• Secure your account

    A friendly reminder to our users, please make sure your account is safe. Make sure you update your password and have an active email address to recover or change your password.

  • Xenforo Cloud has scheduled an upgrade to XenForo version 2.2.16. This will take place on or shortly after the following date and time: Jul 05, 2024 at 05:00 PM (PT) There shouldn't be any downtime, as it's just a maintenance release. More info here

The "World of Heroes" DC RPG Season VI

Several weeks later

She walked along the sidewalk with a steady pace. Her heels clicked against the pavement, the slight wind of the day breezing through her short but still feminine blonde hair. She was dressed for success: a stylish black suit and a skirt that reached to just above the knees, thus showing off her long Amazonian legs just enough to entice, but still keep decorum. Her sunglasses made eye-contact impossible. In her hands she held a pack of papers.

“Hey gorgeous,” a man sweeping the stoop said as she passed by him. She ignored him.

From the other side of the street, two men observed her crossing the street.

“So, what’s happening, partner?” one asked the other.
“Look what we got,” the other replied, pointing to the woman.
“Let’s take her.”
“Wait a minute. Maybe she’ll lead us to the big man himself,” the other advised and the two followed the woman.

The woman kept her pace, stopping at a newsstand, run by a blind man.
“Hey, Ms. Graves,” he greeted her. “What’ll you read?”
“A Daily Planet, please,” she responded, handing him a dollar.
“Here you go, gorgeous.”

She moved on now, the paper tightly tucked under her arm, into the train station. ‘Your attention, please’, ‘your attention, please’ rang through the hall. The two men, meanwhile, were still hot on the woman’s tracks, keeping a short distance away. She did not seem to notice their presence in the mass of people gathered in the station, and kept walking.

“The Metropolis Flyer is now ready for departure on the upper level. Track 6,” the announcer called.

“She’s going down on a train platform,” one of the stalkers observed. “I’m going after her.”
The man’s companion nodded in agreement, taking out his cell phone. “I’ll call the Globe. Be careful, will you?”
“All right,” the other replied as the two broke away from each other.

“Now 10 minutes, air-conditioned cars, Mount Vernon, Poughkeepsie, Clinton Corners. Board now. All aboard,” a conductor called as the man reached the platform. He could find no trace of his target, and he looked around him, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. The man moved along the train, looking into the cabins.

“Metropolis Transportation to Buffalo, Syracuse… Smoking cars are forward, move along now,” the conductor continued as the man finally saw the woman through the windows of the train. She was at the other end of it, on the tracks.

“Luggage at the top. Smoking cars are forward. All aboard, boarding.”

Quickly, the man passed through a gap between the train cars, appearing on the other end as well.

Meanwhile, the woman kept her brisk pace, passing the front of the train. She turned a corner then, onto another set of tracks. The man was getting closer now, relaying his location to his partner via his cell phone as he did so. He could see her, standing to the side of the wall in a special manhole for workers to protect them. A train was coming, and the man moved back to let it pass. When he looked again after it had gone, she was nowhere to be seen.

The ruse was rather simple. His hands roaming over the wall, the man easily deduced her to have used a trigger to have a piece of the wall slide away. Finding a small lever, he too initiated the procedure, and smiling, walked into a tunnel. To his surprise, the woman was there to greet him. Her facial expression betrayed no hint of emotion.

“Uhhh,” he stumbled, suddenly feeling quite small in the presence of this woman. She moved towards him.
“Hey, lady, hands off,” he protested as her hands shot out to grab his suit. He could not pry her hands loose. She pulled him close and in a swift motion, her hands moved to his neck. Effortlessly, she snapped it. The woman remained calm during all of this, letting the now lifeless body fall to the ground. Examining the corpse, she took out a wallet, containing a press card.

Tucking the wallet into her suit’s jacket, she sharply turned and walked away, through the tunnel.

A minute later, the man’s cell phone began ringing. The display read ‘Aramus’.

The woman now entered, through another triggered door, a large and lavishly decorated room. From the roof hung a chandelier and scattered throughout the room were various pieces of furniture, books and other items obviously precious to their owner. She moved through this room into another, through a door titled ‘main laboratory’. Before she had fully entered the room, she was greeted by a voice.

“Ah, Mercy, another pesky reporter from the Daily Globe believing the rumours of Lex Luthor’s return to life?”

The question was a rhetorical one and she did not bother to answer it. She simply placed the dead man’s wallet onto a table to the side of the room, along with the pack of papers. She kept the Daily Planet in her hands.

Then, he finally emerged from the large collection of scientific equipment that almost seemed to be alive and occupying the centre of the room.

scientistia4.jpg


Lex Luthor.

He took the newspaper from his assistant.

“Perhaps the rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated after all.”
 
end2.gif



What makes a hero a hero?


I used to think it was being famous and eventually having your picture on every single billboard in the tri-state area for people to admire and envy...

But boy... I must've been dense or ******ed or something to think that's what made an ordinary guy a hero...

No. What makes a hero a hero, is in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, they display courage and the will for self-sacrifice for the greater good. One who's morals are incorruptable, and through their perserverance and bravery can win over evil and save countless innocent lives...

That's what a hero is. That's what Clark is. What Diana is. What J'onn is. What Ted is...

What Bruce was...

Man, it's not going to be the same anymore. He's gone now. It's gonna be hard picturing him not in Gotham scaling their rooftops or brooding around at the Watchtower anymore...

But I'll try. For my sanity's sake...

So, as I said at Bruce's funeral, I will become better. These people deserve better. I can be better. I will be better...

Although it would be so much easier if Ted was here. He'd show me how to do it. To be like him and Bruce...

Damn it, Ted. Where are you?

We need you...

I need you...


I'd never be the first person to admit, but I'm scared right now...

My best friends been missing for days, and lord knows how much longer he'll be gone, and the worst part? I can't find him. I'm helpless...

So I guess I have to do this without him...

After all, part of being a hero is facing insurmountable odds with courage, right?

But my god, Ted, wherever you are, I beg you... Please still be alive...

"Sir?"

I turned to find Skeets hovering next to me. He does that sometimes. Just randomly appearing out of nowhere while I'm trying to have an epiphany...

"What is it, Skeets?" I said, sighing beforehand.

"Sir. I thinks it's safe to trust my analysis in saying that if Bruce and Ted saw you now, compared to a few days ago, they'd be proud."

"Thanks, Skeets." I said with a slght chuckle. "I hope so..."

"You're welcome, sir." he said before floating away slowly.

"Oh, and Skeets..."

"Yes, sir?" he said turning back towards me.

"I never tell you this often, but you're the best inorganic friend I've ever had..."

"T-thank you, sir. It really warms my hard drive to hear you say that..."

"Don't ruin the moment, Skeets."

"Yes, sir." he said with enthusiasm. I think with that one statement, I've just made most of the years he's been with my sidekick all the more worthwhile...


They say that a thousand-mile journey starts with but a single step...

Today, I think I just took that step, and I think i'm going to powerwalk.


383347-73445-booster-gold_super.jpg



"This time around, things will be different..."
 
Copyofsbir12lrg.jpg

IC: Jimmy Olsen

"So, yeah," said Jimmy, bracing the phone against his ear with his shoulder while putting film in his camera. "We should go on Thursday. I'll bring snacks. It'll be a good time."

Around him, everything stopped. All work suddenly ceased and everyone turned their attention to the door. Jimmy looked to either side, slightly confused, but didn't turn around until he heard a voice he hadn't heard in a while.

"...what? You've never seen me come back from the dead before?"

"Lois..." he whispered.

He faintly heard Lucy saying "What?" on the other end of the line as he ran towards Lois and embraced her.

"LOIS!"

"Hi Jimmy..."

"Where have you been?"

"I have a feeling I'm going to be answering that question a lot today."

Jimmy remembered the phone in his hand and quickly put it to his ear.

"Luce, you're sister wants to talk to you."

He handed the phone to Lois, who was then deafened by her sister's high pitched squeals of joy. Jimmy looked over to Clark.

"CK, how...when did...wah?"

"It's a long story, Jim. Really long. She was exaggerating a little bit, though--she didn't actually die this time. It was--"

"What's everybody standing around for?!"
Perry White's voice booms as he charges out of his office. "Are we a newsroom here, or a knitting...circle...Great Caesar's Ghost..."

Upon seeing Lois, Perry turns tail and marches right back into his office, going for the bottle of stress-relievers in his desk.

"Good to see you too, Perry!"
Lois says before putting the phone back to her ear to keep talking to Lucy.

"*ahem*...err, long story short, Jim, what happened was, well...Superman happened."

And judging from the screams I hear over in Suicide Slum, he's about to happen again.

"Eeuuurrrgh,"
I moan, feigning nausea, "unfortunately, Lois' cooking hasn't gotten any better while she was gone. I think her eggs Benedict just turned traitor on me..."

With that, I stumble towards the bathroom, trying to keep the imaginary breakfast from coming up. I hate to do that to Jimmy, but I can finish playing catch-up in a minute.

As I round the corner, I duck into the janitor's closet. A quick X_ray glance across town shows me everything I need. Bouncing balls that hit like wrecking balls. Plastic army-men with working flamethrowers and grenades. And a 50-foot rubber ducky rolling down the street like a tank.

Toyman's on the loose again.

No matter what happens, no matter how bad things might get, there's always the job to be done. There are always those who need help, and those who go to help them. It's what made me put on the costume. It's what made Bruce do the same. In the end, it's not about if you have powers, or what you did beforehand, or even if you messed up the last time.

It's about the job.

actionpanel0ic.jpg


And this looks like a job for Superman.
 
Gordon ignores the question, and continues on with the point he was making.

"It's one thing to stand here and make promises. But this...this man did great things for our city. He sacrificed so much, and in the end he sacrificed his life. He was a hero. He was our hero."

Puffing on his cigarette, Gordon looked up at the night sky, hands stuffed in his pockets.

"If you take the law into your own hands, become judge, jury and executioner... I will hunt you down, Harvey. Just the same as if you were killing innocents. I don't care if you murder in Bruce's name, it's still murder. No, sctatch that, I do care. I'll come down on you even harder if you murder in Bruce's name, because that's an insult to the man's memory, and all he stood for."

Gordon stubbed out the cigarette, then picked up the stub and put it in his pocket. He didn't want to disrespect the gravesite.

"Look, if you feel the need to atone for your sins, and fight the good fight, I understand that. I might even tolerate it. But I want to make one thing clear..."

And finally, Gordon turned to face Two-Face directly, putting a hand on Dent's shoulder and forcing him to look at him eye-to-eye.

"No more bodies, Harvey. No more bodies from you. No more killing."

Two Face

I stare at Gordon as he looks at me with distrust. "Jim, you say that like I'm the one doing the killing." I tell him, a faint smile on my face. "You and I both know I'm just the tool fate chose to do his work."

Look at that Harv, I hear him start. Another who doesn't believe or trust in you. What did I say to you? I said I believed in you. So far, it looks like I'm the only one. Which I find funny, cause you refuse to accept me.

Shut up. I tell him once more. How many times in a day can I tell him that? How much more can I take before my anger just breaks and I lash out? If I could block him out, I would, but I can't. He is me. And I have to live with it.

"Jim, I don't decide things. It's not up to me." I reach into my pocket, and pull out the coin. Quickly, I whip it out, and show it before Gordon as the rain continues to pour. "He does. Everyone deserves a chance. A trial. I give them what they deserve."
 
Two Face

I stare at Gordon as he looks at me with distrust. "Jim, you say that like I'm the one doing the killing." I tell him, a faint smile on my face. "You and I both know I'm just the tool fate chose to do his work."

Look at that Harv, I hear him start. Another who doesn't believe or trust in you. What did I say to you? I said I believed in you. So far, it looks like I'm the only one. Which I find funny, cause you refuse to accept me.

Shut up. I tell him once more. How many times in a day can I tell him that? How much more can I take before my anger just breaks and I lash out? If I could block him out, I would, but I can't. He is me. And I have to live with it.

"Jim, I don't decide things. It's not up to me." I reach into my pocket, and pull out the coin. Quickly, I whip it out, and show it before Gordon as the rain continues to pour. "He does. Everyone deserves a chance. A trial. I give them what they deserve."

Gordon quietly fumed with anger at Dent's speech, his abject denial of his own culpability. He tried to tell himself it wasn't Dent's fault, that it was his illness that was twisting his thoughts. But it did little to ease the anger.

"You used to believe in something better than that, Harvey. Real justice..."

But he trailed off. What was the point? He'd lost count of the number of times he'd tried to make that speech to Harvey since he became Two-Face. And it always seemed to fall on deaf ears.

"Look, you do what you've got to do. But don't you dare stand here, at this man's grave, and act like you're doing this in his name. Don't you dare insult him, insult his memory, by putting your hand on his headstone and claiming you're continuing what he started. You don't bring him into this. Ever. You might as well be spitting on his grave."

Gordon took a step towards Two-Face, backing them away from the graveside.

"So if you want to take your little coin and plot your petty, self-indulgent murders, you go do that. But you do it elsewhere. I won't be arresting you... tonight. I've not got my cuffs with me. I'm not standing here talking to you as a police commissioner. I'm standing here as a man, who is here to pay respect to a close friend who is now dead. Real respect. So leave me be. And don't disgrace his memory by coming here again. Bruce wouldn't want you here, not like this."
 
Gordon quietly fumed with anger at Dent's speech, his abject denial of his own culpability. He tried to tell himself it wasn't Dent's fault, that it was his illness that was twisting his thoughts. But it did little to ease the anger.

"You used to believe in something better than that, Harvey. Real justice..."

But he trailed off. What was the point? He'd lost count of the number of times he'd tried to make that speech to Harvey since he became Two-Face. And it always seemed to fall on deaf ears.

"Look, you do what you've got to do. But don't you dare stand here, at this man's grave, and act like you're doing this in his name. Don't you dare insult him, insult his memory, by putting your hand on his headstone and claiming you're continuing what he started. You don't bring him into this. Ever. You might as well be spitting on his grave."

Gordon took a step towards Two-Face, backing them away from the graveside.

"So if you want to take your little coin and plot your petty, self-indulgent murders, you go do that. But you do it elsewhere. I won't be arresting you... tonight. I've not got my cuffs with me. I'm not standing here talking to you as a police commissioner. I'm standing here as a man, who is here to pay respect to a close friend who is now dead. Real respect. So leave me be. And don't disgrace his memory by coming here again. Bruce wouldn't want you here, not like this."
Two Face

I stare at Jim, my face showing no emotion. I breath slowly as I think, realizing that some of what he says is true. Bruce didn't kill. That was always the difference between us. "You know, Jim," I start, breaking the awkward silence. "You just...don't get it." I shake my head as I turn to walk away from the grave stone. Suddenly, I stop, and I turn back to Gordon, the rain dripping off the end of the baseball cap.

"I'm not continuing what he started, Jim," I tell him, my voice sincere and honest. "I'm finishing it." I walk off into the shadows, and soon disapear from his sight. I know he's still in ear shot, so I tell him one final message. "We'll be in touch." I tell him, my voice gravelly and dark. At least, for Harvey Dent it is.

Good work, Harv. Nice. You kept your cool. There's something I never thought I'd see.

Fine, fine. Come on, lay it on. I want to hear it. No, no. I do. I tell him, my voice couldn't be more sarcastic if I tried.

Ah, ready to listen? He asks me in a malicious tone. I don't respond, but my silence says it all. Good. You've got plans, Harv? So do I.

I want to clean up Gotham. Punish the guilty and purge the evil.

Right, right. Well I want to have a little fun. So here's what we're gonna do. Together. You want to find real justice? He asks me, his tone compelling yet revolting. Find out who killed The Batman. And when you do, he suddenly cuts off, and just begins to laugh.

I hear his cackle, and I sneer angrily. But, he's right. I want vengeance. Things must be in balance, and his killer must pay for what he did. Alright, Two Face. When we find him, I'll hand it all over to you.

Good, good. He says, his laugh fading.

But one problem. I tell him, a sarcastic tone in my voice. We don't know who it is.

Well, that's why we're gonna find out, Harv. He tells me, most likely smiling. Besides, he says, his tone serious and deep. I have an idea of who it may be.

Oh really? I question him. And just who do you think it is?

The only person besides us who has the balls enough to actually do the job right. He responds, his tone turning dark and hateful. Someone we both know...all too well...

I realize who he means, and my body fills with anger and malice. Bruce may have given endless second chances. Always giving those he fought chance after chance to change. That's the difference between the two of us. With me? Second time...that's a charm.
 
Teen Titans
Table for Two Part II

The two Titans stare at eachother, each looking at the other's face and merely thinking in silence. Zach clears, his throat, and leans back in his chair. "So, where were you for the funerals?" Zach asks, breaking the silence.​

"Around," Rose replies vaguely. "I don't think it makes much sense for the daughter of one of the mass murders involved in both funerals to show up. Especially if she's only recently switched sides."

"Yeah, you're right." Zach smiles, grabbing his glass and taking a drink. "I still can't believe it, though. Batman and Supergirl...gone."

"Yeah," Rose muses, her temper flairing. "And, through it all, I still never got to kill the man responsible."

"Your dad?" Zach asks, knowing the answer.​

"Yes," Rose starts, leaning forward as she frowns. "Do you know what it's like to have no family? My mother died because of my father. My uncle tried to kill me and my dad! So, of course, all I had left was Slade. All I had left in me was to gain his approval." Rose leans back in the chair and grunts, angered by the thoughts of the one man she never thought she could hate the most. "But I wasn't good enough. And because of him...I've done terrible things."

As Rose finishes her rant, Zach's smile turns to an expressionless face, and he let's out a tired heavy breath. "You're not the only one who's had it rough, Rose." He starts, resting his elbows on the table's edge. "Imagine someone, a child, who's waiting at home for his mommy and daddy to get there. They told him they'd be gone for a little bit, and would come home with some McDonald's. Imagine that kid being told by a talking chimpanzee that his parents aren't coming home. That they were attacked. By a demon. You know the ones, the kind from the depths of hell? When the kid gets a bit older, he gets curious. Wants to see the demon who did it, you know? He casts a spell that would let him see his mother's final moments. He sees more than he wants to. Everything that monster did to her. To them. Things no one, much less a child, should ever have to see. Things that would make you want to scratch your eyes out, but you can't stop it. You can't close your eyes, it won't let you."

"So," Rose starts, her smile returning. "Looks like we're both pretty screwed up, huh?"

"Appears like it," Zach says with a grin. "Maybe that's why we're good together. We...know eachother." Zach's mood changes to sympathy, and he leans back. "You know, Robin's had it tough too. Especially with Batman dying."

"Yeah," Rose says, the thoughts of Robin returning to her mind. Why him again? She questions. Look at Zach. He's hot, makes me laugh. Kinda corny sometimes, but, he gets me. I mean, Robin doesn't get me. ...Does he?

"Anyway, I'm just glad everything's over." Zach says in relief. "I enjoy the thrills and all, but nothing beats a peaceful evening."

"I don't know, Zach," Rose says, disagreeing. "Action is what I live for. Adrenaline is like...the one thing that keeps me going in my life. Kinda like...my drug."

"You mean, besides the alcohol?" He asks with a smirk.

"That's a coping method." She explains. "Not a very reliable one, but...a crutch nonetheless."

"So, Rose. I'm curious." Zach starts, grining in a peculiar way. "Why...exactly did you choose to be a hero?"

"Couple reasons," she smiles back. "One, to get back at dad."

"And two?"

"Sometimes...being evil's too easy." She says with a suspicious smile. "Heroes do good, make a difference. Plus, there's always a nut job trying to bring them down. This line of work seems like it'd never get old."

"Yeah, I guess that's true." Zach nods. Of course, when I first came to the Titans, no one trusted me. I realize everyone was still gunshy, but even after I helped them...they still saw me as a threat. Rose shakes her head as she thinks to herself, remembering the moments from the first encounter.

Actually, there was one who trusted me. Well, at least wanted to give me a chance...Robin. Huh, that's weird. Never noticed that before. Rose takes a drink of from her glass as Zach begins talking, mentioning something about the Titans or his act.

In fact...Robin was always there for me. During the fight with the HIVE, he had my back. When we were fighting dad...and he shot me three times to the chest, it was Robin who made sure I got to the hospital. I wonder if...the others would've left me there or what.

Even after I recovered. At the hospital, I wanted back in the fight. I wanted my chance to get my revenge. He knew this, and yet...he used the transporter to bring me back into the fray. Rose stares in shock, her mental thoughts coming through to her expression.

I don't believe it, she thinks. Tim's been there for me. He hasn't been acting like a father or a jerk. He's been trying to watch out for me...

"Ah good," Zach says, breaking Rose's concentration. "Dinner's here." The waiter places the plates on the table in front of the two. He nods to Zach, and turns away, walking back toward the kitchen. "I always do like the food here. It's not that cheap stuff that tastes like-"

"Zach," Rose says, interupting him. "Zach, I...I have to go." Zach puts his fork down on the table and stares at her, looking into her eyes. He smiles and sits back in the chair, noding to her with a loving smile.

"It's okay, Rose." He tells her in a reassuring voice. "He's a good guy."

"Thanks, Zach." Rose says with a smile, rising from her seat. "See you around." She tells him with a friendly wink. Rose turns, and walks past the tables in the restaurant, making her way out the front door.

Zach sits alone at the table, staring at the two plates of food in front of him. He lets out a heavy sigh, and takes the napkin from his lap. He throws it on the table top, and leans back in the chair. "Waiter," he says, raising his hand in the air. "Check, please."
 
Two Face

I stare at Jim, my face showing no emotion. I breath slowly as I think, realizing that some of what he says is true. Bruce didn't kill. That was always the difference between us. "You know, Jim," I start, breaking the awkward silence. "You just...don't get it." I shake my head as I turn to walk away from the grave stone. Suddenly, I stop, and I turn back to Gordon, the rain dripping off the end of the baseball cap.

"I'm not continuing what he started, Jim," I tell him, my voice sincere and honest. "I'm finishing it." I walk off into the shadows, and soon disapear from his sight. I know he's still in ear shot, so I tell him one final message. "We'll be in touch." I tell him, my voice gravelly and dark. At least, for Harvey Dent it is.

Gordon waited until Two-Face is gone before he turned his attention to the headstone.

"Sorry about that, Bruce, I..."

He trailed off, standing there with his hands in his pockets. Stepping forward, he winced as he knelt down onto one knee by the graveside. He was an old man now, moving around wasn't so easy. Being careful to ensure his balance, he leaned forward, and rested his hand against the side of the headstone. Then he bowed his head, and maintained a respectful silence.

As the rain pounded down, and ran in streams down his face, he remained still and silent. His eyes were closed, his lips uttering a prayer of thanks and rememberance to his lost friend. And even when his lips stopped moving, he remained kneeling, his head remained bowed. He was thinking.

He thought of all the trials and tribulations the two of them had been through together. He thought of all the things he should have said to him. He thought of the friends and loved ones he left behind, the ones who would try and carry on his legacy however they could while overcoming their own grief. And finally, he thought of himself, what the future held for him in a world without Batman, what his role would now be.

Things would never be the same, that much is for sure.

"Amen."

Finally his eyes opened, and with another wince, he pushed himself back up to his feet. His white hair was now dripping with rainwater, his clothes soaked through. He would be back here again, many times he was sure. He would never forget all that Bruce had done for this city, and for him and his family. But for now, he had other people waiting on him. His ex-wife, Barbara, for one. Soon to be his wife again.

Oh yes. His hand once again balanced the small black box in his pocket. The one that contained the ring. So much had happened since his last attempt to propose. He'd been poisoned, put into a coma, replaced as Commissioner by The Joker in disguise. The real Cal Cornette's body has yet to be found, if it ever will be. And then there was the rise of the Dark Alliance. It's all over at last, for now at least. And now, as painful as it might be, life goes on. And now was the time to get on one knee once more, and ask Barbara if she would be his wife again. No time like the present. After all, who knows what's waiting for them in the future?

Before he returned to his car, Gordon took one last parting glance at the grave he never thought he'd live to see:

Here lies Bruce Wayne, Gotham's White Knight

The rain continued to pour. Another wild night in Gotham City. The more things change, the more they stay the same. He took the box out of his pocket, flipped it open. And in the grim, soaking darkness, something at least sparkled bright. Jim Gordon smiled, and looked up at the headstone.

"Wish me luck, Bruce. I'll need it."


THE END
 
Tim had spent the evening watching the Godfather trilogy in his Gotham apartment. Whenever he found the plot disinteresting, he entertained himself by planning out ways to wipe out the Five families in one swift movement. He scrapped all the potential plans when he realised that he would have to have at least double the manpower and half the agressiveness. He had considered inviting Con and Zach over, but Con needed some alone time with Cassie and Zach had mentioned something about a date. He brielfy thought of Dick or Bart, but they both needed time to get over the deaths.

Wow...that is a whole new level of sad. Why don't you get up,off of your backside and do something?

Silently, he agreed with the voice in his head, but he wasn't going to let it know that. So he pulled the punching bag into the middle of the room, and put some sweats on. He spent around two hours punching and kicking the red bag, knocking it over five times. He stood it back up and sent a flurry of punches its way. The final punch split the bag wide open and sand came pouring out of it. Slightly bewildered, he looked down at his hands and saw that they were covered in blood. He hadn't even noticed. Muttering slightly he went over the bathroom cabinet and pulled some bandages and antiseptic out.

Tim finished wrapping the bandages around his knuckles, tying it tight. He winced as it compressed the cuts and blood started to seep through the white material. After he had tied the second bandage, he heard a loud knock at the door.

"I'm coming," he announced, getting out of his armchair and walking towards the door. There was a second knock, louder this time.

"I said I'm coming," he shouted. Tim slowly walked to the door, his body tired and his mind spent. Without care, he opened the door, hoping whoever the visitor is, it's something that can wait. As he holds the door wide open, he stares at the person in shock. "Hey, Tim." The person responds. His jaw dropped, ever so slightly, but he closed it quickly. He gulped slightly.

"Rose?" he asked, his voice rasping ever so slightly "What are you doing here?"

Rose stood outside the apartment in the hallway. Her dress was dripping, her body wet. "It's raining." She said, trying to ignore the question. "Is Gotham ever sunny?" She asked with an awkward smile.

He laughed nervously.

"If it was I'd probably be prancing around in a yellow leotard singing about rainbows," he muttered. He blushed a bit.

Leotard?! Oh my god, move on before she picks up on it!

"So..." he said, inspecting the dress "What were you doing?"

"I was at..." Rose stops herself, cutting herself off in mid sentence. Zach and Tim are friends, she thinks. I can't tell him where I was. "-A meeting. Kinda...important one." Rose runs her hands through her hair and pushes it back, off of her face. "Mind if I come in?"

"Erm," he mumbled, blinking "Yeah, sure, "
He gestured for her to walk in, making a mock bow like a butler. Alfred would've been proud.

"Look, Tim," Rose starts, her voice soft and strangely apologetic. "I'm sorry about my recent...abscence. I didn't really hang around much after...well, you remember."

"It's, er, fine. I didn't expect you too," he stuttered.

Rose being nice? Better check the sky for the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

"Rose why're you...apologising? Are you drunk?" he asked, managing to mix some concern in with his curiosity and abstract horror.
 
Tim had spent the evening watching the Godfather trilogy in his Gotham apartment. Whenever he found the plot disinteresting, he entertained himself by planning out ways to wipe out the Five families in one swift movement. He scrapped all the potential plans when he realised that he would have to have at least double the manpower and half the agressiveness. He had considered inviting Con and Zach over, but Con needed some alone time with Cassie and Zach had mentioned something about a date. He brielfy thought of Dick or Bart, but they both needed time to get over the deaths.

Wow...that is a whole new level of sad. Why don't you get up,off of your backside and do something?

Silently, he agreed with the voice in his head, but he wasn't going to let it know that. So he pulled the punching bag into the middle of the room, and put some sweats on. He spent around two hours punching and kicking the red bag, knocking it over five times. He stood it back up and sent a flurry of punches its way. The final punch split the bag wide open and sand came pouring out of it. Slightly bewildered, he looked down at his hands and saw that they were covered in blood. He hadn't even noticed. Muttering slightly he went over the bathroom cabinet and pulled some bandages and antiseptic out.

Tim finished wrapping the bandages around his knuckles, tying it tight. He winced as it compressed the cuts and blood started to seep through the white material. After he had tied the second bandage, he heard a loud knock at the door.

"I'm coming," he announced, getting out of his armchair and walking towards the door. There was a second knock, louder this time.

"I said I'm coming," he shouted. Tim slowly walked to the door, his body tired and his mind spent. Without care, he opened the door, hoping whoever the visitor is, it's something that can wait. As he holds the door wide open, he stares at the person in shock. "Hey, Tim." The person responds. His jaw dropped, ever so slightly, but he closed it quickly. He gulped slightly.

"Rose?" he asked, his voice rasping ever so slightly "What are you doing here?"

Rose stood outside the apartment in the hallway. Her dress was dripping, her body wet. "It's raining." She said, trying to ignore the question. "Is Gotham ever sunny?" She asked with an awkward smile.

He laughed nervously.

"If it was I'd probably be prancing around in a yellow leotard singing about rainbows," he muttered. He blushed a bit.

Leotard?! Oh my god, move on before she picks up on it!

"So..." he said, inspecting the dress "What were you doing?"

"I was at..." Rose stops herself, cutting herself off in mid sentence. Zach and Tim are friends, she thinks. I can't tell him where I was. "-A meeting. Kinda...important one." Rose runs her hands through her hair and pushes it back, off of her face. "Mind if I come in?"

"Erm," he mumbled, blinking "Yeah, sure, "
He gestured for her to walk in, making a mock bow like a butler. Alfred would've been proud.

"Look, Tim," Rose starts, her voice soft and strangely apologetic. "I'm sorry about my recent...abscence. I didn't really hang around much after...well, you remember."

"It's, er, fine. I didn't expect you too," he stuttered.

Rose being nice? Better check the sky for the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

"Rose why're you...apologising? Are you drunk?" he asked, managing to mix some concern in with his curiosity and abstract horror.

"No, Tim." She says, her tone awkward as she tries to say what she feels. "Look, Tim...I was thinking. About me...and...you." She shakes her head, trying to fight back the emotions she feels. Her natural instincts to be emotionless fight with what every part of her body feels, and she struggles to speak what she means. "I was thinking about us, Tim. And..."

Rose suddenly stops. She stands still, and stares at Tim. She lets out a deep sigh, and moves toward him. "Ah, to hell with it." She grabs Tim's arms, and pulls him in close to her. Suddenly, she kisses him. Putting her lips to his. Never was good with words, anyway. She thinks to herself as she continues to embrace him.
 
Rose suddenly stops. She stands still, and stares at Tim. She lets out a deep sigh, and moves toward Tim. "Ah, to hell with it." She grabs Tim's arms, and pulls him in close to her. Suddenly, she kisses him. Putting her lips to his. Never was good with words, anyway. She thinks to herself as sh continues to embrace Tim.
Tim pulled away from Rose, breathing heavily and going red in the face. He has one arm behind her back and one on her upper arm. He was suddenly very aware that she was only wearing a very wet summer dress that was clinging to her curves. Her hand was in his hair, and he realised that this may have been the first time she had seen him without his mask on. He coughed.

"Er..." he stuttered.

If you ruin this moment with words, I shall never forgive you.

"You are drunk," he said. There was a noise between a scream and a growl in his head.

You'll pay for that.

"No Tim, I've never thought more clearly before," she said quietly. He gulped loudly. There was a ringing silence in his head. He moved again and kissed her deeply, pulling her close to his body. Coming to his temporary senses, he moved his head away again.

"Rose, we should talk," he gasped.
 
Tim pulled away from Rose, breathing heavily and going red in the face. He has one arm behind her back and one on her upper arm. He was suddenly very aware that she was only wearing a very wet summer dress that was clinging to her curves. Her hand was in his hair, and he realised that this may have been the first time she had seen him without his mask on. He coughed.

"Er..." he stuttered.

If you ruin this moment with words, I shall never forgive you.

"You are drunk," he said. There was a noise between a scream and a growl in his head.

You'll pay for that.

"No Tim, I've never thought more clearly before," she said quietly. He gulped loudly. There was a ringing silence in his head. He moved again and kissed her deeply, pulling her close to his body. Coming to his temporary senses, he moved his head away again.

"Rose, we should talk," he gasped.

"Hey," Rose tells him, her tone seductive. She puts her finger to his lips and smiles suggestively. "We can talk later." She turns to her side, and sees the open door to Robin's bedroom. She turns back to him and grins, laughing softly.

Rose grabs his hand and leads him through the door way, and into the bedroom. As the two step inside, Tim turns off the lights and Rose closes the door. The two of them laugh and smile, together, for the first time in what seems like an eternity.

Suddenly, the phone rings, breaking the silence in the apartment. It continues to ring, it's call going unanswered. The rain outside continues to fall, hitting the window and dripping down the glass onto the sill.

The ringing stops, and the answering machine makes a loud beep. A voice comes through the machine as the person leaves their message. "Hi," a feminine voice starts. "I tried to call the main line, but...for some reason it redirected me to this number. Anyway, my name is Megan Martin. I heard you're looking for some heroes to join and...I'd like to be a Teen Titan. Give me a call."
 
SUPERBOY

It's one of my favorite pictures. As I playfully roll my eyes, Cassie plants a soft kiss on my cheek. In the background, the bright lights of the boardwalk add a finishing touch to a magical evening. Suit unbuttoned and tie loosened, I sit quietly on the edge of my bed, holding the picture in my hands. It came from one of our first dates after 'officially' becoming a couple. Life was simpler back then.

Okay, maybe it wasn't simpler, but we were all so optimistic - maybe even naive - that it didn't matter. There were still wars, people still died, and hearts were still broken. But the Titans, all of us, used to think that everything was going to be okay. We were all sure that we could change the world. Maybe we have, but it's not what we had hoped for. We see now that it was childish to think that we could solve all of the world's problems, but we had certainly hoped for better results.

Now, as we grow older, it's getting progressively harder to keep that mentality. We're reaching a very turbulent time in our lives. Our days as Teen Titans are numbered. Adulthood - and all its subsequent problems - breathes down our neck terrifyingly. We've even begun to outlive our mentors, albeit prematurely. The world we grew up in has turned a cold shoulder to us. Gone are the days of Superman and Batman patting us on the back, assuring us that everything would work out.

We're beginning to see that everything won't work out - not always. Maybe that's a lesson that we're meant to learn, but that doesn't make it any easier. The world is testing us, and it feels increasingly more difficult to succeed. Sure, we have each other, but we really don't. Kara is gone. Bart has withdrawn into himself. Tim is dealing with yet another hardship in his life. Rose is fighting feelings of isolation. Cassie, though she insists otherwise, is burying a pain deep inside her. In fact, Zach seems to be the only one of us left that isn't emotionally scarred beyond all salvation.

Me? I wish I knew where to start. Actually, I know exactly where to start. Cassie. It all begins and ends there. I always promised her that I would never hurt her, and I did just that. If I can't even stop myself from hurting the one person who means the world to me, who's safe? I'm so afraid of spiraling downward into a world where I hurt everyone around me until I'm utterly alone. Then again, solitude seems to be my lot in life. I'm going to outlive them all. That's my greatest fear. I don't deal with it often, but - with all the death - surrounding us, that sad reality rears its head again.

No matter what, I will outlive them all. Tim, Zach, Rose, Cassie, the whole world. They're only human. I don't know how Kal deals with this ever-present threat of being utterly alone. He already knows what that feels like. He's lost one home. What will happen when he loses another? How can he just put on a happy face and kiss Lois goodbye every morning when he knows that one day he'll stand at her funeral? That's why I can never be Superman.

More and more, as life's adversities pound upon me, I remain standing somehow. This prompts everyone to assure me that I'm following in his footsteps. But I know that can't be true. Kal handles everything so well. He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he never complains. Obviously, I can't know what he's thinking, but he doesn't appear to be so wracked with fear and uncertainty as I am. I'm not Superman. I never will be. I have his genes. I bear his symbol. But those alone do not make the man.

I don't know how I got here. I don't know how I became the person, sitting on the edge of his bed, that I am today. What happened to the guy on the boardwalk, his girlfriend's arms around him and a smile on his face? Was that ever me? He seems so faraway now.

"Knock, knock?"

Still holding the picture, I look over my shoulder to see Cassie in the doorway. Like me, she hasn't gotten out of her funeral clothes yet. Somehow, through the mourning colors and the wheelchair, her beauty continues to shine through. It astounds me.

"Whatcha doin'?" Cassie asks casually, looking at my hands.

I place the picture back on my dresser and shrug. "Just thinking," I answer simply. It's so much more than thinking, but I don't want to burden her with my inner feelings. That's my cross to bear.

"I know today was a rough day," Cassie admits. She rolls down to the foot of my bed and sits in her chair next to me. Looking me in the eyes, she continues, "But they're not all going to be like this."

"I know."

"This is just something that we all have to deal with in our own way, y'know?" she asks rhetorically. "And I know 'strong and silent' has always been your style, but I'm here to listen to you."

I close my eyes for a moment. "Thank you," I respond sincerely.

Smiling, Cassie reaches out and takes my hand in hers. We don't need to say anything more. The comfort of our interlaced fingers tells us all we need to know. And just for a fleeting moment, I suddenly feel much better about the future. I realize, looking at Cassie and seeing the genuine concern in her eyes, that I'm not really alone. And for a moment, I think I gain some insight into Kal's head. Sure, Cassie won't be here forever. But she's here now.

And, for what it's worth, that's all I need.
 
Zachary Zatara

Beginnings and ends.

So, sitting alone in my penthouse wasn't exactly how I pictured the end to this evening. But then again, that's what God invented pay-per-view porn for.​

It's a shame, too. I really did like Rose. Sure, she was kind of 'wah wah my daddy didn't love me', but hey. No one's perfect. Not many people are that hot, either.​

188920-164235-zachary-zatara_super.JPG

"Because, Jimmy, that's what my contract states." I sigh heavily.​

I've just spent the last half an hour telling my agent that I won't be doing the five-month tour around the world, which had been paid for and advertised, I had scheduled. With a thick coat of sweat covering his pruny face, he almost managed to disguise his greed with actual concern over my well being. Almost.​

I slam my hand down on the remote, and the wide screen TV shuts off, along with the webcam mounted on top of it. My agent's angry, perfectly round head is replaced by my own reflection in the black screen.​

I stare at myself for a moment.​

This is it. This is the road I've chosen.​

Teen Titans, heh.​

I heave myself out of the chair and stick my fingers between my neck and bow tie, loosening it. It feels good to be home. Throwing my jacket to the floor, I head in to the bathroom. Like everything else in my place, it's needlessly lavish. Blindingly white walls. Large, gilded lanterns hanging from the ceiling on silver chains. And, of course, mirrors. Got to have something good to look at while I'm in here.​

I stare down at the empty bathtub, and I almost cry. This is what makes it worth it. When the Joker had the knife to my neck. When Hazard broke nearly every bone in my body. When I took Rose's wound, my stomach bleeding profusely, THIS is what I thought about. A nice, hot bath.​

"Now all I need is Angelina Jolie in there with me, and we'd be in business. Heh." I chuckle as I begin to unbutton my shirt. I peel it off my body, and turn to throw it in the hamper.​

"Hey, handsome." a sultry, smooth voice causes me to jump, yelping in fright.​

I look down at the bath.​

AngelinaJolie.jpg

"You coming in, or what?"

My jaw hits the floor, my eyes wide open like they're never going to close.​

Did I just...?​

"That's new."
 
Funny story. There’s this clown, right? And for years and years and years, his mortal enemy is a bat. Ha! A clown fighting a bat, that’s a gag and a half right there! But it gets better. See, all this time they’re fighting, and the clown is trying to kill the bat. He needs to prove he’s better than the bat, you see, once and for all. And so this clown spends every waking hour thinking up new ways to try and kill this bat. None of them work, and every time a plan fails the clown gets sent to the nuthouse. Then he breaks out, kills a few people who don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, then tries and fails to kill the bat again. And this is how it goes on, endlessly, for all these years. All things considered, it’s a good life for the clown. But then something terrible happens, something the clown does that ruins that good life of his forever.

He succeeds.

Finally, he wins. The clown kills the bat! And here’s the kicker, folks, the big punchline. Once the bat is gone, the clown mourns him. The clown misses him… more than anyone! You see, he realises that this wasn’t a fight he ever needed to win. It was the fight itself that gave his life meaning, that gave the clown his smile. I guess the old saying’s right, it’s not the winning, but the taking part that counts, huh? But it’s a lesson learned too late, because now the bat is dead and buried, and the clown can say he’s won. He won, and there’s no one worth gloating to, no one left who’ll get the joke other than him. Now he’s all alone in the world: unmatched, unparalleled, missing his other half, forever incomplete.

In short, he’s a sad, sad clown.

Cloudy outside. Dull. Been raining all morning, and all night before it. But I can see it now, the beams of light fighting their way through the gathered black clouds. The sun is emerging at last, finding its way back to us at the end of the storm, telling us that things are going to get better, eventually. I hate it. We’d come so close to extinguishing that sun in the sky, and with it this planet’s hope, then its life. But now Brainiac’s dead, tossed into a supermassive black hole, from what I understand. Lex Luthor, Prometheus, Deathstroke, Solomon Grundy and Cyborg Hank, they’re all dead too. Dr. Light, Captain Nazi, Croc, they got locked up. Who the hell knows where Hazard is. And from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, Zoom and Two-Face let their balls drop off, and are now boldly fighting the good fight to atone for their sins. So much for the Dark Alliance.

I hear they had a funeral for Batman. Obviously, I wasn’t invited. Makes me kinda sick to think about all these caped imbeciles standing around in their tights, blubbing over his cold, bloated corpse. As if they knew him, as if they mattered. They called themselves his allies, his friends. But I know the truth. He was never like them, never one of them. He sometimes pretended to be, he might have even wanted to be, but he wasn’t. Never. He had one friend, one truly kindred spirit. Me. The Joker. The two of us were always two sides of the same bad penny; an enigma to everyone else, but able to see right through each other, right into the rotten souls at our respective cores. Two of a kind, a league of our own. There was the rest of existence, and then there was us. And now there’s only me.

They’re going to be looking for me now, Batman’s…so-called friends. Not that I care. Oh don’t get me wrong, I won’t make it easy for them. I’m going to do what I always could, when the inclination took me. Vanish, disappear into thin air. That’s not difficult when you have no connections, nothing you value, nothing holding you to the dull, everyday world above. And if they do find me, I’ll fight them. But it won’t be the same. Where’s the thrill of the chase when you don’t have a worthy adversary pursuing you? What’s the point?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself quite a bit lately. What’s the point? Of running, of fighting, of existing? Alas, no need to worry, Gentle Reader, your old friend The Joker has no intentions of suicide. I’ll go on, I suppose, keep on killing and maiming and spreading fear like a virus. What else am I going to do? It’s all I know, really. “But why?”, I hear you ask. Why keep on performing without the only audience that ever mattered? Well, here’s the thing…

That question I’ve been asking myself? What’s the point? I found the answer. In fact, I knew it all along. There is no point! Isn’t that what I’ve been saying, all this time? I wanted to expose the futile hypocrisy of all these mindless little insects who strive to find meaning in their lives, all the while blind to the fact that I too was a hypocrite. Hell of a joke, huh? I had a meaning in my life. I had Batman. But I killed Batman. I took my best friend, my only friend, and I stabbed a knife right through his heart. And now all that’s left for me to do is practise what I preach. Kill for no reason. Strive for no purpose. Endlessly act out the cruel, twisted joke that is life itself.

Even if I don’t find it funny anymore.

But… well… I guess I’ll laugh anyway.

JokerTeeth.jpg



THE END...FOR NOW
 
lg_greenarrow1.gif


Finale

"I figured you'd be out here."I turn around and look at Connor. The two of us are out on the terrace of the apartment as the sun sets. I'm in my full GA gear. Connor, being his night off, is in jeans and a t-shirt.

"Yep. I'm about to hit the town."

Connor smiles slightly at that.

"So, I heard Dinah leaving out early this morning."

"Yeah, she has some stuff to do. She left while I was still sleeping."

"Are you two like back together?"

"Only time will tell."

There's a long pause between the two of us as we stand across from each other.

"You don't want to go, do you?"

"Not really."

"Why?"

"Hell, son. They're scared of us, you saw them in Metropolis that day. They don't trust us, and with good reason. With Batman gone, there's nobody left to be a check against the metahumans. I mean, while we were up in the artic playing cowboys and indians, people died. People we could have saved died all because we were too busy protecting a goddamn hall."

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes."

"What was that?"

"It's latin. It means 'Who watches the watchmen?'."

"Exactly."

Connor and I both look as we hear sirens ringing in the distance. Police sirens.

"That's me."

"Good luck out there."

I tip my start to run. I leap off the terrace and on to a nearby rooftop.

The future might be shaky, but all that matters is the here and now.

One thing this whole fiasco with the new Dark Alliance taught me is time is prescious. You have to do the best with the time you have on this earth.

I'd like to think I've done some stuff with my time here.

I'm Oliver Queen. Former billionaire, mayor of Star City, and presidential candidate. Father to Connor Hawke and adopted father to Roy Haper and Mia Dearden, as well as grandfather to Lian Harper.

I've been the lover to many women over the past years, but none so much as Dinah Lance, my pretty bird.

Best friend to Hal Jordan.

While I'm all these things, I'm one thing above all others.

My name is Oliver Queen, but when I'm running around as Robin Hood at night. I'm....


greenarrow-tpb2.jpg

 
"Thanks...um...thanks?" I nod and the officer pushes on the criminals head, giving my an unsure look as he forces the thug into the car. I look around at the scene. Police cars filled with criminals, their cars smashed into other vehicles and even buildings. Money scattered on the street. And a city block riddles with fresh gunfire. I sigh.

"You're welcome." I step away and rise into the air. As I rise above the Gotham skyline I take another deep breath and let it out slowly, rubbing the bridge of my nose. Then I close my eyes and tilt my head side to side, hearing and feeling the satisfying pops in my neck. I look down at the streets and buildings and wonder how he did it. Two days of trying to keep with with the rampant crime in this city and I'm already exhausted. And I have a power ring.

But I know the current level of chaos in Gotham is mostly due to the lack of his presence. There are rumors running through the streets that Batman is still alive, but it's not keeping them from acting like he's gone. I also know that I can't stay and protect his city forever. This is a big world, and this city already has plenty of protectors. He made sure of that.

I stretch out my arms and stifle a yawn. It's been a long few days. I think I'll finish out the week, then lea-

A blinding explosion of green light erupts in front of me. I'm forced to shield my eyes for a few seconds before the brightness subsides. When it does, my eyes readjust to the darkness.

"Are you prepared?"

Great. Just what I needed. "You're timing is impeccable, Ganthet."

His face gives away no expression. "Good, then we shall go."

"No...that is called sarcasm. I am no where near ready to return to Oa."

There's a flare of anger mixed with...disappointment? in Ganthet's face. "The Guardians gave you ample time-"

"Ample, until the world almost went to hells. Again. Didn't Rayner report all this to you? When did I have time to gather those I needed?"

"Lantern 2814.4 did report the events that recently transpired on Earth. Are you saying you had a part in defending this world?"

"If Rayner told you what happened, then you know I did. What is this, a test?"

Ganthet floats there for a moment, his hands calmly crossed inside his sleeves as if thinking about his next steps. Or maybe silently conversing with the other Guardians. "Very well. You will be granted an extension. Gather those you need, and I will return for you."

"Fair enough."

"But," he says more forcefully as he points at me.
Ganthet.gif

"We will not make this exception again. Do not delay. For whether you are ready or not, we will make our judgment." And as quickly as he appeared, he's gone.


***


I stare at the empty air and notice that the sun has started rising. I float there for a short time, considering Ganthet's words, and pondering everything I still need to do. I glance down at my ring, a small grin forming on my face.

SinestroSTAS.jpg


"It won't be long now..."
 
In the other room of the newly rebuilt Brownstone I can hear soft murmurs of conversation. Brief exchanges between short bursts of silence, float among those standing outside. And the quiet voices are completely understandable. And while I'd rather the service I'm performing not be necessary, there's no point in putting it off any longer.

Dinah looks at me and, as if she read my mind, speaks up before I can go outside and gather everyone. "We're ready," is all she says. And suddenly, the voices go quiet. The only sounds are those of the Society members as they make their way into the trophy room.

As they all filter in, I glance at Dinah. She's looks to be holding up well. Probably better than I am. Or course, she's been away from the JSA for a while now. But she's still one of us. And it wasn't long ago that she...died. It was one of the hardest things I had to go through. That we all had to go through. Dinah was almost like all our daughter. Alan had disappeared for a week. We didn't learn until later he was spending time with his children. Ted crawled into a bottle for two days. And when he crawled back out, he spent a few more days putting thugs into hospitals. And me...I...didn't run for a long time. That may not sound like much, but for a speedster...it's almost everything. Instead, I stayed home with Joan. It took both her and Wally to get me moving again.

And then we lost Ted. And I almost lost my mind. I let the rage consume me and tried to kill Deathstroke. And I almost let Dinah die in the process. Almost lost her again. And once again, we all went our separate ways to cope.

But not this time. We've lost another member. One we thought would always be around. Yet, finally, we've come together to honor their memory properly. And maybe, just maybe, this time it will be different.

I clear my throat, forcing my words to form.

"Thank you all for being here. I know we'd rather this wasn't necessary, but in our line of work, it's part of the risks we take. And I know what you're thinking. Not like this. She wasn't taking those risks. And that might be true. But Abigail Mathilda Hunkel was a member of the Justice Society nonetheless. She may not have been out there on the front lines with the rest of us. But she was with us. Ma held down the fort, and always made sure we had a home to come back to. She was a friend we could always talk to when we needed it. And she was our family." I glance at Maxine and see the tears in her eyes. "We will not forget her. And we will carry on, because that's what she would have wanted."

I look around at the group. Everyone one of us would have given our own lives in Ma's place. But she's the one who paid the price of being a hero. And this is the least we can do.

"I know some of you have your own things to say. Please, feel free to do so." I step aside to let everyone have their chance.

One by one, various members take their place in front of the others, speaking as to the person Ma was and how much they'll miss her. Pieter is first. Karen surprises me and follows him. She's usually not one to open up like this, but she does. Others walk up for their chance to speak. Even Dinah pay her respects.

And then Alan steps up. I'm not surprised he wants to say something. He looks at us all, a sadness in his eyes that's reflected in our own."Many of you weren't here when Ma first joined the JSA. It was...well, I'm not sure how to describe it." A small smile tugs at the corner of Alan's mouth. I can feel the same on mine. "I guess 'unique' would be as good a word as any. She may have been over her head, and her costume-heh." There's a small chuckle from those of us that remember. "But...but her heart was in the right place. Ma was trying to protect her neighborhood from organized crime as the Red Tornado. Even with no powers, that alone made her worth to be a member of the Society. And yet, everyday, even though she didn't need to do so, she continued to prove her value and why she deserved to be part of our team. Part of our family. And we will all be that much diminished without her in our lives."

I smile, even though I"m holding back the tears. My arm is around Joan, and I give her a small squeeze before standing in front of the group again. "I'd like to show you all something now." I take a step back to the wall, and flip a switch. A light comes on and illuminates a new painting in our trophy room.

"Ma will forever be a part of our lives. And now, she'll forever be part of the JSA. And she'll be able to look for us, just like she always did. Thank you all for coming and paying your respects."

And even though the service my be over, I know the mourning is just beginning...
 
Dinah ran her hand along the wooden banister absently as she looked up the stairs. It wasn't the same one she'd touched when she'd first come to the brownstone so long ago. Things changed, like, oh, the entire building. She smile to herself, not a single brick was original, she was sure the neighbors hated the property damage and constant repair. Rubbing her palm on the curved ending of the wood she took a breathe and walked up the stairs, past pictures of previous members and teams, friends and family. She hadn't been here since Ted's death, She hadn't even come to Ted's memorial. She shoved aside the guilt to focus on her current goal. She was here for what she'd missed with ted's, a chance to say good-bye and remember with friends. Ma's memorial had been flawless, a true testament to the many lives she'd touched and changed. It had been after the memorial she'd heard Jay and Alan talking of the girl, Maxine Hunkel. Dinah had only heard of her in passing before and had never met her. Apparently she had a metagene and they wanted to invite her, Ma had expressed an interest in her being trained. During the luncheon she'd kept an eye on the girl noticing she'd retreated upstairs. Walking down the hallway Dinah paused at a slight shuffling coming from Ma's room a the end. The door was half closed and peeking in she could see the girl sitting on the bed, her legs swinging under her as far as the bed would allow as she looked around the room. Reaching up Dinah knocked on the wooden door. "Hey." She smiled as the girl looked up. "Mind if I come in?" Maxine looked around for a moment, her green, red brimmed eyes wide.

"Sure. I mean, it's not really my room anyway, it's Grandma's and it's really not her's it's the JSA's. But I suppose she won't be needing it anymore anyway. Oh, I do hope I'm allowed in here, I didn't even thing about it. I figured I had to come up here anyway later this week to pack her stuff up."

She jumped up before Dinah motioned it was alright and lowered herself on the bed next to Maxine, studying her for a minute; she had the build of hyper active young girl and seemed to be taking Ma's death as gracefully as possible.

"I'm sorry about your Grandmother." The red-head looked at her in surprise, "Well, everyone here misses her, or they wouldn't be here. Oh! I didn't mean to sound rude, I mean, just the same thing could be said of you. I'm sorry you're sad as well. But she's in a better place now, and she liked it here. She liked what she did. Mom and Dad said she belong in the super-hero business"

The long-winded response took Dinah aback a bit. She was a bit of a talker and very lively, her hands moving with her words, she was as dramatic as her passion and interest; the theatre.
"I hear this is your first year of college?" Maxine nodded excitedly.

"Yes, I'm majoring in theater. I've always loved it, so I figured I'd go for that, but you know it can change I suppose. But I don't think it will." Dinah nodded a bit afraid to ask another question. "Your Grandmother mentioned you had a great power."

Maxine nodded, "Well, yeah I suppose I did blow down her garage, that's pretty powerful." she paused slightly as if that admitted some sort of irresponsibility.
"But I did pay for it to be rebuilt and replaced all the stuff that ruined it. I even painted it on the weekends for a month."

Dinah looked at the wall trying to figure out how to phrase this. She was no longer part of the JSA, in fact the BoP kept her busy, and then the reformation of the JLA. It didn't really make her the one qualified to do this. She turned back to maxine and bent her leg up on the bed.

"You know...when I got my powers, I almost blew the side out of my parents house." Maxine looked at her for a moment.

"Oh yeah! You're the Black Canary! Grandma told me all about you! Your mother was the first Black Canary, she was so cool! Grandma said she she met her when she was in the JSA." She realized she'd been talking out of turn and snapped her mouth shut.

Dinah smiled, pleased to be aligned with her mother. "Guilty." she held her hand up. "I just want you to know, that if there is anything you need, the JSA is here for you. I say this as a former and reserve member, and also someone who knows what it's like when someone close to them dies." She paused. "Members of the JSA practically helped my parents raise me, and they've always been a safe place for me to go." She stopped remembering how she'd fled to the Society after Ollie's death, the pain and anger she'd felt had been soothed by the familial relationships. "They're family Maxine, and you're family." Maxine looked at her oddly and opened her mouth before Dinah raised her hand and continued.

"They'd like you to join the Society Maxine." The girl blinked and put her hand to her chest.

"Me? ME? Oh my gosh! This is an honor, but I don't know if I should, I have school, you know I was accepted at Harvard and I don't know anything at all about being a super hero."

Dinah smiled at the flustered girl and put her hand over hers, she was the complete opposite of Mia it seemed, but in her eyes Dinah saw the traces of her grandmother.
"You don't have to answer now, just keep it as an option, I don't think Harvard would have an issue working out a study program for you. In fact I think Dr. Mid-Nite might have some friends on the University Board. You wouldn't be alone here either, Star-Girl and Jakeem both are active members of the Society and are your age." She stood up and smiled at her handing her a small slip of paper. "If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call." Maxine looked up and nodded before Dinah leaned over and embraced her. Tears stung her eyes for a moment as she felt the loss the girl had suffered at the death of her grandmother. Maxine smiled at her as if guessing her feelings.

"I'm going to be okay. Well, we all are really, it just takes time. "Time heals all wounds" I think is the saying." Dinah laughed, there was no question as to the girls skills over communication. Checking the time Dinah waved bye and slipped out the door, planting a kiss on Jay and Alan's cheeks before rushing out the door and turning her comm on.

"How did it go?" Dinah smiled and looked up at the clear blue sky.
"It was lovely. Everything she deserved." "Well, I have light-up here in Gotham, some idiot dressed as Batman was out and about last night. Should probably watch for that tonight." Dinah shoved her hands into her pocket and started walking. "I'll be back by them. I wanna visit someone first though." "Okay, no rush. Cass is in Gotham tonight." Dinah nodded as she traversed a few block. "I'm going offline for a while Babs."
"Okay. See you in a little bit." Dinah flicked the comm off and walked through the gate of her destination, stopping in front of a set of three headstones.

"Hey guys."
 
I pour myself another glass of milk, emptying the carton. As I drain the glass, I walk over and throw the carton in the trash with the other one I emptied. If you haven't gotten by now that Flashes need to eat a lot...well, then I can't help you.

I put the glass in the sink and hear the front door close. "Hi, Joan," I say as I walk towards the front room.

"Jay? You're here?" she asks as she puts the bag of groceries on the table. "I thought you'd be running around with the JSA."

"Not today." I walk up to help Joan, eying the groceries. But I resist and just help her with putting them up. "Actually, I was at the Brownstone today talking with Alan and Mr. Terrific."

"Oh? What were you talking about?"

We put up the last of the groceries and walk into the living room. "We talked about...retirement."

Joan stops and looks at me, eyes wide. "Jay. You're kidding. You can't retire. It would drive you nuts."

"Well...I'm not kidding." Joan just keeps staring at me. "And it would be more of a...semi-retirement. I'd still run around Keystone and Central, help Wally out. And when the JSA really needs me, I'd still be there."

We sit on the couch and Joan takes my hand in hers. "Jay, I'd love for you to stay home, safe with me. I've secretly always wanted it."

"Not so secretly," I tease.

She smiles. "True. But I'm also very proud of what you do. And I know just how important you are to the Society. So I don't want you to retire just for me."

I squeeze her hand. "It's not just for you. It's for me too." I sigh and lean back against the cushions. "I've seen a lot of terrible things lately. So much has happened. And I've done so much that...that I'm afraid. Afraid that if I keep going like I have been...I'll burn out. Or worse."

Joan lays her head on my shoulder and I wrap my arm around her. "So when does this 'semi' retirement start?"

"Why do you think I'm home when it's my weekend for monitor duty?"

Joan smiles. "Well, I don't mind that part one bit."

I smile too as I rub her shoulder. "I will have to go back when the training starts."

Joan looks up at me. "Training? For what?"

I look back at her and smile. "For the new recruits..."
 
Part 1: The End is Nigh

Have you ever survived a super villain attack? Lou has survived five so far and each time it returns him to the same spot, nothing. Each time one of those costumed nutjobs run through town everything he built up was sent back to hell. He remembers the first time, this is the one that he lost the most. His family had just moved to Gotham due to a job transfer. That was when the freaks started to move on it. He found his wife, son, daughter, her friend, and their labrador retriever all dead. Each face was contorted into a maniacal grin. What disturbed him most was not the sight of his family but that of the dog. The dog's face should not twist like that. He had held the dog in his arms rocking back and forth until the cops broke down his door, which was unlocked, and found him sobbing uncontrollable.

"The Joker." They said, "some sort of crazy clown." The cops kept talking but Lou was not paying attention. All he could think about was the frigging dog.

There was more. He was nearly killed due to some junkies hopped up on what the experts call fear toxin. As a side note this also ruined any good memories he had as a child watching Wizard of Oz with his mother. The plant that he worked at was destroyed by a ****ing robot. Lastly, his apartment was destroyed by a man in a refridgerator. The landlord decided to live and let die leaving the apartment complex behind instead of repairing it. Lou still lives there but now it is a digusting mess. The last attack that he had lived through was just recently he didn't know the details except that Batman was dead. He didn't care it's not like he did anything for him anyway.

What he did care about though was his needs. His need for money. Money for food, money for booze, money for drugs. He pushes his shopping cart full of stolen electronics along the layberythn of the lost of Gotham. Some freak walks by him carrying a sign reading, THE END IS NIGH. He reached down into his coat pockets fingering his home made shiv. He stopped at the edge of crime alley leaving his cart behind. He spotted a mother and her daughter racing down the alley. He sets off for them brandishing his blade. He brushes into his cart knocking a radio. The radio hits the ground now broken but a sound crawls through. He does not here it, nobody does.

"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound!" STATIC "The year is now 2029. I pray to God that somebody gets this message. My name is Connor Hawke and I am leader of the human resistence of Earth. It has been twenty years since we had lost the war but we still push on. Ray has hooked up the machine for one final transmission and hopefully it was not in vain. We had lost Ray after a Black STATIC attack. We are now down to a handful. This is not the future that was suppose to happen. Something went wrong with time, that's what Ray said. There is something wrong with space and time. There are other worlds and each one falls into his hands. You must stop him! STATIC Damn it! We have been breached. Parademons! STATIC. The red glow of Solaris burns in the sky. It is the harbringer of the apocalypse. It attacks us in the dreams! Stop....the sound went dead.

Lou had backed the two into a dead end. His blade shines in the moonlight. He inches closer and closer, growling like a beast.

"Oh Lou." Chills run down his spine. He turned around there was nothing.

"Where are you!"

"Here." It whispers. He turns around. It looks like a cartoon character in a Batman costume. It's hanging upside down in midair staring into his eyes No it's the drugs. He's finally lost it. The Spirit of Justice has hunted him down.

"W...who are you?" he is able to get out, barely. It grabs him by the collar.

"I'm Bat-Mite." It says in a gruff voice. It headbutts him knocking him out. The mother and daughter look up at their savior.

"Thank you." They say. The cop nods his head and places the man in cuffs. He will get a one way to ticket to Arkham when he is dragged in screaming about a midget Batman with magical powers.

Part 2: Fear and Loathing in Gotham

He's name is Bullock, Harvey Bullock. He has not slept for over four days. Crime is rampant and he knows that the barely have enough good men to handle it. The Batman is dead and now the cops are back into a corner. One of his men drags a bum along placing him into a car.

"What we got here?"

"Some bum. Tried to kill a mother and her child."

"You didn't see him?"

"What the hell is he talking about?" Bullock asks

"He claims that a midget wearing a Batman shot a pink laser into his brain telling him about the apocalypse."

"Good Christ. Just what we need, the apocalypse. Take him to Arkham I have bigger **** to take care that filling out paperwork for some bum."

"Yes sir." The cop heads for Arkham. Something catches Bullock's eye. A man in a trench coat and a very large sickly looking man. He calls over another cop.

"Who the hell are they?"


"G-Men."

"Ah great just what I need, government spooks." The man in a trench coat lights up a cigarette.

"Bloody hell mess we got here, Frankie."


". . . and now expecting Each hour their great adventurer, from the search Of foreign words."

"Again, with the Milton. Anyway their are rips in time and space in this city. Something is trying to get through."


"I sense it too, Constantine. Something much worse has escape. Neh-Buh-Loh roams the world once again.

Part 3: A Serious House on a Serious Earth.

The cop car has disappear from view. Lou is now being dragged into the hell that is Arkham. He says nothing and he is treated like a animal, like a dog. The men in white coats drag him into a room that is out of someone's nightmare. It looks like a torture chamber. A voice echoes from the PA system.

"Please sit the good doctor will be right with you. Soon your hate will be properly justified" Each minute that passes by seems like an eternity. Finally skinny man in a lab coat comes in. He pushes he glasses up and runs a hand through his greasy hair.

"Please sit down." He says calmly.

"Doc...I'm in a bad place." Doctor Arkham tazers the Lou and straps him to a table. He knew something was wrong but what did he know he was crazy. He straps him to a table and looks him in the eyes.

"I like pain. I especially like to make you humans suffer the worst." He raises a scalpel to Lou's eye. "Yes, this is going to hurt. You pathetic humans can not understand what we are planning. All here, the place where darkness of humans gather the most." Screams ripped through Arkham and into the night sky. It rips through time and space into the white.

Part 4: The Falling Man

There is nothing but white surrounding him. He does not know how long he has been here. His mind is in shambles. He must have gone a week without food but something pushes him. He only wishes what it it was. Then something came out of nothing. A shadow arm. It pulls him and rips him through time and space. He sees everything, the beginning and the end. He skyrockets into a screaming godhood and blacks out.

Water splashes on his face and he wakes up. Standing before him is a man who looks like a doctor and a man in a flamboyant costume.

"There is no need to be afraid." A man says in calm and soothing voice. He believes him.

"Please Godfrey, it was easier to use him in his deranged state. It would have been more fun. And don't you have a patient that you need to talk to you?"

"I suppose so but try not to have too much fun 'doctor" He leaves the two.

"Where am I?" The Falling Man asks

"All question will be answer soon. But first Dr. Arkham needs to get inside that head of yours." The man thinks about what the future and what it holds.

Part 5: We Were Legion

When did it all go wrong? Brainiac 5 thinks to himself. This was not suppose to be the future he knew this even though they didn't believe. Of course they didn't. There was so much death and darkness. So much hurt. Why do the Legion of Super-Villains patrol the galaxy? Why is the Legion are only down to a handful? What had happen to the future. All his reading point to the tampering of space and time. To save the present they must save the past. He picks up his ring and places it on his finger. They were the Legion.

"This is Brainiac 5" he spoke over a secret line that only the remaining Legion is able to pick up. "I know had to save the world."

Part 6: Intergalactic Red Tape

They are the long lived Guardians of the Galaxy and for years they have made sure that this galaxy was safe. Although a new problem has arisen one that has showed them fear.

"It is coming true. The signs of the prophecy are coming true."

"Are you believe, Ganthet? You believe his fairy tales? Have you become that naive?"

"Abin Sur..."

"Abin Sur knew nothing! Abin Sur chased a false prophecy created by a liar. In the end it had cost him his life."

"The readings that we have recovered from Sector 666...."

"ENOUGH! The Blackest Night is nothing but lies are falsehoods there will be nothing more on the subject. Now we have much more important things to take care of." He waves his hand that opens a door. "Hal Jordan of Sector 2814?"

Part 7: The Day the World Went Away

The fires rage. The demons scream. There is not one single being that is not under his control. He looks over them all and the only thing they understand is his will. His will will govern this chaotic universe.

A man in a purple robe runs up a flight of stairs. He dares not be late or even stumble in sight of his master. He pushes giant doors runs in. His master has his back turned to him.

"Everything is fallen into place, sire. Nothing could go wrong. The human know nothing of are activity."

"Do you not see what the future holds for us, Desaad?"

"I do not know my lord Darkseid." The great Darkseid still stands with his back toward Desaad. His words the will of the universe.

"There will be a crisis."
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top
monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"