Liliaeth (liliaeth) wrote,
Liliaeth
liliaeth

Fic: Fragments of Flesh (6/6)

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.












6.




Johnny stood there. He held his eyes closed, he was biting his lip, desperately trying not to stare at the body. Reed didn’t even have to tell him not to touch it. Not like he wanted to.

Reed didn’t have to tell him about the risk of infection, he didn’t have to order him to wait for them to bring in some kind of biohazard containment chamber. Nor did anyone have to ask him to keep an eye on …

They couldn’t let anyone get close, and they had to make sure that nobody got the bright idea of trying to steal the body for experiments in who knows what. Not with the risk they were still facing.

Johnny wished he could just grab something to put over the body, some form of respect to a fallen friend. But the police would mind and Reed would put him in a lab and check him for hours if he got that close to the body.

The police seemed to hesitate in their actions; Johnny could see that some of them were going up to the guy that had been fighting Pym when they arrived. Johnny wondered what he was trying to do with the thing on his arm. It didn’t look like it was coming off any time soon.

“Why didn’t you do something?” Johnny turned around to the stranger. What was he supposed to have done? Protect someone who was already lost? “Wasn’t he your friend?”

Who was this guy anyway? Some cop who just didn’t understand a thing that had happened, a man who’d lucked onto some kind of alien weapon. Did the guy think that was enough to make him a hero? He didn’t have a clue and hopefully for him, he never would.

“You’re supposed to be a hero!”

And of course he was, of course he cared. But he hadn’t had a chance to change things.
“Don’t judge me.” He blurted out. “We did what we had to do. We did the only thing we could do.”

“You did nothing. You just stood there and let him die.”

“And it was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.” Johnny thought the words but didn’t say them. He had taken a step back and did nothing. And someone he’d cared about was dead because of it. And it was the only right choice he could have made.

“I’m sorry to disappoint.” Was what he really said as he stared back at Peter and watched him be put in cuffs. Peter didn’t even fight them on it. Their gazes met and Johnny wondered if those eyes would ever be at peace. He doubted it.



******


Ten minutes ago



So his throat hurt; and his gut and his lungs had banded together to kill him. Gee guys, have you never heard of that funny concept called mercy? His head felt like it wanted to be a million miles away and oh yes, his side was still stinging from Pym’s attack back in the building. His hand felt wet when he accidentally touched it. But aside from that he was ready to make a run for it. Pretty sure of that. Nope, the fact that he wasn’t feeling good wasn’t the worst problem he had, the cameras surrounding them were; that and the fact that his double had been flying pulling attention to himself all during the fight.

As soon as he got out of here, he had to hurry up to the shelter and get aunt May to safety, just in case someone had managed to put two and two together. He could always see Night Nurse in the morning. Once he put the lime in the coconut and mixed it all up. His stomach was killing him, what in the name of all that’s god and right had Pym injected him with? It was rumbling. He jumped a few feet out of the way as his other self went down.

Pym was still there. Peter had no idea what was going on with him Something had come over him and maybe Reed could find a way to cure him. The way he’d been talking … had that been caused by his illness as well? He hadn’t gone down when Vin shot him. Maybe if they managed to take Hank down he could just take his double’s example, simply fall over and hope that nobody noticed him till his healing factor gave him a chance to get back on his feet.

He gulped as Janet just…

What was going on here? Had he woken up in some alternate universe or something? Like in that one where his life was a thinly revealed horror story rather than a superhero soap opera. He wondered why he was the only one that seemed ready to do something?(.) He froze as he could feel it coming up. His throat, what was going on? It hurt. He bent over and could feel lunch coming back up, his mouth, it hurt, his tongue was burning,(;) his throat was killing him, as if he just threw out his stomach and the acids were eating into his skin.

“I don’t….” Nobody was looking at him, but then his eyes met his double’s. It was like looking in a badly made mirror. The other crawled his way, getting up a step, but never really getting to his feet. Peter wanted to ask him for help, for a doctor, for an Advil.

Just kill him already…

The other knelt next to him, staring up at him.

“I am so sorry.” The double whispered. “So so sorry.”

“Aunt May can I have some Advil?” Peter had to ask. And then he barely got out of the way as one of those damn dangerous, cut through everything, one in a million, get them today, energy beams were aimed his way.

“What? What are you doing?” He jumped up, on top of Hank’s body, landing there for less than a second before getting out of the way again, as He felt flesh scorched away wherever the bolts hit. God his gut was aching. His side was stinging and for some reason his mouth started to water. Something was wrong, but he just didn’t understand.

Peter aimed his webshooters, ready to stop the guy in his tracks; he was barely able to walk. He should be able to handle someone who was even less mobile than he was; he’d dealt with worse, hadn’t he?”

But his webshooters sputtered and gave out. At least they didn’t explode this time.

“Not again.” He jumped out of the way. “What is it with these things?” He jumped out of the way; Johnny was flying closer, grabbing the double’s back and pulling him away. “Are they on strike or something? Should I start union negotiations?”

The double started glowing, but Johnny was still holding on. Thank god for good friends, even if it didn’t seem to help much.

“And what is it with clones trying to kill me? Can’t we be friends?” He had to avoid another blast. “Buddy buddies, have a bite together?”

A blast ran through his chest, he touched out to it, not quite realizing what was going on? Why was he still standing, but his gut hurt and he was drooling and God he was hungry, he needed a steak, a nice juicy red piece of meat. And for some reason his eyes focused on the man in front of him

“I’m hungry.” The words came out in the flattest tone imaginable. Peter just didn't understand the basic urge of it all. Not just simple need to get a snack, or to go home and ask his aunt for some rump roast. It was bigger than that. He was almost drooling.

And then Johnny let go, and backed off. Peter stared at Reed, so hungry, but Reed took a step back as well, so did Ben, and when the other Avengers took a step forward, Reed stood in between him and them. Peter asked for help, but not a single one of them seemed to be ready to jump to his aid. Weren’t these his friends, kimosabes, teammates? People that were supposed to have his back; instead of watching on while some freaky double of his was trying to blast him into tomorrow.

“A little help here?” Still nothing. He grumbled and just barely managed to avoid another hit. His hand felt out to his chest that had stopped hurting. There was a big hole where his ribcage was supposed to be. Two hands were aimed at him, like a kid playing cowboy, fingers triggered. And he was standing all alone against his other self. This was taking the phrase fighting yourself a bit too much to the extreme.

“Sorry junior me,” The double stated, his voice lacking any kind of emotion as he did so. “No filet of May for you and I’m pretty sure I can’t let you have an MJ burger either.”

But by now, Peter was barely even listening; all he cared was the hunger, and all that juicy glorious meat. His last thought was to wonder why he didn’t feel it when the silver beams finally connected. He didn't even know why he kept thinking that he missed MJ right before his mind went blank.





*******




The cop glared at him.
“He was your friend.”

Johnny had only one choice, he turned back to him. “My friend died before I even got here.”

He died when he was bitten. He died when he was infected. Johnny thanked God that their Peter would know peace where his double never would.

The press would have a field day, the betrayal and death of Spider-Man. Because that’s what it must have looked like. And they could never tell the truth now, could they? He wished he had something to throw over the body, or what was left of it, as they took it away.

They’d go free, their zombies, or former ones.

“So what are you going to do now?” he asked the cop, he didn’t even bothering asking the man’s name. “Are you going to be a hero?”

“It’s what Peter would have wanted isn’t it?” The cop seemed desperate not to stare at the weapon on his arm. Johnny didn’t know what it was, he didn’t really care.

Johnny tried not to look at this cop, at this man who was so angry with them all. If he flamed up, would anyone see his tears?

“He was my roommate, just for two months but…” Not long, but just long enough to make you care.

Johnny stood there, fiddling with his glove. “I first met him when he just started out. We were so young then, so naïve. Peter wanted to join the Fantastic Four. It was … silly. He was just a kid, so was I, but he made the mistake of asking for money. This was before the merchandising started. We were rivals and friends from the start.” It had been easier in those days. The bad guys weren’t quite as insane, Galactus hadn’t even shown up yet and the biggest threat they had to deal with was Doctor Doom. “There weren’t many of us kids to hang out with back in those days. Just me, Peter and Bobby, and Rick, but that was stretching it.” He remembered those days; flames and webs, while using the city as their playground.

“And now he’s gone?” The cop stared at the ground below them. There was blood on the cement. Johnny wondered how long it would take before the city cleaners got rid of it. He doubted that Reed would even let them get close to it. ”I didn’t even realize he was a hero. I just thought Spider-Man was a pain in the ass. But he wasn’t, was he? He would have wanted people to go on, to protect the city, the world, wouldn’t he?”

Johnny closed his eyes.

“Yes he would.”

“So why didn’t you save him?” He didn’t get it did he? Just a cop, so normal a man who’d been in the middle of a battle for the sake of the world and he still didn’t understand the stakes that there had been. Johnny envied him for it.

It had all gone so fast; just a matter of seconds there at the end. If he’d kept the other Peter back for even a little bit longer, they would have had had to stop Spidey while he was trying to eat them.

“We did.” He spared no other answers as he took up in the sky and left.








******



The hallway was filled with a soft touch of music in the background, while she waited for them to come get her. She’d been looking down at the piece of paper allowing her to be here. Johnny Storm had waited with her, talking about his new girlfriend while he brought her a cup of tea. May just nodded and agreed. Much as she appreciated his presence, his constant chatter was an insistent reminder of her loss.

Oh she knew he meant well. He was a good boy. He’d been a good friend of Peter’s and that crap about them doing nothing while Peter was murdered was just that. They just hadn’t been able to do anything. She was sure of that. She could see it in the way he’d reacted when she asked about that day, about what had happened, the pain in his eyes. That wasn’t the face of someone who didn’t care that his friend had died. Not in a million years.

She could hear footsteps and looked up to see Mister Stark heading their way. He was wearing his armor and walked towards them. The walls were so sterile, as if any speck of dust or life had been removed and dissected far, far away from the stainless metal walls. There was not even a hint of scent, even a hospital smelled better than this building; this prison did.

It’s like there was a knot in her heart, as if the whole atmosphere was designed to dampen anything positive and made you want to sit down in a corner and cry. Mister Stark had called the place 42, May simply referred to it as hell. For what else could hell be referred to as the absence of hope?

She was quite sure that as soon as she got out of here, she was going to write her congressman and get him to work on closing this house of horror down. Prison was supposed to be about rehabilitation, about making criminals see the error of their ways and then rehabilitate them into regular society, but she couldn’t imagine, though that might be the influence of the location in question, how anyone could possibly be rehabilitated after having to stay in a place like this for any measure of time.

They came past several cells and May couldn’t help feeling sorry for the poor men and women held captive here. So many of them still believed they’d been doing the right thing. Vigilantes, the unregistered, all alongside real criminals; it just didn’t seem right. The worst part was that she knew that if her Peter had been captured, he would have ended up here. Any cell around her could have been his. And she might have never seen him again.

The only reason they allowed her to come, was because Peter was dead. Peter had died, had been murdered and she’d demanded Tony Stark to let her meet with the man who’d murdered her Peter. She’d demanded to see Peter’s body, and the pictures they’d shown her filled her with revulsion. To know that the monster hadn’t been contented just to kill him, he’d destroyed Peter’s head as well, even after Peter must have already been long dead. No matter what powers he might have had, Peter couldn’t possibly have survived something like that first injury.

The murderer had refused to see her. She wondered why. He could kill a person she loved in cold blood, but couldn’t face her? Why? Didn’t he at least want to taunt her with what he’d taken from her? It had taken her weeks before he finally allowed her to come.

“May, you don’t have to see him. If you don’t want to talk to him, nobody would ever think ill of you for not going through with this.” Both Johnny and Sue had been so kind to her They’d invited her to their place, given her an apartment there when the press started bothering her about Peter. They’d given her a job, watching over Reed and Sue’s children and in a way, she was happy with them. It helped to have people to take care of.

She stared at the cell, hesitated for less than a second and opened the door. Mister Storm had explained to her that there’d be a force field between her and the prisoner, even when the door was open. But the empty space between her and the murderer was no comfort.

There was no visiting room in 42. The prison had not been designed to allow the prisoners any contact with the outside world. So she stared into his cell, the small room that the man who’d murdered her Peter would spend his time in, at least until he went to trial, and possibly afterwards.

It seemed bare. There was a bed on one side. It looked unslept in. An empty bookcase was on the back wall and she could see a door to a separate place in the back.

He was sitting on a chair, staring at the wall, turned away from her. Mister Stark had announced their arrival, but the stranger hadn’t even bothered to acknowledge them. She couldn’t help but think that he looked familiar, the line of his back, the way he sat down and sulked. She stood there, staring at him, not saying a word, he still didn’t turn around. As if he didn’t even feel her eyes in his back.

“Why did you do it?” She was so angry she could…. She could crash a plate to the floor and stomp on it. But she didn’t; besides, she didn’t have any plates handy right now.

He didn’t answer.

“Look at me!”

The way he refused to acknowledge her was the worst part of her. Did he care so little? But then he turned around, and his face, it was Peter’s. What had he done? “I’m sorry, aunt May. I’m so sorry.”

“Peter?” She stared at him, at her dead nephew, her dead son, who was standing there. And then she fell unconscious.

When she woke up, she thought it had to have been a dream, but it wasn’t. She was lying on a cot in the cell; Peter was kneeling on the ground on the other side of the room, staring at the metal floor. He refused to even look at her. Johnny was standing at the door.

“Peter why? Why did they say you were dead?”

He looked up and his eyes were glowing. They hadn’t done so a second ago. That’s when Johnny spoke up. “He didn’t want to hurt you Mrs Parker. That’s why he didn’t want to see you. So you wouldn’t have to deal with him this way.”

“So you made me believe you were dead instead?!” May had never been this furious with anyone in her life. How could Peter ever think that believing him dead was better than seeing him here, even knowing he was imprisoned; was better than to believe him dead.

“I’m not; I’m not the man you think I am. That Peter did die. I killed him.”

Peter was sitting on the ground, his eyes still glowing. His hair was growing out again and he urgently needed a haircut “I died over forty years ago aunt May. And for a long, long time, I became everything I ever despised in life.”

“Peter?”

“I killed myself because… because I didn’t want him to exist like I did; to become a monster. I thought if I stopped him now, he’d be safe, you’d be safe. You and MJ.”

May got up from the bed and towards Peter. He crawled backwards, away from her as he’d done in the shelter. She realized who he was now.

“I killed you aunt May.” His voice broke, pain ringing through. “You and MJ and Jonah; there were so many others. I killed you and I ate you and I couldn’t stop.”

May didn’t understand, all she cared about was that Peter was in pain and he needed her. She silently thanked Johnny as he left the room and she could hear him walk away, leaving the two of them in peace. She didn’t understand what had happened, but Peter was suffering, Peter was alive and he needed her; in the end that was all that mattered.





******




A bunch of muggers, a couple in trouble, a little boy standing there as he watched his father and mother shot in front of him. Steve had gotten there seconds too late and even when he did he had been forced to do nothing as the mugger ran. All he’d been able to do was to hold the boy and comfort him.

The watcher stared down and could feel the former Colonel America’s grief, not just for the boy’s sake, but for all those others that he wouldn’t be able to save, not without risking his own life. And his life was no longer his to risk. Tony Stark had arrived with him but unlike Rogers he’d been able to go after the thief, taking him down.

He’d looked back at the colonel, his smile unsure as he watched his friend pick up his cellphone and call 911. Stark could have done so himself, easily, but he left that part of the job to the former Avenger

And the watcher did his duty and watched them both.

“So why did it happen?”

The watcher would not say, though his species knew the answer. He knew about the cosmic forces that had stepped in and taken action as soon as the zombies had entered this universe. He knew about that other universe and how its final inhabitants were doomed to extinction.

“What happened to the zombies turned men?” One could ask.

“They would adapt,” The watcher could say with grief in his eyes for all that lost potential. “They’d try and live lives, as men and women are wont to do. But they would never forget. They would sit and wonder about the lives they’d never again be able to live. Not while the risk of infection still loomed inside of them.”

Luke Cage would be found days later, sitting in a McDonalds, enjoying a burger that he didn’t have the money to pay for. When asked where he’d been the past week, the answer was simple, exploring the pleasures of having a living body again; watching a sunrise, enjoying the feel of silk on his back or splashing water in his face.

He became a fry cook, the Luke from this new world, was one of his best customers. Nobody ever asked him what the smell of burned meat reminded him of. They were better off not to.

Steve Rogers was the lucky one, the only one who didn’t remember. He’d lost so much brain tissue by the end, that none of his memories passed that moment of infection. When told the truth of his world, he swore to try and find a way to make up for it.

Finding out he wasn’t allowed to die, that risking his life would endanger the world, ruined even that. He ended up working in a homeless shelter, helping the needy, the helpless, the desperate, while feeling as lost as any of them. In the end he and Tony Stark lived out Stark’s life together. Tony Stark still missed his Steve and though this version of him was not the one he kept waiting for, they both aided one another in their grief.

Janet Van Dyne was charged on murder in the first degree. An overdrawn charge as her lawyer, Matt Murdock, was all too quick to point out. ‘Her victim was already dead,’ he would say. ‘The man had been infected with a plague that made him a threat to anyone around him. He’d been eating innocent people, and would have tried to eat Janet had she not defended herself.’ Janet had stood there and listened to him defending her. No one mentioned what she’d been; her origin being from a different dimension was barely even mentioned. Images were shown of Hank Pym’s actions at the Iinitiative. They repulsed a jury all to ready to clear her name and choose her side. She became a symbol for abused women standing up to their abusers. She never quite understood why. She’d never been a victim.

She would eventually find a young former mutant nerd called Reynolds. He would stutter when she came up to him and started talking to him. The young man blushed whenever she showed affection to him. He would never understand what she saw in him, but he treasured her for the remainder of his life. By the time he died, she still looked just as she had on the day they met. It would be fifty years later. Janet would hold his hand and cry. She never did tell him of the other forty years they’d spent together, the wasted years as she’d never been able to tell him how she felt about him. When she closed his eyes, she shrank down and stayed small for days. She didn’t want to be seen.

T’Channa would die in bed, surrounded by his father, his wife Lisa and their many children. Sometimes he talked about his missing son. He was the only one of the group that was proven clear of the infection and he lived and died a hero. By the time of his death the White Panther had become a force to be reckoned with.

But what became of Peter Parker?

After the death of Spider-Man, he was sentenced for murder. He pleaded guilty and refused to take any leniencies. Murdock tried to convince him to tell the truth, that Spider-Man had been infected, to explain about what happened in a closed court. But once he was on the stand, Peter took it a step further and told everyone about the crimes he’d committed in his own home dimension. The billions of people they’d eaten. It was only because he was declared legally insane that he was eventually transferred to Ravencroft rather than 42.

The psychiatrists had no idea what to do with him. How could they? They were used to dealing with psychopaths, with people who didn’t even understood their crimes. How did any of that prepare them to deal with a man who’d lost his mind because he grasped the full scope of his crimes and had had no way to stop himself from committing any of them?

He was suicidal, yet there was no need to try and keep him from killing himself, because he understood better than anyone why that wasn’t an option. They put him a few rooms away from Cletus Cassidy. Some even hoped that the former zombie could one day break out and just take out Cassidy for them. But like usual, Cassidy refused to play along. He pretty much treated his neighbor as if he were an idol, someone to admire and aspire to be; something that sickened Peter to the core of his being.

Peter didn’t want admirers, especially people like Carnage. He didn’t want visitors or friends. But that didn’t stop him from getting them.

From Betty Brant, to even J. Jonah Jameson, they all tried to come see him. Peter refused at first, with all but Jameson. Jameson took one look at him and asked one question. When Peter answered yes, Jonah left as if he’s finally gotten the answer he’d expected to get for years.

A week later he came back, Peter would never tell anyone what they talked about, but it was the last time Jameson would ever call Spider-Man a menace.

Mary Jane Watson visited once, she never came again. He wasn’t her Peter.

Johnny Storm kept fighting for Peter’s release. It took him a year before they let Peter go into Johnny’s custody. May would look after Peter and the kids, and when the kids grew up she’d just look after Peter. He’d work, earn his keep, and do anything he could to help the city, to help humanity. But his mind was that of a child. Lost, but found.

In the end, his story was one of mercy, of forgiveness, if not full out happiness. But who knows, what isn’t yet might still come.

For men or not, when one’s death could bring in the apocalypse, who could possibly let them die?”

And then the watcher turned back, looked at Wolverine who stared at him with ravenous hunger…


The End?
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