When the Tower came to full power, no one on that battlefield actually knew what had happened. One moment, Kon-El was fighting for his life, for his girlfriend, for his friends, and the next…
There was nothing.
The saying of nature abhorring a vacuum held true. There was no one outside the Endless to know just what transpired, or how long it took, but when next those heroes, villains, and victims were aware of life, they were far separated from one another, in settings that looked perfect to them.
Kon-El might have been the first to realize the truth of what had happened, at least on one level. He found himself on the beach, but without Tim or Cassie in sight. Without even thinking about it, he leaped up to go back to Titans' Tower…and sprawled face first in the sand.
Superboy Prime blinked as he found himself in regular clothes, in a school, listening to Mrs. Hunter drone on about English poetry. It felt real, felt right to him, until he went to use his telescopic vision to see the farm.
Try as hard as he could to reshape his eye to see far away, the picture out the window never changed.
Ted Kord had never thought much about dying, not even when his best friend seemed hell-bent on getting him dead.
So it came as something of a surprise to him that he was obsessed with the idea he had been murdered, one shot to the head. It also plagued him that he kept sketching designs for something that looked like a giant flying beetle, complete with gadgets that seemed to fulfill every need of a fireman, policeman, or EMT.
He wondered just what the Blue Beetle would say, if he ever got to see his teacher, Dan, again.
Billy sat down beside Mary, and then looked over at Freddie.
Both Mary and Freddie flinched, waiting for the lightning…before staring at Billy in shock, when that lightning did not strike.
No one said a word when their eyes began to water, and they leaned on one another.
Dick Grayson smiled at his stepsister before he picked up the phone.
"Dick, old chum…we've got a problem. Seems Superman and the others with powers…none of them have powers anymore."
The former acrobat listened to his partner, who was also the police commissioner now, and considered that.
"Bruce, I'm not sure that's the only thing wrong." He looked again at his stepsister, the lovely Helena Wayne, otherwise known as Huntress, and felt in his soul that this world had long ago ceased to exist.
Oliver Queen could not have been happier, as he walked into his home, and Dinah threw herself into his arms with a passionate kiss. It felt right, having her here, no matter what his brain tried to say about cheating and breaking up and a world where the JSA coexisted with the JLA.
"Where's Mia and Connor?" he asked once the ardor had cooled somewhat.
Destiny was not pleased. In some ways, he had been very content to shelve the multiple volumes he had once kept. In others, it seemed like it had just made it necessary to write far more into the single volume he had kept open following the run of the Scarlet Speedster.
Now, he began sorting the entries out, watching his books fill with the histories they had missed during that long mergence into one dimension. His quick eye caught the edits done to things from before the Speedster's run, as the multiverse adapted, handling the people and events that had been added.
He might have let it go at that, until he noted the edits were all crippling the ones called metas who belonged on all the Earths.
A quick glance through other volumes proved his fear correct.
Only the Earths were affected.
The crossroad of trouble, a tiny little planet three orbits out from its primary, was being left practically defenseless by a vindictive Power or a mistake in the redesign of life in the multiverse.
With a sigh, Destiny summoned his siblings, to see just what needed to be done by the ever-watching Endless, to try and nudge things into the right paths, or if this was, truthfully, beyond even their designs.
Kon-El was trying not to lose his temper, beat something up in frustration, as he accessed the accounts he had kept after all the endorsement deals were fixed more equitably to his favor, rather than his agent's. It took a long time to get what he needed, but he found a way to get on a plane and head to Gotham. He just had to find Tim, because Tim would fix this.
Superboy Prime, or Clark Kent, by his right name, looked around the farm, noted the foreclosure sign. He had a grim feeling that if he walked up those steps, this world's cruelty would be viciously known to him.
Somehow, even without telescopic vision, he knew the gravestone on the cemetery hill read "Jonathan Kent, Beloved Husband and Father, May He Rest In Peace."
"Damn you, Alexander."
"You never had a friend named Michael. You're a top-notch student and inventor, Ted." Dan patted him on the shoulder. "Though I might look into those gadgets, son. It seems I finally wore the battery out of the scarab that made me special."
Ted just shook his head; he knew that was not possible, and he damn well knew Michael Jon Carter had been his best friend for years.
If he wasn't wrong, maybe the world was?
"I don't know about this, Billy," Freddie said softly.
"We have to try. I know Theo's a crook, but Teth…sometimes Teth wasn't so bad," Billy said. "If Teth is the one in charge of his mind, he might help us all find the Wizard's power. The world needs the Marvels." Billy was resolute as he raised his hand to knock.
"I'm with you, Billy." Mary bravely pushed forward, taking Freddie's hand to calm him.
The first Marvel rapped hard, and they all waited.
Dick sat with Helena and Bruce, discussing plans about how to handle the threats if they could not rely on the heavy hitters of the Super family for the galactic crises that happened too often.
The whole time, Dick kept rubbing at his chest, reminded, oddly, that someone dear to him, somewhere else, would be worried right now, not knowing where he was.
When a feather drifted from the over hanging tree limb against the window, it made the ache he felt deepen.
Oliver kept firing at the distant target. Anything was better than being in that house, with that woman.
It wasn't his life. It couldn't be. If it was, where were his sons, where was his daughter, his granddaughter?
Ollie, reckless and abandoned to life as he could be, had no wish to live in a world where he did not at least have his family around him. Not even with a facsimile of a Dinah who seemed to think he was a great guy and had never miss-stepped with her.
It was not is life, and he was fast missing even the Big Blue Boy Scout because of it.
Hell, at this point, he was likely to kiss Carter, if he saw him.
"Even the ones without powers feel the wrongness of where they were cast," Dream said, trying hard not to watch over his parents in their idyllic world too long. Hector and Lyta would be dead in any world, save this one, but he was unsure just where their lot would fall once they did as needed.
"Dream…brother mine, I have no wish to be invaded by hordes of dead humans and allies." Death gave him a very level look. "You know, as well as I do, what Destiny has said is true."
"If we do not make the Universe redress this wrong, the history to be will be wrong," Destiny intoned.
"Ahh, but I'd have a field day," Destruction mused, earning a dark glance from Desire.
"Not, no, not once it all rolls up into the grand ball of things to roll along," Delirium said with a stare beyond what even they perceived.
"I say let them all rot," Despair opined. They chose to ignore her; humanity bred enough misery in any incarnation to keep her busy.
"I will do as needed," Dream promised, withdrawing. All that remained now was to open humanity's dreams to those who Watched, who Monitored, to show the cosmic wrong in action.
"No Tim?" Kon could only stare in shock at the strangers in his best friend's house.
"I will fix this," young Clark Kent vowed.
"I've got to find a way to make them see," Ted said firmly, looking at himself in the mirror and preparing to be the hero he knew he could be.
Teth nodded at the three to come in, before setting the problem out in clear lines for them all to see. Right now, enmity was useless when all were powerless.
Dick leaned his head on the window, ignoring the ongoing conversation until he could take no more. "This is not home, and you, Bruce, nor you, Helena, should be that damn happy."
"It's not you, Pretty Bird." He shouldered his bag, his bow, and his quiver. "I need to find what went wrong with everything…then I'll see how I can be the man you want me to be."
Destiny blinked. The alacrity with which the Powers that Were had acted had left him mute with surprise. He had seen the problem, but the dreams of so many had been quite effective. Now, he watched the multiverse resettle, with mirrors and mirrors of the one universe that had been.
At the center, that world, the one born in a Flash's sacrifice, returned, and as it did, so too did the powers of the Earths' protectors.
Compromise, it seemed, was the order of the day, between the before and after of that Unique Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Wondering how the One Universe was, he turned his gaze to its tome.
Tim stood before a statue, arms holding a cape tightly around him. He was aware of the presence for one small moment before being engulfed in arms and a TTK field. As tears tracked two pairs of cheeks, Tim wondered at the idea of Kon acting like he had been the one dead.
"You were wrong," young Clark told the man who had led him astray.
Alexander could only stare impotently, watching, again, from the pocket world he had been returned to.
Alone for all eternity.
At least there was a Superboy, to save a Pa from overdoing it on a hot Kansas day, as Clark moved on to his chores on his newly born Earth.
Ted sat with Death, listening to the whole story, looking at the pictures of that other Ted and other Michael. He then grinned at her irrepressibly.
"If I'm still here…"
"You still may return to the One World's destiny…in time."
In his own lands, Teth considered the two types of powerlessness…and the courage of three children who had not let that stop them.
Roy did not flinch, but he was pretty sure he would be checking his horoscope.
Dick hugging and kissing him in front of the League had pretty much convinced him it was either the beginning of a lucky streak, or doom incarnate.
Oliver sighed contently, even as he furor increased. Let the kids argue over whose turn it was to pick a movie, with Connor so quiet and Mia getting louder every syllable.
He had a pretty lady to call and start talking over all their history with, to make their friendship something truly worthwhile again.