Hello, and today on Peace, Love, and Comics I want to take a break from my own short story, Project Element. Recently, I read Death of the Inhumans by Donny Cates, Ariel Olivetti, and Jordie Bellaire. It was a great comic and inspired me to write a quick short story about Black Bolt and Medusa.
A couple of days ago, Stan Lee passed away. And I started writing this story before that. But I thank him and Jack Kirby for creating these characters and giving us these beautiful worlds to explore. May they both rest in peace. I hope you enjoy this short fan fiction. About Black Bolt and Medusa, and a quiet night on a space ship. Enjoy.
Quick Note: This story takes place just a bit after Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward’s run on Black Bolt. Black Bolt was held prisoner in a weird prison but escaped with the help of some friends. Something he never knew he needed before.
Silence. Nothing but silence. Some say it is impossible to hear complete silence. The world and the universe are constantly in motion, constantly moving, making noise. Silence is one of the most elusive, and most yearned for things. By gods and humans alike. And yet, here it is. Silence.
Black Bolt enjoyed it. He relished in it. The past few months had proven tough for the Midnight King. He had been a prisoner in an intergalactic prison. He’d been tortured, killed, and brought back to life. The jailer, as he was called, wanted Black Bolt to name his crimes. Repent his crimes. And at first, Black Bolt thought it silly. He thought of the punishment he would inflict on the jailer when he, the King of the Inhumans, claimed this jail as his own and reigned supreme.
But, in that experience, he grew. Learned the importance of compassion and acceptance. He was killed more times than he could count in that jail. And in some strange way, he felt like a new person since returning home.
So now, he wakes at strange hours of the night. And he thinks. He’s been reunited with the love of his life. His queen, Medusa. And now he has friends. But his Inhuman kingdom remains fractured, broken from events in the years past. Black Bolt is unsure of the future. Unsure of what he will do to ensure his people’s safety. But he enjoys the silence.
“Why are you up, my love?” a soft voice said behind him.
Black Bolt turned and saw her. In the moonlight, her long red hair looked more beautiful than ever. But there was a look on her face. A look of worry and inquiry. She wanted to know what was on his mind. And Black Bolt wanted to tell her. Of course, he couldn’t talk. The smallest sound from him would level the building they were in. But he and Medusa had grown close over the years. They had a bond that most didn’t. Still, he wanted her to know exactly what was on his mind, so he decided to use sign language.
“I’m scared, Medusa,” he signed.
Medusa didn’t say anything. She just stood there, as beautiful as ever, with the same worried look on her face.
“I haven’t been a good King,” he continued. “My time in that cruel prison taught me that much. I’ve relied too much on fear and tradition. I feel as if I’ve stunted our people’s growth.”
Medusa still didn’t speak. Instead, she looked out the window and took in the view. Black Bolt decided to do the same. Since returning home, Black Bolt decided to travel. It was just them two, in a small ship they took from home. Not too far from home however, he wanted to stay within reach of his people. The prison changed him though. Made him appreciate things a bit more. They were slightly above Earth, and he could see the Moon as well. He turned and looked at Medusa.
“You’ve been away a long time,” she finally said. “And I’ve missed you. You know that.”
He felt something on his lower back. It was her hair. He smiled as it tickled his back and started to tickle his shoulder. He loved when Medusa did that.
“You’re strong, Blackagar. Stronger than anyone I’ve ever met.”
“I’m not as strong as you,” he signed.
“Well, you’re not wrong there.”
“Our people have been through so much recently. We’ve gained new allies, made new enemies, and we’ve made mistakes along the way.”
Black Bolt thought of his many careless actions over the years. Too many to count. So many in fact, his memory was a bit hazy on some of them. He feared that the ones he could not remember were the most atrocious, the most shameful.
“But we’re still strong,” Medusa said. “You’re still strong.”
He wasn’t sure if that was true.
“I sense the change in you, Blackagar. When you look at me, I feel your eyes. When you touch me, I can feel your love. I’m not asleep all the time, you know.”
“I’m not keeping anything from you, my love. I promise,” he signed.
“I know,” she said. “You need time to think, to process.”
She paused. Her hair wasn’t touching him anymore. Instead, she moved her head to his chest. She slowly pressed her head against it and let out a deep sigh. Black Bolt kissed her on the top of her head.
“Compassion doesn’t make you weak. To be a true king, one must learn to balance compassion and aggression. Your heart is full. The fullest I have ever seen.”
“So, I’m still worthy? To be your king?” he signed.
“Now, more than ever.”
Black Bolt enjoyed the silence of space. Enjoyed thinking about things he could not understand. As a King, he was expected to be perfect. In every area of his life, people expected him to be the best of the best. And for a time, he believed it. Believed that he was better than anyone and everyone. Believed that if he screamed hard enough, some divine intervention could help him topple the Celestials themselves. And for no other reason than because he was a King. King of the Inhumans.
How foolish of me, he thought.
“I guess I’m just guilty,” he signed. He stepped away from the window and sat on the bed. Medusa joined him. She put her hand softly on his shoulder.
“We still have life,” she said. “We still have a chance to make things right. Don’t forget that.”
She’s right, he thought. In prison, Black Bolt met a man named Creel. A callous, charismatic man, and a man who became Black Bolt’s friend. It was in Creel, that Black Bolt learned about a side of life he hadn’t considered, or even respected.
In Attilan, Creel would have been a degenerate. A low-class Inhuman with a job worthy of his mouth and attitude. But that was before. A real bond formed with Creel, and he learned that not everything can be judged solely on appearances. Creel had a family, people he cared about, and throughout all the stuff he had been through and done in life, he had morals. And when it came time to atone for his actions, to be a real hero and take responsibility, he didn’t hesitate. Black Bolt wondered how many Inhumans were like that. How many were given unfortunate circumstances in life? How many had he ignored?
“You’re right, Medusa. As always,” he signed smiling.
Black Bolt decided shortly after his escape from prison that he would make up for the mistakes of his past. Decided that love would be a driving factor in his rule as King. But here, during the lonely hours of the night, staring into space, he questioned that.
The world, the universe, was filled with all types of beings. Beings who would love to see the Inhumans fall. Beings who the Inhumans tried to triumph over in the past. In these quiet moments, away from everything, including his queen, Black Bolt asked himself a simple question.
Is it too late? Will he ever shake Steve Rogers’ hand again? Would the X-Men ever forgive him and his people for starting a war? Would his people forgive him for thinking only of himself and the royal family?
Black Bolt also thought about the threats that loomed over his head. There were beings who wouldn’t care if the Inhumans died. Like the governments of Earth. Or the Mad Titan, Thanos. Enemies like this couldn’t be taken lightly. Black Bolt knew the importance of unity, of solidarity during turbulent times. These types of enemies demanded swift action. And if death was needed, so be it.
But—he wasn’t sure if he even believed that last part anymore. Black Bolt had become fond of rehabilitation. Become fond of discovering the good in others. In the months since escaping, he had been researching, no, learning about troubled individuals throughout history. He even took time to examine ones around him. Some who were considered villains. But deep down, they were just symptoms of failures in other areas. He had studied many, but the life of the X-Man known as Cyclops fascinated him most. A soldier from an early age, Scott Summers became a troubled, if not inspirational soul in his later years. Black Bolt was framed for killing Cyclops not too long ago. But he did in fact think it was Cyclops at the time. And it haunted him. Still haunts him.
Enough time passed now and Medusa had fallen back asleep. He wondered just how long his thoughts had drifted, but he wasn’t sure. He gently kissed Medusa on the forehead. He figured it was time for him to start his day. Maybe with more education on Cyclops. Maybe a workout. Maybe he would contact his son. But first, he decided to write a note and leave it on the desk for Medusa to find.
“I love you,” the note read. “You have made my life exceptionally better in the months since I’ve been home, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. I didn’t want to disturb you while you were sleeping, so I hope this note is a good way for me to show my love. You’re my queen. My love. My friend. Sleep well.”
And with that, Black Bolt got out of bed to start his day. Another night lost to his thoughts. But he didn’t care. He got to share it with the one he loved most. And that’s all he ever wanted.