A Lifetime Ago

Sebastian Shaw was dead. It was over. It was... it was finally over.

It was time.

The dust hadn't even had time to settle before Alistaire invoked his authority as the Black King and called the Inner Circle to order. Once everyone was assembled and the usual formalities were out of the way, the Black King snapped his fingers and a Pawn brought an item draped in cloth to the center of the floor, before being dismissed.

"Lady Selene, esteemed others.. this is the end." He drew back the cloth, revealing a stark black filing box and a steel drum. "My time as the Black King, as any member of this organization is complete. I am departing peacefully, and taking nothing from your ranks or your resources for myself." He laid a hand across the lid of the box. "This was my previous way out. My... means of mutually assured destruction. Meticulous files, really. Compiled by the very best."

Another glance around the room, with eye contact in all the right places, before he let out a breath. He produced one of his favorite blades with a flick of the wrist, and smoothly cut open the box. He upended the contents into the drum, giving the exterior of the box a firm tap against the rim, before dropping it in as well. He reached into his pocket and swapped the blade for a lighter. He ignited it, then dropped it into the drum. He watched as it took a moment for the contents to ignite. The smell of burning paper, tinged with a hint of metal and plastic from clips and discs and thumb drives, wafted through the room.

Alistaire let the white noise of the fire and the furtive murmurs of the Inner Circle hang in the air for a long moment. "But I think I like this better." He signaled for the Pawn again, and the drum, still burning, was wheeled out. No sense leaving any scraps to be investigated. There were instructions to add accelerant and repeat as many times as necessary. Resurrection was too common a theme in his family to allow the information the same opportunity. "I can't honestly say I wish you all the best, but I can leave one piece of gentle advice. Something I read somewhere or other...

"'There will always be fools who believe that if a man dislikes violence and goes to great lengths to avoid it, it is a sign of weakness and vulnerability.'

"Goodbye."

Six weeks and three days ago

The courtship had been particularly public, and suitably extravagant. The wedding had everyone who mattered invited, and everyone who could be found on such 'short' notice showed up.

At the end of the day, there was a Mrs Reiko Shaw.

Six weeks ago

"I just need to cut out a few last cancers... I'm changing things going forward." He kissed his wife on the forehead. "Let me do this, and keep you out of it. I'll be back as soon as I can. If anything happens, go to my aunt."

Five weeks and one day ago

"Breaking News: Efforts were mobilized by the US Coast Guard in cooperation with neighboring national authorities today, in a search for wealthy socialite Alistaire Shaw. Shaw's ship is believed to have been destroyed in an unexpected storm while at sea. Although trace wreckage has been found so far, there has been no indication of the crew or any passengers' fate--"

Now

"Hello, Mrs Shaw? Your husband has been found. We were instructed to contact you, along with his aunt, to inform you that he's left against medical advice, and being transported directly back to Manhattan by private security. He should be arriving at your primary residence with an armed security and medical escort within the next few hours."
The Godstorm came at New York City, gathering other storms nearby to it. It wanted power Thor's little hammer couldn't easily undo. The Godstorm had underestimated the god once. If he showed up again, he would be ready. His reach was expansive. All along the Atlantic Coast, they felt his raging wrath. Even glancing touches from his circulating clouds brought damage.

There was warning he was coming, but Godstorm cared not one whit. He want right toward the harbor, using its funneling effect and the high tides from the moon to shove torrents of water into the megalopolis. He pushed on shore, making his way inland.

He was looking for something. Not that the small people trying to survive the hurricane coming ashore knew that. Their survival was not even a concern. He just pushed on land and spread his reach. He pushed his storm inland and the requisite flooding came with it. The winds howled and shards of glass broke off skyscrapers and added sharp damage to the mayhem.
It did not take long for Alisa to suddenly be told she was out of a job as a bartender. Not much longer after that, she discovered it was impossible to gain any employment within the city. Hell, even some of her contacts were turning their backs on her. While one would assume she would be stomping her feet and becoming a violent maniac, the opposite happened.

Alisa became more controlled. She was quiet, professional in her dealings as Alistaire's bodyguard and personal driver. She even dressed properly for work (with exception to her mask that hooked into her neuro implants).

It was very unusual to see her so quiet, respectful, and not flying off the rails. It was enough even to shock Reiko and Alistaire. But nothing was said about it, yet.

Instead, Alisa was driving the two to some outing they had planned. She did not ask to come along, and merely acted as a driver and nothing more. A katana was at her side, God forbid if someone planned to attack Reiko or Alistaire.
Alistaire Shaw was the Black King of New York. That much had been put in place by the highest authority of the Hellfire Club, his grandfather; and he had fulfilled the duties of his office appropriately. Alistaire knew the game well enough to know that wouldn't be nearly enough, however. A King needs to do more than simply maintain his kingdom. He conquers. He pillages. He assures his subjects that not only does he do right by them, but also reminds them that none of them have the power to dethrone him.

The problem was that Alistaire was still on his 'being good' project. His relationship with Reiko, for example, was moving along nicely. Alisa's recent freedom had given him back an enforcer he could trust the fealty of. The old him would have had no trouble making some suitably ruthless financial gain, or manipulating events to kill a rival, but now he had to choose his targets more carefully, so as not to destroy the 'progress' he'd made. Still, even with the conflict with his grandfather on the approaching horizon, he had to keep things moving in the here and now.

Normal channels of communication were too risky, so he'd arranged for a special intermediary. A minor functionary in one of his real estate companies, given a particular dose of MGH, to give them temporary telepathy. After a careful 'test' to make sure he wasn't interrupting any marital time with her husband, he opened a psychic channel to Stephanie.

Life had really been much simpler when he'd arranged things so he just had to sign papers, drink, and occupy Selene's bed.
Alisa had been released from Prison rather quickly, and then given work by the Reavers just as fast. After one Merc job, she was allowed to go off on her own, until needed again. Her cybernetic implants had been calibrated and she felt like her old self, again. What better way to relax and celebrate all of this, than going to Alistaire's Beach house and crashing for a few days.

She rode up to the Beach house on a newly purchased Harley Davidson. The smell of the salt air was refreshing, and the house itself was pretty nice. After kicking down the kickstand and dismounting, she grabbed a saddle bag off the side of the bike and made her way to the door.

Knowing it would be locked, she carefully put down her bag and reached into her jeans pocket for a set of lock picks.

" May not have liked the old man, much... but at least he taught me well." She grinned, easily unlocking the door, then carrying her bag inside. With the same ease, she slipped off her boots, and began to make her way inside.

"Hope Alistaire don' mind."
The ride out to the beach house had been a breath of fresh air.  Reiko had actually been talked out of her usual yukatas, and was wearing a sleeveless blouse and a long skirt tied at her hip, dip died so the bottom hem was a deep emerald green, and it faded to a softer green at her waist, the sandals she wore had no heel.  On the way up they had stopped at a small mom and pop farm market. 

Reiko was currently trying to decide to get an apple pie, something she had yet to try while in America, or something that was shipped from Pennsylvania called a 'Shoo-fly pie'.  The woman at the bakery counter insisted that it was delicious but it just looked like a lot of sugar to her.

"What do you think Alistaire?"  She took a small sip from her water bottle as she glanced up to see which he'd prefer.  "Though the cherry pie looks good too."  She gave a small grin.  "Unless you think we've over done it already."  Though she had behaved, the mesh market bag she carried wasn't that full, she had bought veggies for a light salad, and two small quail to cook for dinner.  She was still debating on if she should do it as a hot pot, get it on the stove then unpack everything.  Alistaire had told her that when they got to the house everything would be set up so they'd have power and gas to cook with.

"And did you find a wine you liked?"  She trusted his taste with drinks.
After the chaos Alisa caused, SHIELD had her sent away to "The Vault", a prison for super human villains in Colorado. Already, she had not done well while in custody. Her powers were currently being suppressed, but word about her quickly spread. She had to be sent to the infirmary six times within her first week at the Vault. Not because she started fights, but because other prisoners wanted to fight her.

If the inmates were not bad enough, some of the guards were worse. It was clear that without all that anger, rage, and hate flowing through her from her powers... she was weak and vulnerable. Alisa LeBeau was not cut for High Society, much less prison. God, she hated when Brooke was right about things.

Read more... )
The trip wasn't what he had expected, but then again James wasn't sure what he had expected when he had stepped through the portal. To him, it should have been more instantaneous, but it was proving to be annoyingly long and he wondered if his sister was going through the same thing. Whether she was or wasn't, he was going to have to do something to end the trip, but throwing energy around didn't seem like the best of plans. Perhaps focusing his thoughts on a particular location?

Closing his eyes, James focused his thoughts on getting to past, which wasn't really doing anything but he didn't know that. Coincidentally, his trip ended abruptly as he shot out of a hole and rolled across the pavement, and his training quickly kicked in as he recovered during the roll and came up in a crouch with his gun aimed at the nearest person. Scanning his surroundings, he took note of the fact that there was no one going to war with one another, which seemed like a good thing.

Of course, he didn't recognize any of the structures, so he had no way of knowing where he was at. "Okay! One of you tell me where I am and what year is it?" His words were said as he waved the gun around like he was using it to point at someone in the crowd. Naturally, no one else knew that.
Being a SHIELD agent in a relationship with someone with known criminal ties? Awkward.

Being a SHIELD agent engaged to someone with known criminal ties? Very awkward.

Being a SHIELD agent engaged to someone with known criminal ties and effectively being blackmailed for it? Very high awkwardness levels approaching.

Being a SHIELD agent engaged to someone with known criminal ties, effectively being blackmailed for it and actually liking the gal? Weird, hot, and STILL very awkward.

Being a SHIELD agent engaged to someone with known criminal ties, effectively being blackmailed for it, actually liking the gal, and wishing to let the family know there's at least a relationship going? This was the pinnacle of weirdness that Steve Coulson found himself in. How in the blue hell was he going to bring this up to his twin sister, let alone his father?

So for now Steve went on totally normal. Business as usual. Yes. That's it. Business as usual.

Totally and utterly normal.
Her favorite wine, her favorite cheese, a 40 year old bottle of cacha├ža for Marcelo, and a packet of fine tea to go with one of his wedding gifts. They were as well-chosen bribes as he could gather without seeming suspect. Alistaire announced he would be stopping by to see his favorite aunt a few hours in advance, already knowing her schedule. He really didn't mean to spy on her, but it just seemed like common sense, for the barely half a dozen people he knew that he'd find their deaths regrettable.

The best skeleton keys his money could buy and his own mutant gift let him bypass security (again, he really doesn't mean to be rude, he just doesn't have the patience for doormen, security, intercoms...), and he knocked at Stephanie and Marcelo's door in the husband's building.
The American Museum of Natural History was set ablaze with lights and the mingling scents of exotic flowers perfumed the cool evening air. Brooke Wyngarde had put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into arranging for this soirée, and she was going to be damned if anyone was going to ruin it for her. After all, this was to welcome Stephanie Shaw da Silva and Marcelo Alencar da Silva back to Manhattan and, most importantly, receive them as a newly wedded couple.

Thus, Brooke had pulled out all the stops. Everyone who was anyone who knew the Shaws or the da Silvas had been invited (though Brooke had also dutifully chopped some of the more unsavory names off of her list). The food was a delightful blend of American-Brazilian-Spanish fusion. The cocktails were some of the most popular ones from Brazil, and only the finest Spanish wines were served. The music was live, big band-style stuff, because this was not some hideous high school Kiss on the Lips party. 

Brooke herself, being the hostess of the event, may have gone just a tad bit overglam when it came to her look for the night, but then she was certain that she was going to be gracing many a society page the next morning.

She needed to look great, and she certainly did as she stood next to the entrance of the Arthur Ross Terrace, receiving guests for the cocktail hour which would precede that night's dinner, directing them towards the guest sign-in book, the gift table, and everything else. 

She hoped, she prayed, that everything that night went off without a hitch.

After all, the supervillains only crash the weddings of the A-List superheroes, right? 
Alisa cringed as she drove back to the city in her new car. After spending more time by herself, she realized something. There was someone who desperately needed her help, or else she was going to end up on the same path she took. And unfortunately, she also realized she needed help from the ONE person she swore she was never going to go near again. A double edged sword if there was one.

After much thought, Alisa made the hard choice of going back on her promise, again... but this time for a good reason. Besides, once this was over, she could part ways and get on with her life, right? After driving up to The Soho House, she allowed the valet to take her car, and made her way inside. She had membership due to all the work she did in the city, along with her fortune. Lucky her.

She made her way inside of the club, and then headed for the spa area, the one place she knew where to find the person who could help her with her plans. After rolling her eyes and giving off a sigh, Alisa made her way into one of the private rooms that housed that person.

"Alistaire, we need to talk. I need your help with somet'ing... and unfortunately, you are de only one who can help. Will you hear me out?"
Alisa could not stand being left alone in Alistaire's apartment all the time. While Reiko was good company, there really was nothing to do. She felt somewhat useless, a burden, and agitated by how Alistaire treated Reiko so openly. He was all over Reiko like a horny dog, confirming that her personal writings in her diary before being shot were accurate. She was nothing more than a tool to a sociopath, and she let it happen.

More under the cut! )
Since she started working for Alistaire once more, Alisa felt listless. There were so many restrictions on how she could do her job, that it no longer felt like she was a bodyguard. More like some paid friend who punched a bully every now and again.

"Should have stuck to my guns and just pushed him away. At least at the Xavier Institute I was learning things." Alisa thought to herself as she walked to the mailbox on the corner. She had with her two bubble envelops that desperately needed mailing. One addressed to Rachel Ramsey and the Xavier Institute, the other addressed to Ryan Grimm.

Read more... )
Alistaire had hired a housekeeper to come by and clean up he dinner she did not eat. He did not even say good-bye. He just left without a word to her. No consoling, no "I'm sorry", nothing. He just left.


Alisa could not face Mrs. Ramsey or the Institute, knowing that she broke the only major ground rule they gave her. She felt too ashamed to go. What could she say? "I'm Sorry"? Words are empty, and it was her fault. She did not need it drilled into her skull.

More under the cut )
Alistaire pulled up to the house. He still couldn't believe that Grandfather had run Alisa out of the city. He'd deal with that in due time, but right now, he had to get her to stop running. This location was a joke. A dirt road driveway? He was probably going to have to throw away these shoes. A large parcel was in the trunk of the Tesla Roadster he'd bought for the drive. He glanced back over his shoulder at it, before ringing the bell.

It was a lovely house, even if the location was a joke. He'd have to make sure to help her with the reselling.
It had nearly been a week and a half. Nearly a week and a half since Alisa began testing and courses at the Xavier Institute, and nearly a week since she finally sucked it up and got that new leg Stephanie had always promised her. It was odd, it felt like she had her old leg back and was more stable on it. Not only that, the silicone used to cover her leg was nearly seamless. As though her leg was never blown off in the first place.

But while there were good things, there were also some bad things as well. Her new art gallery was mysteriously fire bombed, destroying most of the works inside. Of course someone said she had done it, but with a solid alibi at the time, she was ruled out and free to collect the insurance. Alisa had an idea of who would take that away from her, and it angered her greatly.

"I swear, one o' dese days, Shaw is gonna get it for screwin' wit' de wrong people." She thought to herself. But she knew she had nothing that proved her ordered it. Besides, it could have been some group like the "Friends of Humanity". But she doubted that.

Today was an "off" day from work and the Xavier Institute. A day to try and get herself back into fighting shape (though she really did not need it). Dressed in a pair of black running pants and her old ESU hoodie, Alisa began to run about the track of the ESU campus. It felt good to just run again. To just take her mind of all the chaos that was around her. To just try and relax for once... though with her luck, that was NOT going to happen.
Her loft was somewhat quiet. There had been some business here and there since her return from the rehabilitation center, but it was not enough to make her happy (no matter how big the check was she got). Sitting at her work desk, Alisa was quietly tapping away on her PC, her legs pushed closely together, and her back straight as she worked.

Those red on black eyes of hers were very focused on the computer screen, taking no note if anyone knocked at her front door or even opened it. She needed to focus on something. She needed to take her mind off her physical and mental pain from nearly getting blown to bits... as well as her failure to get Sebastian Shaw to release Stephanie from the duties of the Hellfire Club.
.

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The Next Generation of Marvel Heroes

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