Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,
Liliaeth
liliaeth

Fic: Fragments of Flesh (4/6)

Title: Fragments of flesh
Author:Lore
Prompt:616/Marvel Zombies | zombie Spider-Man | gen | Zombie Spidey ends up in the 616, after Cortez sends him and the others out of their own universe. How does the poor zombie react? How do the Skrulls?
Rating:R for violence and cannibalism
Word count:30.899
Disclaimer: The characters and settings featured in this story are the property of Marvel Entertainment. This is a work of homage and no copyright infringement is intended.
Warnings: Death of major characters, people will be eaten and killed, in that order, it's a zombies fic
Author's notes: Finally finished and betaed, yay! For the record this is the only fic I'll ever write in Brand New Day continuity. There's a good reason why this fic is set in that continuity rather than in the real one. Just thought you might like to know.












4




Things were quiet at the western front, or at least at the Rand owned apartments that Danny had offered as headquarters for the Avengers. Clint had been peeling a citrus food, careful to release the fruit from its shell with a penknife, without spilling a drop. Danny would complain if he made a mess.

He was on watch duty, in theory this meant keeping a look out for criminals or SHIELD agents at risk of finding them, in reality it was pretty much boring work with no purpose beyond sitting there, pretending to be useful. For some reason Spider-Man always managed to skip out on it, claiming to have other priorities at hand. Clint would believe that the second that Spidey stopped coming in to play video games.

One advantage of being on watch duty is that you got to pick the music, no matter how much any of the others complained. Clint was grooving on a new band he’d found through some bit torrent site, hey what use was being a rebel, if you couldn’t protest the high costs of the record industry. And if you don’t buy that excuse he had a few others handy as well.

He randomly checked back on the monitors and noticed some commotion down stairs. It seemed like they had visitors. Clint stared at the camera. Janet. He had to take a second look to make sure it was her, it sure didn’t look like her, those weren’t any kind of clothes that Jan would ever willingly put herself in. And he’d seen her wear some pretty bad rags (which she still called high fashion).

Luke and Danny were playing Final Fantasy in the lounge when Clint pressed the alarm. It never ceased to surprise him, how men who’d keep playing even when their food was getting cold, would drop everything in their hands as soon as they were needed. Clint stared at the camera again. How had she found them? Did Stark know where they were?

He didn’t recognize the people with her. Neither of them looked like SHIELD agents, the girl was wearing a hospital nurse’s outfit and the man was wearing scrubs.

“Luke.” Luke nodded and moved to the door, stretching his knuckles, while Danny grabbed his mask and joined him. Clint reached out for the sword behind his back as they waited by the door. He tensed up as he heard the sound of footsteps coming up. None of them expected her to actually ring the bell. Luke opened the door, letting her in. Glaring at her two companions, the younger girl flinched back a few steps as soon as they noticed her. Clint crossed his arms, not sure what to say now that they were face to face. He was going for a harsh approach, but then he saw the bruises in her face, or the way she was barely holding on. It was clear that her companions were the only thing keeping her from falling.

“Jan? What’s going on?”

He ran up to her, helping her to a couch. “Hank.” She didn’t manage to say much more than that, before Clint nearly lost control. He was going to kill the bastard. He was going to tear him apart.

“Clint, no! It’s not like that.” She seemed so weary. “It’s worse. I’m not… I’m not the Wasp you know. Not the one from this world.” She was shivering and the girl with her seemed to look for something, she smiled when Danny handed her a blanket to give to Janet.

Clint sat down next to her; Danny headed for the kitchen, Clint didn’t need to follow him, to know he was preparing a pot of tea. Jan looked so small, her hair untied. Her hand looked almost dainty the way it tried to pull back the locks, create some kind of order from the mess.

“The world I’m from, the Hank from our world….” She froze up, as if unable to continue. None of the Avengers knew what to say to her. Only moments away they’d been getting ready to fight, now, they didn’t know what to do with the tension.

The black man with her was still standing there, while the girl was fussing over Janet.

“I’m T’Channa, that’s Lisa.” The guy said. Clint nodded, but he didn’t really care. “Lisa’s from this world, she’s a nurse.”

Clint wanted to tell the guy, T’Channa, that he didn’t really care.

“The driver, he said you were the ‘real Avengers’” T’Channa continued. “You do not look like any of the ‘heroes’ my father told me about.” The way he put an emphasis on the word ‘heroes’, made it sound like the word didn’t exactly mean what it was supposed to mean.

“Really, that’s interesting.” He didn’t care. Clint went to the kitchen and got some bandages, it looked like Janet needed them.

“My father said that your kind used to protect the planet.”

“And who’s this father of yours supposed to be and why should anyone, or more particularly me, give a damn?” And who was this nobody to be judging them anyway?

“His father’s T’Challa, Clint. He’s the Black Panther’s son.”

That got his attention. He turned to the stranger, taking a closer look at him. He did look a bit like T’Challa. “Isn’t he’s a bit too old for that? I don’t know about Wakandan tradition and stuff, but I’m pretty sure that even they don’t start… you know before they’re at least in puberty.”

“We’re from a different dimension Clint. Time moves different. We’re from at least forty years in your future.”

Clint took another look of Janet, checking out both her face and figure, she was gorgeous.
“Well … you sure don’t look your age.”

That was the first smile he got out of her since she’d come in. Then she flinched in pain.
“Shouldn’t have done that, I really shouldn’t have done that.”

He touched her hand. “So why are you here?” And why didn’t you go to the other Avengers, he wanted to ask. But he didn’t.

“In our world, something happened, and things went horribly bad.” Clint really dreaded having to ask for more information than that, the horror in her eyes alone was enough to tell anyone that this was painful to her, just to think about it.

“As in, your world overtaken by zombies bad?” They both turned to the door to see Ben Grimm standing there.

“How did you know?” She stared at Ben who was holding a tranquilizer. Ben pushed it down fast enough, but he was still holding it. It looked weird in Grimm’s large hands. Ben crossed his arms, never letting go of the tranquilizer.

And what the hell, did he mean with zombies?”

“T’Challa showed up at our place.”

“Why in Gods name would he do that? Richards is the last person he should have been talking to. Hell I’d talk to Doom before I’d go to Richards.” Janet seemed furious. Clint didn’t understand why. “Doesn’t he remember what happened last time?” She started stumbling and Lisa quickly helped her back down.

“My father’s here?” The big black guy tried to ask, but no one was listening.

Clint was now completely and utterly lost. Danny came in with some tea and tried to give everyone a cup. Only Janet and her two friends accepted. Most of the rest just accepted one of the beers that Luke handed out.

“Guys, can we get back to the zombie subject? And what any of this has to do with where you’re from or what you’re doing here?”

Ben grumped, the way he looked at Janet, it was like he expected her to just get up and attack them any moment now. “She’s a zombie.”

“She’s what?” Clint looked at Janet; she didn’t look like a zombie.

“Or she was.” Ben looked at her as well. “In their world all the heroes got eaten by and or turned into zombies and now some of them started showing up, just to cause trouble. As if we didn’t have enough of the homegrown variety.” Janet glared at Ben. She’d obviously been trying to put it less crudely, but from the looks of it, she wasn’t denying it.

“We seem to be back to human,” she said, “but I don’t know how.” She thoughtfully gazed at her tea as if it held all the answers in the universe. “One moment we were standing around the dimensional transporter, the next we were here, in the city, human. Hank was acting insane from the second we arrived.”

“Like Spider-Man insane?” And now Clint really didn’t have a clue anymore, and from the looks of it, neither did Janet. “Tony’s people found him; they got him up at Rykers. Seems like he’s gone totally bananas, not that he had all that far to jump to get there to begin with.”

“Was Peter talking about wanting to go back to being a zombie and turn the world into a utopia that could feed the hunger for ages?”

“Uhm, no.” Ben looked a bit flabbergasted.

“Then no, he’s not Spider-Man insane.”

Peter? Who was Peter?

Clint was just about to ask more when he heard a call for back up on the police wires. Some cop was asking for help. Some superhuman had gone insane, one hostage. “Man this guy looks like Pym.” He heard the cop calling in say, before a scream.” Luke quickly increased the volume. On one side you heard the voices of the dispatchers, trying to get more information. On the other side, someone was screaming for help.

“Oh God its Hank.” Janet whispered. “We have to get there.” She was trying to get up.

Lisa pushed her back down in the couch. “It’d kill you.” The girl stated as matter of fact as she could. Clint knew that Luke had already called the Night Nurse. She’d be here as soon as she could but until then, they just had to make sure that Janet stayed here.

It seemed like they had a world to save.




*****




Johnny sat next to Peter’s bed. He was using a towel to wipe the sweat of the man’s face. Peter was still caught up in throws of pain. Right now, Johnny would rather be fighting Doctor Doom than sit here through the suffering of this alternate of a friend of his. He remembered the monster that this man had been in another world. A monster, yet somehow still wracked with guilt even then.

The worst part that he’d remembered was the smell; it had pervaded the Skrull world they’d been in on a matter of minutes, a smell of death, of blood and of decay. He’d joked about it, but seeing friends disfigured, monstrous, it had been horrifying on a level that most supervillains could never hope to get.

Peter had finally fallen asleep half an hour ago. He hadn’t wanted to, had tried to fight it, but Johnny had promised to stay next to him before handing over the sleeping pills that Reed had put ready for him. They were supposed to provide a dreamless sleep. It didn’t seem like they’d been strong enough. Johnny had promised he’d try to keep the bad dreams away. Ten minutes later, he had had no idea how to keep his word as Peter’s face was steeped in horror and soft begging fraught with tears.

Johnny hand lingered on the suffering man’s head, brushing the wet towel through hairs clinging with sweat. “It wasn’t your fault.” Silly words, but they were all he’d been able to think of saying. Saying it once hadn’t been enough, but Johnny kept repeating them, gently dabbing the towel while his hand touched Peter’s skin. Even unconscious that bit of human contact seemed to be a comfort.

“Johnny?” Reed stood in the door. Johnny shushed him. He didn’t think his brother in law understood why he was doing this. Johnny couldn’t exactly blame him; it wasn’t like he himself understood why he even cared. He’d seen the monster that Peter had been, yet seeing him lying here like this, all he could do was feel sorry for the man. He should be caring more about his victims, but they weren’t here now, Peter was; Peter and his nightmares, his memories, that seemed to last a million years in every passing second.

He wasn’t even aware when something changed and Peter suddenly sat up, he pulled away from Johnny. His eyes glowing, this seemed to happen more and more often. “He’s back.”
Johnny started to ask questions, but Peter wasn’t listening. Then before Johnny could stop him, Peter just moved his hand in the energy barrier that was supposed to keep him locked in; it didn’t hold up even long enough to put up a sputter.

Johnny ran after him. “Peter! Spidey, what’s going on?” He didn’t want to hurt the guy, but he couldn’t just let him go. Peter was too dangerous to be let free, that and somehow this seemed more important to him, Peter might get hurt out there. And the way he behaved, he wouldn’t even care. Johnny wished that the only reason he cared was because of the threat that Peter would present if he were to die.

He barely managed to get his hand on Peter’s shoulder before the other turned his face towards him and replied: “He’s dead. The giant’s dead and getting hungry.” Then he took off in the air and flew through the halls, Johnny hesitated a second before pressing the alarms and following after him. .

Johnny couldn’t believe how fast Peter was, he yelled at him to wait for him and Peter stopped. “You shouldn’t be there. He bites and he gnashes.”

“Well ‘you’ shouldn’t go on your own.”

But Peter didn’t listen and was gone. Johnny remembered how they took out entire cities in a matter of minutes and it was seeing the speed with which Peter flew that made him realize how they’d been capable of that. It still didn’t stop him from trying to keep up, following the trail that Peter had headed in and hoping that the former zombie wasn’t throwing him for a loop.

He wasn’t.

Johnny didn’t even stop to answer his communicator, just pressed the button so Reed and the others would know how to locate him. It halted him for a few seconds and he increased his speed afterwards.

“Oh god, don’t let him be heading out of the city.”

Seconds later they arrived and it seemed like they were too late already. Pym was huge, which made the gigantic hole in his chest look even larger. Johnny was sure he’d be able to fly right through it, if he wanted to; which he vehemently didn’t, in case you were wondering.

Johnny could see legs sticking out of Pym’s mouth, quickly swallowed as if he were eating a gummy bear. Peter was on the floor, bleeding. Wait, not Peter, or well he was Peter, just not the one he’d been flying in with. This was their Peter and yes, now he was confusing himself. Couldn’t those guys just use different names so he could keep them apart, maybe put on different costumes or something?

Johnny tried to head in when a field of pure power formed around him, stopping him from getting closer. He started aiming his fire at it, tried to fly around it, over it, under it, none of it would do.

At the same time one Peter was getting up from the ground, while the other was aiming more power at the zombie giant. Johnny was just about to give up and just call for help when cavalry arrived. The New Avengers, them and Ben; which admittedly wasn’t much help, not in a fight with an enemy that you had to make damn sure not to touch.

Nice guys and all, but few of them where heavy hitters. And they didn’t even have Wolverine with them. Johnny would be more worried about them getting infected, but it seemed like the same force field that was keeping him out, was keeping them away as well. Johnny flew up at them, noticing that that at least was still allowed.

“What are you doing here?”

“Me? I was just following our friendly neighborhood former spiderzombie.” He aimed another few fireballs at the force field. It shrugged them off as easily as it did Luke and Ben’s blows or Iron’s fist’s whatever he was forcing on it. “What about you?”

“Heard Pym was making a rumble, thought we’d come and join the party.”

“Just too bad that the bouncer isn’t letting us in.”

“Damn impolite of him.” Ben lashed out another blow but like everything else, it didn’t even cause a ripple.




****




Vin knew he should be focusing on the gigantic zombie that had just eaten his partner. The one that stood so tall he’d just burst through the building they’d been in. The one that got up after Vin had somehow used the thing on his arm to shoot a hole through his chest. As in the one that should be the subject of a crime investigation, as in lying still, with him possibly getting questioned about acceptable use of firearms; or futuristic alien looking weaponry. But the one that instead of all that was now standing, talking, well growling and shooting some kind of ray beam at them.

He wanted to throw up. Either that or focus on the fact that said zombie kept grabbing out to him. Vin figured that if the guy just wanted him dead, he’d be dead already. But he had enough experience fighting regular criminals to know the bad guy was going for maiming and laming rather than the kill. And no matter how bad he felt now, he was pretty sure that getting used as an appetizer by a superhero turned cannibal would feel even worse.

Yet of all those things, there was only one thing that kept playing through his mind. “This is what it’s like to be a superhero? Wow.”

It was nothing like it looked like on television, scarier than it seemed in the comic books. But God, it felt like he was more alive in these moments that might be his last, than he’d ever been in his life before. No wonder that there were so many of those vigilantes out in New York, he hadn’t had this much of a kick since he was a kid still excited by the roller coaster on Ferris Island.

The weapon on his arm was forming some kind of force field to keep him from being hit, while at the same time bouncing said energy back at the giant. Vin knew that Peter was behind him and it was up to him to protect his roommate. He just hoped the guy was coping with this better than he was. Vin had just barely gotten him out of the way after Pym attacked him.

It had been weird. Once he’d seen Pym go down, he’d headed off to Peter; He knew he needed to get him to safety before he got hurt. Peter had yelled, “Watch out.” But before he could even turn his head, something grabbed him and threw him to the wall. He didn’t even know how he’d been able to use the weapon he found, he just knew that it was the only thing keeping him and Peter alive right now.

Pym had attacked Peter first. He’d jumped on him and Vin had had to shoot him off. Vin didn’t understand why a hero like Hank Pym had kidnapped someone like Peter, nor did he have a clue what had gotten into the guy now. But he was still a cop and he had a duty to protect, no matter what kind of weapon he was using to do so. When the capes showed up, he was almost ready to just grab Pete and get out of there. Let’s forget almost, he tried to drag Peter out of danger, but some kind of force field kept him from getting away. Several other people in the area were stopped as well.

It wasn’t hard to find out who was causing it, since the only cape that seemed to get into the area was some flying guy hovering above them. Vin stared up at the guy dressed in little more than a white shirt and a pair of stretch pants. In between the sun shining behind him, and the glow coming from the man himself it was hard to keep looking at him. Then he saw his face, and his eyes. It was the same crazy double of Peter’s that had shown up at the shelter. Only now the crazy guy was shooting energy beams instead of blabbing out nonsense. The same kind of energy beams that the zombie was now throwing at them.

He was stupid, wasn’t he; for not realizing Pym had had the same glowing white eyes that Peter’s double did? Peter was trying to get up, Vin tried to tell him to stay down, but Pete was crawling towards his bag. What was supposed to be in there? A shotgun? He didn’t think that anything less than that would do any good. He stared in wide open shock when he realized just what Peter was getting out of the bag.

“No! No way! You bastard!” Vin shouted the words. “You can’t be him!” The webbing hit Pym straight in the face, Peter jumped up, kicking at Pym and was swatted away, his head hit the wall. But he bounced right up, like one of those little bouncing balls that his younger brother used for ping pong. Pym didn’t even seem to bother aiming any more of those power beams at him.

Vin shot another blast regardless. He wasn’t about to give up now.

And that’s when things got really weird. Peter’s double started shooting at Pym, taking off one of the zombie’s arms before blasting the bottom of Pym’s cheek off. It didn’t stop Pym for more than a second and pissed him off. It pissed him off so much that he took off into the sky, after the other flying guy. Vin almost laughed at the look on the rogue Avengers’ face as they looked up at their foe, even more unable to get to him than before. And when Johnny Storm tried to do so, he seemed to fly right into something and fell down. That had to hurt.

Vin could do nothing but stare up, as Pym kept trying to hit the flying double. Somehow this strange Peter Parker Spider-Man wannabe seemed to manage to avoid any and all hits. It was like watching a very gross and extremely unsettling sky ballet.(, o) One where both parties tried to turn one another into Swiss cheese. Though it seemed like the old maxim still counted, the bigger they are, the easier they are to hit.

Vin wondered if he should just be trying to escape and let them fight it out. But he decided not to. He was going to have to have a very long talk with his roommate. He still didn’t understand how the bastard had managed to keep something this huge hidden from him, while they lived in the same apartment.

And what about those murders? Was he guilty?

Fucking Spider-Man for crying out loud, in his apartment, and he’d actually let the guy use his towels. He’d shared his yoghurt with him…

This was going to cost him his job, he was sure of it.






*******





Flying, floating, being up in the sky without a parachute was one of many things that Peter had never quite gotten used to. Part of him still wanted to shoot out some webbing and move on with a thread between him and a million mile drop. But he didn’t have that much webbing left, so flying became one of those things he did.

It was like making a drop from the Empire State Building while the light on your web shooters was already flickering; telling you your supply of webbing was almost finished. And you prayed that you had just enough to get you down safe. Even though experience told you it would last. Just this once.

The clouds looked… red. Everything did.

It began with the mad man, just like now.

One bringer of dead, just like now

The heroes came to save the day, just like now.

He’d arrived to help then, just like now

And they would all fall.

It’s why it had to be stopped, now, while he still stood a chance. He had to keep them away from the Sentry, no not the Sentry this time, Pym. It wasn’t easy keeping up shields, he had never before used Galactus’ power quite like this. Most of what they’d been using the power cosmic for was energy beams. Taking down force fields, or blasting through personal shielding so they could get close enough to eat.

He’d never cared much about defending himself, his body reacted instinctively to danger, but other than that, he’d rather wanted to be shot, taken down. But this, this was different. So he focused on the shield, trying to spread his attention between taking on Hank and keeping everyone else out. It was only after doing so that he realized there were still victims around. News media who got to close, looking for the big scoop, police men who had arrived earlier, some of them holding injuries. Where any of them infected? He didn’t know. And the ‘hero’ who had been fighting Hank when he arrived; he couldn’t let him out either.

Everywhere he looked he saw ruins and fire, every voice he heard came as from a skeleton, begging for mercy that wouldn’t come. He saw torn faces and smelled rotten flesh; and he knew, it had to end, here and now, or just get ready for another ring around the daisy. Circling, forever and evermore.

He never did like folk, even if it was still better than Celine Dion.

Hank grew ever taller, like a beanstalk, moving up to the clouds, trying to reach the kingdom of the skies and lavish himself on the rivers there. Peter jumped out of the way like Jack of the beans, playing maze around the giant’s fingers.

“You smell like death Peter. Don’t even fool yourself into thinking you don’t.”
Peter winced as he felt the pain of the impact on his shields. Why couldn’t they just understand and stop bothering the shields, he was breaking up here. Giants and silver skies, flowing like water. Johnny and the others were staring at him through the looking glass, fighting to shatter the glass.

“I can still get to them.” Pym whispered to him, his words came out slurred, their meaning barely understandable, in a voice that the entire city might well be hearing. Peter cringed and renewed the urge to fight, he had to hold up that force field, push them away. Hank grabbed a reporter, his cameraman dashed out of the way. Even with half a giant lower jaw gone, it didn’t stop Hank from trying to bite in. Peter aimed and caught the man before he dropped two stories to the ground.

He didn’t seem infected, but how could they be sure, how could anyone? He had no choice but to grab a steel bar and lock him in a sphere. It wouldn’t take long to open it, either for him or Hank, but even seconds of delays saved lives. Waking up was worst, that sinful moment of realizing just what you’d done, when the haze flittered away, leaving you with the reality of death and gore. Would this man have that? Was he dead already?

He remembered the way MJ’s flesh felt on his teeth, her hand reaching out to him. “Peter please, no!” He remembered telling May to run, but she didn’t listen. She didn’t think he could possibly be a threat to her. He remembered tearing the flesh off of her bones.

And he knew, he knew that he had to stop this. There was nothing worse than this horror, better to die a quick death than to be torn apart, eaten alive; or almost worse, being the one doing the eating and waking up in horror, red, blood and death

He couldn’t hold back any more. He didn’t want to harm anyone. he’d killed so many already. So many that all their faces meshed together in two, May and MJ both of whom kept looking at him whenever he closed his eyes.

But he was wrong trying to protect them like this, it never worked, he could fight and evade and keep up his shields, but it wouldn’t last forever. Sooner or later he’d slip up, leave a crack; go down like an egg, leaving egg yoke and guts all over the floor. And if he did, would he be hungry again?

So he went up to touch the fog, reaching into his inner pink giant and went to diner on all the energy he could find. He focused his need on pulling in as much of it as he could, collecting every spare bit of energy flowing around him, dropping the shields, dropping everything, building it up in his chest until there was nothing but him and his target.

Hank had stood there over the last humans even after Peter blew half his head off, and it had taught him, it wasn’t enough to get in one lucky shot, he had to do more. He had to prove he could do this.

And then he found him, found the energy inside of them, all of them here on this earth. Not just in Hank, but everywhere. He found enough of it and saw how it wanted to unite again. And he pulled that in as well, there was so much of it, so much and more, it was a call, threatening him to explode and just end it there and then. It might destroy him, it might not, but it’d end. Hank was screaming, building into a crescendo of pain that Peter knew he couldn’t possibly be feeling. Not physically.

Hank fell, went down hard, like the giant in a Power Rangers cartoon, taking the building behind him with him as he fell to the sand. It was a big boom, almost enough to shake the ground all over and beneath them. But he fell, and the building fell, and dust clattered up as Peter went in for one last blast, begging for forgiveness a million times over as he whispered one name.

“May.”


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