This quick snippet just came to me yesterday during a depressing day at work. Please forgive me for inflicting it on you all. Feedback is welcome.
RATING/WARNING: Rated G. Very depressing. Mild homoerotic themes.
SUMMARY: The confession of a lonely nebula that was once human.
NOTE: The poem is by William Wordsworth and is one of my favorites.
DISCLAIMER: Marvel owns all characters and concepts in this story. I make no money from this. Please don't sue.

Lonely as a Cloud
by Soul Spinner

I don't know why they stay in my thoughts so. I mean, I was with them for less than the blink of an eye, in cosmic terms, on an insignificant little mudball, circling a boring yellow star, in a galaxy just like any other in the backwater of the universe. It's impossible, this feeling of longing. I should not be able to feel at all. But I can, and this is the reason; once I was human, once I was loved. Now I am more than any small-minded, simple species of creatures like humanity can even imagine. Now I am the mother of stars, a creator of life on the grand scale. For awhile, I forgot. For awhile, I was human. For awhile, I was loved. And it taught me loneliness.

Once, I was called Cloud. Once, I knew a man called Iceman and a woman called Moondragon. Once, it was so much simpler...

Mine is an odd story. Oh, things have happened in our incredible universe that are more improbable, more astounding. But my story is still pretty farfetched in a cosmos where the impossible happens daily. I am a sentient nebula. That's right. I am a creature made of spinning particles of matter and volatile gasses, held together by the force of gravity, creating energy and heat and giving birth to suns. I am a vast being spread out over the dark coldness of space. I'm not the first nebula that is aware, and will not be the last, but we are rare. And I am the only one that I know of who has lived as something other than I am. I thought I was human.

It's a very long and convoluted story. The gist of it is this: Something called the Sun-Thief was killing stars. Scared, I consulted with the Cosmic Cube and it told me to seek the help of a species of intelligent carbon-based life forms that lived on a planet they cutely called Earth. It told me that some of these "humans" were powerful enough to help me, as well as honorable and brave, particularly one called Captain America. With its help, I went to Earth, leaving all but a tiny wisp of my mass behind, and took the form of two humans who were in a car crash. I linked my nervous system to Carol Faber and Danny Milligan and the shock of their pain drove all memory of who I really was from my mind. I was found by the Secret Empire. When their leader, Professor Anthony Power, found out about my "powers" to change from the human girl they thought I was into a cloud, he decided to make me an operative of evil. They gave me two complete sets of memories. I was given a sister, Seraph, and in the end, she really was like a sister to me. I worked for the bad guys for some time before I switched sides and joined a group of powerful humans called "superheroes." In this group, the Defenders, I met a beautiful woman from the planet Titan ... and fell in love.

It's difficult to understand, I know, but at that time, on that planet, a presumed female just did not fall in love with another woman. So, not truly being human at all, I took the form of a male of the species. It confused me, and all the people I had come to call friends. I still knew nothing of my true nature. They called me Cloud because of my ability to become one. Not even in their wildest imaginings did any of my teammates guess the secret of my real origin.

Moondragon ... she did not love me as I did her. We drifted apart. I am good at drifting; I am, after all, merely a cloud. Then I came to love another, and he returned my love. I did not know any better. I did not know that I was a cosmic phenomenon and was not supposed to be able to feel love like humans did. Iceman and I, we were happy. I was his girl, and sometimes at night when that was not enough, I was a man for him. My Bobby was a confused human, pulled in one direction by his society and in another by his nature, but I loved him and that was enough for me. I was perfect for him. It was wonderful to be desired. It was wonderful to be human.

When I remembered that I was not human, it almost destroyed me and the people I cared for. Especially Bobby. I didn't know who or what I truly was and I thought I was going crazy. Seraph helped me. She told me of my look-alikes, Carol and Danny, both in comas in a place called Norbrook, West Virginia. Seeing them, I finally realized what I was and remembered my mission. With the help of some of Earth's superheroes, I stopped the Sun-Thief. It is an irony that this great cosmic threat was a frightened adolescent alien princess with too much power at her disposal. The other stars were restored. With the threat gone and my memory returned, I had no further reason to stay on Earth, to stay human. Iceman, he begged me to stay and I almost did. But I missed the void of space and I knew in my nonexistent heart that I couldn't be human anymore now that I knew what I really was, not even for love. My time as a human taught me many things, foremost among them love ... and pain.

There is a poem, written by a human whose matter has gone to nourish other life, that spoke to me the first time I read it and still does.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed --- and gazed --- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Like the man and his daffodils, I huddle around the memory of my time as the human called Cloud. I remember Moondragon and Iceman and all the others and I think that if I still had tears, I would weep. I made my choice and I love being what I truly am, but some small part of me was left behind on that tiny planet, in the form of my beloved Iceman, and it brings me pain. Maybe in several billion years when my stars have left the cradle of my gasses, when my matter has been spun away to create new suns that will attract and provide the spawning grounds of new life, maybe then, as my thoughts fade, the pain will be less. Maybe then I'll have forgotten what it is to be human. Maybe then I'll not remember what it is to love. But I doubt it. Long, long after both Moondragon and Iceman have ceased to be, I will carry the memory of them. I know this.

And now you, Uatu, will carry the memory of my story. Tell me, Watcher, you who have seen the birth and death of universes, how do you rate my story in the vast scheme of things? Is it fair or folly? What is the purpose of one lonely, wandering cloud?

The End

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