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I'll Be There For You (Like I've Been There Before)

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Years ago, 43 babies were born on a single day. The only extraordinary thing about this is that none of the mothers were pregnant before it happened. Howard Stark went around the world and got his hands on as many of the babies as he could. He ended up with 7, and spent their entire lives training them to control their abilities.

Number 1 had super strength. He was the most loyal to Howard, and spent the majority of his life trying to impress Howard, and be first in his eyes.

Number 2 could control metal. His powers were magnetic. He was especially attuned with a metal suit he'd built from spare parts. He had authority issues, and spent the majority of his time either with his mother, a robot named Maria that Howard built, or competing with Number 1.

Number 3 was a woman, for starters, and had the ability to make people do whatever she wanted. She simply had to start a sentence with "I heard a rumor," and the person was all hers. She had it best, being the Academy sweetheart. She eventually started to abuse her power, and Howard saw no reason to discourage it. At least she knew how to properly use it.

Number 4 had the ability to commune with the dead. His power fascinated Howard to no end, for Howard had thought that the boy was simply delusional until he asked Number 4 for names and descriptions, finding that they matched with real people who were currently dead. Number 4 had extreme potential, but was too scared of his power to try and access it. Eventually, he found his way to drugs, realizing that they made the ghosts disappear.

Number 5 was able to do spatial jumps from one place to another in the blink of an eye. He was one of Howard's favorites up until he insisted on attempting to time travel. He didn't come back.

Number 6 had a monster in him. Literally. He could manipulate his limbs to grow into a big green rage monster they all called the Hulk. He was one of Howard's most powerful weapons. At least, until the Hulk ripped him apart during a mission.

And, finally, Number 7 had no abilities, at least, according to Howard. He found that he couldn't control Number 7's telepathic and telekenetic, so he made Number 3 rumor everyone, including Number 7, to think that Number 7 had no abilities. Howard then proceeded to attempt to ostracize Number 7 every chance he got.

Some good things happened before everything came to a head. Maria gave real names to the children when they were four. Howard just refused to use them. Number 1 became Steve, Number 2 became Anthoney, Tony for short, Number 3 was Natasha, Number 4 was Peter, 5 was Stephen, 6 was Bruce and 7 was Wanda.

Eventually, after Bruce died, the rest of the children slowly started to dissipate. First to go was Natasha, who got calls from Hollywood, to chase a life of fame and fortune. Then it was Wanda, getting accepted into a local orchestra. Tony left when he got accepted into police academy, and Peter left soon after, presumably to go search for a continuous supply of drugs. Steve was the only one to stay, loyal to Howard until the end.

When Howard sent Steve on a mission, things finally went wrong for lone Number 1. Howard injected Steve with an experimental serum to save his life, but came with the nasty side effect of an ape like chest. Unable to bear the sight, he sent Number 1 to the Moon, under the guise of collecting samples for him.

Unaware to everyone, Howard knew that an apocalypse was nigh, and that the only ones who could stop it were the four useful children who remained. The only thing was that they hadn't contacted each other for years. Howard needed a way to get them back together. He thought for a long time, before it came to him.

What better way to unite his "family" than a funeral?