Disclaimer: If I owned either of these, believe me, certain things would have been very different. Ah, well – that’s what fic is for. One comes from the twisted mind of Joss Whedon, the other is owned by Mattel.
Charles Gunn was dying. Badly wounded in the assault on Brucker’s office, he had staggered to the alley behind the Hyperion, not really sure what would happen, but knowing that he had to get to his friends. As the others rushed forward, he slumped against the side of a building, wracked with pain, coughing blood, and trying to stand on legs that would no longer support him. In that instant, as he truly understood that he was about to die, Gunn remembered….
He remembered a face, pale and blond and blue-eyed, but also his own.
He remembered his father, an old man with laughing eyes.
He remembered his sister, not Alona, but a tall, blond, similarly-named woman he barely knew, yet whom he would protect with his life.
He remembered training with his man-at-arms, burning the moves of swordplay into his muscles.
Most of all, he remembered a final, desperate battle, his city burning around him, his friends falling one by one, and his uncle marching on his father’s palace. Even his renowned strength and skill had been no match for his uncle’s sorcery, and he had been driven again and again into the ground. Finally the traitorous bastard had cursed him, cast him out of his own body and world, hurling his soul across the cosmos to be reborn not as a prince, but as a pauper.
Gunn shook his head to clear the onrushing images, so strange and yet so undeniably true. He even remembered his uncle’s final words to him, that bony face coming within inches of his own.
“I curse you, boy, to never know peace. You will live a life of poverty and strife, and as you die, you will remember all of this, and know you were once a prince, and lost it all.”
It all ended with that horrible, screeching laughter, as the memories came to an end.
Tears streaming from his eyes, Gunn mourned them all. His family, his friends, his people, all dead because he hadn’t been good enough. And now it was happening again. He, who once had the power to move mountains, was useless in his friends’ desperate battle. If only he had his former strength, if only –
In thinking about the abilities he had had in his previous life, Gunn had reflexively reached, and something answered. It was impossible, but a blade, a broadsword, far too large to be practical, had materialized at his feet. He picked it up with hands that could barely lift themselves, and found it feather light. He could do it; he could make a difference, but instantly he knew the cost. In taking up the power, he would revert to his former self, and all that was Charles Gunn would be swept away in the tide. He would barely know his friends, and Alona – she would be lost to memory. For a long, hard moment, Gunn considered simply dropping the blade and lying down to die. At least he would still be himself.
Spike’s scream brought him back to reality. The annoying blond vampire had been impaled by a demon’s spear. It had gotten him through the stomach – crippling, but recoverable if he was given a chance. Shedding a tear for what he was giving up, Gunn grabbed onto a fire escape ladder to hold himself upright, raising the sword in his shaking right hand. His uncle had never anticipated that the memories would return in the presence of powerful dimensional portals creating a link between this world and his former home.
“You lose, you bastard. By the-“ a wracking cough brought blood up from his lungs, and Gunn felt himself start to black out. No. He had to do this.
“By the p…”
“BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!!!”
In a flash of light, Charles Gunn ceased to exist. He-Man, the Most Powerful Man in the Universe, strode from the alley to once more do battle with the forces of darkness.