by Alicia McKenzie
DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to Marvel Comics, and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only. It is set during the 'Fathers and Sons' storyline in CABLE #6-8. I've often wondered what Cable experienced during the period of time Stryfe was in control of his body. This nasty little piece popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone until I let it out. Some language and disturbing imagery...nothing graphic, but the extremely sensitive may want to stop here.
where am I?
dom? dom, can you hear me?
is anyone out there?
...why is it so dark?
there's no noise, no...anything here.
what's happened to me?
calm down, dayspring.
think it through.
what's the last thing you remember?
telling me...telling me...
that stryfe was the clone.
that I'm the real nathan christopher?
but what did he do to me?
...let out the monster, he said.
monster under the bed, monster in the closet...
monster inside me?
STAB YOUR EYES, YOU BASTARD! WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?
have to stay calm.
i can't see anything. why is it so dark?
...damn it, where am I?
i just realized, i don't have a body.
that's not a good thing, is it?
that's a song, isn't it? 'i don't have no-body...'
damn it, nathan, pull yourself together!
there's got to be a logical explanation.
logic, always logic...
the simplest explanation?
i'm NOT dead.
i won't accept that.
i can't be...
my voice. but...not.
the darkness feels colder, suddenly.
what...what's going on? what did you do to me?
#Me? Nothing at all. I'm just reaping the benefits. I'll have to remember to find Sinister and thank him before I kill him.#
where is this place?
#This? This is nowhere, Nathan. It's not a place.#
damn you, make some sense!
#No. I'm enjoying myself too much.#
#Now you know how I felt, all those months.#
what are you talking about?
#You don't remember. What did you do, block it out?#
block what out? what in the name of the bright lady are you
on about, you madman?
#Why do I bother with you? Remember the moon? That noble act of self-sacrifice, when you catapulted us into the timestream together? Ringing any bells?#
i'm not that far gone, you bastard!
#Really? I thought you'd have been quite mad by now.#
#Oh, very well.#
stryfe, are you still there?
i know you're still there! answer me!
#Of course I'm still here. Where else would I be?#
sound, blessed sound. even his voice sounds good...
#Have you gotten yourself under control yet, Nathan?#
#Good. Because I want you to understand where you are and exactly what's happened to you. It's only fair.#
#Don't tell me I've shocked you into speechlessness...#
#In a way.#
i am NOT dead.
#You might as well be. I'm in control of our body now.#
#Remember the timestream? I died. You didn't. But you were close enough, your psi-shields weak enough, that my consciousness made the jump to your body.#
#No? Hate makes everything possible, Nathan.#
stryfe...I know you're there!
what are you doing with my body?
#Now THAT was amusing...#
stryfe! what did you do?
#Two of your 'children', Nathan. I'm afraid they're a little worse for wear...# Laughter.
you leave them alone!
#Whyever would I do that? The young Irishwoman...so lovely, really. Rather reminded me of Aliya...#
you piece of filth! if you've done anything to her...
#Stop blustering. Besides, your precious Domino was more to my taste.#
#I know how you feel about her. I found my way into your thoughts, after a while...learned how to listen. I know exactly how you feel about her, Nathan. All that love and need and longing you keep hidden...#
you don't know anything!
#Defensive, aren't we? I don't understand why you never acted on those feelings, Nathan, in all these years...she was certainly worth it.#
#Why would I bother lying to you?#
#She was in the graveyard with us, remember?#
#Quite a romantic setting...the dark, the moonlight...#
#Maybe she was just waiting for you to act like a real man. She was certainly quite...responsive.#
#Maybe she even begged for more.#
#What's the matter, Nathan? Don't you like that image? Your precious Dom kneeling in the mud, begging you to take her right there on our mother's tombstone?#
shut up...shut up...
#A much better fuck than Aliya, all things considered...#
#She loved it, Nathan. Couldn't get enough...and you were right, you know? All those times you watched her, wondering if her skin would feel like silk...#
YOU BASTARD! I'LL KILL YOU, I SWEAR!
#Temper, temper. I'll be back once you've finished ranting and raving, Nathan.#
not you, too...
...not with my body...
he could be lying.
he has to be lying...
...please, let him be lying...
#Maybe...but you'll never know, will you?#
he must be.
he's trying to make me lose it.
that's it, that's got to be it...
#Settled down, have we?#
what do you want?
stryfe? why won't you answer me?
#You...caught me off guard, that's all.#
so what do you want? why am I still here?
why not just kill me?
#That's easy. I want you to suffer.#
#Why are you laughing, Nathan? What could possibly be so funny?#
#Nathan! Answer me!#
you want me to suffer...oh, that's a good one...
#You have gone mad.#
no...i'm just trying to figure out what you could possibly do to me that's any worse than what you've done already. you wiped out my clan, killed millions of innocent people...raped and murdered my wife, mind-wiped my son...
#I could leave you like this forever, Nathan. Trapped in the dark, in this little corner of my
#Nasty thought, isn't it?#
i have to get out of here.
there must be a way...
xavier...xavier could help me...
x-force would have contacted the x-men...
#Maybe. But maybe there's no more X-Force, Nathan. Maybe I killed them all...#
i don't believe you.
#So much more fun, when you take your time with such things. The human body can take a surprising amount of punishment...but you know that, don't you?#
i won't...i won't listen to you...
#Now, you were quite amusing, when I had you in that position. Took me days to break you...but you did break in the end, Nathan. Do you remember screaming for all those endless hours? How you kept begging me to kill you, even when you had no voice left.#
i didn't...you never broke me!
#Your X-Force was something of a disappointment. But then, they were just children, after all. Children break easily. Although I admit, making your boy High-Lord watch me have my sport with the blond girl before I killed her was worth a laugh or two. He actually blubbered, can you believe that? So much for your hope for the future, Nathan. The girl was far tougher. She even found the breath to curse me before I cut her throat...#
#Maybe I'll go back and let you see what's left of them, after I take care of my...other business.#
no...no, damn you...
#Really, Nathan. How am I supposed to think with you sobbing in the back of my mind?#
...it's so dark...
why won't he just let me die?
#I've got no intention of letting you die, Nathan.#
damn you, let me go!
#I destroyed your life once, Nathan. Only symmetry, that I should do it again.#
have to stay focused.
there must be some way out of here.
i'm fooling myself.
he's got the upper hand here. i'm at his mercy...
...someone help me, please...
please...don't do this...
i...i'll do whatever you want.
just don't leave me here, in the dark...
...please, I'm begging you...you win, all right, YOU WIN!
...so dark...can't breathe, can't think...
no...what are you doing? stop...stop it, don't...GET OUT!
leave me alone, don't make me remember...
#Don't be afraid, Askani'son. It's almost over...#
not his voice.
#It's all right, little brother...just a while longer...#
...who was she?
gone, whoever she was.
all the things I never said...
oblivion isn't empty
it's full of regrets.
a new voice.
someone else, come to torment me?
#Nathan, take my hand.#
wait...i know that voice!
#Nathan, it's Xavier...Professor Xavier! Listen to me, focus on my voice...#
#I'm here, too, Nathan.#
#Come with us, Nathan, it's all right now...Stryfe's gone.#
no...this is a trick. his trick.
#Trust us, Nathan...please. We're all waiting for you...#
...is it real?
light, again. a path of light.
#Domino's with us, Nathan. She's waiting for you, too...#
i follow the light out.
The light is even brighter out here, like knives stabbing into my head when I open my eyes. Everything hurts. My body feels strange, as if it doesn't fit. It's not obeying commands from my brain, either...I can't move.
"Is he all right?" Dom's voice, worried. Dom...oh, Dom...I reach out to her mind. I see Stryfe knock her out with a psi-blast in the graveyard...and leave her there.
He didn't. He WAS lying. God, if you exist...thank you...
"I believe so, Domino." Xavier, sounding weary but...satisfied? I reach for his mind, see images of an astral battle of wills. Stryfe, an Askani sister...that was the voice I heard, then. Arguing for my life...someone else there, on the sidelines.
My heart nearly stops. Tyler?
"Nathan..." A nearer voice, choked with emotion. "Son..."
I open my eyes again, stare up into a face twisted with pain. Scott Summers. Cyclops. My father. But he doesn't look like Cyclops right now. Not nearly so stoic..not so much the stone-faced Leader Of The X-Men. He knows. Maybe Dom told him.
"...Father?" I barely manage to get the word out. A question, maybe a plea. I don't know.
Tears pour down his cheeks from beneath the ruby quartz visor."Nathan, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..." Weeping, he takes me in his arms, holding me tightly, as if he never wants to let go.
The emptiness is gone. No anger, no questions, no recriminations. Time stops, for just a moment.
And I wish it could last forever.
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