. She grabbed one of the thug's arms, flipping him to the floor. Then she sprayed a cloud of mist from her hands, stunning a group of the thugs.

"Take them down hard and fast," A Commanding voice spoke from behind Dazzler and Pixie.

Cyclops pressed the button on his gold visor, unleashing his optic blast. The X symbol was emblazed on his black uniform, as well as on his yellow gloves. He and his wife both worked to disable a big thug, whom had empowered himself with mutant growth hormone. The giant of a man threw his fists towards Jean Grey. But her telekinetic force field knocked the man back. Ever since returning from the dead she had adopted a black suit with yellow opera style gloves and boots, similar to what she wore as the Phoenix. But this time she mimicked the effects of the Phoenix aura with her pink telekinetic energy. She lifted two Hulkling thugs off of the ground, throwing them into the wall.

"How barbaric, I prefer a more humane solution Jean," Emma Frost said as she knocked two thugs out with her telepathy.

She then swung around, her cloak flapping behind her as she put her hands to her chest. Suddenly several of the anti-mutant thugs fell to the floor, drifting to a sleep upon the White Queen's command. Emma's costume was the same as what she wore when she was headmistress of the Xavier institute, but to reinforce her loyalty to the mutant cause she added an X badge to her chest.

"You better not be trying to show off for Scott Emma, you know he only has eyes for me you know," Jean smirked as she telepathically contacted the former White Queen.

"Darling, don't remind me," Emma scowled back. "Besides I have better taste in men now,"

"What like Namor? Or is there someone else you've got your eyes on?"

A group of thugs were suddenly thrown off the roof of a building. They screamed as they got closer and closer towards the ground. Suddenly, one by one, the thugs were pinned to the wall, golden blades pinning their coat sleeves. A man in gold armour landed on the floor, holding a sword as big as his body. Lazlo turned to the rooftop, watching as Wolverine and Nightcrawler engaged a gigantic thug on the top. The man had injected multiple MGH syringes directly into his spine. He muscles were as bulky as the Hulks and he towered over Logan. Wolverine popped out his bone claws and rushed towards the thug. Nightcrawler teleported, kicking the man across the head. Wolverine then lunged forward, slashing the thug across the chest.

"Don't worry Bub, we ain't here to kill, we're here to make examples." Logan said.

The Canadian man wore his usual yellow and blue spandex uniform while his German friend also wore the classic red and black. Nightcrawler thrust his feet into the thug's face, knocking him back. He then grabbed the thug and teleported him over the ground in the alleyway Rogue and Gambit were fighting in. Gambit grabbed a trashcan and charged it with energy. Then Rogue threw the trashcan into the air, using the super strength she absorbed from one of the MGH thugs. The can exploded, launching the thug towards Lazlo. He clothes lined the monster and threw him to the floor.

"Why are we fighting these guys again?" Pixie asked.

"Power broking cult known as Gods Hand, word on the street is that they've been tracking down mutants and using their DNA to develop power drugs," Dazzler explained.

"Word on the street, seriously did you just use those words?"

"Oh I'm hipper than you think,"

"Actually you were just told by Lazlo," Emma said.

Kurt teleported the team together so they could discuss their next move. Albion stood with his back to the group, leaning his sword against the ground.

"You could have killed that thug on the tower Logan," Lazlo said.

"Yeah well I didn't, I know what I'm doing Bub," Logan said.

"Oh is that why you've lost your Adamantium again?"

"That's a pretty big sword Lazlo, you compensating for something," Logan growled.

Jean and Cyclops both shook their heads while Gambit and Kurt chuckled.

"Oh trust me, he's not compensating," Dazzler grinned.

"Eeew!" Pixie cringed.

"What did you get from the thug's minds Emma?" Scott asked.

Emma knelt by an unconscious thugs side, scanning his mind. She stood up and looked to the others.

"They have a warehouse nearby where they take young mutants," Emma said.

"All right then team lets move,"

Scott as always took command of the team well. At least in the heat of the moment that was. Lazlo had watched Scott for sometime. His long term planning seemed too straight forward. Keep Hope, the mutant messiah alive until she could do whatever she had to do. Scott believed that the girl could restore the mutant race. Lazlo shook his head at that idea, if the X-men knew what he and Cade Hunter knew then they would change their tone about being "the next step in evolution". The X-men travelled to the warehouse where the Gods hand thugs gathered. Guards were patrolling the perimeter, but one by one Nightcrawler and Wolverine managed to dispose of them. Rogue watched as a thug popped a pill down his throat. His eyes glowed a blue collar, electricity sparkling on his forehead. Rogue then moved forward, slipping off her elbow length green gloves and grabbing the man's face. Power and memories flowed through her. In the past it caused her pain, but absorbing others was like second nature for her now.

'Jean, tell Scott that the Gods hand are inside the warehouse, they already have two young mutants with them.' Rogue conveyed her thoughts to Jean, whom telepathically relayed them to Scott.

"All right team here's the plan…" Scott was cut off as the ground shook around them.

The wall of the warehouse was suddenly blown open. Multiple Gods hand thugs were thrown out of the building. Red energy coursed around the fabric of a man in a black suit. He was a tall man with muscles Emma noted to be as big as Colossus's. The man took a step forward and energy crackled across the ground. Emma couldn't see the mans eyes but she could tell that he was staring at Albion. Lazlo held his own sword forward and gasped as the man suddenly let out a yell of agony. The man in the black suit yelled as if he was in pain.

"It couldn't be," Lazlo said.

"I'm not picking up anything from the man," Emma said.

Albion raised his sword as the man rushed towards him. He blocked the man's fist with the flat of his blade. Wolverine roared as he jumped towards the man. But the man suddenly slammed his fist into Wolverine's chin, throwing the feral mutant through the wall. Rogue used the power she absorbed, firing a blast from her forehead, hitting her target in the chest. But much to Rogue's shock, the blast did little to affect the man's mood. He was still in that constant state of pain, even as he landed a successful hit on Albion.

'That punch was harder than the one he used on Wolverine, he's getting stronger,' Emma heard Lazlo think.

"Don't hit him, he absorbs Kinetic force," Emma said.

"Pixie, use your soul dagger," Cyclops said.

Pixie drew her soul dagger and teleported behind the man. She flew, grabbing his shoulders and lifting her blade over her head. Pixie plunged the soul dagger through the man's head, attacking his mind and spirit. This time the man didn't scream in pain. He threw Pixie aside as cracks ran across his mask. Lazlo and the X-men shielded their eyes as light seeped from the cracks in the man's mask. When his mask shattered, the light intensified, practically blinding the X-men. Lazlo kept his eyes on the man as he disappeared.

'Thomas?' Lazlo wondered.

"Hey where did he go?" Gambit asked as the light faded.

Logan groaned as he walked out of the wall he'd been thrown through. He clicked his neck back into place and knelt down by where the "pain man" had stood. His nose sniffed, trying to pick up a trail.

"Nothing," Logan said.

"It may be teleportation, or he was specifically designed to disappear when he was defeated," Ngithcrawler suggested.

"Come on people, there are mutants that need help," Cyclops said.

The team walked into the warehouse to find Gods hand cultists spread out across the room. Jean and Emma rushed to the two young boys strapped to the tables. Their shirts had been ripped, with IV drips on their arms. Nightcrawler teleported over to the desk and looked over the assortment of syringes and notes. Emma checked one of the boy's pulse and nodded to Scott, confirming that the boy was alive. Jean did the same and instead added a smile, one Scott returned. Logan shook his head while Pixie put her hand to her mouth, muffling her giggle.

"According to these notes the Gods hand cult recently collaborated with the Church of Humanity," Kurt said.

"I guess that's one more threat to add to the list," Logan muttered.

Lazlo walked to Kurt's side and took the piece of paper. He read the notes and memorised the idea to remember later. The Gods Hand cult had been taking the genetic material from young mutants in order to create their own super soldier serums. Then they mixed certain mutant traits into a preserved DNA sample from a super human, then through the use of spirit science they implanted the combined information into a biological doll. Like how data was transferred to a computer, the cult transferred a fake soul into a body they created. This was something Aeon would need to know.

"Something on your mind Lazlo?" Emma asked.

"Nothing important, good seeing you all," Lazlo said as he turned away.

He knew what would happen, the X-men would take the two mutants to Utopia where they could hide from the rest of the world. But, that was probably for the best. After all this was what the world was like now. Mutants were an "endangered species" that needed to be protected. Lazlo huffed as he flew out of San Francisco. Endangered species was a term used for animals, not human beings!

His disdain is based primarily from his own personal belief. A belief that mutants are humans and not actually evolved creatures. The X-men do not know the true origin of mutants. But the day they learn the truth I have witnessed will shatter their very belief of their place in this world. Now I return to the cavern of Aeon and his Network.

"In the end the X-men dismantled the project and their little X-Club took the research data," Lazlo told his friends.

"Maybe I should have a talk with Hank, although I'd much rather have a talk with Miss Frost," James said.

Gloria slapped James across the head while the others shook their heads. Aeon put a hand to his chin and looked at a computer James had given him. He'd been catching on the worlds events, familiarising himself with the way the world was today. It was a difficult task because so many things had changed. Maybe the best way to defend lives was with more change, turn the world back to the way it used to be before registration and M-Day. Or perhaps the world needed a true change, where things improved for the better.

"Lets move onto another issue, the Hulks," Aeon said.

"Never thought I'd hear a plural use of that word," Kyle muttered.

"Yeah, Red Hulk, Red She-Hulk, a new Abomination and two Hulk lovechildren, never thought that the green guy was a stud," James chuckled.

"Skaar and Lyra, a Red Hulk and She-Hulk, Rick Jones as A-Bomb and so many other gamma empowered people. It makes you wonder whether the government has any other Gamma empowered creatures." Gloria explained, hugging her arms, nervous at the thought of an army of Hulks.

"Well Sven I knew you'd want me to keep an eye on them so I took the liberty of releasing spy drones…although if Hulk starts mating again I'm getting them the hell out of there and washing my eyes thoroughly."

"Awgh…James don't put that image in our heads," Lazlo groaned.

"Don't worry I'm keeping an eye on them, I mean just the other day She-Hulk helped me with some trouble my company was going through," James explained, a grin plastered across his face.

He has been called both hero and monster. Now there is more than one of him. Bruce Banner became the Hulk from an accident involving a Gamma bomb. Rick Jones, the young youth he saved stayed by his side, as a friend to both Banner and the Hulk. Over time Gamma empowered villains such as the Hulk and the Abomination rose to destroy the Hulk. Even Banner's closest friends and family were caught in the crossfire, his wife killed, his friend and colleague Samson suffered an accident that gifted him with strength and even Rick Jones was mutated into the monstrous A-Bomb. However Banner's cousin hadn't been caught in the crossfire. Gang members shot her, forcing Banner to save her life with a blood transfusion. His gamma enriched blood saved her life, turning her into a She-Hulk. Now she lives as both a hero and a lawyer.

James leant back in his seat, watching the court proceedings. His eyes drifted to his council in this case, Jennifer Walters. Now James was a man who saw the beauty in all women. Jennifer Walters was beautiful, but to him She-Hulk was incredible, sensational and of course incredibly hot.

'The incredibly hot She-Hulk, someone should do that' James inwardly chuckled.

"So you see your honour these bank records for Chrona tech confirm that its demands for the Crowner Corporation to donate its funds to their business is ludicrous. Members of the court, the President and the joint chiefs declared that corporations with a previous Thirty Billion yearly income were not to be granted funds by major corporations such as Mr Crowner's business. These records show that Chrona Tech earned at least Thirty Two Billion dollars a year before the invasion and unlike other corporations they have not lowered the pay rate of their employees, neither have they donated any money for major repair efforts. If anything this case today should be about Chrona tech's refusal to help repair our broken world." James remained focused on She-Hulk as she spoke, delivering a final speech that everyone smiled at.

They agreed with her argument and thus the case of Chrona Tech Vs Crowner Corporation was granted with a victory to James. To add insult to injury James then donated four million dollars to repair Jennifer's law firm. The Jury members congratulated both James and Jen as they walked out of the courtroom in Washington.

"Jen, would you like a lift?" James asked, standing by his limo.

"That would be a pleasure, hi Jack!" Jen said, waving to James's chauffeur.

Driver saluted the woman before switching on the engine. Jennifer sat in the back with James, looking out at the repair work being done to the White House.

"Amazing isn't it, what people can accomplish together. That's why I hate businesses like Chrona Tech, they were never interested in improving this world." James said.

Jennifer nodded, putting her legs up on the seat and smiling at James.

"You know Mr Crowner I heard that your still living in your little tower, or at least what's left of it." Jennifer said.

"Yeah, well the truth is I'm not even sleeping in a bed anymore, except for when women come round I donate the bed to the Orphans living in the city. Which is something else I wanted to discuss with you, I'm wondering whether you'd be able to give me more legal council concerning adopting the kids." James explained.

"My temporary apartment is just a few blocks away, we could discuss the issue there,"

James smiled and Driver sighed. Today was going to be a long day, he hated waited. Upon reaching her apartment, Jennifer pushed James through the door. They danced across the room, knocking down a coffee table and shaking the room as they hit the wall. She-Hulk slammed James against the wall, ripping at his shirt as she kissed him. He rubbed her thigh and ripped at her dress with his free hand.

"Hey wait a minute…we've been working our assess off and you've been getting hot and heavy with She-Hulk?" Lazlo asked, him, Kyle and Jason both glared daggers at James.

"Now, now think of it this way, I get close to She-Hulk, she introduces me to her cousin ergo I get involved with anything the Hulks get up to…the sex is just a plus side!" The Billionaire explained.

Again Gloria slapped James across the back of the head. Aeon ignored the conversation; instead he kept his eyes focused on an article he had read over and over again. It detailed the death of Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America.

"Captain Rogers, I can't believe he's gone," Aeon sighed.

"His shield is still flying you know, Rick told me," Lazlo said.

"Brute? You mean we're still associating ourselves with him?" Kyle asked.

"Kyle before you…"

"No, I can't stand being the same room as that man let alone fight for the same goal. He's a dog of Victoria Hand now, and when she's reassigned Brute will be grovelling at the feet of whatever other commander is put in charge of super human control." Kyle explained.

"Kyle come on, you and Rick were the best of friends," Gloria said.

"He made his choice, that friendship ended the moment he betrayed me and the beliefs we once shared," Kyle said as he walked towards the exit.

"Oh Kyle, Rick, what happened?" Aeon's question didn't just concern what happened to his two friends, but to the whole world as well.

You are familiar with the story, a patriot volunteers for a project that turns him into the pinnacle of physical perfection. He fights in a great war, is frozen and reawakens in a world that has changed. Steven Rogers and Sven Reilly share the confusion of the changes around them. Even before his death, Rogers was still trying to understand the world he lived in today. Now he is dead, but his shield is not forgotten. At first his old friend Bucky Barnes took the shield to defend the ideal of Captain America. But Bucky soon realised that even though he adapted well to the role, there was one whom would better fit with the world today. He lived in today, yet he had also been raised with the ideals Bucky and Steven had shared. Young Michael Van Patrick was a clone, but he still shared the blood of the man whom created the super soldier serum. He didn't hold great experience, but his determination and hard work enabled him overcome his limits and become a man as strong as Captain America.

Hammer Agent Rick Mason sat at the seat of the hover transport. It was an aircraft that was constantly used by Hammer at the moment. The craft hovered over Washington in the dead of night, focusing on a gunfight that had broken out between local authorities and two terrorists. Rick looked out of the window and frowned at the sight of Crossbones and Sin. They now hid in a Captain America museum, vandalising the tributes and taking pot shots at the local cops. Victoria nodded to Rick, whom loaded his rifle. He didn't need it, he had super strength after all, the gun was more for show than anything else.

"All right, here's the plan, we move in and apprehend Crossbones and Sin," Hand explained.

Rick kept his gaze focus on the window, but turned to Hand as she spoke down her radio.

"What do you mean someone's already gone in? I didn't authorise it."

Seeing Commander Hand angry often put a smile on Rick's face. She was an accountant for Christ sake, not a Commander.

Inside the museum, Sin and Crossbones fired their guns into the shadows. Glass spread across the floor as the bullets shattered the cases holding photos of the original Captain America. Artefacts such as the pieces of Steve Roger's first rifle or the costume he had worn when he first became Captain America had been spread out, ruined by Crossbones and Sin. That was the anger Michael used, he was faster than the original Cap, but not quite as strong. He needed a little aggression to make up for the lack of strength.

"Seriously kid, put the shield down, you should have let the old sidekick keep it." Crossbones laughed.

Sin removed a grenade from her belt and threw it towards Michael. He jumped just as the grenade exploded, diving into a rack of old World War 2 weapons. Michael jumped to his feet, just in to block a barrage of bullets with his shield. Sin reached into her bag and Crossbones began to reload. Michael then took his chance; he slid the shield across the ground. Then he jumped on the shield, using it as a board to slide across the glass. He pulled his fist back and slammed it straight into Crossbones face. Sin pulled a gun out of her bag and turned it towards Michael. But he quickly grabbed the barrel of the rifle and sharply pulled the gun out of Sin's grip. Then he mercilessly slammed his head into hers.

"Damn it, the real Captain wouldn't…" Michael cut Sin off with a jab to her chest.

She fell to the floor, coughing as she clutched her chest. Michael looked to the door, seeing it shake as the Hammer teams began to break in. He grabbed the weapons bag Sin had been holding and threw it across the room. Then he reached for a grapple gun on his belt and used it to climb up to the roof. The Hammer team broke into the museum, pointing their rifles at the two murderers.

"You know kid if not for you that would have been a whole lot bloodier," Rick said.

Michael turned to see the Hammer agent standing before him. Rick raised his hands, putting a finger to his mouth with a smile.

"Lips are sealed kid, I'm cutting off their escape routes. Gotta say you did better than I thought you would. Although you might want to throw the shield properly next time." Rick explained, leaning against the wall.

Michael looked at Rick with a mixture of confusions and helplessness. This man was the official authority and the people no doubt disapproved of him taking the mantle of their hero. But Rick was relaxed, regarding his job more like an annoyance, something he needed to do to please his superiors. What he really enjoyed was working with the Avengers under his super hero name Brute.

"Good job MVP, although you might want to change the costume, people will probably criticise you for copying Rogers. Go on, get out of here, I'll cover for you. And I'll be sure to tell Falcon and Bucky that you did great on your own." Rick explained, smiling as Michael ran across the rooftops. "Wow, for a kid he sure doesn't say a lot!"

I watch as Michael Van Patrick returns to his apartment to find Sharon Carter waiting for him. She whispers words that bring Michael both shock and despair. Shock because the impossible may be true and despair because he will lose this position that allows him to save lives.

"Okay there's another issue I'd like to bring up. Well actually it's a question I'd like to ask. I want to know what the next generation of heroes is like, are they heroic and true?" Aeon asked, looking at Jason as he spoke.

"Well, none of them wear shorts and capes like Jason did," James grinned.

Jason shook his head in embarrassment while Lazlo laughed.

"What's wrong with capes and shorts?" Aeon asked, in genuine confusion.

"Now Sven, sidekicks and kid heroes these days need to have attitude, they need to answer back. And according to Kick Ass they need to use the word…"

"James!" Gloria slapped the back of James's head.

"Sorry my point is at the risk of sounding old, kids today have no respect," James said.

"I do get attitude from the X-students," Lazlo pointed out.

"That's because you have no idea how to talk to kids," Gloria said.

Jason rubbed his head as he thought of something to say. Aeon saw his old sidekick's hesitance and placed an encouraging hand on his shoulder. His eyes told him to say what was on his mind.

"I think the heroes of the next generation vary, some of them I believe can become true heroes. While others don't have a chance, at least that's I believe. But I also know that some of them will at least do the right thing when push comes to shove." Jason explained recounting the time he had met a large number of young super heroes.

While Jason talked to Sven, Gloria took James to a separate part of the cavern. They looked at a display case, showing a suit of black armour. The visor of the helmet was a silver colour, along with grey shin guards, gauntlets and a shoulder pad that included an urban camouflage pattern. Beside it was another display case that showed three more suits of armour. They were set up like a memorial. James put a hand on Gloria's shoulder, letting her lean her head onto his chest.

"I miss them too Glory," James said.

"Gabriel's still out there, and I don't see a display case for Cade," Gloria said.

"I…didn't want to get our hopes up with Cade, I mean Deathblade. You know why I can't sleep at night?"

"Because you're too distracted by your latest crusade," Gloria suggested.

"No…well that is a reason but not the reason. I guess I'm paranoid, that Cade will come back and see what's happened to the world. The registration act, all the heroes we've lost, the countless that have died and the murderers never paying for it. I'm scared that all of it will drive him over the edge, I'm scared of Deathblade becoming the next big villain." James explained.

"You don't need to fear, the world will change," Aeon said walking up behind James and motioning for them to follow him.

He led his friends to the laptop he used and bought up a new file. Lazlo smiled, Sven had done exactly what he needed to do. He changed himself to suit the world; a dangerous world needed bold thinking. And Sven's new to do list was certainly bold:

1. Unite All heroes under One team! -Long term goal

2. Keep the people safe, but don't compromise!

3. Save those whom can be saved, redeem villains!

4. Get rid of registration act to protect heroes as well!

5. Improve the world!

6. Strengthen ties with aliens; induct alien cultures into the United Nations!

7. Teach the next generation to be true heroes!

8. Prepare for incoming invasion!

9. Find Gabriel Carter!

10. Ensure Sieg doesn't fall!

11. Save Deathblade's soul!

"Yes the worlds gotten worse, but its our world and we can still change it. Because if the world doesn't change, I fear that we wont be ready for what's coming, what I can feel approaching us. We will unite the heroes we will protect the people. And more importantly I will save Sieg and if he returns Cade as well."

They will protect their world and I will forever watch. It will never be necessary to break my oat, because this world will always have heroes!

Next Avengers: The Hunt!


Preview

Sieg walked amongst the ruins, looking at the destruction and chaos brought on by his enemy. He fell to his knees, his eyes taking on a red colour as he screamed.

Iron Man dashed across the city, his alarms blaring. The clouds cleared and the Void flew down towards the city, holding both the Hulk and Thor. Ares dragged his axe across the floor and yelled as he broke off into a run. Blood dripped from his mouth as he lifted his axe over his head. Letting out one final roar he leapt towards the Void, ready to die if necessary.

"Just remember that the Avengers let this happen," Deathblade said.

"Your wrong the Avengers cant be expected to know when the next threat is just round the corner," A red haired boy said.

The same red haired boy let out a deep breath as he prepared himself for a fight. Aeon blocked the sword strike of a Hand Ninja and kicked the ninja in the chest. He swung around, looking the Beast of the Hand straight in the eye. In the darkness of his own mind, Daredevil drew a sword, ready to be a man without fear.

"When are the Avengers going to sort themselves out?" Sieg asked, standing amongst the heroes he once respected.

"Sieg, Commander Hand and the registration act are just temporary measures, things will be back to normal before you know it." Mr Fantastic explained.

"But will they improve?"

Wind Dancer yelled, tears falling from her eyes as she thrust her hand forward. An empty eyed Hellion threw his own hand forward, the forces of his mind clashing with the nature Sofia controlled. A young man in a red and yellow Daredevil costume stood ready. Hand ninjas swarmed towards him but he showed no fear.

"Guys, I'd like you to meet my adopted daughter, this is Millenia," James said.

A girl smiled as she took Sieg's hand, putting it to his chest.

"You feel that, that's the heart of someone who I know can become a hero."

Deathblade struggled to get off of the floor, leaning against his sword. He raised his blade, looking defiantly at the man who wielded the Cosmic Cube.

"Its your fault, I'll stop you…NO MATTER WHAT!"

He dragged his sword across the ruined ground and leapt forward.

The Hunt, Coming Soon!


I hope everyone enjoyed the oneshot, this was something I did for fun and to tease at whats to come. Jason's segment of the story would have been too long, so I'm going to put it in the Young Avengers section. It'll be titled "Next Generation Potential!" and focus heavily on Jason's encounter with the "next generation" of marvel heroes. Anyway drop me a review and tell me what you thought of this one-shot please, thank you for reading