That girl had come back a few times. She kept asking me silly questions about why I had yet to escape. I really wish I could have told her that I would have left if I could have, maybe then she would shut up about being 'disappointed' in me. Screw her! Why should I care what someone thinks of me when they don't even know how I'm really feeling, what I'm really thinking?
I haven't seen Novak lately. He must still be mad at Wade for besting him, or at least giving off the illusion of it. I have no idea whether or not Wade meant what he said. He could have just been lying to make Novak mad, and make him slip up.
"Darling! I've decided to forgive you!" Novak interrupted as he stormed into the room.
He came over and laid his freezing body on the table, spooning next to me. "Now, I know we've had a hiccup with that phone call from your friend Wade, but I am ready to forgive you, so long as you never speak to him again, of course."
I can't even speak out loud, moron.
"I know, I know, it may hurt to gut him out of your life, but I'm sure that once you get used to the idea of us spending the rest of eternity together, you will never think about… 'Wadiepoo' ever again."
Even drugged and extremely desperate I would never consider that option.
The door to the room opened and the dark skinned woman stepped back in. "Mr. Haben? Agent Werner is here to see you."
"Splendid!" Novak leapt off of my table and bounded over to the other woman. "You did offer him coffee, didn't you?"
"Uh, um…" The woman stumbled and bowed her head.
Novak's voice grew colder. "You didn't offer Agent Werner coffee? Do you know how barbaric that makes me look?"
"Don't speak." Novak growled into her face. "Just stay here." She moved to the side and Novak left the room. "I'll only be a minute, Darling!"
The moment he left the room the woman came over to my side and stood in front of the camera fixated on me. She took the needle out of my arm. "You have to leave." She whispered.
With medication no longer being pumped into me, I began feeling stronger, but nowhere near strong enough to speak yet.
"I mean it! Novak has something planned, that's why Agent Werner is here." She sounded genuinely frightened. Whatever he had planned couldn't be that bad, could it?
"Mm…nhi…lien…" I tried to say. I was not successful. So, instead, I tried moving my body, starting with my legs. I was also not successful.
"Whoa, let your body heal for a second. It's got to catch up with a week's worth of slothfulness." She chuckled a little. She's joking? Really?
"Dè…an…t-t-ainm…a…th-tha…oir-oirbh." I spat out after a while of careful thinking and dictation. Wait, was that Gaelic? Oh come on! I thought I was over speaking it at random times.
The woman was thoroughly confused. "What?"
Okay, come on. What were you trying to say? "…N-name. Y-your name?"
A second later, I sat up and let my hand out towards her. "It's nice to meet you."
Johnny was back down at the shooting range. The rifle was raised and careful aim was taken. He took a deep breath in, let it out, and pulled the trigger. The bullet went into the target just to the right of the heart.
"Damn." Johnny whispered to himself as he dropped the rifle from his shoulder.
"You've almost got it." Wade's voice came from a shadowed corner behind Johnny.
Johnny turned around. "Almost isn't good enough."
"It is if you shoot them enough times." Wade came out of the darkness and began walking towards him, still wearing his red and black uniform.
"And you know that from experience, do you?" Johnny sounded a little bitter, but that didn't really faze Wade.
"Actually, I do." Wade stood in front of Johnny and stared directly into his eyes. "Johnny, I'm a mercenary. Accept it."
"I don't have to like it."
Wade nodded along. "You're right, you don't." Johnny turned away from Wade and lifted the gun back up. "You know Andi's one too, right? Well, at least she was one."
Johnny froze for a moment before dropping the gun and coming back bitter. "Andi is not a mercenary."
Oh dear, the white persona said.
Now Wade, the yellow persona stepped in, this isn't like a little kid, okay? You can't just tell him that Santa Claus doesn't exist. This is Andi's boyfriend. If you ruin the image he has of her, SHE WILL KILL YOU!
"Before this little incident," Wade started, trying to break it to him gently. "When was the last time you spoke to her?"
"Look, I don't know-" Johnny huffed. He was pretty tired of people knowing things he doesn't know, people not knowing things, and Wade was just annoying.
"Think." Wade commanded.
Johnny gave a heavy sigh and turned away for a second to think. "I don't know, a little over a year ago? I gave her a call after she was on the news for something…oh, that mall attack, with the giant stone guy."
Oh dear, Wade repeated his white persona's words. "Johnny, I don't know if you remember, but I was there with her. That guy's name was Lance and he was Andi's friend when she was a kid. Like you and I, he had powers; and randomly, he would have fits and turn into that giant stone thing filled with uncontrollable anger… …kind of like the Hulk, but stone. After years of being apart, he turned up on Andi's doorstep, unable to control the fits. Since she couldn't help him by herself, Andi…oh, Andi…she went asked and some guy for help."
"Does this story have an ending?" Johnny was getting even more fed up. What did Andi helping someone have to do with anything?
Wade carried on like Johnny had never said anything. "This man that she sought was a very bad man. He gathered up mercenaries and created a group. He was also very rude. I, very stupidly, was part of this group. As you can probably guess, that's where I met Andi. She was a young, hot headed kid, one that I decided to take under my wing…mostly because we were roomies. I helped her survive the group, making her look evil like everyone else, and she helped me escape."
Johnny finally let himself become engrossed in the story. "What happened to Lance?"
"Well, this man did all sorts of tests on Lance, causing him to fall into a coma. And while in this coma, the man brainwashed Lance to be against Andi. We left while Lance was still incapacitated, and hid at Xavier's Institute until Lance resurfaced at that mall."
"How does that make her a mercenary if you made her look evil?"
Wade took in a breath. "In order for Andi to earn her and Lance's keep, she had to…perform some services."
Johnny's eyes went wide. "She was a hooker?"
"No! No no, she had to kill some people that were getting in Stry-this guy's way." Wade explained as if the latter was a much better service.
Johnny was quiet for a second and Wade mentally face-palmed himself. That was a sucky-ass way of explaining things. "So…" Johnny started after a while. "Does she still kill people?"
Wade shook his head a little. "I don't think so. I'm pretty sure she doesn't." Wade paused for a millisecond to think. "Then again, she might…especially if Black Widow pisses her off enough."
"Wade, please be quiet before you do anymore damage." A rugged voice said behind them. Both men turned and saw a much older man, about thirty years older, standing a ways away from them.
"Who're you?" Johnny asked.
The older man stepped forward. He had short gray hair, piercing blue eyes, and a tall, thin frame. He was wearing a pair of grey slacks with a short sleeved black polo shirt with a white Wayne-Stark Enterprises logo on the left breast side.
"Wade," The older man addressed the mercenary, who just looked at the man with wide eyes. "Would you mind leaving us? I would like to speak with Johnny alone."
"Does she know?"
The man shook his head. "No. But this was something that I…had to do."
Wade just shrugged his shoulders. "Alright, but if she comes down here looking for trouble, it's all on you." Wade then turned on his heels and left the shooting range.
"Now that Wilson is gone, are you going to answer my question?" Johnny twitched the arm that still held the gun.
"According to classic science fiction law, I'm not supposed to tell you who I am because if I do, something to do with the space-time continuum will explode…or something." The older said. "But, Andi doesn't seem to follow that rule, so I don't see why I should have to." The man paused. "I'm you, Johnny."
"My name is Jonathan Lowell Spencer Storm. I grew up in Glenville, Long Island. My sister, Susan, married a dorky scientist named Reed Richards. They have a son named Franklin, after my – our – father."
Johnny interrupted him. "Those are facts anyone could look up."
The older man gave Johnny a tired look. "You love Andi more than anyone on Earth."
"Another fact." Johnny's hand twitched again. "You get one more chance."
The older man gave a very small grin. "An toi thu dhomh pòg?"
Johnny was startled. "I most certainly will not!" The response spilled out of him before he finally let it sink in.
The older man's grin grew. "Andi taught me that phrase. She was doing a crossword puzzle in Gaelic one morning."
Johnny nodded along. "It was Robert Burns' death day." Johnny was shocked, but that didn't stop him from asking questions. "How old are you."
The older Johnny chuckled. "Older than I'd like to be." That caused the younger Johnny to laugh. "I'm about forty years ahead of you."
The older Johnny smiled affectionately. "She's the same."
"So…what'd you come here for?"
The smile faded, and the older Johnny put his hands in his pants pockets. "I came here because I needed to talk to you."
"About what you're going to be doing these next few days." The older Johnny paused again. "I know that Hannibal, Caulder, Wade, and you are going on a rescue mission to retrieve Andi. Hannibal and Wade are going to go in while Caulder and you are stationed by the pier with snipers." Johnny's mouth was hanging open slightly as he heard the plan they had concocted being laid out. "I also know that you're not okay with killing people."
"Is that such a bad thing?"
The older Johnny shook his head. "No, not at all." He took a pause to choose his words carefully. "But, this time you're going to have to."
"Says who?" Johnny fought back.
"Actually, says no one." The older Johnny stepped forward and placed his hands on younger Johnny's shoulders. "No one, but you."
"No!" Johnny shrugged the hands off. "You're telling me to!"
The future Johnny shook his head again. "No, I'm not. I'm not telling you to kill anyone. All I am saying is that you are going to have to accept the reality of people killing other people for this situation."
"And why should I?!"
"Because if you don't, Andi will die!" Older Johnny shouted at his younger self.
The younger Johnny stood still, shocked silent. He looked over the now-heated man from the future, taking in all of the details. How amazingly similar they both were. The build was still the same; hair still there, it was grey but still there; eyes still piercing; overall, his skin wasn't quite wrinkly yet, and his fingers…was that a wedding ring?
Johnny let his eyes drift back up and meet with the other man's. "You're wearing a wedding ring."
The other Johnny gave a short nod. "Yes, I am."
"Who did you marry?"
He gave a small smile. "I married this girl that I met a long time ago. We weren't always together, but we always loved on another."
"Did you marry Andi?"
The older man paused for a while, debating whether or not to let loose that information. "Yes."
Without hesitating, "Okay." Johnny took in a deep breath. "I'll do anything I have to."
The Older Johnny smiled. "I remember saying that. And then, the other me sent me to a jewelry store to buy a ring for her."
"You asked her now?"
"No. It was a promise ring, very High School of us, but…it meant that no matter what happened, where life took us or who we might end up with later in life…that we were each other's."
The older Johnny laughed. "Yeah, it was. But God did we mean it."
"Hey, Johnny!" Wade came calling from the entrance.
"What?" The younger Johnny turned and shouted back.
"Hannibal wants to talk with you."
"I'll be right there." Johnny turned back to his older self.
"Go on." The older Johnny encouraged. "You have work to do."
Johnny nodded and went towards the door. After he left the room, Wade entered and went up to the older man.
"Do you really think it was a good idea to tell him you married Andi?"
The older Johnny shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't tell him we got divorced."