Truths Broken

What if Peter had to protect a super-villain?

A look at the shades of grey, hidden between 'good' and 'evil' . . . Ultimate Spider-Man universe, somewhat off-canon–for one thing, I added the mental 'conversations' thing from the 2nd movie.

Italics is thinking.

"I need your help."

He stared at me. "Why?"

"My right leg–it's broken. I need your help."

"Why can't you go to the hospital, than?"

I laughed bitterly. "And have that bastard, Fury, cage me up again? He's been trying to remove my children, even if it kills me–literally. I told him that they're made of adamantium, that they can't be removed without breaking my back, but did he listen? No." Of course not.

"Why should I help you, Octavius?"

I laughed. "Aren't you supposed to be the hero? The one who helps people in need? And you must know how in debt to you I'll be. I pay my debts, if I can. Help me, and I will help you."

"Will you stop being a villain?"

I looked him in the eye. "I honestly don't know. But I can–I can warn you. I know things, I understand things, that you can't see from where you are. The hero mind set–it precludes a lot of things you might need to know."

He thought a moment. "Very well, then–I suppose it's okay. I'll make you spot in the basement, okay? I can't do much, but I'll do what I can." I smiled sadly. Poor, lost Peter, trying to be a good Samaritan in a world gone mad.

"Trust no one."

"What?" he asked.

"A piece of advice. Don't even trust the people you know want to help you, in case of little white lies. Just because it's 'for your own good' doesn't mean it's not a lie. Nick Fury is not a nice guy, no matter how much you wish he was. Moreover, there are worse people in myriad lines of succession behind him. It's not long until the Konzentrationslagers open again, mark my words."

"The what?"

"The concentration camps. Magneto is right, and it'll be mutates as well as mutants in them, too. You are not Fury's friend, Peter. You are a disposable asset. Not even a very interesting one, either. Even I'm more important, in the long run, than you: my children, after all, are very powerful weapon. If he could make more, and control them . . ."

"You're kidding."

"I've seen the way the army mind works, Peter. Or have you forgotten what I was working on when I got this way?"

He shuttered. "Oh. Yeah."

"It was Fury that offered that contract, of course. He was the one who's ultimately responsible for all the nutcases and mutates that were created. Me, Norman, Sandman, Electro–Kraven did it to himself, but three guesses where the technology came from, hmm? And the Venom symbiote was also sponsored by the government by all accounts, mind you. The government is really, truly hopeless."

"The Venom thing was government?"

"So it's said. And it has the mark of government stupidity all over it–people who knew what they were dealing with wouldn't have dealt with it!" I winced–my leg was hurting rather badly. Stupid thing. I wish the pain would just . . . go away, you know?

"I've had broken bones. Awful, aren't they?"

I opened my mouth to reply, but was interrupted. "Peter? M. J.'s here to see you!"

We both winced this time. "Damn. I mean, it isn't like M. J. doesn't know, or anything, but still."

"We'll deal somehow," I said.

"M. J.?" said Peter. "There's an injured man down here, and I don't want you to tell anyone, okay? He's . . . not exactly the nicest guy, but his leg is broken and he doesn't think they would help him anywhere else, so–"

"Who is it?" she asked. "It isn't a-a villain, is it?"

I laughed. "Not at the moment, my dear." It was hard to speak, and my voice was broken with pain.

One of my children poked her on the shoulder, spooking her. I frowned. Now, now–we don't want to scare her, do we?

Sorry, father.

I spend most of my childhood sitting in my room, you know. Sitting in a little room that made Peter's basement look nice–and waiting for something to explode. I found that is was safest to just . . . go with the flow. You know how it is.

My children knew–after all, they had access to all my memories. They're the only ones who ever knew, really.

Isn't it a shame?

"What are you thinking about, Otto?"

It was Peter.

"I was five or six, when my father died, and I was the only one there–my parents were divorced, you see, and I was an only child. I didn't realize he was dead, so I sat there and waited for something to happen. For something to explode." I laughed. "My mother was overprotective, my father hated me. There are a lot of times I wonder if that's part of why my mind has done these things to me. Before the accident I suppressed all my anger, suppressed all my awful memories. The accident just let all of that loose." I shrugged. "And it still is, Peter, but I'm starting to see where you're coming from now–and that might just be the craziest thing of all. I just hope that you see what I see, as well."

"Who are you?"

"Can't you guess? My children are . . . fairly unique, I'd say." I winced. "Broke my leg, like an idiot. Some idiotic guard shot me through the leg. They were going to take my children away, so I ran. Went . . . right through the bone and out my lower thigh. Leg's useless from the knee down, the stupid thing. Wish I could dodge like you, Peter."

"I'll bet–it's only saved my life, like 700 million times. A bullet through the leg sounds nasty."

"It is, believe me." I laughed bitterly. "My children got him back, though. Broke his legs and his arms, the stupid bastard."

I closed my eyes, letting my children see for me–I can see through their 'eyes,' and visa versa. My own eyes are sensitive to light, so when I'm not wearing sunglasses I can't use them as well. It was dark in the basement now, but the sun would come in through it's high, small windows soon enough, and I had no intentions of causing myself even more pain.

Plus, M. J. had found a flashlight and was shining it at me.

"Are you–blind, mister?"

"No," I said, "but my eyes are dilated fully all the time. And I can see through my . . . through my children's eyes, as well, if I want to."

"You're that connected?" asked Peter.

Of course we are–how else could we communicate?

They aren't us, Father. They don't understand . . . they don't even realize we do communicate!

The children were right, of course.

"Yes," I responded to Peter. "And more so. Through them I can feel what they touch, as well as see what they observe." I frowned at M. J. "Please turn that off–it hurts my eyes."

"It's not very bright," she said dubiously, "and I, at least, need it to see."

"In my eyes, a candle is as bright as the sun. Shine it at the wall, if you need it that badly." I laughed. "Strange, isn't it–a nuclear physicist who can't look at the sun. A genius who can no longer think about anything but pain." I winced. "There is no such thing, Peter, as good and evil–there are only the infinite shades of gray. You think that they are black and white because you're to close to it all–step back, and black is beautiful. White is gray-tinged, and black is pearly; there can be no perfection, dark or light, I assure you of that. Even people who try to be evil aren't purely dark– indeed, they can be the brightest people you'll ever meet. I've yet to see a Goth who was really nasty. Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, and Edger Allen Poe–kindly people all, if rather tragic sometimes." I shook my head. "I don't suppose you have any idea, do you, how often I've had to run? How many injuries just like this one? To be a so-called super-villain, you have to get good at running and hiding."

"Then why did you ever become one?"

"You were lucky, Peter. When I first woke up, I found that I had been left like this–to see what would happen. They could've taken it off before the adamantium cooled, but they decided not to. Do you understand that? They decided not to. And when I heard that–my children woke up. I was angry, so they were furious. No, that's not the word. They were raging. They were murderous." I smiled. "I just went with the flow. I've been pretty much going with the flow ever since."

"What? But that was months ago!"

"Yes, but SHIELD is still out there, and people are still being experimented on. When that stops, I'll stop, hmm? Not that it ever will, but I can dream. 'The next war is going to be a genetic war'–

whatever that means. Morons."

"Isn't that what Fury says?" asked Peter.

M. J. stared. "The Fury? The Fury? The SHIELD guy?" She gasped. "You know him, Peter?"

I laughed. "Peter is a little pawn in a big, big game of chess. Fury is a good player, or else a very powerful piece indeed, but he's not a very good man. Osborne was a powerful piece, and so was I, but we're not on his side any longer." I sighed. "Politics is a lot more complicated than chess. Double-, even triple-crosses abound, and no one's ever sure who belongs to whom–not even themselves! Sometimes one man guesses another man's actions five, six years ahead of time–Hell, that's not even very rare. Perfect paranoia is perfect awareness, as the old saying goes."

"What old saying?"

"The military-industrial complex's old saying–one of them, anyway. There are a lot of sayings coined by the military-industrial complex, you know." I grinned. "Did you ever see Stephen King's Golden Years? Great, great movie. I loved some of the jokes. One of the agents has a doll on a rope and a toy gun to shoot at it with. Says it didn't cost the taxpayer much–only about $11,000,000."

"What about it?"

I winced. "Just that . . . just that it was really scathing about that whole thing. I remember . . . a song I heard once . . . Tell me/When they come for you/Who will there be to speak/And when they come for you/Who will there be left to speak for you? The Final Solution is always in style, you know. I remember . . . a quote . . . '. . . And then they came for me, and there was no one left, to speak for me.' Bastards. Glad no one . . . spoke for me, yeah?"

"He's getting delirious, isn't he?" a faint voice whispered.

"Looks like. Man, but I hope he doesn't get an infection!"

The next time I woke up, I was in the house of an old friend of mine, Curt Conners.

"Are you sure? I mean I'm supposed to be a bad guy, right?"

"So is he–and at least you don't mean to be bad!"

"They were going to cut that thing off him? But–but it's a part of his spine at this point! He can't get it off!"

"This is . . . this is Fury we're talking about here, Curt," I said softly. "How–how long have I been out?"

"Three days. The leg didn't get infected, thank God, but Peter isn't a doctor, and he knows it."

I smiled. "True, true. Very true . . . but I'm thankful for his help–and for his ability to think, too."

Can you get up?

Not yet without your help. Will you steady me?

Gladly, father.

"I put your leg in a cast," Curt said. "Come back in three months, I'll take it off."

A blade snapped out of a tentacle. "No need, Curt–I'm fine."

"Ah–okay, then. See you later, Otto. You too, Peter."

"See you."

The End (Maybe . . .)