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Avenger Assembled

The Field Where I Watched You Die

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April 1, 2015

3 AM

Outside of Wittmund, Germany 

Alone, Dimitri Peshkov stood in the shadow of history. The Allies of Freedom monument, erected in 1953, loomed behind him, commemorating the heroic sacrifice of Lady Celtic, Renard Rouge, and Spitfire Jones on one terrible night seventy years previously. It did not depict the last surviving member of that tragically crushed superhero team. In 1953, no one in West Germany had wanted to praise "The Ice Commissar" as he had once been known. 

 

Comrade Frost lit a cigarette, its glow bright in the darkness against his pale skin and hood, and stared up at the monument, pacing back and forth beneath its shadow, heedless of the municipal airfield nearby. The airfield that had once been the airstrip that Wilhelm Kantor had escaped from - after his cold-blooded murder of the finest men and women Dimitri Peshkov had ever known. 

 

Silently, he remembered the past - and opened a thermos of piping-hot vodka laced with human blood. 

 

April 2, 1945 

Outside Königsberg, East Prussia

 

"WHERE ARE THEY!?" 

 

Comrade Frost grabbed the big SS officer by the throat and began to squeeze, feeling blood and flesh begin to freeze to ice beneath his cold grasp, mist billowing from his eyes and mouth as his eyes burned red and his fangs bulged horribly.

 

"WHERE ARE KANTOR AND NACHT-KREIGER!" He released his grasp and let the man babble, pleas for mercy, apologies, telling the angry ice controller he had no idea where Kantor had gone, he was just a low-level Thule Society member, he really knew. 

 

Frost grabbed the man's head and squeezed until his pleas stopped, then turned to his Red Army escorts, who were looking with a mixture of fear and awe at the Soviet champion. "The rest are as useless. None of them know where Kantor has gone." He pointed to the white-faced SS prisoners and then said, "Sh...no, even better. Strip them of their weapons and give them to those Jews they had made their test subjects. See what _they_ make of them." 

 

-

April 1, 2015 

3 AM 

Outside Wittmund, Germany 

 

The orders had come in from the usual sources, for all that the orders themselves were unusual. Titan had been dispatched to guard the Allies of Freedom monument in Wittmund, Germany on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of their deaths. There were evidently concerns about vandalism, concerns that seemed justified as he approached the monument by night (as per his orders) and found a man shouting at it in Russian, waving around a cigarette in one hand and what looked like a hip flask in the other. But why had he been pulled out of the United States to come here, halfway around the world, even to guard an important historical treasure. 

 

"<You would have given them a soldier's death, yes? Told me that we were defined by how we treated our enemies and that barbarism was no solution to barbarism.>" He waved in the general direction of the statue of Renard Rouge, his movements violent and his voice full of grief. "<But you were a hero, Amelie, a hero to the end. And I am, and ever shall be...FROST!>" Frost stomped his foot. "<A creature with a heart so cold!>" 

 

Titan knew this man. Comrade Frost; a Soviet hero and a brave man, a self-described 'ice monster' who had gone from an enemy agent to a loyal, trustworthy ally who was like his "least favorite brother." 

 

But he also knew he had never seen him before in his life. 

 

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Titan yawned, looking about the general memorial ground aside from Dimitri, “Dear God, why me. Of all the people, why am I the one guarding the memorials of the dead? What, they can’t send someone else?†As he looked around the general memorial, he spied the statues, images screeching on the inside of his head, names and faces of a life half-lived, “Hrng…†Titan kept the pain subsided, keeping himself at bay for the time being.

 

Titan slowly shifted into his metal form, his body stretching and sheening over with the shining metal that had characterized his life, “May as well have a conversation with someone…Hopefully, he knows English.†Titan stood next to Peshkov, his 8 foot tall, several ton frame looking down on him. Kinda towering over him like Godzilla would a skyscraper, “Excuse me, would you mind not drinking and yelling at the statues?â€

 

Titan looked over Peshkov, the pain starting to grow in his head. For some odd reason, Peshkov made his skin crawl, but not in the same way that a scary movie or creepy guy, it was something different…something strange.

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Frost jumped, startled by Titan's sudden appearance, and looked up at the giant steel form that was suddenly, heart-breakingly, all-too-familiar. "...Henry?" Suddenly, as he remembered exactly what was going on, Frost's eyes flared a murderous red. "You...you DARE!?!" He threw aside his bottle and cigarette and ripped the gloves from his shaking fingers, the damp night air turning the cold air on his hands into clouds of growing mist. "You filthy metal-faced whoreson, you dare wear that face and come to this place on a holy night?" He couldn't rule out a ghost - but then, Comrade Frost had met only a small handful of friendly ghosts. And the ghosts of friends, in his experience, were never the friendly ones. "Grue or robot or SHADOW clone, I will have none of you." He snarled, squaring off against Titan with murder in his eyes. "To Hel With You!" 

 

 

New Years Day 

1943 

 

Peshkov smiled, his fangs hardly visible, as he reached up to help tie Hank Griffin's tie, his hands cold even through the borrowed suit and tie the Human Tank wore. "You look beautiful for bride now, Comrade Griffin. Dr. Phipps-Gordon will be very proud." They were standing in a church corridor, Peshkov having braved a holy place for two of his best friends in the world. 

 

"Don't you mean handsome, Russkie?" asked Tommy, the teenager glowing with excitement as his brother prepared to wed, but not so distracted he couldn't shoot a friendly jibe at his ally the Soviet ice hero. 

 

"You heard me!" said Peshkov, laughing uproariously at his own joke. "So beautiful! Haw-haw!"

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Titan took several steps back, putting some distance between him and Dimitri, “What? Who the hell are you?! How do you know my name?†Titan’s head pounded with more and more images, images of a time long forgotten and long-passed. A snowy day, wedding bells, a baby crying…sadness. Painful, painful sadness. Darkness. Titan took in one long breath clutching onto his skull with both of his hands as another image ripped through his mind like an old movie playing in a theater.

-

June 5th, 1944

 

Oxford, England

 

Hank hurried through the house, the world around him in a daze. He was tarnished with the signs of battle, various dents and scratches marring his form following the past consecutive five months of constant battle on the front. “Tommy, hurry your #!% up! I am NOT missing the birth of my kids!†Gunner was following alongside him at a slowed pace, exhaustion having set in long ago, “Seriously, Hank? God…can’t ever get a break…â€

 

The doors of the house really didn’t stand a chance against the embattled from of the Human Tank, and neither had most other things, all things considered. Hank looked to the midwife, and then to Lady Celtic, “Did I…†he spotted the little pink infant, swaddled and silent. Hank’s feet pounded against the floor as he shuffled over to his wife and twins…time stopped as he smiled and rested his heavy metal head against Lady Celtics…He was finally home.

Edited by Avorez

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October 20, 1949 

Nepal

 

Frost stood over the bloody corpse, his eyes hard with frozen rage. Asano Ranaga, smiling in death, lay in a pool of his own blood, his Three Flames Katana at his feet. "I am denied even my REVENGE!" he screamed suddenly, an icy tornado erupting through the small room, freezing corpse, blood, and steel as solid as rock. He turned and stormed outside, where the NKVD strike team stood guard over the Green Dragon Society members they'd shot their way through minutes earlier, the stink of cordite still in the air. 

 

The officer in charge shot Frost a look, and Dimitri belatedly remembered how he must look - icicles on his face and hands, fangs bulging in his mouth and eyes burning red. "Orders, sir?" 

 

Frost stared at the corpse, then looked around the Buddhist temple the Green Dragon Society members had repurposed for their foul purposes. "Make sure they're all dead, then burn the place to the ground. Let him die unmarked, unmourned, and unloved." 

 

 

"Your name!?" To Frost's embarrassment, bloody tears were forming in his eyes. "What, you are the Human Tank reborn?! Traveled through time?!?" he taunted. "The real Henry Griffin would never stand so heedless beneath his beloved wife's monument. He could not so much as come to this place until her spirit lay at peace! And you expect me to believe you have simply magically reappeared after seventy years?" 

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“I am not Henry Griffin! My name is Henry Thompson! What the hell!? Why do I need to explain my self and who I am to you! How do you know my first name, dammit! Who the hell are you?†Titan smacked the side of his own head with a light degree of force, focusing on the outer pain on the side of his head and not the pain hammering at the inside of his skull, being swept into a generous amount of memories that absorbed him into a world that he had only seen in movies and on the television screen.

-

June 2nd, 1942

 

London, England

 

Hank and Tommy shuffled off the boat, Hank’s large metallic form towering over the vast amounts of American G.I.s, let alone his fifteen year old brother. As they stretched and felt the wondrous of land, Tommy elbowed Hank in the stomach and pointed over to the strangest sight he had ever seen: La Renard Rogue. Several of the others took notice of her, but kept shuffling along as she approached Hank and Tommy.

 

“The Human Tank and Gunner, yes?â€

 

Hank and Tommy looked to one another and Tommy opened his, by this point infamous, mouth “Yeah, toots, you could say that’s u—Hey!†Hank elbowed him in the side and shot him an admonishing look, “Yes, that’s us. Who are you?†Amelie smiled devilishly and looked around, “Well…I have an opportunity for the two of you. Your government has sent Sergeant Shrapnel as one of your super-soldiers, and we have further openings…interested?â€

 

Hank looked to Tommy and shrugged, then looked back to Amelie, “You’ve got Gunner and the Human Tank at your service, lady.† 

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"Who am I?! Who am I!?" Frost shook his finger at Titan, icy-cold fury burning deep in his flesh and words. "I am the man that fought alongside Henry Griffin for three bloody years! I am a soldier of the Allies of Freedom!" He thought of his best friends, his only friends, gone now for seventy long, long years." I am..." The only one left. The Griffin children are old men and women now. The new Blue Fox has no interest in speaking with me. Why should she? I'm the one who left the others to die. "I am, and ever shall be, Frost." He stared up at Titan and, fractionally, his frozen face softened. "Who are you? Who sent you to this place?" 

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Titan groaned, his head still pounding as he looked to Frost, “Yeah, figured I wouldn’t be that big of a deal over here. Probably why I was sent here. The name’s Titan, I’m under orders from AEGIS to protect the monument due to worries of vandalism on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ sacrifice at the nearby airfield. We have teams handling the overwatch on the larger monument at Lourdes in France but, or at least this is what I was told, they needed someone to handle guard duty on the monument here in Wittmund.†Titan rubbed his temples softly, his eyes clamped shut as he felt the massaging feeling of his fingers rubbing against the pain, “Though, why they couldn’t send someone else is beyond me. Usually I’m saddled with handling affairs out in Freedom City and the rest of the Mainland.â€

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"Aaaah..." Frost stepped back, running his hands through his hair, his blue hood falling back and revealing the white face and red eyes beneath. I can go to Russian government. Tell them that AEGIS has suspicious copy of Henry Griffin. And then...and then what?! They protest? Why would Putin care what American agency does with American heroes? He faced Henry, mastering himself as he had mastered a thousand situations before this. "I am experienced Russian superhero, Titan, and I can see you are sick man. Perhaps there is something in your past that has to do with this place, eh? I will call healer with Freedom League and she can help. And tell me your story," he offered as he took out his cellphone and began dialing a number back in Freedom City. Would she even bother to answer? It had to be nine o'clock Freedom City time, even if she was back in her home dimension. "What is your life?" 

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Frost's phone rang through, then did a rather unusual buzzy-clicky-beepy sound, perhaps whatever equipment Fleur used to route her cell phone interdimensionally. It rang again, then again, before finally connecting.

 

A world and half a world away, Stesha curled on her couch with a mug of hot cocoa and her photo albums, paging through them listlessly while Ammy slept peacefully in the next room. She'd strictly limited her hours of self-pity to times after Ammy was in bed and she was not on call anywhere, and no more than one really self-indulgent wallow per week, maximum. She knew it would probably be better for her to call a friend, or make arrangements to talk with a League psychologist, but the idea of having to explain everything was exhausting. At least the brief tabloid flurry seemed to be winding down, there just wan't that much to report on a no-fault divorce completely lacking in juicy details. Derrick's secret identity was as compromised as hers now, but somehow she didn't see that as being an issue anytime soon or possibly ever. And once she moved their Earth home into the DuTemps building, hopefully the last of the paparazzi would give up as well. At least they couldn't find her here.

 

She was looking through the photos of Ammy's birth and just starting to get a good brood going when suddenly her phone began to chime with the strident tones of a League call. For a scant moment she wanted to ignore it. She wasn't on call tonight and if the world was ending again, she almost didn't want to know. But that wasn't how she handled things. She blew out a quick sigh, then picked up the phone, all business. "This is Fleur de Joie. How can I help?" 

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“Hm, well…†Titan rubbed his chin slowly, looking about the area, “I was born in…well, I don’t really know where. I woke up in a hospital on Fort Riley in the American Heartland in early 2001 when I was about 11. The way it was explained to me, there was some sort of accident that killed my mom and dad. Put me in the hospital too. I don’t really have any memories before that as weird as it may sound. I was adopted by Sergeant Williams when I was thirteen, but he let me keep my last name. Kinda bumped around base to base after that. My powers manifested themselves around that time, I attended the USMA, and then from there I joined the military. Now…well, I’m the AEGIS liaison. Occasionally they have me do assignments like this, but this is the first time I’ve had anyone like…†Titan looked Frost up and down, the pale white skin and blood red eyes unsettling him a little, “you around before.â€

 

Titan cocked his head and raised his eyebrow a little, "Who are you calling?"

Edited by Avorez

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Stesha heard Russian profanity on the line before she recognized Comrade Frost's voice. "Fleur de Joie. There is bad trouble. I need to see you in Wittmund, Germany - can you teleport to GPS signal in cellphone?" For all of his problems with modern technology, he had learned the necessary tools of his trade easily enough. "There is super-powered man who may need medical attention. And other problems." 

 

She heard him say on the other end, "That is very interesting story, Titan, yes...very interesting indeed. I am speaking to Fleur de Joie of the Freedom League, you know her, pretty girl with green hair and magic flowers. She can help you with your headache and we can solve the...the problem here. Yes, we can find solution." 

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Titan raised an eyebrow, Man, this guy knows Fleur de Joie? Who or...what the hell am I dealing with? “So, let me get this straight, you’re…calling someone here, to root around in my head, because why again?†Titan cocked his head even further, a little concerned with what Frost’s answer would be to that particular line of questioning. Titan grumbled a little on the inside, kicking himself for taking this idiotic assignment halfway across the world, Stupid damned assignment…bringing back these damned headaches and visions…oh well, at least now I can get some form of treatment for this thanks to Frost.

Edited by Avorez

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Stesha bit back the urge to remark that she knew at least those Russian words, but any snarkiness was swept away by his next words. No matter how uncomfortable he made her personally, he was a competent hero and wouldn't call her in on an emergency for anything frivolous. "I'm on my way," she told him simply, directing her phone to locate his, then call up a satellite image that would let her find a good plant. While it did that, she hastily dumped out her cocoa and tossed on her costume, then called the next emergency babysitter on her list, one of Ammy's teacher's at the creche. A quick flower portal had Ammy sent to Homewood, still asleep in her bed and unaware of being moved. Honestly, Stesha didn't know how hero parents without teleportation managed. Picking up her phone again, she touched the flowers in her hair and disappeared.

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"She is no telepath," Frost assured Titan, "but a healer. She can help you with headache and after that we can figure out what has happened." We can figure out who it was who raised the Human Tank from the dead. He walked off a few paces and lit another cigarette, the scent as old-fashioned as the man himself. "What has happened...indeed. I have seen many things in recent years. Set the Destroyer returned as Millennial child. Robotic invaders from beyond Moon. Portal to Hell and world saved from insect plague..." He looked up at Titan again, his voice cold. "But you, my friend, are something new."

 

-

 

January 1945

France 

 

"I am dead man, Comrade Tank," said Frost as the two men kept watch beneath the shocking-bright moon overhead. "Killed by the Reich, resurrected by Lady Hela, with hole where heart should be." He laid his hand on his uniform chest, ready to spring out of sight if any of the passing German patrols in the neighborhood took an interest in their farmhouse. "I do not think there are any girls for me out there. Not all men are as fortunate as you and brother of yours, with that little lady of his." 

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Titan sighed and wandered over to the statue of La Renard Rouge, taking a seat on the basin of the statue in much the same way Caesar would have before he was stabbed at Pompey’s statue. It was rather fitting, really. The Human Tank alive again, and sitting in his long-dead friend’s shadow, life had funny ways of leading them all back together again. Perhaps they were intertwined by fate, perhaps they were all part of one great big cosmic joke on itself. Titan didn’t know the answer, in fact, he didn’t even know who he was anymore, “How can she heal me then, Frost?†Titan gripped the side of his head once more, a ripple from time coursing through his skull again.

-

January, 1945

 

France

 

The Human Tank smiled a little and looked to Frost, “You know, Dimitri, you really are a good guy. I’m willing to wager that there is someone out there for you, bud.†He wrapped his arm around Dimitri, “Look at it this way, old friend, if someone like me…†he gestured to his large metallic frame, “can get someone like this…†he showed Frost the picture that he kept on hand of Lady Celtic, “_You_, of all people can get someone too! And don’t compare us to Tommy, Dimitri.†Hank sighed looking to the Eiffel Tower, finally liberated after a long, long war, “He may have powers, but not like you and I.â€

 

Henry continued along with Frost for a moment, soaking in his words, “And sure, there may be a hole where your heart once was…but that isn’t what makes you a monster, Dimitri.†Hank stopped and turned to Frost, “You are who you choose to be, Dimitri. You choose who you are with your powers. As one…brother to another, Dimitri, don’t lose sight of who you are. Never lose sight of who you are. You are who you choose to be, and I’ll be with you ever step of the damned way. Me, Tommy, Amanda, Troy and Avril. You may be dead, Dimitri…but you’re still family to me.â€

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There was a soft rustle like the wind moving through plants, and suddenly a struggling dandelion near one of the statues burst into life as though viewed in time-lapse photography. It unfurled a half-dozen new leaves and bloomed a brilliant yellow flower... then proceeded to grow, and grow, and grow. When the weed was nearly six feet tall, the flower tilted sideways and yawned open to emit Fleur de Joie in her trademark brown cowl and green uniform, the logo of the Freedom League emblazoned proudly on her sleeve.

 

She looked around for a moment to get her bearings, then pushed her hood back. Stesha looked much like she normally did, except that her hair was braided down tonight in one long plait down her back, rather than the intricate loops or braided bun she tended to favor. She glanced to Frost to make sure she was in the right place, then gave Titan a reassuring smile. "Hi, I'm Fleur de Joie. Are you hurt? I can help you." 

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Titan looked over as Fleur de Joie came out from the thicket of plants, not overly surprised by her little act of teleporting via plants. He had seen weirder things than that occur around the world, in fact, he had seen stranger things in Kansas of all places! Titan rose from his seat and moseyed over to Fleur, “You know, I’ve only ever seen you on television, and occasionally as a dossier across my desk…ah, well, enough about work and play. How can I describe this…†Titan pondered for a moment and it was almost like a light bulb shined above his head, “I get headaches, bad ones. Damn near completely debilitating. I don’t get them often, only when I’m around certain things, certain people, certain places. They’ve been particularly bad here, my head’s been throbbing since I came near this monument, coupled with…†Titan paused and looked over to Frost and then back to Fleur, “It’s been unbearable. I keep getting these images in my head, almost like residual feedback from…well, frankly ma’am, I don’t know what.†

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Frost lit another cigarette and paced almost frantically, the other one having actually gone out in his hand from excessive heat drain. "Yes, yes, significant psychic trauma at the sight of this holy place, and a life story that begins, what was it, fourteen years ago? Adopted by the military?" Frost was silent for a moment, and when he spoke his voice was thick with unaccustomed emotion - a great grief and dawning anger that was altogether new for Fleur, who had mostly heard him cold and snarky in his interactions with others. "His face, Fleur de Joie, do you recognize his face?" Frost looked almost wild in the dark, the glowing flame of his cigarette matching the glowing red lights in his eyes.  

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"I think I should be able to do something for the pain," Fleur began, only to break off when Comrade Frost spoke. She stared at him, startled by the emotion, then looked around at the place where they stood. Even in the dark the statues were visible, each one lit by its own halogen spotlight so they stood like brilliant sentinels in the lonely night. Suddenly things clicked into place for Stesha, the place, the date, an anniversary everyone knew but often forgot on the day unless reminded, and she felt an unexpected welling of sympathy for her erstwhile teammate. "The Allies of Freedom," she said softly. "They were your friends, weren't they. I'm sorry." 

 

She raised a hand, and suddenly all over the grassy field flowers began to bloom, thousands of them, roses, tulips, lilies, poppies. The memories of a thousand old memorial bouquets rose from the soil and waved quietly in the nighttime air. Fleur took a deep breath and unclipped her flashlight from her belt, thumbing it on and moving it in Titan's direction. "May I?" She centered the beam on his midsection so as not to blind him while getting a look at his face. "He seems familiar," she said uncertainly. "But not like anyone I know. Like someone I saw in a photo?" Lowering the flashlight, she stepped towards Titan and brushed pollen-smeared fingers lightly over his forehead. "This should help a little." 

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Titan let the tension in his shoulders go slowly as his face began to untwist itself. Whatever Fleur had done, it gave Titan at least a little bit of comfort, killing off the pain slowly yet steadily. He could feel it fade and drain away slowly and surely, as he opened his white eyes and looked over to Frost, noting the similarities between Frost’s eyes and the orange-red of the cigarette, “You know, Frost,  those things will kill you…†Titan chuckled to himself a little bit, “But I guess that isn’t much of an issue for you.†Titan rolled his shoulders and sighed, looking to Fleur as he moved about, stretching to keep himself relatively awake, “In a picture? Where would someone see a picture of me? On the news? I doubt you’d see me on the news, of all things. Usually AEGIS keeps me busy enough doing things around the city and the occasional abroad mission that I doubt I would be on the news much, if at all. Hell! I had to leave a party a few months back to handle an issue!â€

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"I don't know," Fleur frowned and shook her head, stepping back a few paces. "Just a familiar face, maybe."  She wiped the pollen from her fingers with a handkerchief, then looked up at all the imposing granite figures. "It's quiet here," she observed, turning a circle in the middle of her field of flowers. "But I guess it's late here, what is it, three, four in the morning? Most people don't visit at this hour. You said there was some other problem too, over the phone?" she asked Frost, her voice lacking the impatience it might have had under other circumstances. 

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"Do you not see?!?" declared Frost, wildly gesticulating with his lit cigarette. "This is the face of Henry Griffin reborn! This is the Human Tank! Cloned by some foul sorcery, some unspeakable evil!" Angrily, he doused the cigarette's flame with his thumb. "It would explain everything! The memories full of amnesia, to hide some growing tank or homunculus vault!" Frost was shaking with barely suppressed fury. "The secret missions, so that the pitiful few of us left who remember Henry Griffin's face could not be wise to it!" He knelt down and touched one of the flowers grown by Fleur, only for his eyes to close in grief as the flower died at his icy-cold touch. Smoothly, he rose to his feet. He stared up at the giant and declared suddenly, "This is where she died, Henry!" He was jabbing at Titan's chest, heedless of the size difference between them. "You told me she died for you! For you and Thomas! And you asked me why I wasn't there! Do you remember!?!"

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Titan sat in the darkness in a stunned silence at the anger that flowed from Frost’s mouth as he felt the finger of the thermovore beat against his metallic outer shell like a june bug against a tank. It did not take long for Titan’s face to twist and shape into an anger-washed parody of the peaceful visage that he had worn prior to that, “What gives you the right to dictate to me about something that I didn’t even do!†Titan’s fists clenched as his voice began to come to an roaring crescendo “You want to talk about something, Frost? I am not Henry Griffin. I am not a man who died in 1946! I may be his clone, I might not be, but that doesn’t make me him. SO THE NEXT TIME YOU DECIDE TO TELL ME WHAT I SAID, MAKE SURE IT ACTUALLY WAS ME!â€

 

-

April 1st, 1945

 

Wittmund Airfield, Germany

 

Henry Griffin lay on the ground, broken and wounded, blood escaping from his metallic form for the first time, the sounds of a battle rippling through his ears. Nacht-Krieger and Kantor had finally done them in, he had figured. ‘Is this the field where I die?’ he asked himself, his head tilting over to peer at Tommy, just as wounded and nearing death. This was the end for the Human Tank...or so it appeared.

 

“Amelie, keep them occupied!â€

Lady Celtic slid in next to her husband and brother-in-law, throwing her protective shield up and beginning the healing process, their wounds knitting back together slowly as she kept them guarded…

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"All right now, let's just calm down for a moment here," Fleur said firmly, stepping between the two angry men. Vines rose from the ground and nudged against Frost's chest, pushing him painlessly backwards a few steps till he was no longer in poking range. "Both of you. This is sacred ground, especially tonight," she reminded them, then turned to Frost. "Dmitri, he does look familiar, but even if you're right, he remembers nothing. Grandchild or clone or just man who bears a strong resemblance, he's not the man who was your friend. They're gone, Mitya, they've been gone a lifetime now." 

 

"And you," she turned to Titan, "I don't know what you know or suspect about yourself. I know you probably didn't come looking for a fight and it's confusing to get one. But can't you see he's grieving?" she demanded, feeling only a little bit hypocritical to be considering her colleague's feelings now and not before. But he had never looked quite so raw or wounded before. "Have some respect, please." 

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