Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2002 19:42:47 -0800 (PST) From: James Geckler <email@example.com> Subject: Punisher 4 Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. It has no intentions of resembling any real persons dead or alive. This is entirely from my imagination, with a little help from already established sources. This story is based loosely on the comic book character "The Punisher" from Marvel Comics. Other characters may appear from Marvel comics as well as DC Comics. Punisher and all related characters copyright Marvel Comics. Blade and all related characters copyright Marvel Comics. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel copyright Joss Whedon, United Paramount Network and Warner Bros. Respectively. I have written another story on nifty entitled "Tales of a Real Dark Knight". It is in the Celebrity/Boy Bands section. Batman may appear in this story once or twice, as the Punisher may appear in "Tales of a Real Dark Knight". Any comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you and enjoy. Chapter 4 Wake-Up Call Davey woke up to the alarm sounding. Grumbling he got up and showered. He went downstairs of his house and saw his mother preparing breakfast. "Good morning," he greeted. "Good morning, Davey. How did you sleep last night?" "Okay," he replied. Davey sat down and ate some of his breakfast. Then he headed off to school. Harris walked up the street towards the Junior High alone. He had no friends, anyone to hang out with. It wasn't that he didn't try to make friends. He did. He was friendly and kind and helpful. The fact that he was gay wasn't a problem either. Harris was also the quiet type. He didn't go for partying like most of the students did. And when it came to gay friends, Harris didn't fit the bill of what they wanted around. He was a bit overweight and of average looks. Most of the gay teens in the school wanted "attractive" people hanging around. They never welcomed him into their circle. He felt out of place. As Harris closed in on the school, he steeled himself for comments that would be made about him. He stepped past a small group of girls who did not even bother to look at him. "It's okay," Harris said to himself. "They have their own friends. I shouldn't expect everyone to say hello to me. They have their own lives." Harris walked up the cement steps toward the front doors. He looked up and saw the "pretty boys" in their group. Davey locked his bike up at the bike rack and headed towards his friends by the doors. "Hey, guys!" he greeted. "Hey stud!" one said to him. "How about some sugar?" "How about not?" Davey replied with a grin. The guys laughed at the little rejection Davey gave. The guy who said it pretended to be wounded. "That hurts, man." "Sorry, Charlie." "Hey, look whose coming," Charlie said. "It's Harris." "Don't look at him," one said. "He'll think we want to be friends or something." They listened for the door to open up and Harris to enter the school. "God, can you imagine him in our group? That would ruin us as the hot group. Girls wish we were straight and the straight ugly guys wish they were as gorgeous as us. Damn, it's good to be beautiful." Davey laughed and agreed with his friends. Harris heard what the guys outside the door said. He wasn't deaf. He also knew what they thought, what everyone thought about him. For the umpteenth time this year, he locked the hurt away and headed off to class. Reverend Exeter arrived at the church early. He had big plans for the day. As he stepped into his office, the phone rang. "Hello...Yes, Wilson. I'm getting ready to implement the first stage. The group will be arriving shortly. As soon as we can, we'll ship them off...No, I don't expect any problems. Columbus is ripe for our mission. No resistance from anyone...I'll call when it's done." Exeter hung up the phone as seven men and women entered the office wearing gray jumpsuits and hefty strange looking weapons. "Hello, Lilandra. Is your group ready?" "Yes, sir. The neural paralyzers are charged and ready. We have a crate of collars that suppress the X-gene. We are ready to begin. Just say the word." "The word is given. Godspeed." "Thank you, sir." Lilandra and her group headed out of the office. They climbed into the three vans and headed off toward the schools. Blade and Punisher finished up work on the motor of the car and sat down. "You thirsty?" Blade asked. "Yeah. What do you have?" "Not much. Coffee and some soda." "Either is fine with me." Blade stood up and went over to the small refrigerator. Punisher stood up and looked around. "How did you guys meet?" "It's a funny story. Ty and Tandy, that's Cloak and Dagger, were hunting vampires when I was hunting vampires. They mistook me for a vampire, for obvious reasons. We ended up getting attacked and together we slayed the thing." "How did Marvel Boy get involved?" "He discovered he's a mutant a few years ago when he hit puberty. After hearing about our exploits, he decided he would seek us out. He became Marvel Boy and helped us." Punisher nodded acknowledgement to Blade's story. Blade tossed a can of soda to Punisher. Punisher opened it and drank deeply. "So you're gay, huh?" Blade asked. "Yeah." "In case you couldn't tell, Marvel Boy is, too. I'm bisexual. Ty and Tandy are both heterosexual." Punisher just nodded. He thought Ty was attractive but with Ty being heterosexual Punisher knew nothing could come of it. A door opened and Ty came out in nothing but boxers. His nicely defined, though not very large, chest was easily visible. His nicely ripped arms and abs were the focus of Punisher's attention for a moment. Ty was smooth. This turned Punisher on a bit more. Quickly he looked away. It's one thing to recognize that one is gay. It's another to be comfortable with the sensations that one has repressed for most of his or her life. Weatherby had done just that. Often times he would plan to shower when no one else showered. He did his best to avoid and repress any stimulation his body had when he looked at fellow officers. If he allowed it to surface, he would have had a hard time with the soldiers and would have been kicked out of the service, which is what happened anyway when he came to the defense of a feminine Marine officer. "It's not good for people to have to conform to society's standards," Punisher thought. "Society should conform to meet ALL the needs of its people." Harris went through the day hearing rude comments being made about him. Whether it was "fat ass" or "faggot", the words cut deep. It would have been different for him if he had friends to talk to, to hang out with. But it seemed no one in the school wanted him as a friend. To not have friends and live in a society that is relationship-oriented is not living at all. It is existing. Hardening one's heart and repressing the emotions are the daily exercises of those without friends. It makes for a tough and lonely life. After lunch, Harris went into the music room, which was empty as the music teacher was out to lunch. He walked over to the piano and sat down. His parents had provided piano lessons for him since he was little. Harris always loved music, the piano in particular. The music score to "Annie" sat opened before him. The song it was open to was "Tomorrow". His fingers found the keys and he began to play and sing. The sun'll come out tomorrow Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow There'll be sun Just thinking about tomorrow Clears away the cobwebs and the sorrow Till there's none When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely I just stick out my chin, and grin and say The sun'll come out tomorrow So you gotta hang on till tomorrow Come what may Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you, tomorrow You're always a day a way When I'm stuck with a day that's gray and lonely I just stick out my chin, and grin and say The sun'll come out tomorrow So you gotta hang on till tomorrow Come what may Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you, tomorrow You're always a day a way Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you, tomorrow You're always a day a way Davey stood at the door listening as Harris finished up his song. Davey was entranced by Harris's voice. It was beautiful. And his piano playing was marvelous. Davey wiped a tear as it fell from his eye. He heard footsteps coming and he turned quickly to see Larry, one of his gay friends, coming up. "Hey, Davey. What are you doing?" "I thought I heard someone in the music room." Larry looked through the door and saw Harris sitting at the piano. "It's fat ass Harris," Larry said loudly. Harris took a deep breath and sighed. He knew what was coming and at the moment he didn't want to deal. Slowly he stood up and walked over to the door. Larry, however, would not let him out. "Where are you going, Harris?" Larry said with an evil grin on his face. "Please move, Larry." "What will you do if I don't?" "Larry, just move. I didn't do anything to you. You don't need to do this to me." "Didn't you just call me a dickhead?" "What?" Harris said knowing full well he didn't say anything derogatory to Larry. "I didn't call you anything." Larry continued with his trumped up accusations. "I think I did hear you call me dickhead. Didn't he, Davey?" Davey just stood there frozen by fear, fear of being rejected by his friends and peers. He may have been a powerful mutant, but he was also a teenager. "What do you think is the proper punishment for being called that name, Harris?" Larry continued not giving Davey the chance to answer. "Maybe you should repay me by sucking on my dickhead. But you would like that too much. You would be proud to tell everyone how you sucked my cock. What other some other ways you could repay me?" Harris hung his head in shame. He felt so helpless. It was as if his muscles became too weak to move his body. He stood there and took this humiliation by Larry and Larry's friend Davey. Davey may not have added anything to Larry's comments, but he didn't do anything to stop Larry either. "Maybe you should lick my boots. Or go into the cafeteria and yell really loud that you are a fat ass." Larry began laughing at that one. "That sounds appropriate. I can't wait to see the look on everyone's face when you say that in the cafeteria." Tears welled up in Harris's eyes and began flowing down his cheek. "Aw, is the little baby going to cry?" Larry asked in baby talk. "Do you need to go home to your mommy?" Adult sounding footsteps came down the hallway and Larry turned giving feigned seriousness and concern. The teacher walked up to the students. "What's going on?" he asked. "Harris was upset about something," Larry said. "Davey and I came to find out what was going on and to see if we could help." "Thanks, Larry. That's thoughtful of you and Davey. Go back to lunch. I'll see what I can do for Harris." "Sure thing," Larry said. He turned his back to the teacher to address Harris. "I'll be around if you need anything." His voice conveyed sincerity but his facial expression said, "If you tell, I will make your life a living hell". "Come on, Larry," Davey said pulling on Larry's arm. The two friends went down the hall leaving Harris and the teacher behind. "Was all that really necessary?" Davey asked in a whisper. "Don't you think you were getting a little out of hand?" "What are you talking about, Davey? We are beautiful people. Why in the hell are ugly, fat asses allowed to be around us? They need to have their own area of the world to live in. The north would be good. All that body fat can keep them warm. And they can wear ski masks and hoods to cover up their hideous faces." Larry began laughing hard at his own words. Davey felt dirty and disgusting inside. Together the two friends headed back to the cafeteria. In the principal's office, a woman in a gray jumpsuit stood before the principal addressing her. "Ma'am, I understand your concern for the mutant students safety. We don't want to hurt them either. But some of their potential abilities could cost the lives of all the students. The Friends of Humanity task force is here to ensure that all are safe. To guarantee safety, we must remove the mutant threat from area schools. If we can help the younger mutants, we may be able to protect all of society before the threat explodes out of proportion and people fall victim to pro-mutant propaganda." The principal looked upon Lilandra narrowly. She was uncertain as to her course of action. Federal policy allowed for all U.S. citizens of minor age to be schooled. "The Reverend Exeter is backing up the Friends of Humanity. There are several others in the area who are supportive of us as well. Think about it. Why would a Reverend back us if it were not moral in the eyes of God to deal with the mutant population?" "I see your point. But Reverend Exeter is a minister of one religious body. There are many other religions that may be supportive of mutant teens being in this school. Wouldn't it be better to help the students accept the diversity of the human race?" "Diversity is one thing, ma'am. Superiority is another. If these mutants grow up feeling superior, who is to say they won't start killing if someone doesn't agree with them. We must show them that they cannot use their powers for their own personal gain. It's wrong. "And as far as other religions go, we have several Jewish, Muslim, and Christian organizations backing us all across the city, state and country. It's not a matter of it being one religion or one religious denomination's issue. It's a countrywide concern. We must respect the voice of the majority in our society. That's a democracy." The principal sighed heavily. "Okay. But do it with respect and decency. Be discreet. I don't want a scene in front of the student body." "If there is cooperation, it will be very discreet. But with the powers some of these mutants have, I cannot guarantee anything." The principal nodded and Lilandra exited the office. She went out to her van, grabbed her mutant detector, attached some X-gene repressor collars to her belt, and grabbed her stun gun. She motioned to her team and they exited the vans and headed to the school. "Take the mutants into custody by any means necessary," Lilandra ordered before they entered the cafeteria. "You should have seen Harris cry like a baby," Larry said to his friends at the lunch table. He was telling the account of what happened with Harris moments ago. The table burst out laughing, except for Davey who was distracted by the people he saw outside the doors. A woman wearing a gray jumpsuit was addressing them. Then she turned and a man opened the door. She entered the school followed by the group behind her. "Hello, students," she greeted with a smile. Her words seemed gentle and sincere, however the look in her eyes was harsh. "I'm with the Friends of Humanity. This is one of their many task forces. We are here to take those of you with the X-gene, more commonly referred to as mutants, to a special building where we will attempt to cure you. Those of you who are mutants, we ask you to form a line right here where we can register you. "For those of you who believe you can deceive us, we have a device that detects mutants. It will do you no good to lie. In fact it will make things harder for you if you do not come with us. "Do not worry about your families at home. Most of them have cooperated and told us where you attend school. They are all notified as to what will be happening. They send their love. "The Friends of Humanity mean to help mutants live normal, productive lives. We don't want you to be a danger to your friends and classmates. Please, quietly line up." Several students reluctantly lined up. Lilandra smiled and encouraged more to do so. Davey remembered the Punisher talking about the Friends of Humanity in his Suburban. Punisher wasn't too fond of the group. He said it was a hate group in the guise of morality. "You don't care about mutants," Harris yelled. "You are a bunch of hate mongers!" Harris picked up a chair and threw it at Lilandra. She jumped aside as it came at her. She held up the mutant detector and aimed it at Harris. "He's not a mutant but he's obviously a sympathizer! Get him!" Harris took off running right after he threw the chair, which gave him a head start on two of the task force officers. Davey beheld the courage of the student picked on and put down by most of the school. Again he was moved. "I have to help him," he thought. Before Lilandra could turn to the students in the cafeteria, Davey jumped up and ran down a small hallway. Lilandra turned back and scanned the young boy fleeing. She smiled then went about rounding up mutants already in the cafeteria. As the students were identified and lined up, her officers placed X-gene repressor collars around the necks of the mutants. Harris ran up the stairs hoping no one was chasing him. He was breathing hard and stopped to catch his breath. To his dismay, two F.O.H. officers were coming up the stairs in hot pursuit. "Damn," he said and he ran down the hall. At the first intersection, he turned and slouched down into the corner hoping they wouldn't see him. The two officers made their way up the stairs and turned the corner. The boy was nowhere in sight. Slowly they made their way down the corridor searching for him with their eyes. The X-gene detector did no work on finding specific people. And since Homo sapiens outnumbered Homo superiors it would be impossible to use the device to find one specific person. "What are you looking for?" a voice said behind them. They turned to see a young teenage boy standing behind them. "There's a mutant sympathizer up here. He attacked our commander. We are going to detain him and remand him over to the Friends of Humanity for trial." "Trial? He's just a teenager. He never hurt anybody." "He sympathizes with aberrant human beings. He needs to be re-educated." "How do you do that?" "Simple. We..." His mutant detector beeping interrupted the soldier. "There's a mutant close by. You better leave the area. I'd hate for you to get hurt." Davey smiled at the soldier. Realization donned on him that the boy standing behind them was the mutant. He went for his stun gun and turned to the boy. Before he could pull it out, however, the boy grabbed the man and spun him into his partner. His partner, who had his gun out of his holster, lost his grip on the stun gun. It skidded around the corner. "Why you little..." the soldier said trying to get up. He stood pulling out his stun gun. Suddenly he shook as if electric shocked, then fell over unconscious. His partner did the same. Davey looked over and saw Harris holding the stun gun. "Are you okay?" Davey asked. "Get out of here," Harris said. "They will come after you. You shouldn't stay here either. I know someone who can help us, someone who does not agree with the Friends of Humanity. He may be able to help." "What do you care of my safety?" Harris asked. "Why do you care about my fat ass self?" Davey could see the contempt in Harris's eyes and he understood it. Harris had no reason to trust Davey. Sure Davey just helped Harris. But it could also be seen as Davey helping other mutants along with his self. "Harris, please. I don't want you to get hurt." "Yet you stood by as Larry humiliated me." "You don't understand why..." "You're damn right I don't understand why! I have done NOTHING wrong to anybody! Yet day-in and day-out I get treated like a worthless piece of crap! The gays in this school don't care about me because I'm not as attractive as everyone else! The straights in this school don't care about me because I'm gay and unattractive! And I don't understand why!" "Hold it right there!" an F.O.H. officer said. To Be Continued... Things seem to be heating up in Columbus. The Friends of Humanity are becoming more and more active. For more on the Friends of Humanity, you can read "Tales of a Young Mutant" and they may appear in "Tales of a Superhero Band" as well. Questions and comments are always welcome.