2010-01-11: A Hero Reborn


Dante_icon.jpg Ben_icon.jpg JeanPaul_icon.jpg

Summary: Dante and JP take a trip into Ben's mind. Secrets and lies are revealed.

Date: January 11, 2010.

Log Title A Hero Reborn

Rating: PG-13

NYC - City Hall Park

In front of the large white building with pillars, American Flags, and bell tower on top, is City Hall Park with its extravagant fountain. Four sets of black iron gas lamps sit on the four corners of the fountain, there the only gas lamps left in the city. Four spouts of water shoot in the center tier of the fountain and shower down into the water below. Four smaller pools sit on each side of the fountain where water pours into them from the main part. Benches sit all around the fountain with trees and flowers covering the grass behind.

It's been a few weeks, but people have been contacted here and there. Ben is waiting in the park not far from his apartment. He's supposed to meet with the telepath suggested by the school people. Sure, he doesn't go there, but their telepath apparently vouched for him. It's awkward and uneasy for him. He doesn't know what to expect. So, he called one of the two people he actually enjoys spending time around to come along… if he wanted. He's quite obviously nervous as he sits, leg bouncing.

Dante has been dealing with his open problems lately but Kenta talked to Addison who found this worlds verison of his old companion, Dante. He doesn't know Addison or Kenta but he figured if the X-Men needed help, he should assit a fellow super-hero team. Walking in the area, Dante appears to be wearing a brown trench coat over a Jawa T-shirt and a pair of jeans, he's using illusions to hide his green feathery wings and horns. He's happy he can't talk cause of a little accident that happened yesterday involving a soda burp, his computer monitor and fire. Right now he's looking around the park trying to see if he can figure out who this 'Ben' guy is.

Jean-Paul is sitting near Ben, not nearly as nervous. He sprawls out a little on the bench, as usual taking up more space in a given social environment than most people. By attitude, if not actual size. He's dressed casually but well. Glancing sideways at his new friend, he says quietly, "If you aren't quite ready to do this, you should reschedule. There is nothing buried today that will not still be buried tomorrow." He pauses a moment and adds with a faint, arch grin. "Unless Brother Voodoo is involved. Don't ask."

Looking over to Jean-Paul, Ben smiles nervously. "No. It needs to be done. I've waited and tried and we've got the go to day. He's gonna meet us here. I want to know. I -need- to know. I've been fighting my mind for months now, trying to figure things out." He says, nodding and breathing a deep sigh of relief. "Th… Thank you for being here." He says with a nod, steeling himself and stopping the nervous body movements with his will alone. "I'm strong enough to handle knowing that my entire life might be a lie."

Dante looks around and sighs. They could have least given him better contact information than a place. So he decides to do it the easy way, closing his eyes and listening to everyones surface thoughts, trying to see what he can pick up to lead him to the right person and with Jean-Paul and Ben talking about it, he's found what he's looking for. Walking over he smiles and pulls out a piece of paper and writes on it. In his messy handwriting is says: "Is one of you Ben?"

Jean-Paul puts his hand on Ben's shoulder and squeezes lightly. "Good man. But I wouldn't say a lie. From what we've seen, it's just a version of the truth. Perhaps one you needed at the time. And that doesn't invalidate who you are now, non? We are all the products of what we experience. Summers is the product of years of battle, I am the product of years of excellence, Logan is the sum of years without bathing…. and you have the enviable prospect of being able to choose to be the product of two lives." He stands when Dante arrives, examining the young man and his pad for a moment, nods a greeting and then tilts his head towards Ben.

There is a momentary pause, before Ben just starts laughing. He can't recall who Logan is, but it seems amazingly funny to him. As if he should be putting his finger on it, but just CAN'T. As he sees the paper held out, he raises a hand awkwardly. "That'd… that'd be me." He coughs, laughing still. "Sorry. I don't know why that's funny, but… but I KNOW it must be." He runs a hand through his hair. "You're… supposed to help?"

Dante nods and starts using sign language to talk and projects what he's 'saying' to Ben mentally. It's just easier that way. Unfortunatly Jean-Paul is left out of the conversation for the moment. ~Yes, Addison found me. Said he was helping his teammate Kenta with something and that you needed a telepath? I'm Dante, and I'm here to help.~

Jean-Paul smiles faintly as Ben laughs and nods to himself. He watches the young telepath with something of a dubious expression, not saying anything at the moment, just willing to be moral support. Since he can't hear the mental byplay, he merely waits, wondering if Ben understands sign.
Not realizing that Jean-Paul is out of the loop, Ben simply nods. "My mind. There's… Everybody where Kenta goes to school knows me. But my reality, my memories, are a skewed version of theirs. I look at the pictures on the wall. And I see myself standing there. Or fighting there. And I have to know. I need someone who can look in and… see what's there." He says simply, looking up to Jean-Paul and biting his lip. He has a simple shyness that he never had in his other names. "This is a friend of mine, Jean-Paul. He's come to.. well, for moral support. He knows the school that Kenta goes to."

Dante looks over at Jean-Paul as he's introduced and nods, opening up the mental link to him as well. ~Nice to meet you Jean-Paul. I am Dante, I'm one of the Young Avengers. Sorry, this is the only way I can talk.~ His hands still move signing the words as he talks. ~So you would like me to go through your mind and look through your memories to see if anything is wrong and if so…what do you want me to? Try to…fix things?~

Jean-Paul blinks as he's included and then gives Dante another nod. "No apologies required. At least you aren't trying to speak French with a horrible American high school accent." He gives a bit of a theatrical shudder at that. Seeing Ben's hesitant look he again rests his hand on Ben's arm for a moment, just reminding Ben that he has at least one partisan no matter how things pan out.

"I… I don't know. I want to know who I am. I want to know what's true. I don't know if there's anything to FIX, or if it's some other weird thing. I just… I need truth." Ben says, placing his own hand over the one on his arm. "Good, bad, in between, I just need to know. I can't deal with this constant confusion. And the dreams."

~I don't speak French.~ Dante says with a smile as he takes a deep breath. ~Okay, I can't keep an illusion up and do this at the same time, is there somewhere…private we can go?~ There's a little bit of a nervous expression on his face as he asks that. ~Okay, I will help you as much as I can Ben.~

Jean-Paul blinks at the word 'illusion' and he says, "The important part is to make sure you're healthy and stable first. And then to do whatever you want after that." He looks around and says, "Hm. Not the most private place in the world. Though I can secure us a suite at a local hotel for the afternoon or evening if you like. I have no idea how long these …procedures… usually last." A faint grin and says, "Though it is possible we will delightfully scandalize a desk clerk C'est bon. They don't get enough excitement, I fear."

"Or… we're right near my apartment." Ben coughs slightly. "It's not much, but it's private." He says, unable to resist a grin at Jean-Paul's attitude about the whole thing. "It's literally right around the corner. Just over the Starbucks. It's home for now." He says, rising and beginning to walk that way.

Dante does his best to ignore the comment, even though he's eighteen he's never had a girlfriend so the scandals and such are a bit too much for him. ~Which ever works, cause…I got into a fight ten days ago and now I have horns and wings which I'm hiding and I need to lower the illusion to focus on you. So lead the way and I'll follow.~

Jean-Paul nods. "Your apartment it is. My accountant thanks you." He's still grinning as he puts an arm around each young man's shoulder and starts to guide them out of the park. He glances at Dante, "Ah, I've been there. Magic or genetic-tech? I have to tell you, other than an unfortunate villain who had the power to create itching in horrible places, the worst part of the job has been magic. We won't even go into the time I thought I was a fairy. No, no, you may laugh. I assure you, we couldn't shut up Sasquatch for months afterwards. Have you ever /seen/ an nine foot tall orange yeti blow soda out of his nose? Not pretty." The babble, of course, is designed to keep things light enough to keep Ben from worrying. Well, that and Jean-Paul really likes the sound of his own voice.
Dante pages, "He'd be able to feel Dante has wings coming out of his back. Illusions can't hide touch." to you.


"Well, here it is. It's not much." and Ben is being completely honest about that. There's a small TV, a couch, a couple of mismatched chairs, and that's about it in the living room. It may not be great stuff, but it's clean. Very clean. That's onething about Ben. Cleanliness is priority. "Uhm… what can we do to make all of this easier?" He asks, coughing slightly as he grins. He's not shaking. Not at all.

~It looks like my house.~ Dante says, well where he lived with his Mom was a lot more cluttered but it wasn't that great or big either. Dante comes from a lower class family. As soon as they're inside he lets the illusion down, showing green feathery wings and a pair of horns. ~Honestly, I don't know. I just know there was an Angel woman and something else involved. I have to figure it out. But that's not important right now, what's important is Ben.~ He says looking around and trying to figure out the best spot to do this, probably sitting.

Jean-Paul answers Ben's question with a sardonic, "Hire a decorator? Seriously, mon ami, we are going to have to take you shopping." He notices Ben's nerves and he tries to guide the former (and perhaps future) X-Man to a chair. "Sit, let me play host. I'm sure you have something disgustingly healthy to drink around here." At the wings and horns, his eyebrows shoot up and he breathes, "Sapristi! That … is going to put a dent in your social life, my young friend." A pause and then, "Well, anywhere other than New York it would."

"I live on a Starbucks budget and go to school. I can't afford a decorator." Ben says with a half smirk before nodding. "There's actually more than just healthy stuff in there. Though, I do tend to favor smoothies." He chuckles a bit before looking at Dante. "Alright. Do what you need to do." He says, simply.

~Not like I have much of one to begin with but I'm like the love child of an Angel and a Demon or something.~ With the horns and wings that is. Dante is still signing as well, it's just a habbit. ~I guess let's just sit down, get comfortable and I'll dive in and see what's there. Here's the question, do you want me to go alone or do you want me to try to bring your friend in too for moral support?~ It'd be difficult but he might be able to do it.

Jean-Paul shakes his head, murmuring, "We'll see." He heads for Ben's fridge, digging out three bottles of water and bringing them back. He throws back his head a little at the idea of joining in and hands Dante his water first. Any witty retort regarding dating is lost at that thought and he just hands Ben his drink, leaving the choice entirely to his friend. There's no question in his mind that he'd do it and he expects Ben to know that.

"It's up to you. Whichever way you think would be best. It's your skill. I… I don't know anything about it." Ben says softly. He takes the water and offers a silent thank you to Jean-Paul. "Let's just get this started and over with."

Jean-Paul looks back to Dante after seeing that Ben doesn't object and says, "Then I'd like to see things first hand, then. Perhaps I might see something that either of you would miss." And perhaps keep an eye on the strange young psychic's work as well. Paranoia also comes with the job.

Dante sits down on the floor and takes a deep breath, opening his mind up. He telepathically grabs a hold of Jean-Paul's mind and ventures into Ben's, trying to look for his memories and to see what's out of place. In the mind Dante is a lot less geeky looking, wearing all black, no glasses, long hair still, more of a build and, he has a voice. His image of 'badass'. "Okay, let's see what's going on in here." He says to Jean-Paul.

( One of the first noticeable things in Ben's mind is that it's divided into three distinct areas. If hovering above the mental landscape, a central figure has built dividers in three different directions. The central area is where Ben's mental activity is, with little flows coming from each side into it. Just little bits and pieces. Some memories move from one to another. )

Jean-Paul gives Dante's astral self a look over and a nod. At least he isn't inflating his chest in the astral like Talisman used to do. Since they aren't quite linked with Ben yet he says, "Cautiously, oui? If you have to make a choice between recovering memories and his safety, be safe." And then they are within and he shuts up, looking at the strange mental landscape.

Dante nods. "I know. I'm just here to show him the truth, I don't want to alter too much, only if necessary." Dante says as he looks at the three parts and moves closer, which ever is the most familar, the most promiant, is the one he'll start with. Which is probably the 'Ben Starr' memories, that way he can start easy and work his way through stuff more difficult. He wants to see what is real and what looks like it might be out of place.

Everything is Ben Starr in here. Though, it's trickled images from the others that convert as they pass through the barrier between on either side. The left barrier looks fairly barren, but has a few youthful scenes. The right side, is war-like and fairly bloody. Though, some images that may be seen through the barrier may be fights that can be recognized by those that have seen them. And in the middle, to one who deals with minds regularly, it's all synthetic. It's all altered. He believes it, but it's all not-quite-right.

Jean-Paul follows along with Dante and he frowns at the divisions, noting the more obvious battles and then looking towards the barren youth. That artificial landscape gets a frown. He's not a telepath but even to him it just looks subtly off, like a plastic plant rather than a growing, organic one. "That is … not something he did to himself, is it?"

Dante is amazed by what he sees and is almost overwhelmed. "It's like there's three minds in here, three lives, all remembering different things. It's…strange. Two seem right the one he knows right now…it's not right. I've never seen a mind like this and no, he couldn't have done this. He wants to know the truth and I can tell him but…I don't know how much he wants revealed." It's almost like a walk on eggshells for him. "It looks like the life he is leading now is made of up his old…lives? And put together with a lot of signifcant parts missing. Like knowlege and his youth are there but all the experiences have changed, if that makes sense."

As the two spend their time discussing, a figure appears near them. "It's not nice to go into people's minds boys." Followed by a humored laugh. The figure makes herself out into a white-haired, six armed, armored woman. "And what, pray tell, are you searching for in Ben's mind? Hmm?" Swords appear in two. "Or are you trying to force him to remember?"

Jean-Paul frowns. "I'm out of my depth with this. Can you preserve the parts of his current life he wants to …." And then the figure appears and he smiles faintly. "But this I can handle." He cracks his knuckles in front of himself and his street clothes morph into his classic uniform, black and white, with an x-symbol on the breast. He says, "Ah, we are merely tourists, Mademoiselle. But the question is: do /you/ belong here?" He glances at Dante at that question.

Dante stops and looks at the six-armed woman and tries to stand tall. When he speaks his 'voice' has a firm tone to it, as if he's standing his ground. After all he's strongest mentally. "I am Silent Image, we are searching for the truth, as per Ben's request. We are not forcing him to do anything, he asked me to do this for him. I am doing what Ben wants, not what I want." Which to him is a huge difference.

"Oh come now, of course I do. All things born from Mojo's realm belong to me, and I belong to them." She says, pouting at Jean-Paul. "Don't tell me you don't know Spiral?" She laughs, before turning to Dante with a tilt of her head. Two sword-arms are pointed at Jean-Paul for a moment. "Ben's request? Why would he be wanting to know what's in here?" She asks, looking the boy over. "Isn't he happy?"

Jean-Paul shakes his head. "You don't own him. And I know Spiral. But I didn't know she (or you) could do this." He frowns at those pointed swords and his feet lift off the 'ground' as he keys his powers. Not coincidentally, the maneuver leaves him looking down at her from a height of several feet. He folds his arms across his chest. "Somehow, I don't think his happiness is your primary concern."

Dante looks at Jean-Paul and then back to Spiral. "That I do not know. I am just doing what he asked. He wants to know the truth, and that's what he asked for. And you know what, I don't know Spiral or Mojo. And why would he be wanting to know what's in here? It's his mind and he should know what is in it because, it's HIS." As Dante says his he lets his voice echo loudly across the mindscape to prove his point.

"You don't know what he's been through. Split into two bodies at birth. One stuck comatose for over ten years in a hospital. The other used as a gladiatorial fighting unit. He never had a chance for a real life." Spiral says, glaring at Jean-Paul. "Unlike Longshot, who got to live as a human for several years before being taken back, this one never got the opportunity, I am simply letting him have that. A life without pain caused by the things they have done to him."

Jean-Paul's eyebrows arch and his voice is very dry and sardonic as he intones, "They?" And after that significant pause, "And if you care so very much, why did you allow him to start seeing through the cracks? Whatever your motives, it was wrong and you should do your best to undo the damage. Let him be whole, integrating this life with the others, if that is what he wants."
"No, instead you're causing a life of pain of broken memories and living in a constant state of confusion by him not knowing what is real and what is not. You belong here as much as we do." As Dante knows he's an intruder of the mind. "Unlike you, we were invited here." He says as he holds out and and mentally attacks the image of her, and the attack comes off as he's firing Magic Missels at her.

The missiles are easily deflected by two hands in the back, firing counterspells. Spiral laughs. "Yes, leave his mind as it was, where Mojo could track him at any moment to bring him back to the television audience. He doesn't deserve that. He must have run into someone who knew him. That's what broke the barriers." She says, considering to herself. "I could bring them down, but then he'd be a danger to people. Because… if Mojo wants him, he'll stop at nothing to get him back. And then, I would have to hold YOU" the final two hands are pointing at each of them. "responsible. He doesn't deserve to be a penned creature." There's… something there that Spiral's hiding. But then, when it came to shatterstar, she was always hiding something.

Jean-Paul sighs and rolls his eyes at Dante. "Americans. Always hitting things to solve problems." He looks to Spiral and says, "Non. You /will/ let him decide, creature. Or we will thrash you out of his mind here and then I will find you in the material world and beat you senseless there as well." He looks back to Silent Image and explains, "First you try diplomacy. And /then/ you hit the miscreants. It's more civilized that way." For certain values of 'diplomacy' and 'civilized'.

Dante mutters what sounds like an incant, is it a spell, no, it's just Dante putting up his mental sheild, as he guards himself and Jean-Paul from the counter attack. Dante is just a Fantasy Fanatic so he translates it to the mind. "You're the one responsible Spiral, you are the keeping him confused and with his confusion, he can never truley be happy as he will always be wondering what is real and what is false. If you want him to be truely happy, let him be him, and not some fake person you want him to be."

Spiral laughs. "I didn't create this. He assembled it from pieces of each side." She shakes her head. "Fine, fine. Whatever. I'll take them down, but that means he'll be found. And if he comes to any harm… if Mojo brings him back, you'll both find yourselves in the pens beside him." She says with a roll of her eyes. "You MIGHT want to leave." she says, spreading her arms out.
Jean-Paul shrugs and says, "We'll handle Mojo. If nothing else, we can leave a trail of snacks that leads into a SHIELD prison." He floats back to the ground and stands beside the telepath, looking towards Dante as is asking 'well?'.

Dante looks at Jean-Paul and nods before looking back at Spiral. "That is what Ben wants, I'm prepaired to deal with the consequences." After all he's a Young Avenger and he has to stand for his decisions, at least that's what he thinks. "I'll let him know and give him a warning but he'll be happiest being him." Dante says watching her closely.

She told them to go. They didn't. Her arms twist and spiral before a wave of energy wracks across the mindscape. It'll be enough to give a good long headache to both of the people still in the mind with that piece of her. Everything starts flooding together. It's… going to be a bit.
Jean-Paul winces as he finds himself back in his body with a raging headache. He rubs his temple. "Lovely. A Rio headache without Carnival." He sighs. "At least I'm not spitting out feathers." He looks towards first Ben and then Dante to make sure they are still there and breathing.

Dante is thrown back into his body and grabs his head, there's a wince of pain but no sound from the mute. He takes a few breaths and looks up at Ben. ~Ben?~ He says telepathically to the two of them, sounding tired. ~Are you…okay?~

Ben's sitting, stock still. His mind is reeling. Processing. Combining. He's just there. It takes a few minutes before he finally speaks. "A lie. But… my own." He says. "Everything was real, but wasn't." his voice is slightly passive. "But… it'll be ok. Eventually." He says with a bit of a sigh.

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