Characters belong to Marvel, blah blah blah...
You can only face Death so many times before she gets tired of showing you your life. Just before you died, you got one free look at everything you had done, good or bad, so that you could give your maker a fair account for your actions. Or inaction, as the case may be. Death indeed got the page for Howard's impending doom, and she chose to ignore it. She had visited Howard once today already, and was escorting his soul away when it was whisked back to his flesh.
Howard was a wildcard in the game of life. One of those individuals who was too entertaining to the gods to stay dead. So Death noted Howard's predicament, and went about her business. Following Deadpool around kept her very busy anyway.
* * *
[The bell tolls for thee duck.] Bong groaned in a flat voice, utterly devoid of his usual grandiose, and megalomaniacal flare. He was a pathetic loser among a large crowd of loser villains, but he normally had more clear motivation then just killing Howard. It normally involved getting Beverly to love him again, then humiliating Howard, then the killing part.
"Your name" Howard choked out as he struggled with Bong's steel grip, "is really, really stupid."
Beverly grabbed Bong's arm in both of hers, and held it back as Howard struggled to get loose. "You big stupid tin headed moron! When will you let it go? I don't want to be with you, even if Howard's not around!" Bong thrust back with his arm, shoving Beverly away without a comment. He seemed unusually focused too.
Howard's shirt ripped then, and he dropped to the ground, landing on his feathery butt, and began to scoot backward as fast as he could move. Bong followed him in long, measured steps. He quickly closed what little distance Howard had gained. His yellow boots crunch on the road grit as he strode boldly into the street. He moved fast, but methodically. Mockingly. Howard's mind reeled, not ion a panic, but in the mad dash survival way it normally did in situations like this, the moment slowing down. Beverly's muted voice, yelling something. Bong's golden helmet began to shine brighter, and for a second Howard thought he had somehow spontaneously combusted. Then reality snapped back and Howard heard the screeching protest of hot tires on pavement.
A taxi slammed into Bong at an unknown speed, but the results were satisfactory nonetheless, and the caped maniac flew through the air, indenting the pavement when he struck the street with a loud crash. His impact made more noise then expected, even given all his armor. Something tickled at the back of Howard's mind. The random insights during this bizarre encounter attempting to form a mental picture.
Are you just going to sit there Sally?" Old Howard grunted from the drivers side of Howard's taxi. Beverly had already piled into the backseat. She quickly opened the door for Howard. The front end was bent in, and the engine was grumbling in a bad way.
"Great entrance." Howard said, climbing into his cab. "Is there more to this plan?" he asked, pointing to Bong who was somehow getting back to his feet.
"What'da ya want? A three to five year plan?" Old Howard grinned for the first time.
"Later!" Beverly interrupted, before the two ducks could get into a sarcasm contest. "Just drive!"
"Relax toots. I lived this, remember?" Old Howard replied turning serious again. "Hold onto your butts." He stomped his webbed foot to the gas pedal. The tires screamed again as the shot past Bong, clipping off the passenger side mirror in the process. Bong began to fade into the distance behind them.
"Old Ducky, there's more to this then you've told us." Beverly said from the backseat. "If you knew Bong was going to ambush us, why didn't you warn us?"
"And what's up with old bell head anyway? He's acting strange." Howard realized the irony of suggesting a villain who called himself Bong, and wore a bell clapper on his arm strange. But by the standards of his life, it rated very low on the weird-o meter. Old Howard starred ahead, perhaps concentrating on driving. Perhaps avoiding accusing looks from himself and his past girlfriend.
"In the future, Doom takes over the world. His war with Ulton killed most of the heroes. The rising of Blackheart didn't help matters, though demons were a nice change from the machines. Oh, and the techno virus that turned most of New York into a land of the walking dead. Undead. Whatever. And I, you, we help this team of hero wannabe's stop Ultron from killing everyone on Earth." He paused and took a few breaths, seemingly winded. "So yeah, it wasn't just for self preservation that I saved your sorry feathery @ss." Another pause. "Though that factored in."
"I don't understand though." Beverly cut in. "If you died, how were you alive to come back?"
Old Howard shrugged. "Someone in this time fiddled with the time stream and created a glitch. We just took advantage of it." he looked into the rear view mirror expectantly. "And here he comes." Howard and Beverly looked back to see Bong somehow gaining on the taxi on foot. "Where's Wade when you need him?" he grumbled and accelerated more, driving through the gate to 'Klonk's car salvage yard.'
"Gee, I thought you would have to go to Jersey for a junkyard." Howard commented dryly.
"Uh guys... Where's Bong?" Beverly said.
"He's supposed to be--" Howard never finished because something slammed onto the hood of the taxi.
[There will be no escape duck.] He buzzed, slamming a gloved fist through the windshield, showering both Howard's in safety glass.
"Damn hairless apes!!" Old Howard swore loudly as he slammed the taxi into the nearest junk pile. Howard's ear holes was ringing from the crash, but he and Beverly looked okay. Old Howard though was bleeding a little from the corner of his bill. Bong, pinned between the car and the junk pile, apparently unfazed began to struggle himself loose.
"Why are we here?!!" Howard asked, trying to get his door open.
"All part of the plan." Old Howard coughed. "Just go. I got this." he wheezed semi sarcastically, holding his chest with one hand.
"What is--" Howard started to ask, but is cut off by a loud gong sound. BONG!! Any thought Howard had was scrambled by the mind shaking gong. Eyes shut, fumbling for the door handle with one hand as another gong ripped through his mind. BONG!!'This is how theworld ends' Howard thought crazily. 'Not with a bang, but with a bong.'
Maybe he blacked out for a moment. Maybe not. But the next thing he hears is not Lady Death's beckoning call, but a strange whirring sound, followed by a metallic scraping sound. Howard looked through the broken wind shield to see Bong being lifted my a huge car magnet. Struggle as he might, he couldn't break loose of its magnetic attachment. Howard and Beverly watched him be moved over a car crusher, and dropped. Beverly looked away as the machine activated, but Howard again felt that tickle in his mind, as if another clue had been dropped.
He and Beverly found Old Howard easily enough in the control box, slumped against the side. His breathing was labored, and his eyes had a dull glaze. "Okay." he grunted. "Now the timeline is stitched back together."
"Ducky, we have to get you to a hospital." Beverly knelt beside Old Howard, fumbling in her purse for her phone. Old Howard stopped her with a touch.
"They don't get here in time." He coughed. "I've lived this, remember? Now I get to die it too. And who knows? Maybe next time it will end differently." Having said all he intended to, Howard died for the second time in one day.
* * *
Old Howard, not so old now, but appearing as he did in his youthful thirties, looked down on his broken body, on the gently crying Beverly. on his younger self turning away to shed a tear.
"Hello Howard." Death said, appearing beside him. "Ready to go? Or do you want to spin again?" She chuckled. "Ow" she yelped as Old Howard kicked her shin.
"Don't even joke like that." He growled. A ghostly cigar appeared in his hand as he went into the light. "You coming or what?"