ever_lovin: (A Death in the Family)
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"Someone's gotta stay? That's it...there's nothin' else?" Ben asks once the situation was explained to him, Johnny and Franklin.

"Bentley?" Val says in reply.

Bentley watches the read out of the image enhancer but the army of insectiods is like a cloud and he really doesn't need the numbers to know how dire things are. "Sixty-three seconds until the Annihilation Wave hits."

"One minute, Uncle Ben," Val says tonelessly. She wishes it could be some other way but facts are facts. "We're simply out of time."

Ben thinks back on the week he's had and can't argue that now would be a great time to go. "Well, then..it's been fun. Get everyone on the other side Johnny."

"You've got to be joking!" Johnny says taken aback.

"Not this time pal. Because of you, I just had one the best weeks of my life. No way I go out owin' you."

"C'mon! There's gotta be something you're not thinking of...right?" Johnny begs the kids. "Isn't there anything else?"

The kids look at each other one more time hoping for a miracle but no one has anymore ideas.

"No." Val says and the kids turn back to the portal and begin walking through.

"Okay...that settles it then," Johnny says as if he accepts the choice.

Bentley takes one last look before stepping through. "They're here. Incoming."

"Tell Alicia..," Ben starts to say but then turns when he sees Johnny move as if to hug him. Aw cripes man, kid's gonna make me cry. Instead Johnny grabs Ben's collar and waistband, spins and throws him towards the portal. "Johnny! What're you...NO!" Ben manages before he's through the portal.

Johnny reaches and activates the energy button before Ben can race back.

"You stupid dumb...Open this back up! OPEN IT!!" Ben yells.

"We can't," Val says looking downcast. "There's no time left! If he's going to activate the vibranium shield it has to be now."

"I could make more time." Franklin offers still feeling the buzz of his returned powers.

"No. That's not...that's..." Ben's really tempted, really, but then he thinks, And have another M-day or Onslaught on their hands. Damnit, I'm sorry Johnny I just can't risk the world for you. "Val, just tell him how to work the thing."

Val looks up to Johnny. "Okay Johnny, listen closely. Enter the access code (4-3-2-1), that'll engage the failsafe lockdown. This will also randomize the access code, so no one on your side - including you - will be able to open it again." She pauses and wants so badly to apologize but it's just facts right? She's not sending her uncle to his death.  There's really no other choice, the facts speak for themselves. "Dad will have a backdoor built in. We'll be back."

Johnny knows this last isn't going to be any help for him but smiles for Val anyway. He knows she's trying to make him feel better, to give him some hope. Behind him the first barrage of energy attacks begins. "Entering the code." He reports and then looks to Ben. "When you see Reed and Sue...you tell them...tell them this is where I made my stand."

The gravity of the situation has frozen Ben in his tracks. He can't move and his limbs feel leaden. HIs chest tightens.

Johnny turns back to the portal's instruments. "Engaging the locking mechanism."

A sudden spasm grips Ben and he nearly collapses from a sudden weight. His skin feels like it's suddenly drying out and hardening. "Urk! Wai..." Panic hits and he wants to fight the situation. He starts pounding on the energy shield. "Wait! No!" He feels like he could smash through anything as a sudden energy surge washes through him. He could save Johnny...but then damn the world. "NO!NO!NO!" Too late he's back to his old self (When did 'his old self' mean the Thing?) and Johnny's still in another universe sacrificing himself.

"Unbelievable." Johnny says and Ben just gives him a look.

"You don't wish it any more than I do," Johnny says and holds out his hand to the energy shield. Ben raises his and touches Johnny's through the shield. Johnny pulls back first as the blasts from the Annihilation Wave are nearly on top of him.

"So. This is it." Johnny says over his shoulder as he turns to face the Wave which now covers the horizon as far as he can see. "A billion to one." He laughs a little. "You think I'm afraid of that? You Think I'm Afraid Of That?!?! FLAME ON!!!!"

Ben can only watch as the vibranium shield closes. "Oh God, John..." he manages before all his strength leaves him and he falls to the floor. Grief and guilt well up inside him and overwhelm him.

Smothering...pulling him down...

Drowniing...washing everything away...

Until he feels Franklin and Val crawl up beside him...

Gotta be strong.....they need me.

It should've been me.


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Benjamin J Grimm

September 2017

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