Who: Onyxx and Henry. What: Having a little chat. It’s another narrative. Where: One of Henry’s safe houses. This one is in El Paso. When: Tonight, actually. Probably around 8pm.
Henry had been floating through life since getting off of the drink. Yes, he’d stayed sober, and yes he’d quit the cigarettes cold turkey. He’d also just fallen into a fairly glum routine. He was going through the motions of living without actually thinking about what he was doing. Day in, leave for work, hang out waiting for a phone that would never ring, take a lunch break at the diner across the street, head back for the second half of the day, and then head home and vegetate in front of the television. All traces of the ambitious man he was had drifted away on the breeze, and he was now back to the same kind of reclusive lifestyle he’d had just before being forcibly trapped in his apartment back home.
The first sign of trouble was the broken knob. Henry’s eyebrows went up and instincts kicked on involuntarily. He flicked his eyes up and to the side, examining the busted hinges. Someone had used a lot of force to get into the modest safehouse he’d been using as his place for a little while. His hand went down to the gun he kept in his waistband and out it came. He flicked off the safety and drew back the hammer, keeping both hands on it and entering a cautious stance. He took a deep breath to steady himself before slowly reaching out to push through the door.
His brow furrowed in confusion as he entered the little den and found only a particularly muscular young man sitting in his favorite chair. The young man was tall, Henry could tell that even with the boy sitting down, and there was certain…something to his skin that reminded Henry of stone somehow. His hair was fairly long, and he had a neatly trimmed beard covering his chin and connection to an equally as neat mustache. The boy’s hands were steepled in front of his face, but his eyes, uncannily intelligent and cunning eyes, regarded him from the moment he walked into the door. “Hello Henry. You can put the gun down.”
“Don’t think that’s going to happen,” Henry returned neutrally, never taking his eyes off of the boy. “Move and I swear to god, I won’t bat an eyelash…”
“Two reasons why you won’t,” the boy returned, sitting back and letting his hands flop down onto the arms of the leather easy chair. “One: Any bullets you shoot are just going to bounce off of me. No I’m not Kryptonian, I’m a mutant with impenetrable skin.” His eyebrows rose a little. “Two? Two, I’m Candy’s boyfriend and you don’t want to hurt her yet. So you’ll put the gun down now. And in the off chance you don’t?” He lifted his chin just a little, turning it into a challenging gesture. “I’ll be in your face, crushing your scrap of metal in one hand before you can as much as blink. So, Townshend, put the gun down and save us both the trouble, eh?”
Henry was silent for a moment. “You’re Onyxx?” The boy nodded, but said nothing. “…I’m going to lower it. It’s not going away and the safety isn’t going on.”
“That’s fair enough,” Onyxx returned. “It’s not like I have anything to fear from a gun, anyway.” Onyxx glanced down at the chair. “This is nice. What is this, La-Z-Boy? This is cozy.”
“Tell you what. You want it?” Henry lowered the gun, easing off the hammer. “Take it and get the hell out.”
“I’m afraid not, Townshend.” Onyxx looked back up at Henry, hands folding in his lap. “You and I have something to discuss. In a second something I just said will register and you’ll have a question for me. Until then, I’m content to wait.”
Henry blinked, unsure of just what Onyxx was talking about…until it hit him. “Wait. You said I don’t want to hurt Candy yet. What do you mean?”
“Well, Townshend, from what I understand from my research – and by research I mean the shady types I’ve hired to keep an eye on you – you know a little bit about potential futures.” Henry’s face fell and Onyxx held up a hand. “No I’m not here on behalf of some cult. I’m a superhero, Townshend, or at least I’m going to be. I’m here to talk to you about the potential future that I experienced.” Onyxx laced his hands together and stretched, cracking all of his knuckles. “And at the end of this discussion you’re going to make some decisions that decide quite a bit of the future.”
“Are you here to kill me,” Henry asked, feeling strangely calm about it. He finally flipped the safety back on, and pulled another chair from nearby to sit down in. He moved it into a position across from Onyxx, and then leaned forward in his seat, propping his elbows up on his knees.
“I could.” Onyxx reached out, making a grabbing motion with one hand. “I could do it with one hand. Just grab your throat and,” he squeezed it shut abruptly and very tightly, “crush it. I’m not sure what would break first, the arteries in your neck or your spine.” He let his hand drop back onto the arm of the chair. “But no, no, I’m not here to kill you. At least, that’s not my intention. I won’t lie and say it can’t go that way, but I’m really hoping it won’t.”
“I’ll do my best to oblige,” Henry returned sardonically. That got a smirk from Onyxx. “So tell me about this future, kid. Clearly it’s important enough to you for a little b&e action.”
“Well, you get into politics, pass a bill that gets public use of superpowers outlawed, and then pardon Candy’s murderers for some reason I never bothered to learn when I was pounding your head into your desk in the Oval Office.” Onyxx didn’t skip a beat and didn’t change that very slight smile or the weighing and measuring look in his eyes.
Henry reacted as if struck, leaning back abruptly and pressing himself against the back of his chair. His eyes widened and his jaw worked soundlessly for a few minutes before something finally came out. “This is, uh, this is kind of a lot to take in.”
“If it’s any consolation you didn’t sleep with any interns or mispronounce the names of important world leaders,” Onyxx replied sarcastically, a little grin quirking up the corner of his mouth.
“Very funny,” Henry replied irritably, his hands clenching into fists. “Not that. The other stuff.”
“Oh, that stuff.” Onyxx rose then, and began pacing slowly through the little safe house. “Yeah, that stuff is pretty bad. Killing wasn’t very easy for me back then and I still did it, so you have to figure that it was a pretty serious deal.”
“So I’m here now for a very simple reason.” Onyxx was still seemingly paying little attention to Henry. Instead he was exploring the cupboards in the small kitchen that was off in one little corner of the house. “See, recent events-”
“None of your concern,” Onyxx quickly added, tossing a glance at Henry over his shoulder. “Point is, they’ve caused me to realize that I should hedge my bets a little, so to speak.”
“I thought you weren’t here to kill me.” Henry started easing the hammer back again, hoping he would have the chance to get a shot off at the kid’s eyeball. He figured he had a somewhat decent shot of doing it. His aim was pretty good.
“That’s not plan A,” Onyxx called back, rifling through Henry’s cupboards, finding a surprising amount of Lucky Charms. “Man, you have excellent taste in cereal. I love the little hats, myself. What’s your favorite?”
“Is it plan B?” Henry’s voice was like ice now. This whole thing was beginning to piss him off rather than scare him.
Onyxx tossed a glance over his shoulder, his eyes narrowing. “Could be.” Then he returned to the cereal, tugging out a box and then looking over at Henry. “Where’re the bowls?” Henry just glared at him, and Onyxx shrugged. “S’okay, I’ll find ‘em myself.” The next few minutes were silent, as Henry grew angrier and angrier and Onyxx spent a few minutes looking for a bowl. “Ah, here we go.” He poured some Lucky Charms into the bowl and then retrieved milk from the ‘fridge and a spoon from the cupboard. “The little hats, man. They taste like joy.”
“Kind of like blue M&Ms,” Henry said, after a moment of silence. Onyxx laughed and proceeded back out into the den, gesturing at Henry with his spoon.
“Yeah man, you get it, you get it.” Onyxx took a spoonful of the cereal, now filled with milk, and took a bite. “Mmm, the taste of joy.” He chewed quickly and swallowed. “So listen, Townshend. I’m not going to go into specifics, because you A.) don’t need them and B.) probably don’t want them. Point is you turn into kind of a douchebag.” He spooned up more Lucky Charms. “And nobody likes a douchebag, man. Especially not a douchebag in the Oval Office.”
“I don’t have any political ambitions,” Henry returned, leaning back in his seat. His eyes were narrow, tracking every move Onyxx made.
“Not good enough anymore, man. Good to know, though.” Onyxx smiled at him briefly. “You’re not really suited to it. But you’re going to need to do more than just avoid politics. I can’t have you becoming a media spokesperson against us, either. Probably even MORE dangerous.” He gestured with his spoon towards Henry’s bedroom. “The Morgan you keep on your nightstand? You need to get rid of that shit, man. It’s a temptation. A temptation you most certainly don’t need.”
“I don’t think-”
“I’m not asking you to think, Townshend.” Onyxx’s eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed angrily. “I’m telling you that you need to get your shit together before you start hurting people.” There was a moment of silence as the two of them locked eyes, and finally Henry looked away. “Yeah, I can see it. I can see it in you the same way I can see it in me every morning when I look in the mirror. I can see the darkness in there, that little seed. Planted by some tragedy, right? Well, that never goes away. The only thing you can do is accept it into yourself and get on with your life.” He smiled far too sweetly and added, “I just saved you a trip to a mountain cave. You should really thank me.”
“I don’t think that’ll happen anytime soon,” Henry snapped, rising to his feet, finally beginning to lose his cool. “Listen, take the bowl if you want, but I think we’re done here-”
“Oh, almost, almost.” Indeed, Onyxx’s bowl was almost empty now. “Step one, lose the booze. Step two? Get your business up and running. These days it’s the only thing you’ve really got, right?” Henry glared at him, but made no move to deny it. “Yeah. Thought so. So get it organized. If you need employees start advertising. I’m sure there are people here that’d be interested in taking a job like this, especially for what you’re offering. That’ll help you get your head on straight. And it’ll go a long way towards keeping the future I remember from happening.” He glanced at his bowl and finally let the spoon rest. “Looks like I’m done.” He glanced at Henry before moving to the sink and putting his bowl in there. “I’d ask if you have any questions, but I don’t really care. You’ll figure it out.”
“And if I don’t?” Henry finally felt like he could put the gun down. After hearing everything he had to say, Henry realized that he was just taking a less violent approach toward what Henry had done with his summoned Shoggoth.
“Then I’ll be seeing you again.” The door opened, the door closed, and Henry was left alone in silence.