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DC Universe: Divided we fall

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This day couldn’t get more perfect, Alec thought to himself as he lay on the soft sands, staring up at the sky which resembled a refined mosaic. The elegance of the clouds moved slowly across the sky as a gentle breeze brushed them along. This is the peace I’ve been looking for, Alec thought. True, his year of being on the island was perfect, however he was aware of his mother’s objections to returning to Themyscira. He recalled the first time he “visited” Themyscira: how it started as a simple boat ride from Tinos to Mikonos while visiting Greece, how the sea was unforgiving and capsized the boat, how the captain activated the life raft and was swallowed by the sea, how Alec was knocked out by hitting his head on the bar of the raft, how he awoke on an unrecognizable island, how he must have imagined being carried on a gurney through a thicket of Jungle to a breathtaking city of Ancient Grecian Architecture, how he was interrogated by a woman calling herself Hippolyta, and how he was nursed back to health. He recalled how, when walking through the streets, he received the glares of the women and noticed there were no other men; he was alone. He remembered one showing kindness and showing him around, a woman named Diana. He recalled how another named Artemis attempted to kill him, but how Diana intervened and impressed her with his determination and tenacity. He remembered the grueling days of training with her to regain strength, and the day he was returned to his mother by Diana, who was welcome to stay after returning him. After a few days, Alec came to know Diana as Wonder Woman, chosen champion of the Olympian gods and the Amazons. After much deliberation, Diana reluctantly agreed to take him back to Themyscira and train with her if that was what he wanted. He remembered his mother reluctantly letting her son go. Queen Hippolyta was outraged that Diana brought a male back to the island and, after a consultation with the goddess Athena, was accepting of Alec’s desire to train under the tutelage of Diana and the Amazons. After a year, he had mastered sword fighting (thank you Star Wars and the practice lightsaber combat with friends), hand-to-hand combat (which was extremely difficult with Artemis), and the deflection of projectile weaponry. Today would be the final day of his training, the day he sparred with Wonder Woman herself for the right to fight alongside her. As he was gazing up at the picturesque sky, his reminiscing was interrupted by the sound of another clad in armor walking toward him. Alec stood up to greet the stranger and saw that it was his soon-to-be sister Lyla, or rather Harbinger.

“I just came to see that you were getting ready, your final test begins in an hour,” Harbinger stated.

“I’ll be ready Lyla, thanks for checking up on me,” Alec replied.

“Of course! What are friends for?”

“Thank you Lyla. If it weren’t for your kindness I’m not sure I would be here today.”

“You have a good heart Alec, much unlike the rest of mankind. I am hopeful that by the end of the evening I will have the honor to call you brother.”

“And I am hopeful that by the end of the night I may call you sister. Crazy how much things have changed in the past year, huh Lyla?”

“Yes Alec, I have enjoyed getting to know you and assisting you with your training. We should head to your chambers to prepare for your final test.”
In his chambers, Harbinger helped Alec into his armor and handed him his sword and shield.

“Remember, you have your short sword on your right if you lose the shield. And even though many of us find your fighting style strange, it has worked for you in the past so do what works for you.”

“Thanks Lyla” Alec would have to thank the fictional jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano for her use of the reverse grip when she used her lightsabers.

“Remember, only two before you have beaten Diana. One was amazon raised and the other was an outsider like yourself so if you fail remember that many before you have tried and failed to beat her. But I know you will succeed.”

“Lyla, I appreciate the advice but I’m feeding off of your nervous energy. I’ll see you after the match.”

“Good luck Alexander Stone. May the gods be with you.” And with that, Lyla exited the room, leaving Alec with his thoughts as he made his way to the open forum of the sparring arena.

I can do this. Watch her movements. Try and anticipate where she will strike, but also keep your mind on the here and now where it belongs (thank you Qui-Gon Jinn). He looked u p and noticed he was at the edge of the arena, waiting for the Queen to give the word for the battle to begin.

“Combatants! Step forward,” the Queen announced.

Alec stepped forward to an area in front of the Queen, and Diana strode beside him clad in her armor.

“You both know the rules. The first to concede is the victor. May the gods honor you, take your places and prepare.”

We both bowed to the Queen and paced to our starting positions. We stare each other down as we anticipate the call to begin. Alec’s mind was raging with anxiety and doubt, and in that moment he cleared him mind with only one thought: I can do this.

“Begin,” the Queen demanded.

At the sound of her command, Diana and Alec rushed forward, eager to begin the deadly dance. Alec struck first, aiming a sword slash at Diana’s sword arm which she expertly deflected with a turn of her wrist. Diana retaliated with a feint to his head and changing its direction to his left leg, which he narrowly avoided by jumping back. Diana used the unbalance to her advantage and charged forward with a shield bash to knock him down. Alec braced himself as best as he could, allowing the impact to work to his advantage. The hit came like a sucker punch to the gut, but he turned the momentum against it by leaning backwards and turning the fall into a backflip, ready to attack when he landed, perfectly balanced. Eyes narrowed, Diana charged forward with an overhead slash to his head. Alec sheathed his sword and placed his shield on his back. He sidestepped, grabbing her shield and ripping it from her arm. Bewildered, she turned around only to have the shield stolen from her thrown back. She deflected it with her shield as it buried itself in a column. Good news, she lost her shield. Bad news, she now had a two hand grip on her sword. She rushed forward and unleashed a volley of attacks on Alec. Hits coming in all directions and Alec was struggling to keep up. Unexpectedly, Diana switched to a single hand grip and punched a hole right through his shield, yanked her arm to the right and decisively relieved him of his shield. Alec sidestepped the incoming stab and drew his second blade, rotating both so they were reversed in his hands. Well let’s hope all that praise for using the reverse-grip style was accurate, Alec thought to himself. Diana surged forward and resumed her assault. Alec had an easier time blocking the barrage of attacks this time because he was able to turn his blocks into attacks by using his other hand, forcing Diana to reevaluate her methods. Unexpectedly she disarmed him with a swift kick to his right hand, knocking free his short sword. This followed by a fight that reminded Alec of the jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. the multi-armed android General Grievous, where he was the jedi and Diana was Grievous, but with only two arms, one sword, but all the speed and strength. Pretty soon he was disarmed and backing up to a column. Reluctantly, he got an idea. He turned around and sprinted toward the column with Diana on his heels. She got within range and slashed into thin air, for Alec had ran a few feet up the column to avoid her strike. He flipped backward, locking his knees behind her neck and drove back with everything he had. He planted his hands on the ground and drove his knees back toward the ground, taking Diana with them and slamming her into the ground. Disoriented, Diana attempted to rise only to find a sword to her throat. The combatants gazed upon each other with measured looks, Diana looking for a way out of this predicament and Alec looking for Diana to make a move. After about ten seconds of this, two words came from Diana: “I yield.” Alec removed the sword and extended a hand to his opponent, which Diana accepted. She shook his hand, but refused to let it go.

“Amazons!” she yelled. “Years ago, it would have been unheard of to have a man live among us or train with us. Two others before him succeeded in his mission, and they have been adopted into sisterhood and fight alongside me as your chosen champions. By the will of the gods Alexander has succeeded in his endeavors and beaten me in single combat. Are there any among you who deny his claim?”

The silence that followed was eerie and quite unexpected. “Very well then. What say you sisters? Do you accept him as your first brother-in-arms? Do you feel he is ready to fight beside us? To die beside us? To be one of your champions?”

The resonant cheers threw Alec off guard, he was not expecting this type of reaction. Maybe Harbinger was right, maybe their thoughts on Alec had changed. The Queen strode forward, a handmaiden at her heels carrying something that was obscured from Alec’s vision.

“Alexander Stone, you have completed your training under the tutelage of the Amazons. You have bested our chosen champion, and are well received by the Amazons. If you accept our offer, you may join us and become an honorary Amazon. These warriors will become your sisters, those who will fight beside you and you them. Do you accept our offer?”

“I do my Queen,” Alec answered respectfully.

“Then it is up to the will of the gods,” the Queen answered.

As soon as she said this, the air next to her shimmered and there next to her appeared a woman clad in a tunic as white as snow and armor. Her helm was pushed back so her entire face showed as well as her fair, corn yellow hair. Her gray eyes resembled that of a thunderstorm. In her hands were a golden spear gilded with ancient Greek carvings and a beautifully constructed shield with the face of Medusa etched into the middle. Alec knew who this was, and he was shell-shocked with admiration and terror. He knelt in respect of the goddess he most respected: Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare.

“Lady Athena.”

“Rise, warrior,” the goddess encouraged. “You have proven yourself in combat today. You have the trust of the Amazons, as well as the blessing of the gods. You shall be blessed with the blessings of the Amazons as those before you. Flight, strength of Hercules, agility, speed, stamina shall all be yours as well as a special blessing. Donna Troy was blessed with a psychic link with Diana, Cassandra was blessed with the lasso of lightning. As my chosen champion, I would grant you power over the mind to aid you in your endeavors.”

She raised her hand and a beam of light descended from the sky, bathing Alec in its blessings. He felt a sensation in his mind that he had never felt before, like a door was opening that was previously closed. He felt strength through the rays of light, stronger than he had felt before. And as fast as the beam had come down it dissipated, leaving Alec and the Amazons gazing in wonder at the goddess of wisdom.

“Use these gifts wisely. Although I too have had reservations toward men in the past, you have proven yourself to the Amazons and the gods. I am proud to be your patron goddess. You may call on me when you need me and I will be there. Good luck Alec, and may the gods be with you.” With that the air shimmered around her and she disappeared before their eyes. The Queen ushered her handmaiden forward and presented Alec with more gifts.

“As those before you were blessed, we bestow upon you a golden lasso of truth, bracelets forged from shards of Zeus’s shield, and armor which represents the nation from which you came as our emissary to the outside world.”

Alec looked upon his armor in awe. It was exactly as Diana’s was, with the exception of pants, the top being similar to a tank top but rose to a v-cut at his lower neck, and long gloves that cut from the lower part of his index finger into a curve to his mid-hand and ended four inches from his shoulder. In addition to this, a headpiece, much like Diana’s tiara, was included but reached down the front of his face along the sides near his temples and settled behind his ears. Another thing he noticed was that instead of the parts that were meant to be gold were instead white gold, similar to silver but with a more cream color mixed. He took these gifts from the Queen’s handmaiden.

“I graciously accept these gifts and promise to serve the Amazons and the world as best as I can,” Alec vowed.

Cheers ensued and festivities were held. Toward the end of them, Diana instructed Alec to don his armor. For they were headed to meet the other members of the Justice League, and something Diana referred to as “the team.” Alec could only assume she meant the League, but it had him wondering. After he put on his armor, he looked upon himself in the mirror. He looked completely unrecognizable. Those piercing sea green eyes staring back at him, the golden lasso attached to the left side of his belt, the bracelets on his wrists,
the “W” on his chest, it all felt surreal. As if it were a dream that he did not want to wake up from.

“You look good in that armor, Alec.” Alec turned around to see Harbinger leaning against the door frame. She too was wearing her armor as Harbinger.

“Thanks Lyla, I’m just not sure that I’ve done anything to earn the right to wear this yet,” Alec stressed. “I mean, Diana has fought battles, saved billions of lives, and all I’ve done is passed the trials. I’m not sure I’m ready for this.”

“Alec, you are worthy of that armor. Like you said, you passed the trials. If you believe you have not yet earned the right, then prove to yourself that you have. Go out there with Diana and prove yourself. Not to the world or the League, but to yourself. Besides, you look amazing in that armor. The women of your country will go crazy over you.”

Alec smirked. “Thanks Lyla for your words of encouragement, but I don’t think I will be pursuing any women. I've always thought of myself as more of a player for your team than
playing for the men.”

Lyla grinned. “I knew there was another reason you and I get along so well. I wish you happiness brother. And who knows, maybe there is a man worthy of your affection.”

“One can only hope Lyla. Thank you for believing in me, I would not have been able to succeed without you. Farewell sister, I’ll miss you most of all.”

The pair held each other tightly, and walked out toward the courtyard. As they reached the top of the stairs that descended into the courtyard, the Amazons had assembled to see Alec and Diana off. As he walked by, the honor guard raised their spears above his head. He reached Diana and the Queen as well as the invisible jet.

“May the gods watch over you in your quest to bring balance to this world,” the Queen wished. “And know this Alexander: I may not have approved of you in the beginning, but you have proven yourself and there is no one I would rather see fighting alongside my daughter. Farewell, and may the gods be with you.”
The Queen walked a few paces away, leaving Diana and I standing near the jet.

“I never got to fully congratulate you, I am proud to call you my brother and proud to see you in that armor. You wear it well, and I know you will continue to prove worthy of it. Seeing as how you will be fighting alongside me, you’ll need a codename. Have you given this any thought?”

“I have Diana. With your blessing, I would like to adopt the name Wonder Boy.”

Diana smiled with pride. “Wonder Boy it is then.”

With that the pair climbed into the jet and prepared for takeoff.

“Ready Wonder Boy?”

Alec looked out the window at his new sisters. He knew he would miss his new family, but he knew he would see them again. And until then, he would fight alongside his mentor Wonder Woman to bring balance to the world.
“Ready.”

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Wonder Boy and Wonder Woman were enroute to meet the League, and Alec was very disconcerted. He didn’t mind flying, that wasn’t what was bothering him. It was the whole travelling into space thing that was weighing on his mind. True, he was elated at the experience of going into space, but that fear was there, the fear of the unknown. Plus, there were the nerves of meeting the League. In the past he had seen their heroics on the news, but never before (other than meeting his idol Wonder Woman) had he encountered another member of the League. Who would be there? Superman? Batman? Shazam? Black Canary? All these names and more flowed through his mind and made him more and more nervous. Diana looked over her shoulder at him, sensing his uneasiness.

“Nervous Alec?”

“A little,” he admitted. “It’s just, I’m getting the opportunity of a lifetime going into space, going to see the Watchtower, meeting the Justice League, and I’m worried of making a fool of myself.”

“I know it can be intimidating, but try to relax. We have all been in your shoes before; just staring out and both eager yet anxious to prove ourselves to the others. Try and embrace the emotions you are feeling now, it will make you more calm and at peace within yourself.”

“I just remember how I flipped out when I met you; you are my hero, you inspired me as I was growing up. And you are who I aspire to be. This League and the heroes associated with it, they inspired me as I was growing up. I’m nervous because I have no experience fighting in the field and here I am being introduced to some of the most powerful beings on the planet as well as my heroes.”

Diana chuckled. “You know, Cassie had a similar reaction when I introduced her to the League and the team. The only difference though is that her anxiousness was more anticipation and elation. You are calmer and collected, which is different than what I have experienced with my protégés. It’s kind of refreshing to see.” Diana gave a smile of encouragement and said, “Don’t worry, you’re going to be just fine. If all else fails, just be yourself.” She stopped and looked ahead. “We’re approaching the hanger bay.”

Alec looked outside the pilot’s main window ahead at the structure in awe. It was much different than media had described. The media had said it was an orbiting satellite station orbiting the planet. What it really was though was more of a space station than a satellite. As they approached the hanger bay doors, they opened. They landed in the spacious hanger and he saw other vessels similar to Diana’s only not invisible. They got out of the invisible jet and began walking to the elevator shaft to the main assembly hall.

“Remember, it’s okay to be nervous,” Diana said as they entered the elevator. She pressed a button and they began their ascent to the monitor womb.

Alec breathed deeply and cleared his mind. When he opened his eyes, the elevator had stopped and the doors were beginning to open. He and Diana walked out together into the open area and he saw before his eyes a collection of the greatest heroes on the planet, but divided into two groups. The first thing he noticed was the age difference in the two groups. The group to the left was obviously the League. With them were Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, Red Arrow, Black Canary, Zatanna, Dr. Fate, Shazam, Hawkgirl, Captain Atom, Aquaman, The Flash and the four Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Guy Gardner). But the group to the right were heroes he had heard of but never seen and much younger, could this be “the team” Diana spoke of? He recognized some of them, namely Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Aqualad, and Superboy (he was guessing on the last one simply because of the “S” on his chest.

“Welcome to the Watchtower,” Superman said. “I am Superman…” and he proceeded to introduce his fellow leaguers. It was then that Batman took over the introductions.

“This is the team, a group consisting of our protégés and aspiring heroes to operate as an undercover unit for covert ops. Since the League has gone public, this team uses their skills to gather intelligence for the League and complete missions that we cannot when we are spread too thin. The leadership role is split between Nightwing and Aqualad, and Batgirl steps in from time to time as their second in command. I’ll leave the introductions to them as you will be a part of this team.”

With that he walked back over with the rest of the League and Diana was about to say something when a holographic screen appeared behind the two teams. The image showed the hero Steel, and he looked a bit banged up.

“Steel to Justice League. Supergirl and I are in the middle of a fight with the witch boy Clarion and are in need of assistance.”

Just then another screen appeared next to him, this time showing the hero Icon.

“Icon to Justice League. Rocket and I are responding to a distress signal due to an earthquake and the situation has gotten out of hand. It has begun triggering an active volcano and we are in need of help.”

And another screen appeared, showing some doctor in a lab coat.

“This is Dr. Stone at STAR labs. Our research regarding the supervillains Volcana and Killer Frost has gone horribly wrong. The have escaped thanks to Live Wire and Giganta and are wreaking havoc on Central City.”

It was then Batman took control of the situation and began deploying leaguers. “Dr. Fate, Zatanna, and Shazam. Head to Steel’s location. Superman, Flash, Hal, and John. You’re going to Icon’s location. Wonder Woman, Black Canary, and Hawkgirl. Head to Central City.” And with that the teams of heroes departed for their various assignments. Before she ran off to teleport to Central City, Diana stopped and said to Alec, “We’ll speak more when I get back.”

Batman looked at Alec, and then looked to Nightwing. “Why don’t you show him around, I’ll have an assignment for you all soon.”

And with that the team began to follow Aqualad and Nightwing. Alec looked back on the screen showing Central City thinking "be safe Diana." As he was turning back to follow the group he noticed a pair of eyes lingering on him, eyes belonging to Red Arrow, who gave a flirtatious half smile in his direction. Alec felt his eyebrows raise and a smile on his face, blushed, and continued  to follow the team. Nightwing and the others went a deck below to the conference room, each taking up a seat with Nightwing and Aqualad on either side of Alec at the head.

“Welcome to the team,” Nightwing said. “I’m Nightwing.”

“And I am Aqualad. As Batman said, we are the leaders of this team. Why don’t we start by you introducing yourself and telling us your story?”

Alec took a deep breath. “Okay, I’m Wonder Boy. I first arrived on Themyscira when…” And with that I told them how I arrived on the island, how I left and returned with Wonder Woman, how I trained, and how I earned a spot alongside Wonder Woman. I ended with describing my abilities. “My abilities are very similar to Wonder Girl’s with a few exceptions. The goddess Athena blessed me with the abilities over the mind. Meaning telepathy and telekinesis. I’m not exactly the most proficient in that area, but I am working on it.”

“We appreciate you telling us your story,” Aqualad thanked. “Now it is time for introductions of our own.” He went down Nightwing’s side first. “This is Batgirl. She possesses many of the skills that Batman and Nightwing possess.”

“Well except I’m a much faster hacker than Nightwing,” Batgirl snarked.

“Moving on. Next to her is Robin, much similar to both Nightwing and Batgirl. Next is Beast Boy, he has the ability to shape shift into any animal. Then there’s Blue Beetle, his scarab equips his with a variety of weaponry as well as full body armor and gadgetry. Next is Kid Flash with similar abilities to Flash. Next is Tigress, she has weaponry mastery as well as proficiency in hand to hand combat. Then there’s Lagoon Boy, he has the ability to grow in size and breathe underwater. Next is Static Shock, he had electro-magnetic capabilities. Then there’s Bumble Bee, she has the ability to reduce her size and had stinger blasts. Next to her is Guardian, he has proficiency in hand to hand combat as well as a wrist shield that can expand. On my side of the table we have Cyborg, whose brain is a super computer with a variety of weapons but most known for his sonic cannon. Next to him is Raven, who has mystical abilities. Next to her is Starfire, who is from the planet Tamaran and possesses the abilities of flight, super strength, and blasts of energy called starbolts. Next to her is Wonder Girl, who is very similar to Wonder Woman and yourself. Next to her is Miss Martian, who is a Martian with the abilities of the Martian Manhunter. And finally he we have Superboy, he has super strength and a sort or super jump. So in summary, this is the team and we welcome you.”

Alec took a moment to collect himself from the overload of information. “Thank you all for having me on this team.”

Batgirl was next to speak up. “Wonder Woman has been talking about the possibility of you joining for a while. We’re just glad to have another addition to the team.”

She looked like she had more to say but was interrupted by Batman, who had silently entered the room. “Team, I have another mission for you.” As he said this holographic screens with images and videos showed up behind and around him. Each one depicting figures clad in black with impressive agility and bore resemblance to owls. “In recent days, there have been a string of robberies at many military research facilities including Cadmus. The Court of Owls seems to be behind it, but this is not their usual MO. I have intercepted them once before and they are quite skilled in combat and stealth tactics. According to intelligence reports, their next target is a Ferris Air facility in Coast City. Your mission is two-fold: attempt to stop the robbery by finding out what was stolen and finding out where the Court’s base of operations is. Once you discover this, radio the League and we will take it from there. Good luck.” With that he walked out and left it to Aqualad and Nightwing.

Aqualad and Nightwing took their places at the front of the room and gave assignments. “Wonder Girl, Robin, Guardian, and Static you’re Beta squad. You’re going to attempt to stop the robbery. Reports from Batman have said that it is usually a few thieves but they have reinforcements on standby. Be prepared. I will be monitoring your progress from here,” said Aqualad.

Nightwing was next to speak. “Batgirl, Raven, Tigress, and Wonder Boy you’re Alpha squad. Your mission is to follow them back to their base. I’m sending you all in case communications get shut down, in which case you will have to act accordingly. Beta will arrive when you find the location. You have your assignments, good luck.”


 

“Hey, it’s starting,” Batgirl announced. Alpha walked to the edge of the roof and watched through binoculars as the thieves broke into the facility. “There are their reinforcements, ontop of the roof nearby.” They waited for Beta to make their move and, sure enough, bright lights and smoke started erupting on the roof. The reinforcements jumped in to join the fray.

“Well, that escalated quickly,” Alec joked. Pretty soon the Owls were beginning to make their escape. And, sure enough, the tracking devices placed by Robin were working.

Batgirl stood up and readied her grapple gun. “Tigress and I will stick to the shadows and follow them on foot. Raven and Wonder Boy, stick to the skies. Raven if you can camouflage yourselves that would make it easier. Wonder Boy, did Miss Martian teach you how to establish a psychic link before we left?”

“Yeah she did, one second,” Wonder Boy said. He closed his eyes and focused. He imagined their minds connecting, each sharing their thoughts with each other and it was so. “Link established.”

Alright, good luck,” Batgirl thought. With that she and Tigress began following their prey.

“Well, ready to begin?” Alec asked.

“One second, Azarath metrion zinthos!” Raven intoned. “There, we’re both camouflaged, we may not see it on each other but all others will not be able to see us. Let’s fly,” Raven thought. With that the pair took off into the night, closely following Batgirl and Tigress.

So, how long have you been on the team?” Wonder Boy asked.

I’ve been on a few months. Starfire and I were the most recent to join up. Neither of us have an official mentor, but the team and the league help us out. Dr. Fate and Zatanna have been helping me manage my abilities, despite my past,” Raven thought.

What do you mean?” Wonder Boy asked.

Nothing. It’s-,” Raven began to think, but her memories started to flow and Wonder Boy saw what she meant by her past. He saw a towering figure engulfed in shadow and surrounded by fire. Its four blood red eyes glared down expectantly, as if waiting for something to happen.

Raven what was that?” Wonder Boy asked.

You weren’t supposed to see that. I didn’t volunteer that information, you reached into my mind without my permission.

Not realizing his mistake he automatically felt horrendous. “Raven, I am so sorry for doing that. I had no idea that I was doing that, I’m still getting used to the whole psychic powers thing.”

It’s fine just don’t make a habit of it.

Would you feel better if you were to look into my mind?

That’s not- oh. Oh Alec, I’m so sorry.” Alec had allowed Raven into his mind to see some of his secrets, some hidden pains he had tried to keep buried. The unaccepting people he had encountered in his past, all of the insults and slurs used toward him because of who he was, the emotional and verbal abuse he underwent with his father and how that messed him up, and most frightening of all a darkness inside him that even he was not aware of. A darkness that came with the psychic powers that balanced out all the light within him, something he wanted to keep hidden.

Alec I-,” But she was cut off by Batgirl’s thoughts. “Tigress and I are in the base. Relaying what is being said.

A scene formed in the link, an open area with auditorium style seating, but in a full circle. And in the audience, a variety of people dressed in elegant clothing with their faced covered by owl masks. At the first ring facing the thieves was a person dressed in similar attire as the others, but with a cloak and hood in front of a podium. This appeared to be the leader, and the thieves and the leader seemed to be in intense conversation.

They’re congratulating them on a successful heist,” Batgirl translated. “The head assassin, someone called Talon, is recommending caution because of being intercepted by Beta. Now the person at the podium is saying that he shouldn’t worry and that they have more than enough muscle to deal with any interference. Also, that they finally have the final component needed to take on Batman and all others who stand in the way of Gotham’s domination.

Wait. They want dominion over Gotham?” Wonder Boy asked.

Yes. They are among the deadliest group we have faced alongside Batman, not counting the League of Assassins.

I’m trying to get through to the League, but communications are down,” Tigress said.

I got through to Beta squad using a spell, but their communications are also down. Something about an EMP knocking out their communicators,” Raven said.

Well, it’s your call Batgirl. Do we engage?” Tigress asked.

There was a pause. “We’ll wait for them to bring out their weapon. That way, we can destroy it and then get out.

With that the team continued watching and, sure enough, their weapon was brought out. It resembled a satellite dish, only attached to a base and a metallic pole. “That’s a super-sonic emitter. It delivers a high pitched frequency that can destroy anything at the right frequency. Essentially, if they found the right frequency they could kill anyone in the League,” Batgirl informed.

Well are we going to act?" Raven asked. “I can create a portal and Wonder Boy and I can-,” she was cut off by an explosion inside the facility. “Batgirl, Tigress are you okay?

Just fine, set off a miniature aerodynamic charge, they never saw it coming,” Batgirl gloated. “We’re on our way out and could use a quick escape.”

Alright, rendezvous on the Ace Chemicals building rooftop.

With that Raven and Wonder Boy flew to the Ace Chemicals building and waited for Batgirl and Tigress. “There!” Wonder Boy shouted. Batgirl and Tigress were enroute, but pursued by the Court of Owls assassins.

Did they know you were in there?” Wonder Boy asked.

No, they saw us near the courthouse and assumed we were behind it. So Raven is that spell ready for teleportation?

No, I still need some time to prepare it,” Raven thought.

Then we draw the line here,” Wonder Boy thought.

Batgirl and Tigress ran to his side in front of Raven, protecting her while she perfected the spell. The  dozen assassins closed in and began their assault. Alec had seen the Amazons fight in a group and how they operated, and was impressed by the synchronization of the assassins. Each strike was well placed and well meant to immobilize. Each taking the attention of four assassins, the heroes fought to keep them away from Raven. Batgirl had hers down in no time, using a smoke grenade and systematically landing blows within the smoke that took them down. With that, she saw a thirteenth assassin and engaged him. Tigress also had hers down relatively fast, tripping up her attackers and knocking them out with a strike as they made their fatal mistake. She too engaged the assassin when she was done. Having little experience fighting assassins, Wonder Boy took a little longer than Tigress. He was able to block their attacks for the most part, but it was the speed of the assassins that was throwing him off. Not even the Amazons were this fast. After getting a kick to the face, Wonder Boy breathed slowly, rolled backwards to avoid a sword strike, and launched into a back flip kick that took down one assassin. He then blocked the talons of another and grappled it, throwing it into an air vent and thoroughly breaking it. The other two jumped back, but Wonder Boy anticipated this and lassoed the two and slammed them into the ground behind him. After this, he too engaged the assassin. As he went to meet this new challenger he saw that it was Talon, and that Talon clearly had the upper hand against his combat prowess teammates. He was using twin sai’s, and the two were barely avoiding them. Tigress was deflecting blows with her sword, and Batgirl had two long batarangs out. Wonder Boy joined the fight, and was met with a sai strike to the chest. He barely got his bracelet up in time to deflect it. This dangerous dance continued for a few more minutes until Tigress was knocked back and then out by a concussion pellet. Batgirl was next to get knocked back near both Tigress and Raven.

Okay it’s nearly ready. Ten more seconds,” Raven thought.

Wonder Boy nodded and continued to hold off Talon, which was no easy task. The strikes from the sai's were becoming more and more difficult to block. Miraculously Wonder Boy's block was strong enough to knock out the sai from Talon's left hand and then the other. Loosing both his weapons, Talon jumped back and drew a broad sword and began a barrage of attacks. He continued blocking Talon’s attacks and, when he saw an opening, began his attack. Wonder Boy began with a sharp kidney jab followed by two quick strikes to the face and ending with a back flip kick to the head, effectively knocking back Talon long enough for Wonder Boy to land near Raven and be teleported to their ship where Beta squad was waiting.


 

“You disobeyed orders. Went off books, endangered your lives, and destroyed a possible threat to the League,”Nightwing reprimanded.They were in the main assembly hall with a few other leaguers in the background dealing with the aftermath of the missions they were on.

“Nicely done Alpha.” They all looked up at him in disbelief. “We couldn’t have expected them to have EMP capabilities and you acted in a way that was smart. Nothing ever goes the way we plan, and it is important to roll with the changes. Batgirl, nice job leading the squad. Tigress, good job keeping calm under pressure. Raven, nice timing with that portal. And Wonder Boy, way to get your feet wet. Your performance on this mission was great, especially coming into this team with no prior experience doing what we do. I know Wonder Woman would be proud of you. Welcome to the team.”

“Thank you for having me Nightwing,” Wonder Boy said. As he said this he saw Red Arrow walking by. He glanced Alec's way, smiled, and gave him a thumbs up. Alec returned the gesture with a little more blush than usual, but he didn't care. For the first time since arriving on Themyscira, he felt at home. You know, I could get used to this, Wonder Boy thought to himself.

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A month had passed since his first mission, and Alec had gone on multiple missions since then. He enjoyed being a part of the team, mostly because he was working alongside other heroes, but also because of the travelling perks. So far he had been to Rome, Athens, Cairo, Beijing, Paris, Hawaii, Colorado, and Mexico City, many of the places he had always wanted to see. He had yet to see London, a city he had dreams of visiting. He continued his training under Wonder Woman, with the team, and with others in the League including Black Canary, Batman, and Barda. The latter was much more demanding than even Batman, but it was useful because there was always something he could improve on. His rapport with the team continued to grow, especially with Wonder Girl, Batgirl, Raven, Robin, and Miss Martian. There was only one person on the team who he was not exactly seeing eye-to-eye with for some reason: Superboy. From what he gathered, Superboy was generally reserved and typically in a stand-offish mood. No matter what he did though, he was not able to get on this guy’s good side. Things with Red Arrow, however, were going well. They exchanged glances and smiles the first couple weeks, but that all changed after Alec’s fourth mission to a chemical plant to intercept Clayface left him covered in muck. Alec reminisced on the moment:

Alec stepped into the locker room to get all the crap off of him. True, he had removed it from his armor using his telekinetic abilities, but he still had it plastered to his hair and caked under his nails. He stripped himself of his armor and took a relaxing shower. After he put on a cotton white shirt and clean underwear. Alec was checking his phone as he was walking to his designated locker to retrieve his civies, when he bumped into someone as they both turned the corner. After regaining his balance Alec attempted to apologize for his clumsiness but was quickly rendered speechless. In front of him stood Red Arrow, one of the archers in the League, in a towel.

“I…um…uh…I’m…,” Alec was having difficulty forming a sentence as well as maintaining eye contact. Jesus I’m a train wreck, Alec thought to himself.

“It’s fine,” Red Arrow said. “I should have paid more attention to where I was going.” He had a playful grin on his face as well as a flushed face. Alec couldn’t decide whether it was from the shower or if (highly unlikely though) it was because of him. “Had a run-in with Clayface?”

Alec looked down at his body to make sure all the mud was gone. Realizing his mistake, Red quickly said “Oh I didn’t mean that you still had some mud on you, just that I watched you and the team take him on. It was very entertaining.”

Alec looked at Red Arrow, unsure if he was mocking him or if it was flirting. “Glad it was amusing for you,” Alec said neutrally.

Red looked abashed. “Oh I didn’t mean…Gah! I’m sorry I’m usually much more composed than this.”

“Oh, really? I was told archers were great at focus and composure,” Alec retorted.

“True, but you throw me off,” he said at first. “In a good way I mean,” he quickly interjected.

Alec felt himself blush. “Well, that’s nice of you to say.”

“Well anyone’d be a fool not to notice you.” Red let that sink in for a second before speaking again. “I know we’re just now talking to each other but I would like to get to know you more, maybe over dinner? I have a break until tomorrow morning, I would have had tomorrow off but Hal needed a break. But yeah, would you like to have dinner with me tonight?”

Alec was taken aback by the offer. He never thought this would go anywhere because he was too much of a chicken shit to say anything.

“Yes I would love to go to dinner with you!” Alec said a little too enthusiastically. Damn it what is wrong with me, Alec thought. “I just need a few hours because I need to check in at home really quick and see Diana on Themyscira but I should be done around 9ish? I can meet you someplace if you’d like?”

“Sure! Why don’t we meet up in Centennial Park in Metropolis?”

“That sounds nice,” Alec said as he blushed. “Oh, and I could let you know when I’m on my way if you’d like to put your number in my phone?” Oh, I am so good, Alec thought.

“Sure,” he said as he put it in his phone. “I’ll see you around 9ish then.” And with that he walked out.

Their date went really well, even got asked out on a second, third, fourth, and fifth date. Their next date was in a few hours, and Red wouldn’t give any details. Alec was really happy around Red, and had hoped the question of whether or not they were going to date exclusively would come up, but so far nothing. Plus, he still had no idea what Red’s real name was. Alec put on his cardigan, put his phone in his back pocket, and walked to the monitor womb where Red Arrow, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and Wonder Girl were having what appeared to be a pretty intense conversation. No one noticed Alec walking up until he was halfway there, which at that point the conversation appeared to have ended.

Wonder Woman turned toward Alec and gave him a warm smile and hugged him. “I’m very proud of your performance with the team, it makes me glad to see that you are doing so well.”

“Thank you Diana,” Alec replied. “What's everyone talking about?”

“You and Roy going on a date,” Wonder Girl interjected, realizing her mistake and feeling abashed. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine Cassie,” Alec said, feeling a bit annoyed and a little startled.

Green Arrow spoke up next. “Hey, it’s okay. We’re all fine with it, just discussing some implications simply because he is in the League and you’re on the team. We just wanted to make sure there was no privileges being taken advantage.”

“I’m guessing this was going to get brought up in a more subtle way?” Alec said as he looked at Cassie.

“Yeah, but we just wanted to make sure you both knew what you were doing and no information was being told without permission.” Green Arrow looked very uncomfortable. Fortunately, Black Canary salvaged the situation.

“Well, you should probably head out. Have fun tonight!”

“Thanks, we will!” Red said enthusiastically.

Diana gave Alec one last hug. “Be safe, okay?”

“I will Diana,” Alec said. He contemplated saying it, but figured it had to be said. “I was going to tell you sooner that we were dating but I wasn’t sure where it was going, to be honest I’m still not entirely sure. But thank you for being so accepting.”

Diana chuckled. “Believe me, I understand what you’re going through with him. And of course. That doesn’t matter to me, what matters is what is within you. Now enough of the heavy. Go and have fun.”

Alec detached from Diana and walked over to Red Arrow. They took each other’s hands and walked into the teleporter, Alec unaware of what was coming.


 

They arrived in what appeared to be an abandoned building. A strange one at that.

“Where are-,” was all Alec was able to get out before being cut off by “Shh, it’s a surprise. Close your eyes.”

Reluctantly, he closed his eyes and let the scarlet archer lead him. He felt himself going up stairs, occasionally tripping up the stairs. Typical. They suddenly stopped and he heard a door knob turn. He felt himself being guided through it and felt a cool breeze brush against his cheeks. He felt the blindfold come undone and he opened his eyes, initially staring in disbelief but then wonder. Before him was a table set for two with Alec’s favorite breakfast food: golden crisp potato slices with bacon, chorizo, eggs, and a couple tortillas; all the fix-ins for a breakfast burrito. There were two silver pitchers, filled with what he was unsure but what really got him was the view. Behind the table was the clock tower Big Ben. Red Arrow had surprised him with a breakfast date in London.

“What do you think?” Red Arrow asked hesitantly.

“What do I think?” Alec repeated quietly. He looked up at Red Arrow and said, “I’m speechless. Red, this is perfect!” As he said this Alec felt a smile take over his face as he tackled him in a fierce hug. “Thank you so much.”

“Yeah, no problem,” Red Arrow grunted out. Alec vaguely felt some adjustment as he was hugging Red. “Hey not that I’m not enjoying this, but not all of us have super strength.”

Realizing his mistake, Alec loosened his grip on Red and moved his hands so they were locked behind his neck. “Sorry about that,” Alec said embarrassed.

His face was flushed as was Red Arrow’s. “Don’t be,” Red said as he moved his hands to wrap around Alec’s waist. “I’m glad you like it.”

They stood there for a minute, taking in the sight of each other until Alec decided to make a move. He closed the gap between their faces with a kiss, just a regular kiss to see where the other was with their… whatever they were. Red deepened the kiss, eventually pulling away slightly and kissed him back. Alec was elated at the moment, taking in everything he could. The cool breeze brushing against his blushed face, the lovely smell of the breakfast waiting for them, how Red smelled, felt, and how his hands felt on Alec’s lower back. They both pulled away a little bit and looked into each other’s eyes.

Alec was the first to break the silence. “So, you wanna go eat that breakfast?”

Red Arrow laughed and said, “Yeah that sounds good.”

They each sat across from each other and dug in. The pitchers happened to be filled with water and iced coffee with French Vanilla creamer, another one of Alec’s favorites. They ate their meal, keeping the conversation going while they ate. When they finished, they were still talking. Something was bothering Alec, and Red Arrow noticed.

“You okay?”

Alec thought about it for a second before deciding he wanted to talk about it. “I’m okay.” Alec let that sink in for a second before continuing. “Like, I know how I feel about you and how you make me feel when I’m with you. But I don’t want to sound needy or read too deep into whatever we are.” Alec took a deep breath before continuing. “I know we’ve only been dating for a month, but are we together? Because I want to be with you and I know there’s still a lot we don’t know about each other, like our secret identities, but I was hoping to learn along the way. I-,” Alec was cut off with Red quickly rising from the table, going to Alec’s side, pulling him to his feet, and kissing him tenderly.

“I feel the same way. I was just too nervous to say anything.” Red Arrow said breathlessly. “So. Would you like to be my boyfriend?”

  Alec smiled hugely and answered, “Yes.” He then kissed him and held him tightly.

“Since we’re in a relationship now, you might as well know,” Alec said. “My real name is Alexander Stone. But I like being called Alec.”

Red Arrow looked at him for a second, and then took Alec’s hands in his and muttered, “Alec.” He then said, “My real name is Roy Harper.”

Alec stared at him and said “Roy” under his breath. They both looked at each other and laughed at the awkwardness.

The two shared a laugh and a quick kiss and adventured into London. After a few hours, Alec was getting very tired until they stopped outside a building.

“Why’re we stopping?” Alec asked.

“Well, this is where I stay when I’m in town. Actually it’s Oll- I mean Green Arrow’s place but he’s letting us use it for the night, or rather morning.”

As he said this the sun creeped over the horizon and Alec groaned. “I was looking forward to some nice peace and quiet.”

“Lucky for us that the place comes with really thick and dark curtains then.”

Alec smiled at that and together they walked into the building, climbed the stairs, and entered the designated room. The pair took off their shoes and climbed into the bed in the bedroom, cuddled up together and fell asleep.

An incessant beeping in his ear woke Alec up. He tried not to move too much because Roy’s arms were still wrapped around him. Seriously? You have the worst timing Batman, Alec thought to himself. Reluctantly he pressed the accept button on his comlink and said “This is Wonder Boy go ahead.”

“Wonder Boy. Sorry to disturb you, it’s Nightwing. We need you on the Watchtower. Mission from Batman that is now our highest priority. We’re calling everyone in. I have your location, how soon can you be ready to teleport?”

“Give me ten minutes and I’ll be somewhat ready.”

Alec slowly got out of bed and got ready. After about five minutes he exited the bathroom to find Roy awake.

“Something up?” he asked.

“Nightwing called. Something about a high priority mission, he’s calling in the whole team and he’s beaming me up in about four minutes. I’m sorry I was trying not to wake you up and I was going to leave a note.”

“Hey, it’s fine. I appreciate the consideration but you can wake me up for anything. If it were Nightwing that was calling me I would be much less pleasant than how I’m being with you right now.”

Alec chuckled. “I’m sorry I have to cut this morning short. I had a wonderful time last night.”

“So did I,” Roy said. “Will I see you later?”

“Of course you will.” And with that Alec kissed Roy one last time and radioed Nightwing for teleportation.


 

“Earlier this month, the League dealt with an incident with the leader of the League of Assassins known as Ra’s al Ghul,” Nightwing began. “Ra’s sent a small force into a government facility where a committee of four congressmen were meeting to discuss whether or not to propose a bill to congress that would allow for the preemptive strike against all terrorist groups that pose a threat to national security. Not wanting his organization publicly thrust into the spotlight, he sent a group of three asassins: Cheshire, Copperhead, and Deathstroke to take control of the situation. All four congressmen were killed as well as a dozen guards. By the time the League caught wind of this incident, they were on their way out of the country using Ronald Reagan National Airport. Luckily, Batman was able to track down their location using the cameras and the league captured them all. In recent days, however, Ra’s has been called before a special session of the United Nations to go on trial for his crimes. Now, it’s clear that they are going to convict him and throw him in whatever facility they believe can hold him. Our job, per Batman’s orders, are to ensure he arrives to his trial safely. Now, there will be assassins that will attempt to break him out. We’ve identified a few of them already.”

Behind him showed a many screens, each with a face, full body shot, and stats. “We spotted all of them arriving in DC over the past few days on separate flights. First we have Sportsmaster a.k.a. Lawrence “Crusher” Crock. Next is Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot. Next is Malcom Merlyn a.k.a. Merlyn. Next is Sandra Wu-Shan a.k.a. Lady Shiva. Finally there’s Talia al Ghul, daughter to Ra’s. Five assassins, 20 of us.”

Kid Flash interjected. “Actually Nightwing, there’s only 19 of us.”

“Well, there’s 20 of us actually. I’ve asked Red Arrow to join us for this mission. We’ll also have ten Leaguers on stand-by in NYC if things get out of hand. Here are the assignments: Raven, Starfire, Superboy, Wonder Boy, and Red Arrow you’re Alpha. You’ll be following Ra’s al Ghul’s transport. Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Miss Martian, Cyborg, Beast Boy you’re Beta. You’ll be following Cheshire’s transport. Bumble Bee, Guardian, Kid Flash, Blue Beetle, Lagoon Boy you’re Omega. You’ll be following Copperhead. Tigress, Aqualad, Robin, Static, and I will be Sigma and we will be following Deathstroke. The Leaguers who will be waiting for their arrival will be Black Canary, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Zatanna, Dr. Fate, Flash, Green Lantern John Stewart, and Hawkgirl. Prep for the mission and get ready for transport.”

Roy walked over to Alec after the lengthy briefing. “Sorry, he asked me to be here ten minutes after you left.”

“It’s fine. It gives us more time together,” Alec said as he wrapped his arms around Roy’s neck. “I’ll be right back, going to change into my work clothes.”

After about ten minutes, Alec returned to Roy, all dressed in his Wonder Boy get-up. Roy turned to him, offering him a jumpsuit, all composed of dark red, dark blue, and black.

“What’s this for?” Wonder Boy asked his boyfriend.

“You’ll need it for the cycles, best way to follow the van and great for mobility.”

Sighing, Alec put the jumpsuit on over his armor and put on the helmet.

“Ready.”

At that they went in teams to teleport to their designated locations, unaware of the danger that was to come.

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Alpha squad was prepping to follow the transport holding Ra’s Al Ghul and its police escort. Per Batman and Nightwing’s orders, they were to maintain a safe distance where they could see the transport and ONLY engage when necessary. Wonder Boy inspected his bike: it was the same dark colors as his jumpsuit, reds, blues, and blacks making it almost blend in with the shadows. He watched as Red Arrow and Superboy were checking God knows what on their bikes while Starfire and Raven were already on their bikes, patiently waiting for their mission to begin. Wonder Boy eyed his bike. What the hell should I be checking for, he thought to himself. Looking up and seeing his boyfriend’s confusion, Red Arrow walked over and gave it a quick inspection.

“Bike looks good, no issues,” Roy said. He noticed Alec was still looking uneasy. “What is it?”

“I’m just nervous,” Alec said. “I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that something is going to go wrong. Like, they were being held in maximum security at Riker’s Island and they could have escaped at any time. It’s the fact they haven’t done anything yet that is concerning.” He looked up at Roy. “I don’t like that Nightwing asked for your help because I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Roy wrapped his arms around Alec and held him close. “Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’ve been on more dangerous assignments than this.”

Alec nervously chuckled. “Oh, that’s reassuring.” They stayed like that for a few seconds more until Roy broke off and went to continue bike repairs. Alec watched Superboy work on his bike, and decided to try and play nice with him.

“Hey Superboy,” Alec said.

He glanced up quickly with a neutral expression on his face. “Hey.” And went back to inspecting his bike.

Well, this is going well. “So how’s the bike looking?”

He paused a second and said, “It’s fine.”

Ugh I can cut the awkward with my sword, Alec thought to himself. “That’s good. What’re you fixing on it?”

And that was it. He didn’t say anything back. Alec slowly paced away back to his bike. Roy looked at him apologetically and got on his bike.

Don’t be discouraged, a voice in his head said. He looked back at Raven. He takes a while to get to know and he’s very slow to trust. Give it time and I’m sure he’ll come around.

Alec nodded at Raven and gave her a small smile. Thank you.

Just then their comlinks went off as Nightwing signaled the start of the mission. They watched as the convoy began its journey. The team started their engines and followed at a safe distance.


 

They crossed the bridge with ease, and split off into the four different routes that were being taken to the UN building. Alpha followed closely behind, watching from a safe distance.

“Perhaps this will be a smooth mission?,” Starfire said hesitantly.

Just then two of the police cars assisting in the transport exploded. From the alley a team of six cycles with riders clad in black ambushed the remaining two squad cars. From behind the team six other cycles came from behind and a helicopter bearing no marks was approaching fast.

“You had to say something,” Raven snarked.

“Okay time to get involved,” Wonder Boy said. “Superboy and Raven take care of the assassins behind us. Starfire check on that helicopter and make sure it’s not with them. Red Arrow and I will go ahead and stop those assassins from getting Ra’s out. Raven, contact Nightwing and the other squad commands and let them know we have a situation.”

“I can’t reach them, we’re being jammed.”

“Okay, then we’ll have to make do without radios. Alpha squad, move out!”

With that the team went about their objectives. Starfire set her cycle on autopilot and flew up to check the helicopter. Raven began sending blasts of demonic energy at the attackers behind her. Superboy pulled the brakes a bit and engaged the enemy. Red Arrow and Wonder Boy sped up to assist the police but were too late. They got close enough to watch the assassins strategically corral them into each other and flip. Wonder Boy jumped off his cycle and flew to intercept the car intended to hit Roy and used it to stop the other one from colliding into his other teammates by knocking both into an abandoned alleyway. Unfortunately, his cycle was totaled. Sighing Alec threw off his jumpsuit and went to engage the threat. Red Arrow made short work of three of the assailants by firing a concussion arrow at them, causing them to lose focus and crash. Wonder Boy lassoed one of the bikes and yanked it so it would collide with the other two, but all three jumped off their bikes and onto the top of the truck. Cursing, he leapt onto the vehicle. The assassins drew their firearms and aimed. Wonder Boy smirked and waited for the barrage of bullets. They opened fire and he began deflecting them all. After figuring out they were going to get nowhere with that strategy, they holstered their guns and drew swords.

“Finally, a challenge,” Wonder Boy said under his breath.

The assassins charged and began striking him. He skillfully blocked them using his Amazonian bracelets, thankful for the training Diana had provided. He broke one of the swords by snapping it between his bracelets, knocked another aside and impaling it in the trucks thick armor. The third was dropped when he crushed the assassin’s wrist. Weaponless, they assaulted him using hand-to-hand combat. These assassins were much different than the Court of Owl’s, more ferocious, tenacious, and seemingly more deadly. True the League of Assassins had been around longer and had more time to perfect their techniques, but they faced an Amazon. He turned one of the assassin’s kicks against them by grabbing their heel and tossing them off the side of the truck and onto the roof of a parked car. The second and third were working in concert with each other, alternating high and low attacks to break his defense but to no avail. Alec blocked a jab, knocked the arm back, stepped in the gap and punched the assassin in the mask so hard that the assassin was knocked off the other side of the truck and onto the pavement. The third one jumped back, attempting to flee but was not fast enough. Alec let loose his lasso and caught him. While the assassin was caught in mid-air, Alec pulled over his head and down toward Red Arrow. Seeing this, Red Arrow set his cycle on auto pilot, leaped up, used the assassin as a stepping stool, and smacked them with his bow as he got onto the truck. Alec watched in awe as the assassin slammed into the side of a car getting a parking violation. Red Arrow steadied himself and notched an arrow.

“Thanks for the assist.”

Alec looked at Roy in astonishment. “Yeah no problem.” They stared at each other for a few seconds before snapping back to the mission. Alec looked back and saw that Raven and Superboy had dealt with their assassins. He looked up and saw that Starfire was dodging fire from the helicopter. Just then, the doors to it opened and a figure leaned out and shot a projectile at Starfire which exploded upon impact, knocking her out of the sky. Alec watched as she fell, and then disappeared in thin air. Confused, he looked at Raven as she reopened the portal above Superboy. Starfire fell through it and into Superboy’s arms, a little dazed from the impact of the explosive.

Alec clicked the comlink in his ear. “Starfire, are you okay?”

“I am unharmed. Just a little dizzy.”

“What were you hit with?”

It took a second for her to respond. “An arrow. I tried to stop it but it exploded before I could blast it.”

Alec looked at Red Arrow for confirmation. Red Arrow nodded. “It’s Merlyn. He’s here for Ra’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if Talia is with him.”

“Then we draw the line here,” Wonder Boy said. “Raven and Superboy, ditch the bikes and come up here.”

The pair set their bikes on autopilot and sent them back while they mounted the transport.

“Okay, here’s what we’re going to do: Starfire you’ll be providing air support, Red Arrow you’ll provide cover for her and for us if needed, Raven your job is to protect the transport and keep it from flipping or stopped. Superboy and I will provide cover for Raven. Everyone know their positions?” They all nodded. “Then let’s do it.”

With that the team split into formation. Raven took up position at the front of the truck while Starfire flew into the air and followed from a distance. Red Arrow stood behind Raven and notched an arrow while Wonder Boy and Superboy stood in the middle. Wonder Boy stretched out his arms and concentrated. There was a beam of light on his arms and when it dissipated, in his hands were his sword and shield. Both forged by the god Hephaestus. His shield bore an owl in tribute to Athena and concealed in the shield was a short sword much similar to the standard sword in his hand. He put the short sword on his back and waited for the coming danger. Meanwhile, Starfire was fighting the helicopter. Wonder Boy watched as it shot missiles toward her and how she effortlessly destroyed them with her starbolts. However, there were complications. When the missiles were destroyed, they released tiny probes which were circular. They were headed toward the team guarding Ra’s and were already firing blasts of energy. Raven summoned a shield in the back to block them, but it didn’t last long. The shield was dissipated as fast as it was created.

“Red! We need some cover fire!” Wonder Boy yelled as he and Superboy attacked the probes.


 

In the Lexcorp tower in Metropolis, Luthor watched the impressive show the team was putting on. True, this team of heroes had interfered with his plans far too many times. However, he admired their efforts. Still, the interference had gone on long enough. While they had launched a rescue operation for Ra’s and his assassins, that was only the small goal. The larger goal was far more devious. For months these probes had been monitoring the team as they went on missions, capturing every movement, every tactic, and every style of combat used. They even captured the team fulfilling their mission objectives. The most damning of these: infiltrating a military base at Fort Carson on a hunt for information regarding Cadmus, which was planted by Luthor himself. And the best part of all of this? He captured the team on camera breaking into the Cadmus facility. The facility in the past had tech made to combat the League in the past, but since undergoing new management it no longer produced weapons. That was done by Luthor covertly with the help of Ra’s. As he was watching the show, the doors behind him opened. He turned to see Amanda Waller escorted by Mercy.

“Amanda, so good to see you again,” Luthor greeted.

“Luthor,” Waller said emotionlessly. “What do you want?”

“Why, only to help my country. You share the same disdain as I do for the League. What if I told you I had information that could bring them down? Or at the very least under the control of the government?”

Amanda’s eyebrows raised. “This better be good Luthor.”

“Oh, I assure you it is very good.” He pushed a button and the window in front of him darkened. Multiple screens appeared showing the League’s team on their missions.

“What is this Luthor?”

“This, Ms. Waller, is your leverage. This is the League’s covert team that does not operate within the confines of the League. They are sent on missions that the League is too busy to handle and often ones where they don’t want to be seen doing. For instance, these two here. One where they break into a military facility in Colorado, and another where they break into Cadmus headquarters in New Mexico.”

At this Waller’s eyes widened. “I can’t believe this. They broke into two government facilities and weren’t seen by anyone? What did they get?”

“False information at Colorado which I provided that lead them to Cadmus.”

“You did this? Why?”

“To bring down the League. They act as judge, jury, and executioner. Remember those ‘evil’ Kryptonians unde the leadership of Zod? All of them put into a Kryptonian prison by Superman when it was our country they attacked. It should have been our call to make but Superman handed down punishment as if we had no say. Same with Wonder Woman and the god Ares when he attacked at the Washington monument. Instead of capturing him she beheaded him (granted gods can’t die) but she did so without being put on trial. And don’t even get me started on Batman and his associates in Gotham. These heroes need to be brought under new management, ours.”

“We’ve tried that. The government will not go against the League because of all the good they do. They don’t see the potential threat they pose to us as you, I, and a few others do.”

“But now you have undisputable proof that they do pose a threat to us. They broke into two government facilities and extracted private information and act as if they are above the law.”

Waller took some time to think on this. “Suppose I go to the hill and bring this before them. What then? What’s the endgame here?”

“Bringing the dismantlement of the League and using them as individual agents at the US’s disposal, similar to your Suicide Squad.”

“I don’t know what you-”

“And all those who oppose us will be declared enemies of the state and be hunted down. With one change: I will be in charge of this new division.”

Waller took a minute to consider this. “I know of your history of being a super criminal Lex. I know you have an ulterior motive somewhere.”

“Yes. I used to be a criminal, but I was pardoned for all past wrongdoings.”

“Until I know for certain that you are doing this for the betterment of the world, I’ll keep my eye on you. But for now, you’ve outdone yourself this time.” He handed her the tapes. “I’ll bring this to the committee regarding national security and try and convince them to take action. And Luthor.” She started and waited until he looked her in the eyes. She narrowed her gaze and looked him square in the face. “If I sense even a hint of deception, I will take you down. The League may be the main threat here, but I know you do your work in the background and no one sees until the final moment when it is too late. Make no mistake, if you try to double cross me I will end you, one way or another.”

And with that she walked out. Mercy walked over to Luthor as the air shimmered around her. When it stopped, there stood Circe. “Are you certain this will work?” Circe questioned. “I mean, allying ourselves with the government who wants us in chains?”

“I’m certain of it. A provision in the drafted bill entitles all former criminals amnesty if they join the government.”

“Then I suppose the time has come for the League to answer for the errors of their ways. And if I know Wonder Woman, she will not go down without a fight, and that is something I look forward to.”

“Patience, Circe. You’ll have your opportunity for revenge. But this time, you won’t be alone in your fight against Wonder Woman.”

“Although I am certain events will unfold as we have foreseen, there is another matter which concerns me. Tell me Luthor, what’s to stop the League from helping these young heroes in New York prevent Ra’s al Ghul’’s escape?”

“I’ve dispatched AMAZO to handle the League. Plenty of time for Talia to get her father out. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy the show.”


 

  In New York there was panic in the streets. Despite an official statement urging citizens to stay inside, people were piling onto bridges and subway stations trying to get out of the city until the crisis was abated. Four transports and their routes were under siege and the League was otherwise occupied with the android AMAZO. The android was able to copy all the powers of any hero simply by looking at them, and it had all 10 of the hero’s powers. There would be no aid for any of the teams.


 

Meanwhile, alpha squad dispatched the last of the drones as they began to cross the bridge into New York.

“Everyone okay?” Superboy asked.

Just then the helicopter was 40 feet above the transport. The doors opened and down came ten assassins, Merlyn, and a woman clad in black. The assassins steadied themselves and drew their weapons. The team gathered in preparation for their assault.

The woman bore a striking resemblance to Ra’s. She stepped forward. “I am Taila Al Ghul, daughter to the Demon. Allow us to take my father, and no one will be harmed.”

“A little late for that don’t you think?” Raven snarked.

Wonder Boy stepped forward. “You’re not getting your father.”

Talia smirked. “I think so, Wonder Boy. At least that is what I assume your name is since you wear the sigil of Wonder Woman. My father is Head of the Demon, master of the League of Assassins. You and your government have no authority putting him on trial.”

“Perceptive. But that is where you are wrong. Your group f assassins is responsible for acts of terrorism around the globe. The League of Assassins has to end. There’s been enough bloodshed. Please withdraw and disband the League and I promise no harm will come to any of you,” Wonder Boy said as he tried to avoid a conflict.

 “I admire your efforts to find a peaceful outcome. But this is war and it started when you took my father in chains. Now, free him and I will withdraw my attack.”

“And what of the other three assassins?”

Talia considered this. “I will make no moves against you. They may stay in custody. But you must release my father and withdraw.”

Wonder Boy eyed her evenly. “Not. A. Chance.”

Talia bowed her head in resignation. “Very well. Assassins, attack!”

With that the assassins surged forward as did most of the team. The four members of Alpha engaged the assassins, Superboy and Starfire taking on the ten assassins while Red Arrow was fighting Merlyn and Wonder Boy went to meet Talia. She drew her sword, long, elegant, and slightly curved. Wonder Boy took a low guard stance, crouching slightly while raising his shield arm and lowering his sword arm so it was slightly behind him. Talia came at him with a series of strikes; side swipes from the left and right with a few overhead cuts mixed in. Wonder Boy blocked all with ease using his shield, then went on the offensive. He knocked her overhead cut to the right with his shield arm and swung right as fast as he could with his sword arm, but she somehow sidestepped to avoid it. She came around the back and tried at a stab but Wonder Boy back flipped over her so he was facing her back and slammed into her with his shield, knocking her back to the edge of the truck. She regained her balance and continued her attack. Their deadly dance continued; thrusts, cuts, parries, counter-strikes. Wonder Boy thought he could hold her off long enough for Starfire and Superboy to assist, but he miscalculated. Talia stepped in, locked his sword with hers, pushed downward with all her might, and round-house kicked the side of his shield so it would fly off. As it did this, he caught onto the hilt of his short sword and held it in his off hand. He was decent with the standard Greek style of using a shield and sword/spear, but his true talent was using a standard and short sword simultaneously. He smirked at Talia and began his attack. He dodged a strike aimed at his head and turned the dodge into a side swipe with his standard sword followed by a step inward and a thrust at Talia. As expected, she manages to evade the strikes. From what he had heard Talia's combat prowess was second only to Ra's and often rivaled Batman's. She struck at his side while his sword was angled up, but then he revealed his true technique. He flipped the sword in his wrist into a reverse-grip and blocked the strike. The shock on Talia's face was priceless as he did the same to his short sword and stepped in with a side swipe to her face. She jumped back in time to avoid the strike, but Wonder Boy was there to meet her. He held the upper hand until Merlyn decided to interfere. In the midst of his dueling with Talia, he had forgotten that Red Arrow was fighting Merlyn. He looked back briefly and saw Merlyn knock Red off the truck. Wonder Boy faltered in his combat and suffered a shallow cut to his cheek, while Merlyn shot a concussion arrow at his chest that was blocked by his sword but still knocked him off his feet and onto the hood of the transport. He took a second to gather himself and rejoined the fray. Starfire and Superboy had defeated their foes and we're focusing on the two assassins before them. However, one thing still bothered Wonder Boy: Roy. 

"Superboy, make sure Roy is okay, Starfire and I can handle this."

Superboy looked back at him with rage on his face. “No! He’s fine. We need to take them together.”

“Supeboy we don’t have time for this. Please do as I ask.”

“I don’t-”

SUPERBOY. Wonder Boy psychically connected to Superboy. We don’t have time for this. Nightwing placed me in charge of Alpha and what I say goes so please go help Roy.

No, we need to stay together. AND GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

That’s it. I’ve had enough. I tried to be nice about this but I’m done.

With that Wonder Boy concentrated and telekinetically threw Superboy off the transport and toward Roy. The psychic exchange took no more than a few seconds, but Wonder Boy was done. There was no reaching Superboy. With Superboy off the transport he and Starfire engaged the assassins as Raven provided assistance while she protected the transport. Wonder Boy and Talia continued their duel while Starfire and Merlyn were at an impasse. As fast as he could shoot arrows she destroyed them. After a few minutes of combat going nowhere, Talia jumped back, drew her handgun and opened fire. Wonder Boy blocked and deflected the bullets using his swords, and felt it was reminiscent of Star Wars. Not a good time to be distracted. As he deflected the last bullet, Talia holstered her weapon, drew a small pellet, and threw it as hard as she could at Wonder Boy. He crossed his swords to block it but upon impact it released a massive electrical surge. Wonder Boy yelled in pain and anguish as the electricity arched through his body. He dropped his swords and sank to his knees, overwhelmed by the energy. He looked over to Starfire who was managing to hold her own against Merlyn, but Raven was also down, most likely from exhaustion of her powers and a similar electric current Wonder Boy had dealt with. Talia walked forward.

“I warned you that this would be the outcome. I asked you to surrender and you did not. Now, you will suffer the consequences of your actions."

With that she kicked Wonder Boy forward, knocking him into Raven and sent them both off the edge of the truck, falling off the side of the bridge and into the Hudson River. As he fell Wonder Boy had one thought persisting in his mind: I’ve failed. That thought continued on as he and Raven’s nearly unconscious bodies crashed and sank into the Hudson and drifted into unconsciousness.

I’ve failed. I’ve failed. I’ve-

 

 

Chapter Text

chapter art

Wonder Boy slowly regained consciousness. He opened his eyes very slowly to adjust to the light in the room. When he was able to see clearer, he looked around at his surroundings in shock. In nine beds were Raven (who was floating in a laid down position), Static, Robin, Beast Boy, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Guardian, and Bumble Bee. In a saltwater tank was Lagoon Boy. Including himself, 11 members of the team were in the ICU area of the Watchtower. He saw Wonder Girl beside Robin’s bed, holding his hand and waiting for him to wake up. Superboy was at Miss Martian’s bedside doing the same as was Blue Beetle for Kid Flash.

“Diana, he’s awake,” he heard a voice say on the other side of his head. He turned to see Roy and Diana waiting at his side. Both had a look of relief on their faces.

“The others, are they-,” Wonder Boy tried to ask.

Diana cut him off to save his energy. “The others are fine. They’ve each woken up at various times and are just resting now. You, however, have been out the longest.”

“How long?”

“Three days. Roy has barely left your bedside in hopes that you would wake up.”

He looked at Roy as he blushed and noticed he had dark bags under his eyes. His eyes were distracting due to the redness surrounding the light brown irises from exhaustion.

“I was worried. After Superboy checked up on me, we tried to get to the truck as fast as we could. I-,”

“YOU,” a voice growled.

Alec looked over to where the voice had come from and saw it was Superboy. He noticed he too had similar signs of exhaustion. However, Superboy had an expression of pure rage.

“This was your fault, ALL OF IT!” Connor got in close and Alec could see the rage in his eyes.

Diana tried to diffuse the situation, to no avail. “Superboy, stand do-,”

“NO! It’s because of him that Raven and the others are like this! If you had listened to me and let me help you take care of the assassins we wouldn’t be in this mess. But no! You threw me off a truck after your boyfriend, who was fine by the way, after breaking into my mind without my permission.”

Wonder Boy took a second to think his response out. “Connor, I understand your frustrations but you left me no choice. You were questioning my orders and were not following them whereas everyone else did without question, even Roy and he’s a member of the League. When it comes to the field and me being in-charge of missions, we leave no one behind. Shouldn’t have lost it and thrown you off the transport. But I did what I thought was right and you should see that.”

Connor took a step back and thought for a moment. “You should have communicated that. At least then I would have understood. But this is still your fault.”

“What exactly is my fault?”

Connor looked at Diana and Roy in disbelief. “You haven’t told him?”

Diana and Roy looked melancholy. Roy spoke up. “He just woke up Connor. We were going to give him a few minutes to see what he remembered before hitting him with that.”

“Hitting me with what exactly?” Alec asked in a measured tone.

“Ra’s escaped as did the other assassins,” Connor said angrily. With that he stormed off out of the room.

Alec felt an anguished expression take over his face. How could he have let everyone down?

Diana put a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t blame yourself. It was many things that affected the outcome of this mission. While you all dealt with the League of Assassins, the League was attacked by AMAZO, who withdrew when the assassins freed their comrades. We-,” Diana was cut short but her comlink. “I’m sorry but I have to go to an emergency meeting with the founding members. But I’ll see you when I’m finished there.” With that she drew the curtain around his bed and walked out of the room, leaving Roy and Alec some privacy.

Alec spoke first. “I sent Superboy after you because I was worried about you. Even if we weren’t dating I would have sent him.”

“I know. I was fine though and Superboy was pissed. We tried to catch up by him leaping across the bridge, but by the time we were close, I saw you and Raven being thrown off the bridge. You weren’t trying to stop your fall, and I thought-,” He stopped for a second to compose himself. “I thought you died. I sent Starfire after you both while we attacked Talia and Merlyn. They were able to stop the transport by killing the driver and were headed to the back for Ra’s. What we didn’t know was that Merlyn had a Kryptonite arrow made and took down Superboy with it. Talia had me taken down with a supercharged Taser. By the time I came to, the transport was wrecked and no one was around it. That was when I checked the comlink and was able to contact Nightwing with the update. No one succeeded.”

Alec took his boyfriend’s hand. “At least you’re alive.”

He chuckled. “I’ve had worse done to me.” He paused for a second.  “When I saw you fall I lost if for a bit there. I wanted to hurt Talia and Merlyn for what they did to you.” He was trembling as he held Alec’s hand. "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I was worried about you and I felt responsible as a member of the League on your team. I had the most experience of anyone there and I should have been more vigilant so you could have been protected. And I knew it wouldn't do anyone any good to dive after you so I sent Starfire to get you and Raven both."

Alec immediately got defensive. "I didn't ask you to save me I asked you to stop the League of Assassins!"

"You were knocked unconscious off of a bridge you could have died!" It was Roy's turn to get defensive.

"I'm an Amazon Roy, if I have to die for our mission then so be it."

"You've only been an Amazon these past 6 months and then another 6 months training with them before that but you are not a natural Amazon. Diana may be trained from birth to understand that it's okay to die for the mission but you don't get that luxury. You have so many who care for you and if you were to die it would destroy them."

Alec paused for a moment. He hadn't thought about this perspective. He looked down at his lap. "You should have stopped Ra's instead of saving me."

"Maybe I don't want to live in a world that you're not in."

Alec looked up, shocked and touched at what Roy had said. Roy was staring at him caringly. He raised his hand and touched the side of Alec's cheek opposite to where Talia's sword struck him. He leaned in and kissed Alec, and Alec understood Roy's perspective completely.  There would have been no point if he died for this mission, Ra's was going to escape either way and his death would have been for nothing. True, he had been trained by the Amazons that if he were to die in order for the mission to succeed was okay. But this was different. Roy left Alec to sleep some more, and told him he would be released later tomorrow morning.


 

Alec woke up the next morning to the Atom checking on his vitals. He looked behind him and saw that his teammates were gone except for Lagoon Boy, who was going through final steps for release with Aquaman and Aqualad.

“Well your vitals look good,” the Atom was saying. “Can you move okay?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t tried getting out of bed yet,” Wonder Boy said.

He sat up just fine and swiveled his legs so they dangled off the side of the bed, and attempted to stand. It felt strange standing after being in a bed for so long, but he was able to stay standing.

“Good, it’s a good sign you can move around,” the Atom said. “I’m going to recommend you complete some training sessions with the team as well as combat training and therapy with Black Canary. Also, Batman, Nightwing, and Aqualad would like to debrief in the conference room when you are done here.”

Alec didn’t mind training, but mandatory therapy? That was going to be challenging.

“Other than that you are free to move around. Red Arrow brought you some clothes to change into,” he said as he pointed to the clothes.

With that the Atom walked out behind the Atlanteans, leaving Alec alone with his thoughts as he changed. Roy had brought him a white tee, dark blue jeans, his favorite pair of Toms, and a red cardigan. Well at least he has a sense of humor. Alec changed and recalled what happened during the mission, this debrief was going to be a bitch.


 

Alec walked into the conference room where Batman, Aqualad, and Nightwing were waiting. However, Wonder Woman was there as well. Great, more of an audience for my humiliation. Nightwing was first to speak up.

"Glad you're up and about. How are you feeling?"

"I'm fine, when I first woke up it was a struggle. But now I feel much better."

"Good. So this session shouldn't take too long, we just need to hear your recollection of how the mission went since you were head of Alpha."

Wonder Boy thought on this for a moment. "Alright. We were prepping for the mission about 2 clicks from the transport when the mission began and we followed Ra's. Then, we..." Wonder Boy told them what occurred: from his tactics and strategy, holding off the assassin's initial strike, discovering their enemy, Roy being knocked off the truck, Alec throwing Superboy off the transport after him, falling into the Hudson. When he was done there was silence for a few seconds. Aqualad was the first to speak.

"Well, I feel your decisions regarding this mission were acceptable. Splitting the team like that to cover your bases was smart. And having Raven protect the truck was a good move on your part."

"However there is one thing you were not smart in doing," Batman interjected. "The whole situation with Red Arrow being knocked off the truck and you throwing Superboy after him."

Wonder Boy breathed for a second. "I understand I shouldn't have thrown him off the truck. But he disobeyed orders. I told him to go after Red Arrow to make sure he was okay and-"

"That doesn't matter,” Batman interrupted. “You don't throw your teammates off of a truck after on your significant other. This is why we don’t advise dating within the team, because it distracts us from succeeding in our mission."

That was when Wonder Boy lost his cool. "I didn't send him after Roy because of how I feel about him. I sent him after him because I don't leave anyone behind. I don't know how YOU run missions, but when I do I make sure my team is okay and together for the most part and I never. Leave. Anyone. Behind. Sorry if I'm not as decisive or heartless as you but I care about my teammates. I was knocked out for three days and you think the thing I want to hear about is you questioning my decisions in the middle of a battle? No! I want to make sure everyone's okay but instead I'm here being interrogated by a man whose moral compass is skewed and thinks he has the right to ask me whether I thought I made the right call regarding a teammate who wouldn't listen?"

There was silence at the table. Wonder Boy was breathing very controlled, and Batman's eyes were narrowed into a scowl under his cowl. Nightwing's eyes were widened in disbelief while Aqualad's portrayed no emotion. Diana was trying to comprehend what was just said, she'd never seen Alec like this before. The silence continued for another minute before Batman spoke.

"You done?" 

Night wing looked as though he was biting his tongue and trying to keep a straight face. Batman continued. "Alec. I understand these past few days have been traumatizing for you. But you need to realize that you made a mistake. True, Superboy was being insubordinate. But there were other ways to handle it. I understand he was insubordinate for the majority of the mission. That being said, you did a good job leading the team." Alec looked at the Dark Knight in surprise. "You made all the right calls. And you're right, no one should be left behind. You did well as team lead and Superboy has already been talked to regarding his insubordination. He says it won't happen again but I suggest talking to him about it. You'll be working together in the future so it's best to get over whatever is between you two. Until we have another assignment for you, you're free to go."

Alec sat there for a second. "Batman, I’m sorry for losing my temper there. You don't deserve that."

"It's fine. Sometimes we need to let go every once in a while and say how we feel. Just don’t make a habit of it."

Alec looked at him and could have sworn he cracked a tiny half smile. Maybe Batman wasn't as bad as he thought. He left with Diana at his heels. As soon as they were out of the door Diana put a hand on his shoulder.

"Alec, are you okay?" He nodded. "You can't talk like that. Ever. I understand emotions were high in there but you need to stay in control. You don't know what you're capable of."

"Wait. What do you mean?"

"Well, after you fell off the bridge there was a strange lightning storm that came out of nowhere. We thought maybe the assassins brought in someone like Weather Wizard, but Watchtower sensors picked up the center of the energy coming from where you and Raven fell in."

Alec let that sink in. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying maybe we need to seek out Athena. She might be able to recognize what is happening."

"Okay. When we go and meet her, can Roy be there? I'd feel a bit better knowing he's there." He thought it was a long shot but felt it was worth a try.

"I'll see what Athena says, but be prepared for an answer you may not like. If you want to you should talk to Superboy." 

Alec sighed. "I'll go see him."


 

Alec walked to Superboy's room and knocked. The door opened a bit and Superboy stood in the doorway.

"Hi Superboy."

"Hey."

"Can we talk?"

"Sure." He just stood there. Waiting.

"In private?"

Superboy looked a bit uncomfortable but he reluctantly let him in. Alec sat in his chair near the bed while Superboy sat in the side of the bed. 

"I wanted to apologize for throwing you off the truck. I should have thought it through before doing it but I had had enough and was tired of being questioned by you."

"No, it was my fault. I should have listened to you."

"Can I ask why you didn't? Is it because I'm so inexperienced?" 

"No. It's not that. You're a great team leader."

"Then what is it? Why can't we get along like I do with everyone else?”

“I don’t know.”

Alec sighed. “Superboy we will be working together for many more missions and if we will be doing that we need to clear the air.”

“I don’t have an issue with you.”

“Really? Because you’re the only one on this team who isn’t the least bit friendly toward me.”

“I’m fine.” The veins in his neck were starting to pop. Alec considered leaving it alone, but decided against it.

“Connor. Tell me what your problem is with me. Why don’t we get along?”

"BECAUSE YOU'RE GAY!"

Alec sat there in silence and shock. He had lost friends because they didn't accept him for who he was, but hearing Superboy say it was mind blowing to him.

"I mean, it's not like I don't like you as a person. You’re very kind and caring. It's just strange to me. Technically I'm still learning what is acceptable and what isn't. But seeing you and Roy together, I can't describe how it feels. Like confused but also curious. I've only ever seen boy and girl relationships on TV and when I go to Metropolis. I mean I probably have seen gay people but I mean I never saw two boys kiss before. It not something I'm used to, like it's not common."

"Heteronormativity at its finest ladies and gentlemen," Alec said under his breath.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"I have super hearing you know."

"Look Superboy, I understand what you mean. I went through the same thing until I realized I actually liked men and wanted to be with a man. Just because two individuals are of the same sex doesn't mean they can't love each other as two people of the opposite sex can. I understand that it's not something you're used to, but I'm here to answer any questions you have. I would like the air to be clear, and I want us to be friends as I am friends with everyone else here."

"Okay. What's it like kissing another man?"

"Oh,” He wasn’t expecting Superboy to have questions already. “Well, for me it's great. I guess it's the same as kissing a woman? I wouldn't know because I never have."

"It's not weird or anything?"

"No. If two people like each other and want that to happen then it usually does and it either works between them or it doesn't."

"Okay, how did you know you were gay?"

Alec took a deep breath. “Well, I was in high school when I started questioning my sexuality. I did notice when girls looked good, but I didn’t feel anything. When I was around a good-looking guy, I immediately got self-conscious and red-faced. Having PE freshman year and changing in the locker room was a nightmare. I guess I really knew when I was in my junior year and I fell for one of my friends who was straight. I was heartbroken when he got with one of my friends, and then I developed a crush on my other friend who made me feel better. Long story short that year was the worst. I came to terms with who I was my senior year and by the time I started college I was out and proud.”

“So you don’t have any lingering discomfort about yourself?”

“No. I love who I am. The me I used to be was pathetic and sad. This is who I really am and I am so much happier. I shouldn’t be ashamed of that.”

Superboy took a second to think about this. “I understand this is a lot to take in,” Alec said.

“It’s fine,” Superboy said breaking his silence. “I understand now. If you’re happy who am I to judge?”

Alec’s eyes widened slightly in surprise. “Thank you for understanding.”

Superboy looked as if he wanted to say more, and after a second decided to just say it. “Can I confess something to you?”

Alec’s eyes widened even more. “Um sure.”

“I used to feel a similar way to how you do. But I suppressed it because I thought it was unnatural. But after talking to you I see now that it’s okay.”

“So you’re saying you think you may be gay as well?”

“No, I still like girls. So bisexual? I think that’s the word.”

“Okay yes that is the word. Just keep in mind that sexuality is fluid and can change. But I’m glad you told me. That was a very brave thing you did.”

“Thanks. I didn’t want say anything because I had feelings for-,” Superboy was cut off by Batman on the intercom.  

“All teams to the observation deck. NOW. This is not a drill.”

They both looked at each other. “We’ll finish this discussion later,” Alec said. With that the two raced to the deck.


 

When they arrived, all members of the Team and most of the League was assembled. Batman had a holoscreen up with breaking news being discussed before cutting to D.C.

“You all need to see this.” With that he pressed unmute and there showed anchorwoman Iris West-Allen.

“This is Iris West-Allen with breaking news from the capital. Talks are going underway regarding a proposed bill that would place the League and its stealth team under the control of the government. Due to the recent carnage in New York, which resulted in the injury of over 200 people and the deaths of 50 as well as thousands of dollars done in damage, the government is talking about placing restrictions on the League. Here with us we have Senator O’Fallon to elaborate on the situation. Welcome Senator.”

“Hello Iris.”

“So Senator, what’s brought on this sudden interest in placing sanctions against the League?”

“Well I’ve been pushing for this ever since being elected into office. Granted in the past my opinions were not shared among my colleagues, but now new information has been brought to light that is beginning to sway both public and government opinion. Here is what I mean.”

He pressed a button and his side of the screen was taken up by footage of the team infiltrating the base in Colorado, then breaking into Cadmus. “This is what’s swaying public opinion: the League’s secret stealth team made up of their sidekicks. They infiltrated two government facilities and stole classified information. And these are just two incidents that were caught. How do we know they haven’t been doing this the whole time? And what’s to stop them from continuing to do this? We need to take action once and for all. As far as I can gather, the bill will be passed by both houses and the president will either sign or veto it. If he decided to veto it, it will be overridden. One way or another, the League will be brought down.”

“Thank you Senator for your time but I’m told we have breaking news from Metropolis where Superman is in fierce combat with the creature known as Doomsday. We’re going live to Lois Lane who is on scene with the Daily Planet.”

The screen switched to Metropolis, where in the background Superman and Doomsday were in a battle to the death.

“This is Lois Lane and I am here in Metropolis where Doomsday is laying waste to the city. I-,”

A voice from off camera interrupted her. “LOIS WATCH OUT!” Just then she was knocked down by her cameraman as Doomsday came barreling toward them. The camera was kocked down and on the ground but the world watched as Superman came barreling toward Doomsday, punched him skyward, flew after him, and a few seconds later cutting to a helicopter cam showing Superman pummeling Doomsday in the sky, and slamming him downward into the city. The camera caught it all: the pair slamming into the ground, causing a massive tremor that caused a building to collapse in on itself and the surrounding buildings shudder and its windows to implode, raining down shards of glass.

At this point Batman snapped out of it and started deploying teams to assist. “Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern Jordan: help Superman with Doomsday. The other three Lanterns, Flash, Red Tornado, and Zatanna: help with the relief effort.”

Nightwing stepped forward. “What about us?”

Batman looked at them, contemplating what to do. “Stay here. Until this incident blows over, the Team will remain here.”

“But Batman-,”

“That’s. An. Order.”

Nightwing conceded and stepped back.

“After more information unfolds regarding how they got ahold of that footage and how the government will proceed, the founding members of the League and the Team will sit down and decide what is best. After that, we will inform both teams of our decision. Until then, you’ll have monitor duties in pairs with one of the members of the League. For now, I want Nightwing and Aqualad to help with communications and monitoring news feeds for any information regarding this bill. The next two will be Miss Martian and Tigress. The rest of you, take time for yourselves.”

With that, the Team went off in different directions. Some to their rooms in the Watchtower, some to the teleportation pad. Alec caught up to Raven.

“Hey Raven, can I ask a favor?”

“Sure, what can I help with?”

“I was wondering if you could meditate with me? Diana was telling me that after we fell into the Hudson, a freak storm appeared and she thinks that I caused it somehow. I need to know what happened.”

“We can do that, but I get the feeling someone else wants your time right now,” she said smirking.

Alec felt hands on his waist and knew who it was. He leaned into Roy, feeling his hands wrap around his waist and linking in front of his stomach. “Okay, I’ll meet up with you in a little bit then.” Raven nodded and walked away. Alec leaned his head back and kissed Roy’s neck.

“You doing okay?” He asked.

“I’m okay, had that talk with Superboy.”

“Really? How’d that go?” Roy sounded concerned.

“It went good,” Alec reassured. “We actually found we had more in common then we realized. But I’ll tell you more about that later. Was there something you wanted to do?”

Roy’s arms tightened slightly as he whispered in his ear. “Well, I was thinking of laying you down and doing things that would make your mother very cross with me.”

Alec shuddered in lust and whispered back, “Sounds good to me.”

Roy let his grip on him go as they headed to Alec’s room. Once there, Roy did exactly as he said he would, laying him down on the bed and kissing him passionately. He moved to his neck and started biting and kissing his neck by his collarbone, making Alec breathe heavily and grind on his boyfriend in pleasure. Roy went back to kissing Alec in response, but this was a different kind of kissing. It was as though a hunger had overcame him, and the only way to satiate it was to kiss him. Alec broke off after a few minutes and repayed Roy by alternating between biting his neck and kissing where he bit. Roy’s hands went up his shirt, feeling his stomach and chest and moving to his back and going lower to the back of his hips and into the waistband of his jeans. His hands moved around to the front of his jeans. As much as Alec enjoyed this, he couldn’t help but feel a bit uneasy. He stopped kissing Roy.

“Roy wait,” Alec said breathlessly. Roy stopped and looked at his boyfriend with a confused expression. “As much as I am enjoying this, I don’t think I’m ready to go this far.”

For a second, Roy’s disappointment showed on his face but disappeared. “It’s okay. I understand.”

“I’m sorry. Trust me, I really want to, but I don’t feel like I’m ready for that just yet. Plus, with everything going on it doesn’t feel right to. Also, Diana seems to think I caused that storm after Raven and I fell but I’m not so sure. My abilities are that of an Amazon and telepathy and telekinetics, but Harbinger did say that I had an affinity for the mystic arts so it is possible. I just have to be sure of what I am capable of.”

Roy put a finger to his lips, and kissed him. “There’s always a hundred reasons to not do something. But until you feel ready, we won’t have sex. I can wait,” he said smiling.

Alec felt relieved. “Thank you for being understanding.” He kissed him back in a calm but loving way. “I should meet up with Raven to see what happened. I’ll see you soon?”

“Of course.”

They got off Roy's bed and hugged and kissed briefly. Then, Alec left to Raven's room to uncover what happened after they fell.

Chapter Text

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Alec knocked on Raven’s door. He wasn’t sure exactly what would happen, but he was ready for answers. Raven opened the door and stepped to the side so he could enter. Her room was dark, filled with objects and mystical artifacts that would make Beast Boy’s skin crawl.

“We’re going to meditate over here,” she said as she pointed to a pattern etched in the floor. This section of the floor, however, was crystallized and an onyx color. As soon as he and Raven stepped on it, the runes glowed blue.

“The rune colors mean different things. Right now, we’re both calm. Yellow means that one or both of us are under duress. And red means we need to snap out of it before something gets loose.”

“Okay, so like a streetlight but blue instead of green. Why would either of us have to stop meditating?”

“Because, in the type of meditation we will be doing today, some things may be released from your mind and gain a foothold. For instance, your open-mind could be used as a portal for dark spirits to break into our dimension. Are you ready?”

Alec took a deep breath. “Ready.”

The pair took up a meditative stance while levitating a bit in the air. The runes brightened as they entered a meditative state and their consciousness met on the psychic plane.


 

Alec opened his eyes and was astounded. Before him was Raven’s room, but he was watching he and Raven meditating. He looked down and saw that he was in his Wonder Boy attire.

“Glad to see you made it in okay.”

He turned and saw Raven. She too was in her gear, hood obscuring most of her face.

“We’re going to be exploring both of our experiences simultaneously to see what either of us saw by delving into our unconscious. Just concentrate on the moments before you passed out.”

Wonder Boy closed his eyes and concentrated. He heard sounds of battle around him, and when he opened his eyes he saw what was before him: he and Talia dueling while Raven protected the truck.

“Watch closely.”

He watched as Talia shot at him, and how he blocked the bullets with his swords.

“Wow, I’m kind of awesome.”

Raven rolled her eyes. They watched as he went down from the pellet and he saw Raven go down from one of Merlyn’s electric arrows. He watched as Talia kicked him and Raven off the bridge, and they flew down after them. They dove into the water and watched them sink. Alec’s memory started to blur, as did Raven’s. However, Alec’s perspective went dark while Raven’s continued in a haze. They watched as the current seemed to swirl around Wonder Boy. He faced them, and opened his eyes. They glowed white as he spread his hands and the light began to dim as storm clouds formed over the city. Alec watched in horror as this happened. Then, his eyes stopped glowing and he continued to sink under the sea. The scene dispersed as if a rock was tossed into a lake and obscured the image. They met again but this time in the infirmary, yet it was empty.

Alec was shaken from what he saw. “Raven, what was that?”

“I’m not sure. I’ve never seen a display of power like that before while someone was unconscious.”

“I don’t understand. Why would this happen? How did this happen?”

“Again, I don’t know. Maybe Athena will know what to do?”

“Or if I concentrate hard enough I can trigger it.”

“Alec wait don’t-,”

But she was too late, Alec concentrated as best as he could, trying to invoke whatever force was used there. He had forgotten that they were in both a mystical and psychological plane, where the two converged and spirits could infiltrate and use them as an escape into their reality. As he concentrated, the plane grew darker. He felt a presence he had not felt since that night when they attacked the Court of Owls. Raven yelled in pain, breaking his concentration.

“Raven are you-,” he was cut short when she looked at him. In place of here two eyes were four red ones, all glowing with dark power.

“Insignificant speck. I warned you that dark forces were at work. Now, I use this connection to escape into your world.”

Just then dark tendrils of power radiated around her. Alec concentrated and tried to use his telepathic powers to contain her. She laughed and lashed out, breaking his barrier. She then conjured mystic blasts aimed at him. He threw up a shield to block them, but the first one caused it to implode and the second and third hit their marks which severely depleted his psyche. He doubled over and fell on all fours, weak from her attack.

“Now, human, face the wrath of-,” She was cut short by a fiery presence entering the plane. It had the form of a bird, and flew right into Alec. He felt it infuse him with power, rising on his feet. A fiery aura enveloped him.

His voice echoed, as though there were two speaking at once. “You shall not pass through her demon. BEGONE!”

With that he thrust out a fist and a bolt of flame erupted from his fist and went into Raven, who shrieked in pain and anguish as the demon within her was burned out. The presence left, and Alec pulled them from the plane. They both collapsed on the meditation hub sweating and exhausted.

“Raven are you-,”

“Fine. But I’m not sure what’s going on.”

She was looking at the mystical marks. They were glowing in a gradient fashion of reds, yellows, whites, and oranges and danced across the marks as if they were aflame.

“Has this never happened before?”

“No. Not that I’ve ever seen.”

Alec asked a question he felt he would later regret. “Raven, what was that with the four eyes?”

Raven looked at him with a feigned angry expression, but he could see the terror in her eyes. “No one. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Raven, that was the second time I have seen that figure. Why is it so prevalent in your mind and in the mystic/psychic plane? When it appeared I felt pure darkness.”

“BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HE IS,” Raven shouted. She sighed and lowered her head. “He is the literal incarnation of darkness. He is a demon that is the conqueror and destroyer of worlds. If he were to ever break free of that plane he would infect this world with strife, anger and chaos. None can resist. I’m surprised you could to be honest.”

“I tried but I was overwhelmed by its pure darkness and hatred. I’ve never felt a presence that strong before.”

“Then how did you survive and get us out?”

“I’m not sure, I felt my psyche slipping and thought I was going to be gone for sure, but then a different fiery presence came in. It was different, much more like light rather than dark fire. I can’t explain it. It felt as though it empowered me to expel the darkness that had possessed you and got us both out.”

“I’ve never heard of that happening, but I’m glad it did. Nothing short of Dr. Fate and the combined forces of the most powerful mystics are able to contain him.”

“Raven who was he?”

Raven paused for a minute. “His name is Trigon. And he is my father.”

As she said his name the runes briefly turned red. They faded back to the original blue hue that was at the beginning of their meditation.

“Raven I-,” Alec was interrupted by Wonder Woman on the comlink.

Alec, I got in contact with Athena. We leave in thirty minutes.


 

Alec walked to the teleportation hub in his armor to Diana. She was able to get through to Athena. Convincing her to accept Roy in her presence, however, was difficult. They would all meet at the Parthenon, that way the location was still sacred ground to the goddess and no laws would be broken on Themyscira. As he walked over, he saw that Wonder Woman and Red Arrow in their respective gear.

Diana walked over to him. “Are you okay? I can sense your uneasiness.”

“I’m fine, I just had a meditation session with Raven to find out more after we fell. It went kind of strange.”

With that he told the story. Diana wasn’t surprised when he said he conjured the storm. Nor was she surprised at the fact that Trigon was Raven’s father or that he tried to gain a foothold through her.

“Trigon has tried this in the past. He nearly succeeded with the help of brother blood, but Dr. Fate, Zatanna, Etrigan, Raven, Jennifer Morgan, and Tempest were able to contain him. However, I have not heard of this fire bird. Perhaps Athena will have answers.” With that the trio walked over to the teleporter.


 

They arrived in the Parthenon, and Wonder Boy still could not get over the beauty. Granted, the majority of it was in ruins. But it was incredible to think it had stood the test of time. The air shimmered around the center of the floor. Athena herself appeared in a shimmering white dress and simple sandals. On her golden belt hung a sword, just in case Alec supposed. She wielded a golden spear and on her shoulder was a beautiful barn owl. Next to her was a woman in a black dress that had runes moving across the fabric in white-gold hues. Her bark hair was pinned up and in her hand was a torch. Her eyes were piercing and dark, and the air around her seemed to shimmer. Wonder Boy could feel pure power seethe off of her presence, and knew he was in the presence of a powerful mystical being, but not just any being.

“Lady Athena, goddess of wisdom and warfare,” Diana said as they bowed. “And Lady Hecate, goddess of magic.”

The trio rose as Hecate inspected them. “Well, this one has zero affinity for the mystic arts,” she said pointing at Roy. “And Diana appears to be fine, so I’m assuming I’m here for this one?” she asked pointing her torch at Wonder Boy.

Athena sighed. “Yes, Hecate. If I am unable to calm him, you may step in and help him control whatever is afflicting him.”

She stepped forward and placed two of her fingers on his headpiece. She took her fingers back and took a step back after five seconds. “I knew you had a strong affinity for magic, but it appears to have grown since last we saw each other. I have not heard of such progression in such a short amount of time. Hecate?”

“Really? The goddess of wisdom asks for my advice? I truly am impressed that you ask me for help Athena.”

Athena glared. “You have a better understand of the mystic arts than I do, and there is something within him that is resisting.”

Hecate stepped forward smugly and raised her torch. “Ente, dic et ostende te consueuerunt!”

Alec felt something burst free within him, and tendrils of fire exploded outward. Hecate spread her hands and shouted “CLYPEUS!” and a shield enveloped him, protecting the others from the flames. Alec was floating, and looked up and saw that a bird made up entirely of flame was surrounding him.

“I am Flamebird, daughter of Rao,” it said in a multitude of voices.

Hecate spoke up first. “I am Hecate, goddess of magic. Why have you possessed this boy’s body?”

“Wonder Boy called for help while in the mystic and psychic plane and I came to his aid. Since the death of my previous host Thara Ak-Var, I have resided in the plane, waiting for someone worthy to become the next herald of Rao.”

“What are your intentions?” Wonder Woman asked.

“To protect others from darkness and destroy the Black. Warriors of darkness that destroyed my father’s followers on Krypton.”

“Krypton? You mean to say that you originated on Krypton?”

“Yes. Once every generation, someone worthy would be selected to be the ultimate herald of Rao by combining their life force with mine. This resulted in the host gaining immeasurable amounts of power to defeat the Black and those who would disrupt balance and peace.”

“Will you leave his body?”

“No. Not until the task is done. There is darkness on the horizon, and as the helmet of fate required a host, I require Wonder Boy as a host for the time being.”

Diana and Roy shared a concerned look.

“Do not be concerned. He will be protected while under my care.”

With that Flamebird went back into Wonder Boy, and Hecate lifted her spell.

“Well, it appears you are stuck with an intergalactic mystical entity for the time being. I have not encountered this before, so I will search the cosmos to find an answer to this debacle,” Hecate said.

“Thank you for trying,” Diana said.

With that she faded into mist. Athena stepped up to Wonder Boy.

“I will be here whenever you need me. Simply call on me and I will be there to help you with anything you need. Regardless of the current circumstances, you are still my chosen champion.”

Alec looked up at the goddess with cocnern, but regained his composure. “Thank you Athena, I will make you proud.”

She nodded and faded into light.


 

Back on the Watchtower, he and Diana had a sit down with Superman and Supergirl. Diana explained the situation and what Flamebird spoke of. Superman looked as confused as Alec was, but Supergirl’s eyes were wide with concern.

After they were done explaining, Supergirl spoke up. “Rao is the name of Krypton’s red sun. The people worshipped it as a deity, and there was a sect of followers who worshipped him. Once in a generation, a follower was selected by Rao to have the ultimate honor: to be a host of his daughter the Flamebird. I know all of this because Thara was my friend.”

Ah Thara, Flamebird said in his head. She was a powerful host. Her death was tragic. Her final moments were spent protecting those she loved from the Black.

Alec looked at her with shock. “So you know what is happening to me?”

“Yes.”

“Well did Flamebird ever speak to her telepathically?”

 “She could call on Flamebird, but she never mentioned that the Flamebird could contact her. If it did she never said.”

I was in contact with her in a different way, influencing her feelings and instincts subtly. This method of communication seems more prudent though.

So you say, Alec said. Did you even consider how I felt about it?

No. Why? Should I have asked?

Alec sighed. “Okay, so how exactly do I get it out of me?”

“You can’t. You are combined for life.”

“There must be a way,” Diana said.

“I heard of one, but it used the combined efforts of the whole of the mystics of Rao. Flamebird is not the only ethereal being that could manifest inside of a host. Her brother, Nightwing, was the dark side. Where she was all light and achieved balance through more peaceful methods, Nightwing was more brutal, more eager to being balance through violence. When he would get too powerful or cause too many problems, the whole council would perform a ritual to cleanse the body of Nightwing. But even in those cases the ritual only worked on three separate occasions, and it was performed more than thirty times.”

“Great. So no way to get this out of me?

“No. Also, I must warn you. Flamebird is a cosmic being with little understanding of human emotions. Kryptonians are different from humans in the fact that Kryptonians are better able to regulate their emotions, so Flamebird was under control. Once, however, there was a host who was not emotionally stable and she fed on those experiences. The outcome was not good. She took control and turned dark. It took the combined power of the heralds of Rao to put the Flamebird don by killing the host, but it resulted in the destruction of more than half the order. With your being human and emotions being everywhere, I don’t know how bad it will be.”

Superman interjected before Alec could speak. “We’ll talk more on this later, maybe even bring Dr. Fate in to see what he can do. But now Diana and I have to go to an emergency meeting with the other founding members.” With that he and Diana left the room.

Supergirl began again after her cousin and the Amazon left. “The best thing you can do is to never call upon the Flamebird. If you do that, the chances of her taking control will go up and so will the likelihood that we will have to put your down if you go dark.”

Alec was about to respond when Aqualad walked into the room. “Forgive the interruption, but Wonder Boy is needed in the conference room.”


 

Alec followed Aqualad to the conference room and stepped inside. There was a round table with seven chairs, five of which were occupied. They were occupied by Nightwing, Superboy, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, and Artemis. She had changed from her Tigress apparel to her dark green Artemis gear, something that must have been difficult to do since Wally’s death. Aqualad motioned for Alec to take a seat next to Nightwing as Aqualad took the seat across from him.

Nightwing sat up. “Aqualad and I were talking and we decided to have our own meeting as the seven founding members of the League are having right now. We have much to discuss about what has happened, how our mentors are going to respond to this new law, and how we will respond.”

“Well,” Miss Martian started, “we should focus on what this law actually does and go from there.”

“Right. This law places all heroes under government control, eliminating the independent work the League does and eliminating what they deem to be vigilante activity. All those who do not agree to the terms are identified as enemies of the state and will be taken care of using whatever measures necessary.”

Artemis spoke up. “So basically it’s join us or be hunted. Terrific.”

 Kid Flash was next to speak. “I’ve talked to Superman about this. He says that if this is what the government wants then we should abide by it. There’s no need to start a war.”

Wonder Boy spoke up to that. “I don’t think we should. The majority of us are American citizens and we have a voice as well. There is no need to be placed under the control of any government to be used as weapons whenever they feel like it. I would rather die than be under the control of a tyrannical government and I know Wonder Woman would agree with me.”

“As ambassadors for peace, you’d think you both would pick the option that avoided conflict.”

“Picking the option that forces us to be submissive to those trying to oppress others is not the Amazon way.”

“Alright! That’s enough,” Nightwing interjected. “We’re here to discuss not to argue.”


 

Batman was looking around at his fellow founding members as they debated. The original seven were discussing the same issues. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern John Stewart, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl were in heated debate.

“How can you say-“

“I can because-“

“Why would you agree-“

“This is pointless-“

“ENOUGH,” Superman yelled. The room quieted down. “Look, we all have different views on this but I’m telling you that siding with the government will prevent further problems.”

You’ve got to be joking, Batman thought. “No Clark, it won’t,” Batman said. “This is the dumbest idea you’ve had. Siding with them is a mistake and you know it. The League can’t be at the beck and call of a single government because then their enemies are ours and we help the world, not just the US. But what’s even more important is that we need to be able to operate with anonymity, picking and choosing for ourselves who gets sent where and controlling it that way. We started out as independent heroes and came together with a single purpose: bringing peace, balance, and protection to this world. We need to be able to work independently from the government. If this law is put in place, I will not join them. I will fight for our right to complete our work independent of the government.”

“So will I,” Wonder Woman said. “This act is nothing more than man’s pathetic way of attempting to weaponized us and use us at their disposal.”

“As will I,” Martain Manhunter agreed. “I came to this world looking for a home and place to feel safe with my niece. I will not give that up.”

Superman glared at them. “And the rest of you?”

Green Lantern spoke after. “I agree with Superman. We need to work with the government to have more order and stability.”

“So do I,” Flash said. “I don’t want to start a fight where we go head to head against the government. Remember what happened on the other Earth? Their world’s heroes went against the government and it wasn’t good for anyone.”

 “I’m with Flash,” Hawkgirl said. “If we do not go with this new law it will cause unnecessary war and violence between us and the government. We have to show that we are better than the other world.”

The seven sat there quietly. Batman wasn’t surprised by the outcome. He knew that a majority of leaguers would side with Superman.

Finally Superman spoke up. “So it’s settled then. Four for the act and three against it. If the act is passed we’ll turn ourselves over to the government and begin working with them.”

Enough of this, Batman thought. “No,” Batman said. “If the act passes and you decide to do this, I will do everything in my power to oppose it and bring anyone else who agrees with me.”


 

“I’m just saying that if this is what the public votes on then we should abide by their wishes,” Aqualad was saying.

“Easy for you to say,” Superboy said. “Some of us don’t have an undersea kingdom to go hide in when things get tough.”

“I don’t this arguing is necessary,” Miss Martian was saying. “I vote we stay neutral in this and let the League argue about who picks which side.”

“No, we need show that we are a united front to the public for support. A divided front would only lend to chaos and the passing of the law,” Wonder Boy said.

“Yeah,” Kid Flash said. “But on which side?”

“All those for pro-registration raise your hand,” Nightwing said.

Kid Flash and Aqualad were the only ones to raise his hand. “Oh come one! Why don’t we ask everyone else?” With that Kid Flash sped out of the room and reappeared thirty seconds later with the results. “Okay so with me are Cyborg, Guardian, Bumble Bee, Lagoon Boy, Blue Beetle and Static Shock. The rest are anti-registration.”

“So if we were to vote democratically on this then we would stand firm against the act.”

“No. We don’t have to anger the public anymore,” Kid Flash was saying. “I mean, if it wasn’t for us many of those super villains wouldn’t exist in the first place. We need to have guidelines and regulations.”

“And we are going to do that,” Aqualad said. “Now.”

With that he and Kid Flash exited the conference room. There was an uncomfortable silence in the room as they waited.  

Miss Martian’s eyes glowed green. “They’re taking their side outside the League conference room.”

“This is a disaster,” Artemis said.

“No,” Nightwing said. “This whole incident started because of us and now it’s going to end with us. Our missions have got the public in an uproar, so in order to take control of the situation we have to do something that will diffuse their anger at us.” He paused and allowed the news to sink in. “You all know what we have to do. We’ve done great work together, but it’s what needs to be done.”


 

Batman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter stormed out of the conference room to find a group of the Team standing in front of them.

“Aqualad what is going on?” Batman questioned.

“We few have left the Team behind. We held a meeting similar to the one you had and we disagreed on how we should respond to the act. We few are pro-registration while the others are anti.”

Batman glared at them. “Well, then the people you want to talk to are inside.”

With that he and his companions went past them and headed to the Team’s conference room. Superman’s voice echoed over the PA.

Attention Justice League and its Associates. As many of you are aware, the United States government is in the process of passing an act that would require heroes to register with the government as members of its forces to be deployed on situations where they cannot contain the threat. This would help ease the public’s anxiety toward us and help us be more organized and more efficient. It would also show that we are not the judge, jury, and executioners that we are made out to be and show that no one is above the law. If you agree with this, please meet some of the founding members and I on the main deck.

“You know he’s going to use whoever he can to try and apprehend us right?” Wonder Woman said.

“I know. But he won’t get that far.”

They reached the conference room and inside were the remaining members of the Team: Wonder Boy, Superboy, Artemis, Nightwing, Miss Martian, Batgirl, Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Wonder Girl. With them were some members of the League: Dr. Fate, Zatanna, Black Canary, Batwoman, Red Arrow, Green Arrow, Star Girl, Etrigan, Hawk, Dove, Red Tornado, Fire Storm, Aquaman, Swamp Thing, Barda, Wildcat, Aztek, Rocket, and Zauriel.

“I had J’onn send out a telepathic message alerting all anti-registration associates to meet us here.”

Batman looked at the gathering and addressed them. “Listen up! We don’t have much time and we need to get out of here. Superman and his group of pro-registration are going to try and come down here to stop us from opposing the government. We cannot allow that to happen. Dr. Fate, open a portal to this location.”

J’onn telepathically sent the location to Dr. Fate and the Dr. obliged. The portal opened and the members of the anti-registration movement began filing through it. Just then the alert went off and holographic screens popped up everywhere, showing the live footage of the president addressing the public. The headline was Congress passes Metahuman Registration Act.

“What now?” Nightwing asked his mentor.

“Now? Now we go to war.”

 

 

Chapter Text

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Wonder Woman gazed at the open sea in front of her. She was on the cliffs near the edge of Themyscira, mulling over the events of the past week. After what had happened, there was no going back now, no easy path to peace and neither side would give ground in either direction. She sensed a presence behind her, and knew it was Alec. He sat down next to her, and she could feel the anguish and exhaustion coming off of him in waves. Diana knew the past week was very hard on him. Between college, the current state of the League, and his relationship with Roy, losing a friend was the final thing that caused him to break. They kept their gaze on the horizon, taking in the peace and solace. Diana knew Alec was strong, but she could feel his control slipping. Without looking she held his hand, which he squeezed tightly. At that point he let go and began to cry. Diana let go of his hand and held him closely as he let it all go.

“It’s okay,” she soothed.

“My fault,” he sobbed incomprehensibly. “It’s all my fault.”


 

A few days earlier

All members report to the main deck. We have a situation, Batman’s voice boomed over the intercom. Alec sighed. It had been less than 24 hours since relocating to a secret moon base Batman had constructed for the time when the League would need a safe house if the Watchtower were ever to be compromised. It was located on the moon, and was camouflaged to deter the other Leaguers from finding them. Alec thought it was genius. However, they could not use teleportation technology or boom tubes because they could be traced. The best method to get anywhere was using a portal. That meant always having a magic user on hand, and they only had five magic users, two of which were already exhausted from the constant portals. Due to this they brought in Jennifer Morgan from Skartaris, a city in the center of the earth, to assist in the portal travel. Alec made his way to the main deck and saw that the rest of the members had made it or were barely getting in. He spotted some of the newer recruits, heroes Batman and Wonder Woman allowed into the League temporarily. These included: Blue Devil, Atom Smasher, Dr. Light, Plastic Man, Jennifer Morgan, Harbinger, and Vixen. He walked over and stood next to Stargirl as Batman began.

“As many of you are aware, the act requiring all heroes to register with the government has been passed. Those who are cooperating with the government have already signed up.”

As he said this the faces of Superman, Captain Atom, Major Force, Shazam, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Huntress, the Lanterns, Cyborg, Arsenal, Lagoon Boy, Aqualad, Static Shock, Kid Flash, Guardian, Bumble Bee, Fire, Ice, The Atom, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Flash, Steel, Supergirl, and Mr. Terrific showed up on screen.

“In addition to these heroes, many supervillains have also joined with the government.”

More pictures were added to the list. These included the Suicide Squad (Killer Frost, King Shark, Black Spider, Deadshot, Plastique, Killer Croc, Katana, and Enchantress), Count Vertigo, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Professor Ivo, Volcana, Nightshade, Mr. Freeze, Rampage, Atomic Skull, Parasite, Sinestro, and Weather Wizard.

“These are just the ones we know of. They could have other operatives or may be attempting to coerce them into signing the act. We know they’re building their forces to bring the rest of us into the fold. This cannot happen. Earlier tonight and three individuals were approached by some Pro-registration advocates and were asked themselves over for processing. They resisted and have since reached out asking for our protection. Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. We need to offer amnesty for all those who ask for help, regardless of past incidents. We need every body we can to throw at Superman and his Pro-registration movement. So Wonder Boy, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Barda will go to Gotham and secure them. Dr. Fate, portal them to the Sirens’ location.”

With that Dr. Fate waved his hand, and the four of them were teleported to Gotham.


 

When Alec opened his eyes he saw that they were in an abandoned alley, not far from the middle of town.

“I don’t get it,” Barda said. “These are criminals. Why are we helping them? Why do we care what happens to them?”

“Because Barda,” Black Canary started. “We are seriously outnumbered right now. We could use all the help we can get. And if that means helping out super villains in order to secure said help then that’s what we’ll do.”

“On Apocalypse we would have left them to die or fend for themselves.”

“Good thing this isn’t Apocalypse.”

“Let’s focus on the task at hand,” Batgirl interjected. “The Sirens last signal came from this area about 20 minutes ago. Catwoman knows not to stay in the same area for longer than a half hour, so I’m fairly certain that she’s moved on from here. She would want to get to higher ground and have a better view of the city.”

“So, rooftops it is then?” Wonder Boy asked.

“Right. Wonder Boy and I can handle that if you two want to follow from below?”

Black Canary and Barda nodded. Batgirl may have been younger, but she knew Gotham.  Wonder Boy flew up into the air above the rooftops while Batgirl grappled up to the top and began running across. Wonder Boy kept up easily, looking out for any signs as to the Sirens’ location.

“Do you think Batman is making the right decision here?” Wonder Boy asked.

Batgirl took a second to respond. “With Catwoman? Yes. Harley and Ivy? No. I don’t trust them. They have caused so much pain and death in this city that I want to leave them to rot. I don’t know why they would be approached by the others though. They’re not exactly extreme level threats.”

“So how should we go about this when we find them?”

“We’ll scan them for any type of devices that can be used to trace them back to us. Then get out. The government knows which heroes are against them and they will send out any team they can to take care of us, including the GCPD. And I’m not in the mood to fight my father tonight.”

He had forgotten that Barbra’s father was the chief of the Gotham City Police Department. “Um, okay. And if we run into anyone from the Team, I’m going to try and talk sense into them. I don’t want to resort to violence when they’re being misguided.”

“No unnecessary risks to the team or mission.”

“I kno-,” he was cut off by the crack of a whip. He deflected it with his bracelets, as well as the bullets that followed.

“WAIT,” Batgirl yelled. The gunfire stopped. “Batman sent us to help.”

Harley. Poison Ivy, and Catwoman stepped out from the shadows.

“How do we know you’re not trying to arrest us?” Poison Ivy asked coldly. “If memory serves we’re not exactly friends.”

“Yeah!” Harley interjected. “I don’t remember you ever being nice to Mr. J or me. You and B-Man always showed up to spoil our fun.”

“Batman sent us to help you,” Batgirl reassured.

Catwoman stepped forward. “Well I was hoping for my brooding knight to show up himself but I suppose you’ll have to do.”

‘We can offer you amnesty. But first I need to make sure you don’t have anything that can trace back to us.”

With that she pulled out a scanner and scanned the party. It came up as negative, which Batgirl stepped to the side to call for a portal. Barda and Black Canary got to the top of the roof as Batgirl got off the comlink.

“Dr. Fate says it will be a few minutes to pinpoint our location and get us out. So sit tight.”

Alec, Flamebird urged, Stay vigilent. I can sense others coming to this location.

“We may not have that option,” Wonder Boy said. “I can sense others coming for us.”

As he said this, Hawkgirl swooped in and knocked Canary down. Killer Frost and Katana both landed on the roof with ease, and Volcana flew above them, circling with fire in her hands. Joining Killer Frost and Katana on the roof were Lagoon Boy, Arsenal, and Hawkman. Closing in were three helicopters filled with GCPD officers, most likely equipped with technology to repel them.

“Damn it,” Wonder Boy swore.

Killer Frost stepped forward. “We’re taking them. Now.”

“I don’t think so. Why do you need them anyways?”

Frost smirked. “None of your business.”

As she said this, he read her mind. “Amanda Waller sent you to recruit them for her Suicide Squad?”

Killer Frost glared and snarled. “It doesn’t matter who sent me or for what purpose. I’m taking them now.”

Get ready, Wonder Boy thought to his group as he told them his plan.

“Come on Frost, you’ve never beaten me when we’ve fought. What makes you think you’ve got a chance this time?” Wonder Boy taunted.

Killer Frost laughed hysterically. “Are you blind? I have an army with me. And that’s not counting the useless officers of the GCPD. Face it, you’ve lost.”

Wonder Boy smirked. “I don’t think so.”

Now, Wonder Boy thought.

They averted their eyes as Barda used her Mega-Rod to create a massive blast of light to blind their assailants while Batgirl threw smoke pellets into the area, obscuring the view from all sides. The team and the Sirens jumped off the roof as one of Ivy’s vines rose to slow their fall. They grabbed on as the vine slowed their descent, disappearing into the ground as their feet reached concrete. Wonder Boy flew above them, deflecting bullets that were raining down after them.

“GO!” Black Canary screamed.

They began running for their lives as they were pursued by their enemies, which now included former teammates. As Batgirl lead them they twisted and turned through the alleyways until they reached a massive clock tower.

“Wonder Boy get that sewer cover up!”

He used his telekinetics to raise the grate as they jumped into the hole. Catwoman was the last to go in, and he flew down pulling the cover down behind him.

“Well, this is a fine mess you’ve gotten us into,” Poison Ivy complained.

“Literally, a mess,” Catwoman added.

“Hey, we just saved your lives,” Barda aggressively expressed.

“This never would have happened if Mr. J was here,” Harley whined.

“Are you out of your mind?” Poison Ivy shouted. “If he were here things would be so much worse!”

“Hey at least we wouldn’t be in a nasty ass sewer if he were here!”

“Harley, if he were here one or more of us would be DEAD!”

That was when Barda lost it. “Enough with the bitching! We saved your lives the least you can do is SHUT THE HELL UP!”

It was silent for a few minutes. Poison Ivy and Barda were eyeing each other, as though each were contemplating starting a fight. Batgirl stepped over between them.

“Look, we’re all on edge. They’re still after us but we’ll be safe here while Dr. Fate and the League triangulate our position to get us out.”

As she said this the sewer brightened. A golden ankh the size of a large door appeared behind them.

“There’s our ride,” Batgirl said. “Let’s go.”

With that they walked through the portal.


 

On the other side waiting for them were Batman, Wonder Woman, and Dr. Fate. The portal closed as Wonder Boy stepped through. Batman eyed the group.

“Well?” he questioned.

They all looked at each other. Catwoman looked a bit put off.

“Not that I’m unappreciative of the rescue handsome, but why not come yourself?”

“What did they want with you all?” He inquired while completely dodging her question.

“Waller wanted us to join her little Suicide Squad,” Harley said. “I told the crazy bitch I was done working for her squad of whack jobs, but apparently it’s not something you run from.”

“What’s she planning Harley?” Batman interrogated.

“Jeez Bats. You’re at like a 12 right now I’mma need ya ta go down to like a 6.”

He glared at her through his cowl.

“Alright a mild 10 and a half works. Waller needs numbers. Granted the government has more of us and you guys on their side, but they’re up against two of the big three. Waller wants more muscle on her side that have experience fighting you all.”

“Also, we know what they’re planning on doing with those who side against them,” Catwoman interjected.

Batman’s eyes narrowed even more. “What are you talking about?”

“We had a small run-in with The Riddler. He tried to grab us first with some mechanical assassins, which were poorly put together I might add. Anyway we destroyed them and interrogated him. He said they were taking any and all prisoners and any who caused trouble to Belle Reve. That way, if whoever they capture changed their mind they could release them with an inhibitor collar and bring them into the fold.”

Batman was about to comment when he was interrupted by Red Tornado on the holoscreen.

“Red Tornado to base. We have lost Wildcat, Zauriel, Star Girl, and Red Arrow. They have been captured and-” The feed was cut by a blast.

Batman looked at Catwoman cautiously. “Alright. Barda and Black Canary will show you where you may stay for now.”

With that they left, leaving the others standing in mournful silence, which was broken by Wonder Boy.

“We have to get them out.”

“No,” Batman asserted. “We can’t just go after them. The area will be crawling with government soldiers as well as Pro-registration members. They knew the risk.”

“Are you kidding me? They’re on their way to Belle Reve right now. Let’s intercept them or bust them out of Belle Reve.”

“No. It’s too much of a risk.”

“How can you leave them behind? If it were you in their place they wouldn’t hesitate to get you out.”

“Which would be a mistake. We need to stay focused on the goal: getting support from the public to bring down this act.”

“But Roy is-”

“Yes. Roy was taken. We need to stay focused on the main goal here. Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement.”

Wonder Boy was outraged. Diana noticed this and put her hand on his shoulder in an attempt to calm him. “Alec don’t-”

“HOW CAN I KEEP MY EMOTIONS IN CHECK WHEN HE IS CAPTURED? IF IT WERE ONE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS WOULD YOU HESITATE TO GET THEM OUT?”

“Alec,” Batman said quietly. “Stand. Down.” His eyes narrowed.

Alec was fuming. He turned around and stormed out. He went to his room and closed the door. He barely turned around before he started to breakdown. Tears flowed down his face onto his uniform and the floor. His knees gave out and he sunk to the floor, leaning against the door for support. Roy was gone. Taken by people he once called his friends and teammates. On top of this, he had missed a full week’s worth of classes at University of Colorado Boulder. There was no way he’d be able to catch up easily. Granted this issue was not as pressing as Roy being captured, but it still weighed on his mind. When would everything work out? Did he make the right decision siding with Batman and Wonder Woman? Should he and Roy have run away the second people started choosing sides? Is this fight even worth the trouble it caused? But one question reigned in his head: was he worthy of the mantle of Wonder Boy?

No, the voice of Flamebird exclaimed. The voice sounded much different than before, more filled with fury rather than sounding soothing and comforting. Do not fill your head with these insecurities. Pick a course of action and see it through.

Flamebird was right. He didn’t care what he had to do, he was getting Roy out of there. No matter what.


 

Belle Reve Penitentiary

Supergirl, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Captain Atom, Cyborg, Sinestro, and Volcana had just finished placing the Anti-registration heroes in their cells. Each cell in the facility was calibrated to hold a specific type of hero, which was augmented by the inhibitor collars which shut off the powers of any metahuman. Supergirl had doubts of her own regarding the treatment of her former teammates. Her thoughts wandered to an argument she and her cousin had earlier.

A few hours earlier

She and her team had just finished handling the team of Anti-registration heroes and was updating Superman on their success.

“Nice job Kara. Escort them to Belle Reve and place them in holding cells until this is all over.”

“Wait. What?”

“We need to make sure they won’t intervene again. I don’t want to kill them, which is what Luthor suggested, so locking them up with inhibitor collars is the only option we have.”

“But that’s insane. These are our friends Cal!”

“Kara just do as I say. If Luthor’s right these heroes will be bait for other heroes to fall right into our trap.”

“But-”

“That’s an order.”

The com-channel cut out, leaving Kara feeling conflicted inside. Eventually she gave the order to round up the heroes and make their way to Belle Reve.

She still didn’t agree with following orders from Luthor, but it was better than having to kill her friends. Hawkgirl walked over and put a hand on her shoulder.

“We’re doing the right thing. Siding with the government is the best decision we can make to help move the world to peace.”

“Is that what my cousin said? Or what you believe?”

Hawkgirl’s eyes narrowed. “We’re doing the right thing. Don’t make me tell your cousin that you’re questioning his decisions. Because if it comes down to it he will lock you up for the betterment of the world.”

With that she walked away, leaving Kara questioning what she was doing there.


 

Wonder Boy walked out of his room determined to find help. He let his mind wander the facility, searching for anyone who questioned Batman’s decision to leave the captured. Who he discovered were Superboy, Zatanna, Black Canary, and Harbinger. He called out to them telepathically and they assembled in Wonder Boy’s room.

“You all know why I’ve asked you here. We don’t agree with Batman’s decision to leave our friend’s behind. With or without your help I am going to Belle Reve to get them out. You can either come with me and bust them out, or don’t and inform Batman of my insubordination. If you choose to come with me know that what we’re doing goes against Batman’s direct orders and is punishable by ejection from the League. Your choice.”

They all looked at each other for confirmation. Black Canary spoke on their behalf.

“We’re in.”

“Good. Then here’s the plan,” Wonder Boy said as he pulled up the schematics for Belle Reve. “According to Catwoman’s intelligence from Riddler, the strongest cells are located in the heart of the facility, where its defenses are strongest. We can’t teleport there, but we can open a portal to get behind their defenses. Zatanna will open the portal as close as she can to them. Depending on where we end up, Superboy will rush in first to take out defenses while Black Canary handles any guards and Harbinger locates our friends. I’ll go in before Superboy outside their walls and make a massive storm that interferes with their surveillance. It won’t last long and won’t be long before they send in whoever they have inside the facility to handle any threats, so we’ll need to be fast. Once we find them, we bust them out, teleport to Affric Forest in Scotland, and make sure there is no way for them to be traced back to the moon base.”

Black Canary considered the plan. “It’s a bold strategy. But what do we do if they have a heavy hitter with them? Like Supergirl or one of the Lanterns?”

“Harbinger can look into the future to see who will be there and if we need to alter our course of action. Harbinger?”

She closed her eyes and looked ahead. She began to lightly shake, and her breathing became more ragged. When she opened her eyes she stared at Wonder Boy. “We’ll succeed in our mission as long as we don’t deviate from the path we have chosen. They will have many guards, but the main obstacles will be as follows: Green Lantern Guy Gardner will be patrolling the skies with Blue Beetle. On the inside near where our friends are being held will be Arsenal, Shazaam, Major Force, and Black Lightning. On reserve are Supergirl, Flash, and Hawkgirl. They’re less than a mile from Belle Reve. If we can get in and get out fast we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”

“Then let’s get to it,” Wonder Boy said.


 

Wonder Boy exited the portal and floated above the murky swamp a football field away from Belle Reve. He modified his armor to stealth mode, so every part of it was black with the exception of his gauntlets, lasso, headpiece, and “W” on his chest. He took a deep breath and looked inside himself for the force which created the storm in New York. With the assistance of Flamebird, he found it and focused it to conjure a lightning storm with powerful winds to knock out the power. To avoid suspicion, he would have to make this a massive storm cell which he did not have the strength to do on his own.

Let me help you, Flamebird urged. You don’t have the power to do this on your own. Let my strength flow through you.

No, Wonder Boy responded. If I do that you have a foothold and can take over my body. I won’t let that happen. 

If you want your plan to succeed, you’ll accept my help.

Flamebird had a point. Fine. But as soon as the storm is put in place, return to your semi-dormant state.

I promise.

He felt his body warm up significantly. He raised his hands and felt the power surge through his body. He looked up and saw hoe the storm rolled in, clouds of pure black and lightning flashing throughout. He watched as the storm enlarged and engulfed the skies for as far as the eye could see. Rain began to fall heavily as he re-entered the portal, this time going into Belle Reve. As he exited the portal and into Belle Reve, he saw Superboy dismantling a Gatling gun and throwing it at a missile launcher, knocking two birds out with one stone. He watched as guards swarmed in to surround them, but were intercepted by Black Canary. Wonder Boy always admired Black Canary because no matter how many foes she faced, she always came out on top. Twenty guards entered the room, and twenty went down. She entered the fray, cartwheeling into one and smashing him down as her feet went for a landing. She roundhouse kicked outward and knocked two guns out of their hands and finished them both off with a barrage of punches. Another went down from a simple but well placed chop to the throat while another got his eardrums ruptured from her hands clapping decisively against his ears. She flipped over another one, grabbing his shoulders on the way down and flung him over her head at two other guards, knocking them all out. The final ones she took down with her canary cry, a move that Wonder Boy was sure would alert the others to their presence, but no one else came. He looked at Zatanna, who had just entered the room.

She shrugged. “Silencing charm on the room. You wanted to be in and out without much attention drawn to us right?”

Wonder Boy was impressed. “Nice job Zatanna. Harbinger, have you located them?”

She looked over at them with fear in her eyes. “Yes. They’re more down this corridor.”

With that the team headed down the corridor into a large open room, designed in a circle with many rows of cells ascending toward the ceiling. As he looked up he saw human shapes falling toward them: the guards from Harbinger’s vision. Shazam, Black Lightning, Arsenal, and Major Force. The latter spoke up in a cocky and demeaning tone.

“Really? Batman doesn’t even end us a challenge? He sends you all? Superboy may be the closest thing to a challenge, but the rest of you are pathetic.”

Wonder Boy felt his anger rise. “Major Force,” he tried to say calmly. “Let our friends go. What you’re doing goes against everything we stand for.”

“Maybe what you stand for, but this is war kid.”

“I’m. Not. A. Kid,” Wonder Boy said evenly with unhidden anger.

“Could’ve fooled me. Only a kid would come in here with a useless team and expect to win.”

“Why don’t I come up there and show you just how grown up I am?” he said angrily.

“Don’t make me laugh Wonder Twink.”

That was when he lost it and launched himself at Major Force, landing a blow that sent the Major through the thick prison walls. He flew after him into the hole, only to be blasted by a beam of pure energy. It stung, but only briefly. He felt the familiar surge of heat through his body and knew Flamebird was helping to disburse the blasts before they did any real damage. Meanwhile. Black Canary had engaged Arsenal, Black Lightning was blasting Zatanna, and Superboy and Shazam were at a standstill. Harbinger was releasing the other and attempting to disarm their collars. Knowing that the other reinforcements were on their way to Belle Reve, Wonder Boy made quick work of Major Force by blocking a punch, twisting the arm so it made a sickening crack, and slamming his head into the thick wall and ending it by throwing him at Black Lightning to free up Zatanna.

“Zatanna get us out of here!”

“TROPELET YM SDNEIRF DNA I OT CIRFFA TSEROF!” Zatanna intoned.

There was a blast of light and a tugging sensation in his gut as he and his friends were teleported to Affric Forest.


 

When the light faded, they found themselves surrounded by thick trees and snow. The eerie light from the blood moon shone through the forest, making it seem even more strange and ominous. Wonder Boy looked around at his friends. They had succeeded in their mission in breaking out their friends from Belle Reve. He ran over to Roy and tackled him in a tight embrace.

“I’m okay,” Roy murmured to him.

“Good,” Alec murmured back. “I thought I lost you for a second there.”

“WOHS SNGIS FO RUO SNDEIRF GNIEB DECART YB EHT YMENE!” Zatanna said.

Nothing happened. No glowing light, no blaring sounds, nothing.

“Good. The fact that nothing happened is a good sign. I’ll contact Dr. Fate to get us out of here. That last teleportation spell wore me out.”

As she went off to contact Dr. Fate, Wonder Boy looked at his friends. “Is everyone okay?”

“I am unharmed,” Red Tornado stated.

“Fine,” Wildcat grumbled.

“All good,” Black Canary said relieved.

“I am well,” Zauriel said melodically.

“I’m okay,” Stargirl replied.

“Good,” Superboy answered.

Wonder Boy looked at Harbinger, who was lost in a trance. “Harbinger?” he asked nervously.

She broke her trance and had fear in her eyes. “They’re coming! Circe had a spell on Belle Reve to show any signs of teleportation and for the location to be known when teleporting out.”

“How many?”

“Whoever is closest? My vision was clouded so I can only assume they have a powerful mystic force with them.”

“Okay, then everyone be ready!”

Harbinger walked toward Wonder Boy hesitantly. “Alec, something doesn’t feel right. I can’t explain it but I just know that something terrible is going to happen.”

“Not if we can help it, and we can. Stay close to each other and we’ll make it out of here.”

“I know, but just in case I wanted you to know how much your friendship means to me.”

“Lyla. Don’t,” Alec said quiveringly.

“You’ve grown so much since you washed up on our shores,” she began anyway. “You’ve grown into a person that I know Diana is proud of. I know I am proud to call you friend and I am proud to fight beside you. You’re my best friend and I wish you all the happiness in the world.”

As she said this Wonder Boy and Zatanna felt a powerful being enter the area where they were. They all turned and saw Morgan Le Fey walking somberly toward them. Alongside her were Killer Frost, Killer Croc, Flash, Deadshot, Solomon Grundy, and Circe. They looked above them and saw they were surrounded by Firefly, Hawkman, Captain Atom Supergirl, and Steel. This was a trap.

Circe stepped forward and addressed the group. “I expected a bit more from someone who was trained by Wonder Woman. Did you really think we would just let you take your friends? Superman was hoping that they would send more prominent members after them, but I can see that he was mistaken.”

Black Canary spoke up. “Don’t underestimate us witch. You’ve made that mistake before in the past.”

“A mistake that will not happen again, hence the sizable group I have with me. Now-”

Circe was cut off by Zatanna’s incantation. “EKOMS DNA SRORRIM DNIB MEHT HTIW GNITCIRTSNOC SDNOB!”

Chains appeared around their assailants and enveloped them from head to toe. As they struggled, the chains tightened.

“Nice Zatanna!” Red Arrow shouted.

“We’ve got two minutes before that portal is ready and I don’t think that will hold them long.”

She was right. Circe and Morgan Le Fey had already destroyed the chains, as had Killer Frost, Hawkman, Supergirl, and Flash. Circe began blasting Zatanna with eldritch blasts, Killer Frost sprayed ice shards in Harbinger’s direction, Hawkman fought mace-on-flaming sword against Zauriel, Supergirl engaged Superboy and Red Tornado, while Flash took down Wildcat, Stargirl, and Red Arrow. He then turned his sights on Wonder Boy. Before he could react, he was slammed in the gut by a fist then hit three times in the face. A second later he was being grabbed and thrown into a tree, which toppled over by the force of the impact. Wonder Boy got up and readied himself, but was slammed in the face as Flash sped past him. Before he could think about regaining his footing he was slammed again and again and again before being grappled for a second time and thrown into another tree. Wonder Boy launched himself upward and reached out telepathically to predict Flash’s movements before he knew them. Seeing he was going for Black Canary next, Wonder Boy flew downward as fast as he could, landed 10 feet from Flash, who was speeding toward them, and slammed his fist into the ground. This caused the ground to rumble and fracture in-front of Flash, who fell into the trap and tripped over himself and into the oncoming fist of Wonder Boy. The force of the blow caused Flash to be sent back into a tree, which snapped in half. He spun around to see Morgan Le Fay and Circe double teaming Zatanna, who was steadily losing her ground. He leaped between the two and began deflecting their blasts with his bracelets. Most disbursed on impact but a few bounced back in their direction. Diana had trained him that the best way to beat a magic user that was stronger than you was to use their own power against them. The bracelets were forged from shards of Zeus’s shield, as Diana’s, Donna’s and Cassie’s were, and could not be destroyed. So if he were to redirect a blast back at them that was strong enough, it could potentially disrupt any protection charms and or knock them down momentarily so he could deliver the knockout blow. He could feel the energies getting stronger and stronger, but they weren’t strong enough. So to fool them, he was purposely deflecting them into the ground near him to throw them off. Circe’s bolts were much more powerful than Morgan’s were, and finally the bolt came that would turn the tide. The bolt had the look of lightning, but lacked its electric component. So Wonder Boy redirected it at Morgan Le Fay. Upon impact, the bolt appeared to have a stunning effect but then grew in front of Le Fay until it exploded in a violent display of power, knocking her 20 feet back and creating a snow crater. Circe snarled and directed blasts into the snow, which morphed into animals composed of pure ice. There was a gorilla, elephant, lion, rhino, anaconda, and boar, all of which had a murderous gleam in their eyes. Although they were composed completely of ice, they had a red hue swirling inside them from Circe’s magicks. Wonder Boy extended his arms as two beams of light shone around his hands and his sword and shield appeared. The ice creatures charged with unrelenting fury at the sight of the owl on his shield, eager to kill the champion of Athena. He too charged at them, eager to end them and move on to Circe. He took on the anaconda first, slicing its head off. As he prepared to move on to the gorilla, the anaconda exploded, releasing the magic contained within and knocking him into the snow near Zatanna.

“Of course they’d be rigged to blow,” Wonder Boy muttered.

Zatanna helped him up and stood near him. She held her hands in front of her end moved her arms in a counter-clockwise motion while intoning “TLOBERIF”, in which two fire bolts were released from her hands as they returned to the starting position. The bolts took out the boar and lion from a far off distance, each also releasing the magic inside in twin violent explosions. Wonder Boy flung his shield like a Frisbee at the gorilla and it stuck in its chest. He rushed forward and jumped at it, grabbed his shield while planting his feet on the gorilla’s chest, and slashed his sword at its throat as he kicked off its chest. He flew away a good distance as it too exploded in a red blast. The rhino had turned its sights to Black Canary and was prepping to charge while the elephant was motionless near Circe. The rhino began its charge as Canary was dealing the final blow to Hawkman as Zauriel distracted him. She rolled between the two as they sprung apart, and went into a crouched backflip, making her kick do under his chin and knocking him out. She turned around and unleashed her canary cry, which shattered the charging rhino and released the magic at a safe distance. As this happened, a golden ankh appeared in the clearing: their way out. Seeing this, Red Tornado created a funnel around Stargirl, Wildcat, and Red Arrow and sent them through. Black Canary saw Circe attempting to cast a spell toward them and shattered the ice elephant using her canary cry, causing it to explode near Circe and distract her long enough for she, Zauriel, and Red Tornado to go through. Zatanna, Harbinger, Superboy, and Wonder Boy were the only ones left to go. Superboy had his hands full with Supergirl as Harbinger had her hands full with Killer Frost. Zatanna turned her attention to Supergirl.

“POTS EMIT,” she yelled as her wand was directed at Supergirl. Her movements slowed, which allowed Superboy to hit her with a massive punch that sent her barreling through trees. The pair then went through the portal, leaving Wonder Boy and Harbinger. He was on his way to help her but was subdued by a bolt of lightning from Circe. He yelled in anguish as mystical electricity arched through his body disabling him as he watched what unfolded. Harbinger was evading Killer Frost’s various ice attacks, which only frustrated her more. Circe joined in, which made Harbinger visibly more nervous. When she could she directed her own energy blasts at her assailants. One connected with Circe’s and cased the two blasts to explode in a blinding light, which Flamebird used to dissipate the electricity which immobilized Wonder Boy. When it cleared Harbinger was very disoriented, and unaware of Killer Frost near her. She blasted her feet so she was unable to move, and the ice creeped up her legs solidifying the entrapment. She walked right up to Harbinger and put her hand on her chest, right over her heart. Frost started to spread as Frost began to freeze her solid. Wonder Boy tried to get up but was halted by a voice in his head.

Alec, Harbinger said. You need to go. Got out of here.

NO! I won’t leave you behind!

It’s too late for me. Save yourself. You need to live your life.

LYLA!

When all this is over, tell Kara I love her and will see her again someday. I love you Alec.

Wonder Boy was devastated. Lyla there’s still time let me-

Goodbye Alec, tell Diana-, her voice was cut as the process was completed.

The mental exchange took no more than a few seconds, but it was done. Lyla was frozen solid. A golden light pulsed within Lyla, the last remnant of her spirit. Circe walked over next to Killer Frost and tapped Lyla on the forehead. Fractures appeared all over her frozen form as memories of he and Lyla overtook Wonder Boy’s mind. Meeting her for the first time, training with her, crying with her when he felt inadequate to be an amazon, coming out to her and feeling overjoyed by her acceptance, midnight swims in the Mediterranean, flying with her around Themyscira, the many dinners and laughing uncontrollably at inappropriate jokes, confiding in her when he felt there was too much going on, her joy when he told her he and Roy were together, her sadness when he told her about the League splitting in two, and most of all this current moment. He continued to hear and see the fractures form all over until they stopped and she shattered completely. As his best friend was obliterated completely, the pulsing light was released and ascended into the atmosphere. He started incomprehensibly at the shattered remains of his best friend, unable to speak or think coherently. All that changed when he saw Circe and Killer Frost walking toward him. His mind became clear, filled with absolute rage and unrelenting fury. His temperature began to rise as a fiery aura enveloped his form. Wonder Boy bellowed in anguish as he rose to end Circe and Killer Frost. Before he had his chance, a swirling red vortex sucked him into the ankh as it dissipated into nothing.


 

Wonder Boy exited the portal and fell onto the floor of the moon base. He tried to get up, but the emotional strain was too much. He felt hands on him, trying to see if he was okay. He vaguely heard voices through the ringing in his ears. After a few seconds of this he spoke.

“Lyla’s dead.”

The voices ceased. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the news or they didn’t hear him.

“Lyla’s dead,” he repeated as his voice started to break.

The voices were silent as he delivered this tragic news.

“Frost and Circe-” was all he was able to get out. He felt like he was going to have an emotional breakdown, so he tried to control himself. He remembered what Supergirl said about Flamebird being unable to handle intense emotions which lead to her taking control and turning dark. He almost lost control by letting his emotions overpower him, as evidenced by the fiery aura. Control was all he had since Lyla died, and he wasn’t ready to let that go. Wonder Woman helped him to his feet. He looked up and saw that Batman was standing before him, his face portraying no emotion.

“We’ll discuss this later,” he said gravely. He turned and walked away, leaving Wonder Boy questioning if this mission was worth it. They had succeeded, but at a terrible price.


 

Batman stormed to the conference room followed swiftly by Dr. Fate and Wonder Woman.

“Are you sure about this?” Diana asked Batman as Dr. Fate began the spell to make contact with Superman.

“Yes. He needs to know he crossed a line and that we won’t stand for it.”

The connection was established, showing Superman in the League’s conference room in the Watchtower.

“Bruce. Diana. I didn’t expect to hear from you,” Superman said surprised.

“Harbinger is dead,” Batman said. “Circe and Killer Frost killed her.”

Superman was quiet for a minute. “I’m sorry for your loss. You have to know that those were not my orders, I told them to bring in everyone without killing.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Diana interjected. “She’s dead and you’ve crossed a line. We would never kill any of you.”

“I didn’t order to have anyone killed.”

“Circe and Killer Frost killed Lyla, they were with the team you sent.”

“I don’t control the villains. That’s Luthor and Waller.”

Batman was done with this conversation. “We were going to try and approach the division of the League with more peaceful intentions, but you’ve shown that your side is willing to kill to succeed. We won’t cross that line, but know this. We will do whatever necessary to bring you and the pro-registration movement down.”

With that Batman cut the exchange by moving his arm through the spell.

 

Chapter Text

The funeral was a blur. As tradition went, a funeral pyre was made for Lyla on Themyscira. The Amazon’s best builders built a statue to commemorate Harbinger’s legacy, which stood on Apollo’s temple overlooking the ocean. Once it was all over, Alec stayed behind gazing at her statue. He was amazed at how well they captured every detail of Lyla, right down to the faint scar on her hand from training with Alec when he asked her for help with sword fighting. He remembered how she encouraged him, reassuring him that he was doing just fine and how he was better than he thought. She was more than the Harbinger, she was Lyla. Caring, supportive, unselfish, dependable Lyla. She was a ferocious warrior. A loving sister. A friend. Alec still had difficulty accepting what had happened.

As he thought back to that night, he remembered something. Lyla had a look of fear in her eyes when she warned him about the group coming for them in the forest. And when they arrived and were about to kill Lyla, she wasn’t afraid. She was calm, as if she knew.  Lyla knew, Alec realized. She knew the only way for their mission to succeed was for someone to stay behind and hold them off. She sacrificed herself for us. Alec couldn’t take knowing that, and started to break down. His emotions boiled over as he realized the sacrifice she made knowing the outcome. His sobs echoed in the temple, so much so that he failed to notice the sound of someone walking toward him until they were directly behind him. Sensing their presence he spun around and put up his fists, eager for a fight. The person standing before him just crossed their arms, looking bemused. He had golden blonde hair, a tan complexion and electric blue eyes. Alec could see the tight muscles that were clearly visible through the thin V-neck and skinny jeans. The only thing that was a bit off were the Toms on his feet, which looked good on him and Alec didn’t mind, but they didn’t seem to fit with the stranger’s physique. He had a playful grin on his face and his eyes sparkled as if he were amused by Alec’s reaction.

“Now, now Alexander,” the stranger seductively. “Is that any way to treat an immortal? Especially one who is a friend to you and the amazons.”

Alec stared back with uncertainty. He was still distracted by the stranger’s obvious good looks. “How do I know that you are a friendly immortal and not an enemy like Ares and Circe?”

The stranger laughed. “Please. You can trust me.”

His form then flickered. He had a pure light glow around his form, wore a white toga, had a bow and quiver strapped to his back, a harp in his hand, plain brown sandals , and a golden laurel in his hair. His form flickered back to the modern look, and Alec realized who he was.

“Lord Apollo. God of the sun.”

He looked a bit put off. “And music, and archery, and medicine, and prophesy, and…”

“Right, got it,” Alec cut off, starting to feel self-conscious. While he was happily with Roy, he couldn’t deny that Apollo was hot.

He looked around the temple commemorated to him, then at the statue of Harbinger. “Gotta hand it to the Amazons, they’ve got this architecture thing down.” He paused for a moment. “I’m sorry for your loss. Harbinger was strong and brave. I know what she meant to you and her sisters.”

There was a moment of silence between them before Apollo spoke again. “I’ve spoken to her since her death.” Alec looked up at him with shock. “Her spirit was connected with the Universe orb that gave her the ability to see the future. As a god of prophesy I am connected in a way to those who share these abilities. She told me to tell you that she loves you and that you will see her again.”

Alec was in shock. “What- What do you mean by I’ll see her again?”

“I do not know. That orb has caused more trouble than good in years past, but I cannot be certain. But that was not all she said. She spoke of a growing darkness on the horizon, a darkness that emanates from the Flamebird inside of you. She foresees the Flamebird taking control of your body. Tragedy will ensue and it cannot be avoided. Past occurrences have set in motion a sequence of events that cannot be unchanged.”

Alec was shaking. The past few times he called on the Flamebird he felt her power course through him, his control slipping each time. While he remained in control the power he felt was incredible. The power he would feel when the Flamebird took over, however, would be immeasurable.

“She did mention a way out of total control falling into Flamebird’s hands. It would involve putting the spirit into another host, one that would be able to control the Flamebird.” There was a brief silence. “You know of whom I speak.”

“No I don’t. No one is that strong to prevent being taken over. Tell me who so I can prevent this NOW!”

Apollo stared at him. “I cannot tell you this information, only the warning of things to come. If you alter the future now, the outcome could prove even more disastrous.”

“But-”

“Trust me Alexander.” He put a hand on his shoulder in comfort. Alex felt himself blush. “You will know your course of action when the time comes. For now, there is someone else who would like to speak with you.”

With that he vanished in a flash of light as Diana approached.

“What was that?” she asked.

“Sorry I got distracted and let my power roam for a second,” he lied. He couldn’t tell her about Apollo and Harbinger’s visions, not yet anyway.

She studied him. “I just wanted to let you know that we have some visitors. Superboy, Robin, Red Arrow, Batgirl, and Raven are here. I’ve sent them to your chambers as their chambers are prepared for them.”

Alec was perplexed. “Why are they here?”

“They’re worried about you. They want to see that you’re doing okay. Plus, Roy is your boyfriend and wants to see you.”

He considered this. “Alright I’ll head there now.” He lightly jumped up as he flew into the air and to the balcony connected to his chambers in the acropolis. He touched down on the polished marble, where his friends were waiting for him. Each were wearing their civilian attire, attempting to look as relaxed as possible.

Roy was the first to approach. “I’ve been worried about you,” he said as he wrapped his arms around his boyfriend’s waist. “Are you okay?” he asked quietly.

Alec wrapped his arms around his neck as he said, “I’m doing okay.”

Greetings were exchanged all around. After a short moment of silence, they moved into his chambers. They all situated themselves on or near his bed, with Roy right at his side. Alec debated it and decided to ask.

“Why are you all here?”

There was an awkward silence. Alec wasn’t sure why, then realized how it sounded. “I didn’t mean-”

Barbra interrupted him. “We know. Like Roy said, we were worried about you. We knew you and Lyla were close and wanted to check up on you.”

“I’m doing okay, I mean-”

“Then why haven’t you come back?” Superboy interrupted.

“Because I’ve needed time. I lost a close friend because of my mistakes. That’s not something I can easily recover from,” Alec said angrily.

Superboy realized he was a bit harsh. “I’m sorry I didn’t mean that-”

“It’s fine,” Roy interrupted.

“It’s probably for the best you haven’t yet returned,” Tim said. “Batman hasn’t had any missions for us yet. And the registered heroes and villains haven’t made any moves either.”

“It’s the calm before the storm,” Raven said. “Something will happen and soon.”

“How do you know?” Barbra asked.

“I can’t be sure, it’s just something I feel.”

There was another moment of silence, broken by Connor. “What does the vase mean?”

Alec looked at him with a perplexed expression. “What?”

“The vase over there,” he pointed to one of Alec’s favorite vases on the over side of the bed in the corner of the room on a bookshelf. “The one with the three guys stabbing another guy.”

“Oh. That’s portraying the moment Odysseus and his men blinding the Cyclopes Polyphemus so they could escape and continue their voyage home.”

“Why do you have that?”

“Because it means a lot more to me than stabbing a giant’s eye. Odysseus and his men went through hell on their voyage home from Troy. They successfully sacked the seemingly impenetrable city after 10 long years of war and were eager to go home, a voyage that should not have taken long but ended up taking another 10 years. Along the way, Odysseus and his crew encountered more problems than anyone else who journeyed home. He faced many monsters, seductress’, and drew on the wrath of the gods. It’s significant to me because even though he went through hell, he managed to achieve his dream of returning home. To me it means that even though life may be hell, it will all be worth it sometime in life.”

“And that one of the guy with a harp and a woman walking out of a cave?”

“The story of Orpheus and Eurydice. They were married and she was killed. Overcome with grief, Orpheus traveled to the land of the dead by playing music at a rock formation, and he charmed a gateway to the underworld. He made it all the way to the throne room of Hades and convinced him to release his wife’s soul simply by playing for the god of the underworld. However, Orpheus would have to trust that his wife was following him out of the underworld. If he looked back, then her spirit would return to the underworld. They were close to the end of their journey, when Orpheus doubted that his wife was following him. He turned to see the spirit of his wife, only to see her dissipate before his eyes as she returned to the underworld. He didn’t trust the gods, and because of that he lost his wife.”

“So why do you have it?”

“I like it because he was able to convince Hades to give him his wife, and Hades is said to be a ruthless and soulless god. If Orpheus was able to convince him to do some good, it shows me that no matter how evil someone is or is viewed I can do my best to convince them to do right in the midst of their dark decisions.”

“That’s an optimistic view,” Connor said sarcastically. “When you convince The Joker to not murder someone or endanger Gotham, then I’ll believe that diplomacy shit actually works.”

“Kon,” Tim said shocked.

“Well it’s true! I don’t believe words solve any problems. Look at the state of the Justice League: its members have divided and constantly fight each other. They tried to solve it without confrontation and it didn’t work.”

“If you had let me finish,” Alec said, “you would have heard what else it means to me. It shows that not all problems can be solved with words and that action has to be taken, whether that be moving on from the death of a loved one or engaging in aggressive negotiations.” Alec stopped and looked out his window. “It’s about three hours until the banquet. Why don’t I have you all shown to your quarters? That is if you want to stay.”

“Of course we do,” Raven said. “We’re here for you.”

 Alec got up and hugged her. “Okay, I’ll see you all later.”

With that the visitors were shown to their chambers by the Queen’s guard. Roy stayed behind as he was going to stay with Alec. He looked at Alec with a bemused expression.

“What?” Alec asked somewhat aggressively.

“Nothing. I just wanted to let you know as soon as there’s a knock on your door, I’ll be headed out.”

“What?” Alec was so confused. “I was kind of hoping we could-”

“There’ll be plenty of time for that later,” Roy said. “But there’s another reason Connor came with us. He told me you had a conversation with him a while ago about sexual orientation and he wanted to finish it sometime soon.”

“Oh.”

“Apparently you’re the only one he can talk to about it and would prefer it if I wasn’t here.”

“Since when did I become the consultant for confused heterosexuals?”

Roy chuckled. “You don’t know that he is heterosexual.”

Alec was thrown aback. “Wait. Is there gossip I don’t know about?!?! You know I thrive on it, SPILL now.”

“I didn’t want to say this because it would make Connor very uncomfortable, but I kind of saw him and Tim out in Star City. They were being very friendly with each other, and when Tim tried to hold Connor’s hand, Connor didn’t accept. Tim tried for a kiss on the cheek later and Connor shut him down by walking away. Things between them have been strained since then and Connor was hoping you’d serve as a buffer.”

“Oh. Yeah I can see how that’d be a problem. But is he waiting a bit? Cause I could sure use a distraction right about now.”

Roy’s eyebrows raised. “Oh really?”

“Yeah,” Alec said casually. “I haven’t kissed you in a while. Kinda going through withdraws here.”

“Oh well when you put it like that,” Roy said seductively.

He sat down next to Alec and kissed him lightly. It reminded him of their first kiss on that rooftop in London with the sun rising. Now, ironically, they were in an island paradise lightly kissing while the sun set on the horizon. Alec felt a bit better, but he needed more. He wasn’t looking for gentleness. He hadn’t kissed Roy in almost three weeks and he needed his boyfriend. Now. Alec deepened the kiss, forcing a response from Roy. Their breathing became heavy and, during a slight pause for breath, Roy slipped his tongue in Alec’s mouth. Alec, without breaking away from the kiss, got onto his boyfriend’s lap. Alec placed his hands on his boyfriend’s neck as he continued to kiss him. He wanted to feel close to him, feel Roy’s body crash against his in passion. He felt Roy’s hands go under his shirt, his archer’s fingers lightly grazing his back. Alec sighed in pleasure, which Roy took advantage of and moved onto Alec’s neck. Alec’s sighs of pleasure quickly deepened into moans. He grinded against Roy’s hips, which in turn made Roy moan against his neck, starting a seemingly endless cycle of pleasure. To say this was enjoyable would be a grave understatement, as Alec felt he was in heaven. He removed his hands from Roy’s neck and head and removed his shirt, exposing Roy’s perfect form to the sunset. Alec paused from their moment and looked at his boyfriend. Roy stared back, looking a bit confused.

“Something up?”

“You’re so beautiful,” Alec said with adoration.

Roy looked at Alec with surprise, and then with something he hadn’t seen before. Roy moved so fast it was difficult to process. In one motion he managed to remove Alec’s shirt, something Alec had difficulty letting anyone do. Alec felt his face heat up.

“Roy, you know I don’t-”

“I know, you think you don’t look good. But you know something? I think you’re perfect. Just the way you are.” Alec looked at him with his mouth slightly open in shock. What was Roy saying right now? “There is nothing about you that you that isn’t perfect to me, and being with you these past few months has been the best time of my life.”

“Roy what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I love you Alec.”

Alec was shocked, then felt a massive smile on his face and warmth in his body. He was unsure of how deeply he cared for Roy, but that uncertainty was gone. He knew how he felt and what to say next.

“I love you too.”

Roy’s grin stretched into a wide smile as they shared a laugh in happiness. Alec lowered his head and kissed Roy, and was about to continue where they left off but were interrupted by a sharp knock on the door.

Alec glared at the door in pure irritation. “Who is it?”

“It’s Connor,” the voice replied. “Can I come in?”

Roy and Alec quickly disentangled themselves and put on their shirts. “Come in,” Roy said.

Connor opened the door and walked in a few steps. “I was wondering if I could talk with you?” he asked Alec.

“I’ll give you both some privacy,” Roy said. He started to walk away but Alec grabbed his hand and pulled him in front of him.

“I hope you know that we’re going to finish what we started?”

“Of course,” Roy said chuckling.

“I love you Roy.”

“I love you too Alec.”

They shared a kiss, then Roy walked out of the room while Alec followed him out with his eyes. He then turned his gaze to Connor and narrowed his eyes. “You have super hearing so I assume you know that you just interrupted an extremely personal moment between Roy and I?”

Connor looked down at the floor as his face turned red. “Sorry.”

Alec sighed. “It’s fine. What did you want to talk about?”

Connor hesitated. “Well actually mostly about what I just heard.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, the whole being in love with another guy?”

“Oh. Well what parts do you have questions about?”

“How are you so comfortable showing affection like that?”

“Like in public? Because I know how I feel about him. He makes me happy and makes me feel whole, and I have no issues with what other people think because their opinions don’t matter and they aren’t a part of our relationship.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Alec was confused. “Well then what did you-,” then it dawned on him. “Oh. That.” He felt his face turn red. “How much did you hear?”

“I never really left outside earshot of your room.”

Alec was furious. He contemplated beating the shit out of him, but relented. “Kon, it’s not good to spy on other people. It’s an invasion of privacy.”

“I know, I just don’t know what to do anymore and I thought that if I heard what was going on I’d get an idea.”

Alec’s anger subsided for the time being. “Well do you feel comfortable explaining your situation?”

“I’ll do my best to explain it, because I’m not sure how to describe it.” He took a deep breath. “So there’s someone who I’ve been really close with for a while, and after breaking up with Miss Martian for the second time, he was there for me. I thought he was being a good friend, but I guess things developed between us, or he thought they did. I really enjoy being around him, but I don’t feel comfortable with kissing or holding hands especially in public.”

“Have you talked to him about this?”

Connor hesitated. “No, he doesn’t know because we’ve never kissed. He told me how he felt and I haven’t told him how I feel yet.”

Alec let that sink in for a moment. “So how do you feel about him?”

Connor took a deep breath. “He makes me feel complete. Whole. Like a part of me I thought was missing. He makes me feel safe and I know being with him would make me happy.” He took a slight pause as his face relaxed into a small smile. “I love the way he makes me laugh and even just looking at him makes my day better. And when he smiles I feel warm and complete inside.”

Alec stared at him in amazement. Superboy hadn’t been the best at expressing his feelings, but Tim seemed to bring out the best in him, like Roy brought out the best in Alec.

“Connor, why haven’t you told him?”

“Because I’m afraid that I’m going to hurt him. I’m not the best at expressing my feelings and I’m worried that one day I won’t be enough for him because I’m still trying to understand all this emotional crap.”

“Kon, what you just said about Tim, that’s the most I’ve ever heard you talk about your feelings. Emotions aren’t bad, they’re good. They show we have humanity in us and it is through emotions that we truly experience each other. I’m not going to tell you what to do, but I can offer this advice. Before I met Roy I felt the same as you did, as if there was a part of me that was missing. Then I met Roy and that all changed for the better. Now I don’t feel like there’s a piece missing. My advice is that some things are better said to others rather than kept to yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck wondering about what might have been.”

Connor took a second to let it process. “I understand what you’re saying, but how do I say it?”

“Exactly as you just told me. Let your emotions and words flow like water and you’ll be just fine.”

Connor chuckled. “Thanks for your help,” he said as he was getting up.

Alec rose off his bed. “Of course.” He gave Connor a small hug. “If you ever need anything I’m here.”

With that Connor walked out. Hopefully he’s going to talk to Tim, Alec thought to himself. With that he turned to sit on his bed when he heard something behind him. He froze and spun around with his hands up, ready to throw a punch or block incoming projectiles. Over on the edge of the balcony was Roy, who was leaning on the railing looking amused.

“What are you-“

“Please,” Roy started. “You think I don’t know how to scale a wall to get over a balcony?”

“Well I know you know how to do that, I was wondering what you were doing here. How did you know Connor and I were done talking?”

“I’ve been crouched on the ledge by the balcony waiting for you both to be done talking.”

“Wait really?”

“Yes. I wanted to finish where we left off,” he said seductively.

Alec felt his face heat up. “Well then, let’s get started.”

He kissed Roy passionately as the sun finally set beneath the waves, bringing the night sky into view as the stars and moon lit up the night sky.


 

Connor walked down the marble gilded corridor, contemplating what he and Alec discussed. He wanted to tell Tim how he felt, but talking to him was never easy. He made him feel so nervous, so insecure. Yet despite these feelings Tim also made him feel calm and happy. He thought about how happy and in love Alec and Roy were; how they glowed in each other’s presence, how they made each other happy, how each knew exactly how to make the other okay, and how they were able to communicate effortlessly. In that moment Connor envisioned a possible future: he and Tim were relaxing in each other’s arms under an old oak tree, sharing stories about each other’s days. They looked happy together, at peace. Connor snapped back to reality and knew what he had to do. He marched down the corridor and knocked on the last door in the corridor. He heard light footsteps come toward the door. The door opened and there stood Tim with a perplexed expression on his face, which quickly turned into an expression or irritation.

“Can I help you with something?”

Connor understood his ire, but it didn’t hurt any less. “I need to talk to you. Can I please come in?”

Tim’s expression softened a bit, sighed, and stepped aside so he could walk in. Connor walked in and stood near the elaborate bed. Tim stood near him with his arms crossed.

“What did you want to talk about?”

“Us.”

Tim’s eyebrow’s raised. “What about us?”

“Tim, I’m so sorry about when we went out in Star city. I had no idea that was you asking me out and I had no idea how I should behave. I was so confused about how I felt about you and I didn’t want to act in any way that would hurt you. But I’ve taken a lot of time to think about it, and I know how I feel.”

Tim’s eyes widened and his expression was no longer sour.

“I feel happy around you. As much as you make me nervous you make me feel whole. You make me laugh and not being around you hurts. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love you Tim.”

Tim stood there silently, his expression unreadable. Connor’s whole body started shaking, nervous about the situation. All of the sudden Tim threw himself at Connor, wrapping his arms around his neck and holding him close. Connor stood there in shock, then wrapped his arms around Tim’s lower back. He smelled like a spring meadow and his body was warm against his chest.

“I love you too, Connor.”

Connor instantly felt relief and happiness. He held Tim closer to his chest. After a few seconds he loosened his grip so he could look at Tim. He looked him in the eyes and kissed him deeply, only beginning to satiate the need for being with Tim. Tim pushed against his lips and held him tighter (well as tight as he could hold a Kryptonian). They shared kisses back and forth for a good minute, then Tim slipped his tongue in Connor’s mouth. Connor was still for a moment with surprise, then gave into the emotions, mimicking what Tim was doing. A few moments passed, and Connor had never felt this happy in a long time. They broke apart for a moment to catch their breath.

“I love you,” they breathed at each other.   


 

Half a world away, a special team was dispatched by Luthor to Kasnia. Despite thwarting Ares in his attempts to draw out conflict, the situation in Kasnia had escalated quickly in recent days and had resulted in all out civil war. The team was small and consisted of: Superman, Shazam, and Flash. On the way there Superman considered why only a small team was dispatched and found Luthor’s reasoning to be valid. Flash was there because, well, he was fast. And if things got out of hand he could easily put a stop to any threat quickly. In addition to this he was very open-minded as well as empathetic. Shazam possessed the Wisdom of Solomon, and that was not easily refuted. And himself? He supposed it was because he was the leader of the Justice League. He didn’t want to think too highly of himself, but he knew that when he made an appearance, people stopped and listened to what he had to say. He had serious doubts that the three of them would be enough though. Kasnia’s issues started long before the League and well before any other nation decided to take notice, and some issues just couldn’t be solved with words. With this team though, there was hope for peace. He wished Wonder Woman was with them. Her words inspired peace and harmony in even the most hardened of men, but she wasn’t there. This act splintered the League in two and the situation in Kasnia resembled the League’s dilemma, making Superman wonder if some actions were simply unforgivable. He then wondered what Batman would do about Kasnia. Knowing Batman he would come up with a foolproof plan that would actually work and then subtly boast about it later. Batman and Wonder Woman were his best friends, the trinity of the League. They stood at each other’s side through it all, despite their differences of opinion. But one request from the government and they just turned their backs on him, on the League they built together. One way or another both conflicts would end, and he was sure neither end would be a desired outcome. He saw the rendezvous point, one of Kasnia’s largest cities with the rebels standing their ground in the city and the Kasnian government on the offensive. The fighting hadn’t started yet, and both sides were preparing for the other to strike despite the encampment in the neutral area between the two fronts where the meeting was being held. Both sides would discuss terms for surrender to avoid bloodshed, but the team would bring a third option for ceasefire and the possibility of negotiating peace. 

“Are you guys here yet?” Flash asked exasperatedly over the comm channel.

“I’m in sight of the rendezvous point,” Superman said. “Shazam what’s your ETA?”

“I’m just touching down,” he replied. Superman saw Shazam land right next to Flash. He too then landed right next to the pair as both generals walked toward the two. Holograms of Queen Audrey and the leader of the rebellion appeared next to the generals. Both nodded in acknowledgement at each other.

Superman began the negotiations. “Welcome everyone. It’s nice to see that we can all meet in negotiations for peace.”

“It is something I greatly desire,” the Queen said. “My country has been divided for far too long.”

“I concur,” the resistance leader said. “It is time for peace to prevail.”

Meanwhile both generals were staring each other down, waiting to send the order to attack.

“Why don’t we discuss some terms for ending the fighting here before we continue onto general peace?” Flash offered.

“I think that’s-,” Queen Audrey was cut off.

“I think the Queen should remove her forces from this city. Her presence here aggravates my men and after everything that has happened I think our demands should be met first,” the opposing general stated coldly.

The Queen’s eyes flashed. “What makes you think that?”

“We were your people. It was your family that drove us away. When your father died you inherited his problems and his mistakes. It’s your duty to make things right.”

“You could have gone about your displeasure in a different manner. Instead of terrorism, you could have simply discussed your grievances with me in peace but you chose violence. Here is what will happen. You and your men will turn down your weapons. You will hand yourself over to my men and you will be brought before me so we can negotiate.”

“I think not. Your men will leave now and you will make no moves against us. We will create our own community here, free of your rule and independent of Kasnia.”

“This city is the second largest in the country. How can I allow you to cause such a rift in our nation?”

“These are our demands. For peace, allow us to live independently of your rule.”

“You are Kasnians, and that makes you all my subjects. If we are not united against our foes we will fall. Let diplomacy have its say in these matters. Do not head down a course of action you will regret.”

“We have tried diplomacy with your family. It did not end well for our people. Allow the Northern Tribes to live in peace separate from Southern rule. That is the only way I will allow this war to end and I promise that afterwards we will make no moves against you.”

The Queen was replying to the Northern Tribesman, but Superman’s attention was otherwise diverted by the sound of what he thought was gunfire, but through further focus of his super hearing he discovered that it was a helicopter headed toward them. He used his super vision to try and identify the craft, but it bore no marks. Just a simple white helicopter.

“What is the meaning of this?” The Queen asked.

“This is not our doing!” the tribesman responded. “This must be some trick of yours. My men are well equipped to deal with your aircraft and have orders to shoot any Southern craft out of the sky.”

“WAIT,” Superman yelled. Using his x-ray vision he looked inside the craft. As he did this a rocket launcher fired at the craft. He looked in and saw that the individuals inside were reporters, specifically from the Daily Planet. And speaking to its viewers was Lois Lane. Superman wasted no time in rocketing toward the helicopter. Once he was in range, he blasted the rocket with his heat vision, obliterating the missile and saving the craft. He went right up to the helicopter’s window, right next to Lois. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE? IT”S NOT SAFE!”

Lois mouthed back, which Superman heard using his super hearing. “I’m doing my job! I’m no stranger to being shot at Smallville!”

Just then a barrage of missiles and gun fire rained down on the helicopter. Superman intercepted three missiles in one flash and was doing his best to get the bullets to hit him. He barely noticed a streak of red barreling toward the Northern city. He heard cackles of lightning and knew Shazam was helping with the stray missiles. He also barely noticed a streak of red throughout the city as less missiles entered the airspace. Another missile barreled toward Superman, which he easily dispatched with his heat vision, but something was wrong. From the wreckage of the missile at least 20 miniature ones took flight toward the helicopter. The mini missiles connected to the side of the Helicopter, right on the side of the engine. The helicopter exploded in a violent display of reds, oranges, and yellows followed by black smoke as it crashed into the earth below. This caused the Northern lines to charge, which the South responded with a surge of troops to meet them. The rain of bullets and missiles had stopped in the skies, and Superman was paralyzed. His worst fear had come true. I-I failed, he thought. I couldn’t protect her. She’s dead because of ME. His mind was flooded of the memory of Lois, the love of his life. Grief swallowed him whole, agony ripped through him, and a new feeling rose from the devastation: pure rage. Superman’s expression hardened into a murderous gaze as he looked down on the mortals fighting and killing each other. No more. He flew up to the heavens, ignoring the shouts from Shazam. He flew high into the sky and into the ozone. Before going too far into space he pivoted and rocketed toward earth. His descent around him bore the presence of a meteor strike as he plummeted into the ground where the two sides were engaged in all-out war. The sheer impact of Superman smashing into the ground created a crater and mile wide area of devastation. Vehicles imploded, soldiers were catapulted of their feet and into the sky, and the ground fractured into an unidentifiable crater. As the smoke cleared Superman could see the destruction he wreaked, and could see the aftereffects as bodies slammed into the ground. He had caused the death of so many people, but the only death that mattered to him, that killed him inside was Lois’. He now knew that the only true way for conflict to end was displays of force, and in order to protect those he cared about he had to cross the line in order to ensure no one he cared about died as Lois did: because of him.


 

Ares stood on a cliff basking in the carnage he influenced. He dissipated in a flash of fire and reappeared in LexCorp tower. Lex Luthor stood near the window, looking out on Metropolis next to the goddess Circe and the Head of the Demon Ra’s al Ghul. The nefarious trinity turned toward the god of war.

“Is it done?” Circe asked.

“Yes,” Ares said. “The man of steel has given in to his darkest self and brought an end to the Kasnian civil war.”

“How many perished?” Ra’s al Ghul inquired.

“Hundreds. Including the reporter from the Daily Planet.”

“Her death was a necessary loss,” Luthor said. “Without her death, Superman would not have gone rouge. Now that he has, it will be easier to convince him to work more with me and bring about the end of the Justice League. Once they are destroyed, we can then destroy him and the world will be ours for the taking.”

“Then we are ready to make our next move?” Ares asked.

“Not yet,” Luthor said. “In order to move forward I’ll need to ascend to a position an alternate me had.”

“President Luthor does have a nice ring to it,” Circe snarked.

 “In that world, Superman killed him when he ascended to the presidency. This time, he’ll help me take it.”

Chapter Text

                                                     

Alec stared at his cards intently, trying to determine whether others were lying about the cards they were placing based on what was in his hand. Thanks to Raven, they were able to conjure up a deck of cards and play Bullshit. He thought the game was going well, even if Diana had never played before. She sat back and watched Alec and his friends play, and after the round was won by Roy they invited her to join them. He realized Diana was not very good at this game, people with extremely strong moral compasses usually were, and he was down to his final card. There was no way he was going to get away with placing it because all other Queens had been played and the next card up was supposed to be a two.

Tim looked at his cards thoughtfully. “An ace,” he declared as he put the card down quickly. The group was staring at him, trying to see any change in his expression to determine if he was lying. “I mean you have a 50/50 chance of calling me out and being right or wrong.”

“Bullshit,” Connor said. Alec looked at him with a bewildered expression. You shouldn’t call that when the pile is that high unless you know for certain it’s not an Ace. He stared Tim down as he flipped it over. “DAMNIT!” he yelled as he discovered he was wrong. Tim and the others laughed loudly at the sudden turn of events. “I thought I had you that time,” Connor said disappointedly.

Tim chuckled and took his hand. “You do have me, I’m just exceptional at this game.”

“How? How are you this good?”

He looked at his dumbfounded. “I train and live with Batman,” he stated as if this were not new information, which it wasn’t. “Our training isn’t just limited to technology, gadgets, and martial arts.”

Connor still loked disappointed. “This is bullshit.”

“Yes that’s what the game is called,” Tim said affectionately. The group laughed again at Tim and Connor’s light banter.

“Alright I think it’s Alec’s turn,” Diana said.

“Oh it is?” Alec asked. “What was last played again?”

Raven chuckled. “I think it was-” was all she got out before her eyes went wide with pain. She clutched her head and screamed in pain. They moved toward her to see what was wrong, but as she raised her head out if her hands they saw her two dark blue eyes had been replaced with four glowing red ones, the eyes totally red and filled with hatred.

“Mortals,” she scoffed as she made a move in the air as if to lightly push open a door. They were all thrown backwards: Barbra and Diana went flying out the door and smashed into the hallway wall, Roy and Alec were slammed into the wall adjacent to the balcony, and Tim and Connor were hurtled over the balcony into the air, falling toward the city below. Alec shook off the effects of Raven’s telekinetic assault and flew after Connor and Tim. He was making his descent when he saw the pair hanging from one of Tim’s grappling hooks, Connor holding them both. Alec grabbed the line and yanked upward, sending the pair up as they touched down safely on the balcony. The trio ran inside to see a swirling vortex envelop Raven. Swirls of dark mysticism and blood red arcanic symbols danced around her, mixed in with the familiar blackish-blue energies of her magic. Before they could make a move, a light shown on the balcony taking the shape of a golden Ankh. A man stepped into the room, as if he emerged from the shining object that was slowly fading away. His underclothing was a midnight blue color and on top of it was pieces of golden armor, gold plated boots, a gold belt with three opaque spheres on the front, gloves with golden armor that ended at the knuckles, and golden upper-body armor. His cloak was also made of gold and the collar stuck up all around. He wore a helm of gold, covering the entirety of his head with slits for his green eyes to show through. This was Earth’s sorcerer supreme, the arcane guardian, a Lord of Order: Dr. Fate. He looked on Raven’s swirling vortex with contempt. When he spoke it was almost ethereal, like there were two voices (an exceptionally deep and the other more mortal sounding) speaking at once.

“Begone demon of the pit! You have no influence here!”

Raven turned on the Lord of Order with a wicked grin. “So you say Fate. But where my daughter is, my influence shall be as well.”

“Not for long.” Fate said two words afterwards with his hands raised, a language Alec could not understand. Another golden Ankh flew toward Raven, breaching her whirlwind and restraining her, the arms holding her hands and her head held in the loop. The whirlwind ceased as Fate continues to speak in the unknown language. As he continued to speak the Ankh glowed brighter, and Raven screamed louder. It became so bright Alec had to shut his eyes. A few moments later the brightness went away and Alec heard the thud of a body hitting the floor. He opened his eyes and saw Raven on the floor and Fate at her side. Her eyes were slowly opening, this time only her two dark blue ones.

“What- What happened?” she asked groggily.

“Your body was momentarily taken over by a demonic presence,” Dr. Fate explained. “As soon as it happened I felt a disturbance and teleported here immediately. I exorcised the spirit from you and he should not be able to possess you again.”

“It was him wasn’t it?”

He paused for a moment. “Yes it was.”

She sighed. “Then our worst fears haven been realized.”

“Time out,” Tim said as he made the ‘T’ shape with his hands. “What’s going on?”

“My father’s prison is failing, which means he's gaining strength and will be able to escape into our world and destroy it. I know this because he was able to take control of my body but thanks to Dr. Fate that won’t happen again. I don’t understand though. The wards shouldn't be failing, they were recently reinforced by tonight’s celestial event they should be fine.”

“Unless someone or something is using the celestial event as an opportunity to weaken the wards,” Dr. Fate hypothesized.

“Well, there’s only one way to find out.”

Dr. Fate nodded. “We will return,” he said to the group. The two of them took up a meditative stance as they both hovered in the space below them. A few seconds passed before their eyes both started to glow.

Barbra started to step toward them but was stopped by Diana. “Let them be. They’re trying to find out what’s going on from a distance and they require all the concentration they can get.”

Another few minutes passed and the glowing eyes dimmed and the hovering ceased. Raven’s expression was grim and Dr. Fate’s eyes showed concern.

“Trigon’s prison is being breached,” Fate explained. “Raven and I remote viewed the dimension where his prison is, and the situation there is growing out of control. Demons are gathering at the entrance, waiting for the return of their master.”

“Is there anything that can be done to stop it?” Diana asked.

“No. Once the wards begin deteriorating, it cannot be stopped. It is strange though. Only the final ward is being weakened and the first two are intact. If he is able to escape his cell, the final two wards should hold him for some time. He would be in a weakened state but the collapse of the final two wards would be inevitable. There was also another anomaly. The concentration of chaos magic was unusually high for that area.”

“Isn’t it usually high?”

“Yes. But I think there are others there who are breaking him out. The only negative aspect of that is they were cloaked in darkness, and I cannot tell how many are there. But if there are other followers of chaos there, then Trigon’s escape will be heavily expedited. If they break him out, they will be able to empower him and he will break through the wards with ease.”

“So what can we do?” Tim asked.

“Unfortunately you can do nothing. Mortals cannot enter the prison of Trigon without being corrupted and fall under his influence. Not without proper protective spells, which require time. I will go in and deal with the threat myself.”

“Dr. Fate,” Raven began, “you may be a Lord of Order, but you have no idea what’s waiting for you in that prison. You could be captured or overwhelmed and we would be without the sorcerer supreme and the Helmet of Fate would be lost forever.”

“What are you implying child?”

“I am implying that you should take a team of magic users with you. Many of us already have the necessary protective charms applied against chaos and we would be able to help you reinforce the wards and maybe even syphon off some of Trigon’s power.”

Dr. Fate was silent for a moment, considering Raven’s suggestion. Alec thought it made sense to send in a team instead of one person against an unknown force. The only problem was they were very limited when it came to magic wielding heroes. Zatanna for sure, Raven would have to go, and he was certain Zauriel would be asked to go. Constantine and Swamp Thing, however, would be wild cards.

“I think that would be wise. I will return with help.” That being said he rose up and stretched out his arms as a golden Ankh appeared behind him, and he vanished into thin air. 

“Well, that was dramatic,” Tim said dryly.

Diana looked at him with an annoyed expression. “Trigon is no joking matter. If he were to escape again, it would be catastrophic. It would mean the end of the world as we know it.”

Tim looked slightly guilty, but Connor looked straight up pissed at Diana for talking to Tim like that. He opened his mouth to say something but was saved by Barbra.

“We should head back to headquarters and let Batman know what’s going on. From the sound of it, Raven’s going to Trigon’s prison.”

“Alec too,” Raven said unexpectedly. He looked at her with a bewildered expression. “The Flamebird is within him, and when he and I entered the mystic psychic plane, it was the Flamebird that was able to expel Trigon’s spirit from attacking me. Plus, we need any and all mystic and cosmic forces at our disposal. But I could open a portal back if you’d like?”

“Sure, that works.”

Raven moved her hand subtly and a portal opened. Barbra, Tim, and Connor said their goodbyes and walked through the portal. Roy stayed behind, his hands still on Alec’s waist.

“I don’t want you to go,” he said.

“Don’t worry,” Alec reassuredas he leaned into Roy. “I’ll be fine. There’ll be a group of the most powerful mystics on my side and we’ll hold Trigon.”

“It’s not that. I’m worried she’ll try and take control of you again, but more that this time she’ll wind up destroying everyone including you.” He turned Alec around, and kissed him lightly. Taking his words t heart, Alec deepened the kiss and wrapped his arms around Roy’s neck. Roy seemed surprised, but returned the affection. They broke apart after realizing where they were and held each other. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” he whispered back.

He let Roy go and watched him walk into the portal as it dissipated into thin air. It was at that time that a burst of light emerged from the spot Dr. Fate had left for help. The light receded, and in its place stood some of the heroes Alec had through would come to their aid, and some he had not expected. Zauriel, Zatanna, and Swamp thing he had expected, but he had not expected Dr. Light, Stargirl, or Etrigan. Although Raven did say they needed cosmic and magic users, Etrigan was a massive issue. He had proven an ally of the League, but he was demonic in nature and where they were going would be a big problem. All were suited up, with the exception of Alec who was in a t-shirt, cardigan, jeans, and Tom’s.

“You all know why you are here. Trigon is escaping and we need to do all we can to prevent it. Prepare yourselves as Raven and I make the portal to his prison.”

The pair moved to the balcony and began their chant. Stargirl inspected her cosmic staff, the source of her power. Dr. Light flew into the night sky, absorbing all the light energy she could from the moon’s rays. Zauriel unsheathed his sword and took a wand-looking object made of crystal out and began drawing strange symbols on it, empowering it. On his person were also a variety of daggers, short swords, and battle axes. Swamp Thing closed its eyes, Alec suspected he was gathering all the living energy he could before going into a nightmare. Zatanna took inventory of all her weapons: her wand, deck of cards, metal rings, bag of marbles, and some pouches of powder. Etrigan was simply scowling at Dr. Fate, annoyed to be here apparently. Realizing he was standing there staring at them, Alec decided it was best to change now. He held out his arms on either side of him and began to spin in one spot, going slow at first and then building up speed. His form showered with golden light which receded, and he was standing in his armor. He then walked over to the cabinet over by his dresser and opened the double doors. Inside were a variety of weapons: an axe, his curved sword, his short sword, a pair of gilded daggers, a spear, a dark bronze staff topped with an owl and a crystal orb secured behind its wings, an Amazonian bow paired with a sheath of arrows, a red and black metal recurve bow and a variety gadgetry arrows (Roy’s), and in the center his shield and lasso. He picked up his shield, sword, and short sword. He put the swords in their sheaths behind his shield so the handles stuck up. He then grabbed his lasso and secured it to its place on his belt. He considered bringing anything else before deciding on the staff. It was a gift from Athena and he had yet to use it. When he asked what it could do, she only said “You’ll see.” Seeing him take the staff in his hands, Zatanna’s eyes widened.

“What is that?”

“It’s a staff given to me by Athena. I’m not entirely sure what it does but I think it can help us.”

She chuckled. “Oh it’ll do more than that. If what I’m sensing is right, that staff has healing and storm magic. The healing I’m sure is from Athena, but the storm magic must come from Zeus and Poseidon. I’d love to know how Athena got the two of them to cooperate for this.”

He studied the staff, the upper part of it was embossed with silver olive branches that snaked their way to the top of the staff. He could feel that it radiated power, and that worried him.

“Is it possible that anyone else would be able to use it?”

Zatanna considered the question and looked at the staff with a puzzled expression. “I’m not sure. It was given to you by the goddess herself, which to me suggests only you may wield it. But if you’re asking if its allegiances can be changed, I know it could happen but it would require serious magic to be able to convert a weapon of that power to a different user.” She looked at Alec with realization. “But you’re not asking about that. You’re asking if the Flamebird took over in there if it would be able to use the staff.”

“Yeah. Raven’s magic is governed by her emotions. And Trigon’s her father. I’m worried that his hatred and all the emotional energy in there will overwhelm me and allow it to take me over. And if I have this god powered staff, I’m worried how it might amplify its power and destroy you all.”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “That won’t happen. Swamp Thing has been gathering living energy and using it to reinforce our protective charms. Also, Raven’s splicing the portal with her magicks so that when we step through we’ll be almost immune to the effects of that realm.”

“Okay. But if what I fear comes to pass, I need you to take me out. Before I hurt anyone else.”

Zatanna stepped closer to him and gave him a hug. “It won’t come to that. But if it does, I’ll do what I can.”

He put his head down over her shoulder. “Thank you.”

“The time has come,” Dr. Fate’s voice boomed. “The portal is ready and the destination has been set. Raven has gone through to secure the way and we need to go now.”

Dr. Light flew into the room and straight into the portal. Stargirl, Etrigan, Zauriel, and Swamp Thing followed.

“Ready?” Zatanna asked.

Alec nodded. The pair raced through the portal with Dr. Fate on their heels.   

***

Alec burst through the portal with Zatanna on his left and Dr. Fate on his right. What he was seeing was something out of a nightmare. They were standing on a massive rock formation and surrounding them were various sized rock formations, suspended in the air and moving slightly. The sky was reminiscent of the night sky, an almost black blue with star light speckled all over. Before him was a vicious fight: the heroes colliding with rock like creatures that screeched. Funny thing was the fact that they were missing mouths, so where the hell is that sound coming from? Alec thought.

Look closer, the Flamebird whispered in his thoughts.

Oh good, you’re back.

Dispense with the sarcasm. I’m here to help.

Oh yeah? Where were you when Lyla died? Some help you were then.

I am sorry for the loss of your friend but if you don’t heed my advice you and your friends won’t survive this place.

What do you know about this place?

Later. For now, focus on the fight. Look to their hands.

Alec looked and saw that the creatures had menacing mouths that opened on each hand, and the screams were basting through them. His hands tightened on the staff as he pointed it at one of the creatures drawing closer. He focused and a blast of lightning crackled from the gem atop his staff and destroyed the creature, shattering it into shards of rock.

“Watch for the hands!” he shouted. “They can hit you with a sonic attack!”

Zauriel seemed to hear this warning as he chopped the hands off one of the monstrosities nearby. It moved its head downward, as if annoyed that its hands were gone, and looked up just in time to watch a sword go through its neck. Dr. Light hovered above them, blasting their foes with star light. Stargirl was near her and also blasting enemies with her staff. Zatanna had her wand out and was shooting bursts of eldritch blasts, reducing them to rubble. Raven was in a trance with Dr. Fate at her side. He had produced a dome shaped shield around them which was holding off their assailants, but Alec had a nagging feeling the creature’s attacks would break it eventually. As if on cue, Etrigan pounced on the screaming hands attacking Raven and Dr. Fate. His attacks were both quick and merciless. The demon grabbed the hands of one and threw it into another, shattering both. He then punched a hole though another’s shapeless face, and backhanded another in half at the waist. Only a few more remained which he reduced to smoldering ash with his fire breath. Alec watched in awe as the demon’s fire breath blasted outward, engulfing everything in front of him. Sensing another one of the monsters behind him, he launched himself in a backflip and brought the staff down on its head. As soon as it touched the creature, it shattered into rubble. Alec looked at his staff with a newfound appreciation for the gods. He turned around and saw there were too many more coming, and they needed to push forward. He flew upward a few feet and then toward the oncoming enemies. He stopped and raised his staff toward the sky, which then crackled with electricity. He slashed downward at his enemies, and a barrage of lightning came down on them. All the bolts connected with an enemy, some bolts jumping from one to another, leaving them in pieces. He turned back to the team, who had just finished their opponents.

“Is everyone-” was all he could get out before something uppercut him. He grunted loudly as the hit connected under his jaw and sent him flying into a rock wall. He sat up groggily as he saw what had hit him: a ventus, or wind spirit. But these wind spirits were black with darkness swirling inside them. He could feel the hatred oozing from them as more entered the area. They flew around them, attempting to corral them like cattle. Wonder Boy slammed his staff against the ground and a burst of light exploded from the impact and coalesced into a spherical barricade, keeping the ventus from his friends. He could feel their hatred for the light and their need to snuff it out as they danced around them. They swirled around the sphere, searching for an opening. After a few moments of this they dissipated in irritation and were nowhere to be seen. Once the coast was clear Alec dropped the protection bubble.

“This should keep us informed of the path ahead so there are no more surprises,” Dr. Fate said as a haze of golden light encircled the perimeter. “For now, we have to keep moving.”

With that the group pressed on. They walked for what felt like hours, passing landscapes only found in nightmares. Alec noticed that in the distance it was almost like a mirage. Nothing was in focus and it looked like it was constantly shifting. The land turned the color of lava rocks, and the air around them had a subtle red haze to it. Alec noticed they had started moving at an incline and looked up at their destination: a cliff overlooking this desolate landscape. However, this cliff looked more like a massive platform, which meant there was probably a massive cave to go into. Turns out, there was a massive cave opening at the top of the cliff. On either side of the mouth of the cave were two massive guardians made of stone. They showed two magic users with armor unlike anything Alec had seen. They radiated ancient power and had a slight silver glow to them. Alec was exhausted from the journey, and Dr. Fate recommended they take a five minute break before continuing. Alec sat down next to Raven, who was looking outward at the land they had just traversed.

“How are you doing?” Alec asked.

She took a deep breath. “Fine. Just trying to prepare myself. The last time I fought my father the urge to give into darkness was overwhelming.”

“I remember feeling his presence when we tried to figure out what happened in New York and that was a lot of darkness to handle. If it weren’t for Flamebird, I don’t think I would have been able to fend him off.”

Raven chuckled. “That was only a fraction of what it feels like to be in his presence. You’ll see when we arrive in his prison.”

“Is there no way we can reinforce the wards?”

“No. Once they start to fade that’s it. It took many Lords of Order to bind him to his prison in the first place, Dr. Fate being one of them. But they’ve vanished since then and Dr. Fate is the only one we know of that’s still around.”

 “So what can we do?”

“Stop whoever is breaking him free. That’ll buy us time we need to prepare. Trigon was going to escape eventually, it was only a matter of time.”

He looked down at his staff. Suddenly he thought of what Zatanna said about the staff. The staff has healing magic. He suddenly had an idea that he was going to share but was interrupted by Dr. Fate.

“It’s time.”

Everyone got up and entered the mouth of the cave, leaving behind any form of light and moving into the chasm of darkness.

***

The cave was as typical as a cave could get. It was dark, there were stalagmites forming from the ceiling of the cave as well as stalactites from the floor, and it was damp. The only thing that made this cave distinguishable was the dark magic that flowed through it. It was as if the cave was infused with dark energies. They passed through the second pair of wards which were similar to the first ones, but seemed brighter. He then realized they were made of adamas, an unbreakable gemstone the ancient Greeks used and the Amazons still used. He admired them for a moment before moving on with the others. He then realized they were slowly descending. As they descended the dark energies became stronger and more pungent like a nasty odor. Dr. Fate and Raven stopped for a moment and turned toward their group.

“We’re nearing Trigon’s prison,” Raven said. “Keep in mind that even though we have many layers of protective charms on, his influence can still break through. If that does happen, get out of here as fast as you can. If you don’t, he will take control of your body and use you against us.”

“I’m not sure how many foes we will face in there,” Dr. Fate said. “Know that there will be many of Trigon’s minions and there is a likelihood that there are powerful mystics inside. Zatanna, Raven, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Boy will take on the mystics depending on how many there are. If there are more, Zauriel and Etrigan will step in. Dr. Light and Stargirl should focus on keeping his minions at bay while I do my best to interrupt the disruptive spells.”

Everyone looked somber, unsure of what was to come or if their efforts would even help the situation.

Stay vigilant,” Swamp Thing thought to them. “We will prevail. Nature is on our side.”

“Yeah,” Zatanna added as she twirled her wand. “It’ll be a piece of cake.”

“Let’s move on,” Fate said. “It is time to face whatever Fate has in store for us.”

With that the team moved forward, entering the cavern of Trigon’s prison. The cavern was immense and circular in shape with the only opening being where the team entered. Stalagmites hung from the ceiling and looked enormous. Demons of various shapes, sizes, and consistencies swarmed along the stalagmites. There were six adamas wards placed around a massive opening in the floor, except these were very different from the others they had previously seen. These were also magic users, but were shown wearing robes instead of elaborate armor. Four were shown wielding each element: water, earth, fire, and air. The final two were shown using light and dark magic. Alec supposed this was because there could not be light without darkness and, possibly, these statues depicted the Lords of Order who imprisoned Trigon. He had not known that one was a Lord of Chaos, although he supposed he could have been a Lord of Order that was learned in dark magic and eventually fell into Chaos. Surrounding the adamas statues were six dark magic users. Alec knew who they each were, even if this was his first time seeing some of them. Felix Faust, Brother Blood, Tala, Morgan Le Fey, the demon Asmodel, and Klarion all stood next to one of the statues and were attempting to disarm them.

Dr. Fate kicked things off with an eldritch blast to Brother Blood, who deflected it toward the ceiling and erupted in a blast of light. The team each silently picked their targets and engaged. Raven flew around Brother Blood as he sent a barrage of fire bolts into the air, Zatanna was locked in a standoff with Tala, Swamp Thing caused vines to erupt around Klarion, Etrigan began exacting his revenge on the witch Morgan Le Fey, Zauriel assaulted Asmodel, and Stargirl and Dr. Light flew into action against the army of demons. Alec turned to Felix Faust and charged. Faust was powerful, but Wonder Woman had gone up against him in her early days in the League and prevailed. Knowing this, he felt a bit better challenging the necromancer since Diana had trained him. Besides, he needed to finish the fight and help Raven. Faust sent spherical lightning orbs toward him, which he deflected in a blur of movement with his staff and bracelets. Faust jumped back as Wonder Boy slashed out with his staff and laughed.

“Is that the best you can do?” He landed swiftly on his feet as lightning erupted from his hands. Wonder Boy barely had time to arm himself with his shield as the lightning connected. “I expected more from one who was trained by Wonder Woman herself, but then again you aren’t close to being as powerful as her.” Lightning continued to flow from his hands at Wonder Boy. “Did you really think you could defeat us here? HERE!? In a dimension filled with chaos magic?” The lightning became stronger then, little volts connecting at Wonder Boy’s feet and legs which were left exposed from his shield. He fell to his knees and was struggling keeping his shield up. Wonder Boy looked over to Zatanna and saw she too was fighting to overcome Tala, their magic beams connected as both tried to get their bolt to overwhelm the others’. Wonder Boy aimed his staff at Tala and released a bolt of lightning. It connected with Tala’s hands and disrupted the flow, causing the beams to cease and for Zatanna to land the final blow.

“ERIF TLOB!”

A blast of fire erupted from her wand and hit Tala, sending her flying in the air as she collided with a stalagmite and fell back down to the cavern floor. Zatanna then hit Faust with a metal ring, which knocked him off his feet and sent him rolling a few yards away. Alec stood and charged as Faust regained his footing. He reached for his lasso with his shield hand and slammed the necromancer in the chest with his shield, then released his lasso which snared Faust. He yanked his arm into his body, which caused Faust to come flying toward him. He then jumped up, taking Faust’s face in his hand, spun in mid-air, and spiked him into the ground. Faust connected with a sickening crack and Wonder Boy knew he had broken something, which wouldn’t matter soon due to Faust’s necromancy and the chaos magic in the area. Nothing short of cutting his head off would completely stop him. Wonder Boy saw Tala stirring where she had landed and let a bolt of lightning escae from the staff and hit her body, which arched with the passing electricity and then stayed motionless. He ran over to Zatanna, who had just cut the head of a demon off with a playing card.

“We’re going to need a new strategy,” she said breathlessly.

Wonder Boy looked around. Zauriel was locked in combat with Asmodel, which did not last long. The archangel deflected the fallen’s blow, turned, and stabbed backward, impaling Asmodel through the chest. The area around the wound began to smoke and suddenly caught on fire until he was encased in flames. As the flames died down, Asmodel’s ashes and bones fell to the cavern floor. Zauriel looked down upon them for a moment with solemn pity, and engaged the growing army of demons with Stargirl and Dr. Light. Etrigan was in a stand-off with Morgan Le Fey, as was Raven with Brother Blood and Swamp Thing with Klarion. Wonder Boy then realized what they had to do.

“Okay. We know we can’t beat them all by ourselves because they’re too powerful here. So you help Raven with Brother Blood and I’ll help with Morgan Le Fey. Then we’ll all take down Klarion.”

Zatanna nodded and charged at Brother Blood. She pulled her hat off her head and waved her wand in front of her, changing the oncoming demon’s forms into pure white doves. They flew in perfect synchronization into her hat. As she charged she waved her wand around the brim, and the interior had begun to glow brightly. In mid motion she pointed her wand at Brother Blood and a firework-like bolt steamed toward him. Upon impact it exploded in a barrage of colors and knocked him into a wall of the cavern. Raven then flew upwards a bit and gathered her strength, which she then released in a massive ball of dark energy. It exploded on his position, and as the smoke cleared, they could see his limp form among the rubble. The pair of sorceresses nodded at each other and barreled toward Klarion and Swamp Thing. Wonder Boy had also flew fast toward Etrigan and Morgan Le Fey, whose battle had gotten quite intense. Flames were erupting from Etrigan’s mouth and hands, which were deflected by Morgan Le Fey’s shield. Wonder Boy came up behind her and bashed her with his shield in the back so she would fly straight into Etrigan, who had then grabbed her by the shoulders and held her in front of him.

“By the scorn of Hera, I command you: FREEZE!” He bellowed. Under his grip ice formed which enveloped her form. She screamed loudly, but was silenced as the charm took its effect. She was incased in ice. He then brought her over his head and was starting to bring her down, until his arm was grabbed by Wonder Boy.

“NO!”

He shook off his grip. “This is not your concern boy! This witch must pay for what she has done. SHE is the reason I am this demon!”

“She is also one of the reasons my best friend is no longer alive. We have to prove we are better than they are. Please Etrigan I know it’s hard, but you have to set her down. What would Jason Blood do?”

Etrigan hesitated. It was tricky involving his other half as the two sides hated each other. With a massive sigh he set her down. “He would want justice, not vengeance.”

Wonder Boy put a hand on his shoulder. “And she will face justice. All in due time.” He waved his staff and she disappeared. “I’ve sent her to the watchtower for detainment and we’ll deal with her later. Now, we need to finish this.”

Etrigan was breathing heavily. “Fine,” he surrendered.

The pair rushed to their team’s side, and saw how bad it was going. Klarion was sending blast after blast at Swamp Thing, who was enveloped in vines and using them to intercept the blasts. Zatanna was busy breaking down the mystical barrier surrounding Klarion, and Raven was flying around looking for an opening. Upon seeing the demon and amazon the Lord of Chaos laughed.

“Finally a challenge,” he giggled.

He raised his arm and the tabby cat jumped off his shoulders and bolted toward the pair. It grew in size, its talons elongating into deadly daggers and its teeth into massive pointed fangs. It was easily 10 feet tall, and looked murderous. As t ran toward them it stretched out its arms and clothes lined Etrigan and Wonder Boy, slamming them into the ground. The feline snarled at Wonder Boy and bared its fangs. It then opened its mouth wide and went down toward his throat, but was interrupted from ripping his throat out by a burst of flame. Wonder Boy looked over and saw smoke coming from Etrigan’s mouth. He unleashed another breath of fire and the demonic cat leaped off them and back a few feet, just enough time for Wonder Boy to notice that Klarion looked weaker than before. Going on a hunch, he leveled his staff at the cat and let a burst of lightning through. Upon impact the cat shrieked, and Klarion’s form shimmered.

Etrigan, help me take down this cat! It's Klarion’s tether to the physical world!

The demon nodded, and released blasts of fire from his hands. The cat dodged them, and rushed forward. Wonder Boy drew his sword and armed himself with his shield and glided to meet the creature. He raised his arm in time to block the cat’s swipe, and answered the strike with one of his own. It leaped back to evade and leaped forward to strike, but was intercepted by Etrigan. He wrapped his arms around its torso and threw it up where Wonder Boy was waiting. He bashed the cat with his shield, which threw it into the cave wall. Upon impact Etrigan has released a ball of fire, which hit the creature. It howled in agony as it burned, and Klarion screamed in pain and frustration. Raven bashed through his shield, which allowed Swamp Thing to encase him in vines. They wrapped around his form until it looked like a massive rubber band ball.  Once the brat was taken care of, the magic users turned their attention to Dr. Fate and the failing wards. Each magician took up a position around the protective wards and began their own protective and strengthening spells. Wonder Boy aimed his staff at the pool or energy and focused on revitalizing the statue’s protective wards. However, dark tendrils of energy lashed out like an octopus, connecting with each of them and sending volts of dark electrical magic coursing through their bodies. These lashes paralyzed them, and Trigon spoke.

You cannot stop what is to come, he said ominously. His voice boomed through the cavern, filling it with dark energies.

Alec.

Wonder Boy sighed. This isn’t a good time Flamebird.

I can help. I’ve expelled Trigon’s presence before, allow me to do it again.

Wonder Boy didn’t like it, but knew there was no other option since his friends were frozen.

Fine.

His body instantaneously felt warm when fire erupted around his form, dissipating any residual electrical magic. His vison was amplified, seeing the life force within each of his friends. When he looked to the pit all he saw was darkness that swirled and swarmed like octopus ink. In the reflection of the pool of failing protective energy covering the pit, he saw Flamebird’s manifestation of a flaming bird: a phoenix.

Trigon, her voice echoed. You will not escape your prison today.

Trigon cackled. And who dares to stand against me? More tendrils leaked through the pool of energy and were snaking their way around Wonder Boy, but Flamebird amped up the heat and evaporated them.

I am the Flamebird. Herald of my father Rao, defender against darkness, and celestial guardian of interdimensional and intergalactic peace. And YOU will NOT cause this world more suffering.

With that Flamebird tossed up the staff and unleashed a blast of flames from Wonder Boy’s eyes, which shattered the beautifully crafted staff. The magic inside was unleashed, chaotically erupting and spreading until Wonder Boy/Flamebird began controlling it with their hands. Using one hand they pushed the storm magic to the side, which cackled with electricity and howled with the wind. Using the other they pushed the healing magic to the other side which swirled with golden light. They lifted their left hand, which caused the storm magic to slam into the ceiling of the cavern. It erupted in a violent maelstrom of power; storm clouds brewed and overtook the ceiling, lightning arched and lashed out at demons, and winds screamed around the cavern. A massive bolt cracked down at the pit and connected with Trigon’s unquantified form. His voice bellowed in agony as the lightning held him off long enough for Wonder Boy and Flamebird to finish the job. They spread their right hand apart and twisted it toward them, spreading the healing magic and dispersing it. It spread apart and, while most of it went into the wards, some went into his comrades and revitalized and strengthened them. The wards visibly became brighter and shone with power. The magic covering the pit ceased flickering and remained semi-solid, infused with healing magic and strengthened with the bolt of lightning. All was quiet in the cavern. The sorcerers were nowhere to be found, most likely they escaped during their assault on Trigon.

It is done. I return your body to you, please remember I did this in the future. It will prove a reason you should trust me.

Thank you, Wonder Boy relented. The intense heat left his body and his vision returned to normal.

Dr. Fate was the first to speak. “I didn’t believe it to be possible, but the wards have been strengthened. Unfortunately they have only delayed the inevitable, Trigon will escape and soon. But we will be ready for when he does. Thank you Wonder Boy, without you we would have surely perished.”

Wonder Boy nodded. “Glad I could be of help.”

Dr. Fate then turned from the others and, with a wave of his hand, created a portal for them to escape. “Our work here is done now.”

And with that the team rushed through, eager to leave this desolate dimension behind them.

***

Upon exiting the portal Wonder Boy noticed no one was in the teleportation room.

“Where is everyone?” Zatanna asked. “There’s usually one person on teleporter duty.”

Not wanting to let their guard down, they proceeded to the observation deck with caution. As they got closer, the sound of the monitors grew louder and louder. From the sound of it, someone was listening to a news broadcast. They entered one-by-one, and saw everyone had gathered around and was watching the massive screen, and what was being shown was unbelievable. It showed Superman, but he was doing things Superman would never do: Superman was at war. Throwing tanks, punching human soldiers into buildings, and most disturbing of all shooting his heat vision through the bodies of soldiers.

“Once again for those just tuning in,” the voice of Iris West-Allen reported in the broadcast, “The man of steel has turned against both sides in the Kasnian Civil War. No one is spared on this battlefield, not even reporter Lois Lane of the Daily Planet whose news chopper is seen here.”

The feed cut to a smoldering wreckage that was once a helicopter. It was still burning. The feed lingered for a second then moved to a birds eye view. The image shocked Wonder Boy. The feed showed a massive crater, and in its interior showed many broken bodies, trucks, and scorched remains. Humanity’s worst fear had been realized: Superman has gone rouge.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

It had only been a few days after witnessing the news report that Superman had decimated the Kasnian forces, ending the decades long civil conflict and leaving the world in utter shock. Aquaman stared at a battle map in the Atlantean war room, analyzing the affect Superman’s episode had on the world. In nearly all countries, there had been a ceasefire and support thrown to the registration movement, which had now grown and spread across the globe. Aquaman still couldn’t comprehend how Superman could kill so many people. Sure there had been deaths caused by members of the League when there was absolutely no other option or due to the situation, but nothing on this scale. Despite the turn of events happening across the globe, his main concern would be Atlantis. For now his main adversaries (Ocean Master and Black Manta) had not made any moves against him lately, which was troublesome. It was bad enough that his forces were spread thin patrolling for interdimensional breaches caused by Trigon’s demons, there was not enough men to protect Atlantis if Superman happened to turn his attention to Atlantis. In his cryptic address to the world Superman declared he would enforce peace in nations at war if the fighting did not end, and that had worked surprisingly. Only two nations had not declared their support of Superman and the registration movement: Atlantis and Themyscira, both of which were homes to champions who supported the anti-registration movement. Aquaman knew his days were numbered before Superman came knocking at his door. Sensing another presence in the room, he turned and readied his trident. He then realized he had pointed his trident at his wife Mera.

She raised one of her eyebrows at him in annoyance. “I don’t think you recall what happened the last time you raised your trident to me.”

Aquaman chuckled. “The memory seems to escape me.”

Mera smirked. “Then allow me the pleasure of reminding you.”

She barrel rolled over him, faster than any foe he had faced. Once behind him, she wrapped her legs around his waist and grappled the trident from behind him, forcing one of the points to rest against his throat.

He smiled widely. “Oh, now I remember.”

Mera laughed. “Do you yield my king?”

“To you? Always, my queen.”

Mera then removed herself from her husband and let go of the trident. He turned to face her and held her in a tight embrace.

Sensing his uneasiness she asked, “Does something trouble you?”

She felt him tense up. “Yes. I’m concerned Superman will soon turn his attention to Atlantis. We have not declared support to the registration movement. Also it doesn’t help that I threw my support to the anti-registration movement.”

“Don’t trouble yourself with these thoughts Arthur, it’s been peaceful lately and I am hopeful it will last.”

“There is another cause for concern. In an alternate universe Atlantis and Themyscira separately were able to take down the world in a war between the two nations. On another alternate earth, Luthor became president. We took that seriously once he began working for the government, so what’s to stop them from assuming the same of Atlantis and Themyscira?”

Mera’s expression shifted to a look of concern. “We’ll deal with that if it comes to war.” Their grip on one another loosened as Mera began drifting toward the door. Her posture straightened and her face became slightly more serious. “I’ll inform the city guards to double patrols and inform the army to stand ready.”

With that being said she swam off in a hurry away from the war room. Aquaman’s thoughts drifted to the beginning, remembering how Mera was a guard herself and that she was the most formidable warrior he had faced. Her ferocity and combat prowess was known throughout the seven seas and the surface. Barda once made the mistake of challenging the Atlantean Queen to one-on-one combat and know held high respect for Mera. Everything was so much simpler in those days: no political agendas, no government hunting them down, no civil war forcing heroes to take sides. His thoughts were interrupted by a moderate sounding beep. He pressed the accept button on the console next to him. Once he did this the beeping ceased and a video message appeared of Batman. From the look of the background he appeared to be in a dimly lit cavern, most likely the Batcave. The years had not been kind to Batman. Gotham’s crime rate had gone down, but the threat level of the criminal acts had risen considerably as more and more supervillains came to Gotham. Setting aside Gotham, Batman had thought Jason Todd, the second Robin, had died at the hands of Joker. After a few years, it was made known that Jason survived and took on the name and mantle of the Red Hood. This gradually took its toll on Batman and Aquaman never understood how he managed to keep going.

“Arthur,” he said in greeting.

“Bruce,” he mimicked in greeting. “I must admit I was not expecting to hear from you today. I thought I made it clear I would be in Atlantis until further notice.”

“I know. But this can’t wait.”

He watched Batman push a button on his control panel, and the screen split showing Wonder Woman on the other side. She appeared to be on Themyscira, in a temple perhaps. Her expression portrayed exhaustion. Apparently there had been unrest on Themyscira since Superman’s onslaught. A cohort of Amazons wanted to end him, and Diana was tasked with keeping her people in line.

“Hello Arthur.”

“Hello Diana. How is Alec?”

Her expression grew sadder. “He still blames himself for Lyla’s death. Also going to Trigon’s prison took its toll on him. But I would like to know why you’ve summoned us Batman.”

“I think there’s something you both need to see.” He pushed another button and his screen was taken up by a news segment of Luthor standing in front of a podium in the Capitol Building. Next to him was Superman and the Lanterns.

“I would like to thank all those who have sided with us in this registration movement. Although they provide a great service to the world, our heroes need limitations and regulations. Some of the more recognizable heroes beside me have seen this to be true. However, some cities and states have yet to pass our legislation. Per the decision of congress and the President himself, all states must submit where they stand on this Registration Act within 24 hours. This deadline is also being extended to other nations. If this deadline is not met we will assume they stand with the rebel members of the Justice League. If you so choose, that is your choice. However, if you show that you are unable to keep your nation secure or are harboring known rebel Justice Leaguers, I will deploy those at our disposal to ensure a secure society.”

The footage cut back to Batman. The trio were silent for a few moments. Finally, Aquaman spoke, seething with rage.

“How could he agree with this?”

Diana then spoke. “I don’t think he sees any other way. He’s always supported the government and the decisions of the people over his own views.”   

“WE HAD A WAY! WE HAD OUR PATH AND IT WORKED! VILLAINS SHOWED THEIR FACES AND WE TOOK THEM DOWN! DEATH AND SUBJUGATION IS NOT THE ANSWER!”

“Lois’ death was it for him,” Batman said. “She was his only constant. No matter how many changes happened within the League or how public opinion shifted she was the only thing in his life that never changed.”

“That still doesn’t excuse his actions. We’ve all experienced the death of-”

“She was pregnant.”

Aquaman stood silent, shocked by this news.

“They were keeping it quiet until they knew for certain.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I do,” Diana spoke up. “He’s completely under Luthor’s influence and without an anchor keeping him tethered to his beliefs he’s lost hope in the old ways.”

“There has to be some way to reach him,” Aquaman implored.

“No,” Batman said suddenly. “He’s gone.”

The trio were silent again for a few moments.

“You both need to prepare for war. Superman and Luthor know you won’t side with them and they’ll be coming.”

“Let them come. Atlantis has not been breached since it sank beneath the waves.”

“Don’t underestimate them.”

“My King!” a palace guard interrupted as he entered the room. “Envoys from the surface have come to seek an audience with you. They wait in the throne room.”

“Who are these envoys?”

“Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the Star Sapphire, the sorceress Circe, and Kaldur’ahm your highness.”

Aquaman turned to his colleagues. “I must attend to my unwanted guests. Stay safe my friends.”

With that he cut the transmission and shot out of the room like a cannon, speeding toward the throne room and unaware of what was to come.


 

Wonder Woman was still in communication with Batman.

“If Arthur is having government agents come knocking on his door, you can expect the same for you.”

“I know. Themyscira will not submit to those who threaten us.”

“I know. Which is why you need to prepare for war.”

Right after he said this, one of her mother’s Queen’s Guard interrupted their conversation.

“Princess, envoys have arrived from man’s world. They’ve requested an audience with the queen and your presence is requested as well as Cassandra, Donna and Alexander.”

“Who are these envoys?” Diana asked, dreading the answer.

“The mystical warrior Shazam, the Thanigarian Hawkgirl, the sorcerous Tala, and the fire user Volcana.”

“I’ll meet my mother in the throne room. Go now to the others and gather them. After they have been summoned, spread the word to our sisters: prepare for war.”

The guard bowed and sprinted to pass the messages. Diana turned her attention back to Batman.

“I guess I now need to attend to my unwanted guests.”

“Be careful Diana. Have Alec read their minds while they’re there. They might provide clues as to what Superman is planning.”

Diana nodded. “Be careful Bruce. He’ll be coming after you next.”

Batman nodded as the communication cut out.


 

Aquaman sat on his throne as Mera glided to his right hand side and Tempest stood at the ready on his left with Aquagirl. He motioned to his guards to allow his former friends to enter the room. The guards opened the double doors and Superman’s envoys moved into the room. The quartet settled ten feet from the throne. Hal looked exhausted. But military and Lantern Corps training kept him aware and ready for anything. Star Sapphire looked indignant. Aquaman knew little of her other than that she was one of Hal’s many ex-lovers and arch enemies. Perhaps Superman sending her on a mission with him was enough to piss her off. Circe’s expression was difficult to ascertain. Superman wondered what he hoped to accomplish by sending that witch here. Once she had posed as his wife and almost convinced him to wage war on the surface, which had made her an enemy of Atlantis for all time. And then there was Aqualad, whose expression clearly showed disdain and anger. When Aquaman learned of his most talented protégé’s decision, he felt nothing but pain and guilt over losing him. Perhaps Poseidon was blessing him now and giving him a chance to bring Kaldur back. Hal drifted toward Aquaman until his guards lowered their spears, only half a foot away from Hal’s chest.

Hal looked up suspiciously. “Not a very warm welcome for an old friend.”

“No warm welcome is allowed for one who brings enemies of Atlantis with them.”

“To be fair, I argued against Luthor’s choices on who was allowed to come and who wasn’t.”

Circe drifted forward slowly. “If it pleases you King of Atlantis, Star Sapphire and I will ascend to the surface and wait for the Green Lantern and Aqualad to return with your decision.”

Aquaman looked on her with anger. “It would. Leave my presence. And if I see you again witch, I will not hesitate to throw you into a cell and leave you to rot.”

Circe laughed. “Oh Aquaman. If only you had a fraction of the power needed to contain me.”

As she left she waved her hand in farewell, but had a strange gesture while doing it; the index and middle fingers bent halfway and the others stretched out. With that she and Star Sapphire left the throne room under escort of Atlantean guards. The water in the room appeared to have gotten colder.

“Now, why have you come before me?”

“I think you know why. Atlantis is among the few sovereign nations that have not agreed to the proposed law. We’re only trying to ensure world peace and hold accountable those who break it.”

“By threatening to destroy their nation if they engage in war.”

“Sometimes tough decisions have to be made in order to obtain peace. Look at World War II.”

“You mean the war which ended with two nuclear explosions that wiped out millions of people and left devastating impacts on the environment and its people?”

“Like I said, tough decisions had to be made to end that war.”

“Terror is not the way to bring about peace. It will incite rebellion and more war and death will follow.”

“That’s only if people don’t listen.”

“You know as well as I that no one will just accept their rule.”

“Then we’ll handle it as we said we would.”

Aquaman looked to his former protégé. “And you Kaldur’ahm? Do you share these views?”

Aqualad looked at his mentor hard. “Yes. You’ve been doing it the old way for over a decade to no avail. Change has to happen.”

Aquaman shook his head. “Have you forgotten everything I taught you?”

“I forget nothing. But you have chosen the wrong side. In doing so you have started a war.”

“I chose my side because it was the right thing to do. You used to hold the same views I did.”

“This is your only warning. Submit or fall.”

“I will do neither,” he said as he stood. “Leave now before I change my mind about locking you away for treason Kaldur’ahm.”

“You will regret this,” he said as he and Hal rocketed out of the throne room.

Aquaman turned to Tempest. “Have the army on standby. This conflict has only just begun.”


 

Alec walked into the throne room. Since he was formally summoned to the throne room by the queen, which was a rare occurrence to say the least, he was fully dressed in his armor and fully equipped with his lasso, swords and shield on his back, and his Amazonian bracelets. He wasn’t sure why he was summoned, but the guard informed him that she was moving on to ready the army. He looked around the throne room and saw Queen Hippolyta had already taken her place on the throne, with Diana standing to her right and her second-in-command Artemis to her left. Further examining the throne room he saw Donna Troy and Wonder Girl hovering about 10 feet above them. Leading up to the throne were the elite Queens Guard: each completely covered in gold armor and equipped with a shield, spear, and sword at their side. Their helms had a single long red plume and a matching cloak. Their shields bared the image of medusa in honor of Zeus’ shield Aegis. Alec walked between the two lines of guards, feeling their judgment and irritation at his presence. He reached the foot of the steps to the throne, stopped, and knelt.

“My Queen,” he said respectfully.

“Alexander, honored champion of Athena,” she said caringly. “You may rise.”

He rose steadily. Other than Diana and Lyla, Hippolyta was the only other Amazon who welcomed him with open arms. It was not always so, it had taken time for the Queen to warm up to Alec. When he struggled in his early days of training, she taught him how to properly hold his sword and distribute the weight of the blade for perfect balance. After the duel with Diana for the right to fight by her side, he proved himself to her and her sisters. She then respected him and grew to care for him as her own son. Since then, he felt nothing but admiration for the Queen of the Amazons.

The Queen looked at him with concern in her eyes. “I understand you have been going through a rough time due to recent events and I am sorry to call on you in your time of grief, but I need you here at our side.”

“Superman has seen envoys to discuss Themyscira’s surrender to the new law that is sweeping the globe,” Diana explained. “We’ve asked you here so you may read their minds and determine what Superman may be planning.”

“I can do that.”

“Then may the gods give you strength as you complete your task. For now, take your place in front of the steps of the throne.” Diana looked to Donna and Cassie. “Both of you stand on either side of Alec. I don’t know what intention these envoys have and I want to ensure our Queen is protected.”

The pair descended on either side of Alec, each wearing their armor and equipped with their weapons. Donna wore her usual subtle solid black sleeveless leotard, and bore a resemblance to the starry night sky. Donna also had her lasso at her side and had a sword and shield on her back. Donna was the original Wonder Girl, and bore a striking resemblance to Diana. This wasn’t as surprising to Alec since she too was an Amazon raised on Themyscira, just one of the more recent born. Once she had proved herself, she let go of the mantle of Wonder Girl and took her own name up as her codename. There was a time when Donna had to fill in for Diana as Wonder Woman, and proved herself to the world that she could do the whole solo hero idea. Cassie’s armor was similar to Donna’s, but fully red with the same starry night throughout. She wore bronze plated gauntlets, boots, and a bronze tiara. Her red lasso was at her side and had the same sword and shield on her back. Cassie’s story was much different from Donna’s. Cassie was a demigod daughter of Zeus and met Diana while she was working for her mother. It was during an attack from Doomsday that Cassie helped Diana and discovered some of her abilities. After this encounter, Zeus imbued his daughter with similar abilities as Wonder Woman. Strangely enough, Ares blessed her with the lasso which emitted Zeus’ lightning which Alec found strange. He had fought Ares once, and during that encounter he lived up to Diana’s description of him: meddlesome, war-mongering, conniving, aggressive, and overall deceitful. Perhaps it was done to appease his father, but Alec would never know. Of the three, Alec’s armor most resembled their mentor’s. At one point, Donna and Cassie’s had closely resembled Diana’s until they found individuality in their own designs. As of late, he too had changed his armor. The red of his upper light armor was now more maroon than bright red. The “W” on his chest remained the same dark gold color with the middle tip being the head of an eagle, his leg light armor was a more dark blue than the usual vibrant blue and was lined with gold where some of the plates met, his light armor combat boots were a dark maroon with gold plating that began at the knee and continued down to the toe and expending to the heel with leather straps connecting the same maroon plating on the calf and upper heel. His dark blue plating on his forearm as well as the dark blue fingerless gloves and the detailed bracelets remained. He switched out the compression fabric on his upper arm for 3 dark blue metal bands with indents to create incomplete diamonds with the compression fabric beneath them for each arm. His headpiece was also reforged into one very similar to Diana’s but without the top point, only the bottom so it had the appearance of a band with an upside down triangle in the middle. Diana and Roy had input in the design when he told them of his plans to make himself more agile and adding a new look, and their input paid off.

He began to clear his mind in preparation for this interesting meeting. He saw that a few guards were escorting their “guests” into the throne room as the doors opened. Shazam looked intrigued, Alec hadn’t thought that he had been to Themyscira but he supposed not. Although he possessed the wisdom of Solomon, his maturity was often called into question due to his age underneath the powers of Shazam. He focused in on Shazam’s mind. His mind was focused on the wonder of the throne room. Upon seeing the Wonder ensemble, his thoughts became more focused and sad. He felt sad that he had to fight people he once called friends. Hawkgirl looked impassive. She had been to Themyscira years ago on a mission to investigate a rouge Amazon, and Alec guessed she was trying to calm herself. She and Diana had been good friends before the splitting of the League, and their ideologies hadn’t budged in either direction as far as he knew. To test this he focused in on her thoughts. He discovered she was in conflict, disagreeing with Superman’s method and sending them here altogether. Alec believed she could be turned to their side, or distracted long enough to take down. Volcana looked annoyed. He knew she loved being in the middle of a fire fight as she came out on top in most instances. He looked into her thoughts and saw that she too did not want to be here. She felt she was overqualified for a mission like this and wanted to be on the front lines with Superman and Sinestro. Tala’s expression was guarded. She had no love for the Amazons and it was clear in both her thoughts and body language. Her fists were clenched and her face was twitching in anticipation. Alec focused on her mind and found that she had a block on it. Shit, he thought. Tala looked right at him and smirked. She sensed his presence in her mind and knew he couldn’t get in. He turned his attention to the link he established between Donna, Cassie, Diana, Artemis, Hippolyta, and himself.

Here’s what I’ve been able to gather: Shazam is conflicted with being here. He doesn’t like the idea of fighting his friends. Hawkgirl is having an internal crisis due to Superman’s recent behavior and wondering if fighting us is even worth it or right anymore. Volcana’s annoyed and looking for a fight. Tala’s blocking me and- he stopped mid thought as he felt Tala’s presence trying to break into his mind. Luckily, he had worked with Raven and the Martians in order to strengthen his mental blocks. –and right now she’s trying to break into my mind which would give her access to yours.

Can she breach you mind, Hippolyta asked.

No she can’t. It will take a lot more than what she’s doing to break me.

Keep at trying to wedge your way into her mind, Diana said. Hopefully mother can distract her enough so she’ll make a mistake.

I will.

The psychic exchange was cut as they reached their designated place in the throne room, 10 feet from Alec, Cassie, and Donna.

“Why have you come before me?” Hippolyta demanded.

“We have come with a message from Superman,” Tala spoke up. “He requests you declare your support for the demilitarization act and dissemble your army. Other nations around the world are demilitarizing, and as a nation of this world it is requested you do the same.”

“I will not bow to the wishes of one man.”

“It is the wish of many your highness. Many are in support of this across the world. As of yet you and Aquaman are refusing to cooperate.”
“Because we know what will happen. My daughter and the King of the Seas are allied with the anti-registration movement. This would allow Superman to send his forces to investigate wherever without opposition and he has no business in Amazonian affairs. My army stands ready in opposition to him.”

“If you don’t do this, you know what will come next.”

The Queen looked at the witch with a deadly glare. “Let him come.”

Tala backed away. Diana stepped forward. “Shiera.”

Hawkgirl looked up at her. “You and I were once great friends, sisters. We don’t have to fight.”

Hawkgirl looked at Diana with uncertainty. “You know he’s done terrible things. He has to be stopped.”

Hawkgirl looked at her evenly. “You’re right.”

Tala turned on Hawkgirl with fire in her eyes. “How dare-”

“She’s right,” Shazam said. “Superman’s gotten out of control. Diana with your permission I would like to join you.”

“As would I,” Hawkgirl said.

Are their intentions true, Hippolyta asked.

Alec scanned their minds. Yes.

Hippolyta rose. “You have our blessing heroes. Guards, escort these envoys to the beach. Wait there until they depart.”     

Tala looked at the queen with a murderous look in her eyes. “You will regret this.”


 

Circe and Star Sapphire looked down at the vast ocean before them in anticipation for their counterparts return. Sensing Hal Jordan’s thoughts as they neared the surface, Circe chuckled to herself. She knew the King of Atlantis would not submit so easily. Causing discomfort for the King and Queen was just the ploy she and Star Sapphire needed to notify Superman of the outcome. They broke the surface, and Atlantean soldiers appeared about 10 feet from them. Their faces immediately expressed terror and disbelief at the sight before them. Circe cackled and raised her hands, twisting them around so her palms faced her face. The soldiers’ heads twisted and made a sickening crack as their necks snapped and their bodies bobbed about, similar to a dead fish. Star Sapphire leaned forward and shot into the water, followed by Green Lantern and Aqualad. Circe waited a moment, basking in their future victories. Suddenly there was movement behind her. Metal warriors crafted by Professor Ivo and modeled after Amazo. The original android itself appeared next to Circe.

“You are certain these mechanical monstrosities will prevail?” Circe inquired.

“Yes,” it answered. “Despite their limitations, these Amazoids will be more than a match for the Atlanteans.”

“And you’re sure we will have enough to conquer Themyscira?”

“Father is finishing the final touches on the next wave of Amazoids. 200 should be enough for Tala to hold Themyscira, or at least have a winning chance.”

“Just in time for you and I to arrive with an Atlantean army at our backs.”

“Indeed. Shall we?”

Circe nodded and shot into the water, eager to join the already raging battle beneath the waves. She descended rapidly, already coming up on the Atlantean’s exterior defenses. There were six Atlantean warships and around 50 men engaging the Amazoids. These andriods had the ability to copy only ONE ability, and could only do so if they calculated that they were on the brink of destruction. They were well equipped with wrist blades, shoulder blasters, miniature rocket launchers under their chest plates, grappling hooks, advanced targeting equipment, advanced software that adapted to the fighting style of their opponents, and jet propulsion on their back. The soldiers noticed they were outmatched all too late as the mechanical onslaught killed them all. Circe sped past them, straight toward the Atlantean cruisers, which had begun firing on her. Pulling into a stop she raised her hands and created a shield around her. She raised her hand and the sky cackled with electricity, which was so loud it was able to be heard beneath the ocean. She lashed her arm downward and the sky broke in light, as lightning danced past the surface of the ocean and struck the closest warship. The impact caused massive explosions and tearing along the whole ship until it blasted to pieces. Smirking she opened her hands wide toward the sea floor and swung them in front of her, sending two massive quantities of ocean floor at two other battleships. The sea floor pieces continued impacting the hull until they broke the shielding and breached the hull, causing massive parts to smash their way to the reactors and cause them both to implode. She then raised her hands at the two closest warships and clapped her hands together and watched them smash into each other. She shrieked with laughter, elated with the devastation she was causing. She turned on the final warship, which had already begun to retreat back to Atlantis. She focused in on the ship in the reactor core. She sensed there were only a few engineers there and one guard, which suited her needs perfectly. She reached out telepathically and assaulted the guard’s mind. He thrashed and bellowed in agony until she smashed her way in, seeing through his eyes and controlling his actions. She was standing before the reactor on a raised platform. An engineer was touching her arm, seeing if his friend was okay. She shrugged off the touch and reached for a grenade on her belt. She armed at and tossed it into the reactor, quickly leaving the mind of the guard to watch the fireworks. Star Sapphire reached her and growled in annoyance.

“You’re going to let them escape?!” Just then the ship experienced a multitude of explosions from the inside, and then erupted in fire and explosions as it sank to the bottom of the sea.

Circe laughed. “Of course not.”


 

Aquaman watched in horror as his outer line crumbled. In the war room were his three top generals, Mera, Tempest, and Aquagirl. Monitoring communications were some Atlantean technicians.

“My King, we’ve lost them,” one said.

“The enemy is on the move my liege,” said another.

“Should I contact the Justice League for assistance your majesty?” asked the third.

“We can’t defend against a host of that size,” one of the generals exclaimed.

“They’ve engaged our second line of defense,” one of his generals reported.

“We must evacuate the city,” said the third general.

“All of you calm down!” Tempest yelled. The room became silent. “Our King will decide the best course of action.”

Aquaman breathed in slowly. He turned to one of his generals. “Ready the outer defenses. I want the cannons manned and all soldiers not already outside the city dome to remain inside and form a barricade from the city. Stop them from breaching the city.” This general bowed and bolted out of the room. He turned to his second general. “Lead the evacuation of the city. Take 20 guards and get all civilians into the passages beneath the city and hide out in our refuge in the depths of the chasm.” This general looked a bit relieved and swam off to complete his task. He turned to his third general. “You and I will defend the city. It is likely they will make for the palace, so we will remain and hold it for as long as we can.” His general nodded and went off to prepare the Altantean royal guard for siege. He then turned to Aquagirl and Tempest. “You have both made me proud. I will not ask you to remain here any longer. Leave with the citizens.”

“No,” they both said at once.
“My King I will stand by you,” Aquagirl said.

“As will I,” Tempest agreed.”

Aquaman turned to his wife, who looked at him with anguish. “Do not ask me to leave your side Arthur. I will not leave you.”

Aquaman’s expression softened. “Thank you all.” He then spoke to the technicians. “Get a signal out to Batman and Wonder Woman. We’re going to need some help.”

After nodding and sending the signal, the panels shut down. “We’re being jammed!” The room shook violently.

Aquaman’s expression darkened. “They’re here.”


 

Alec looked to the open sea, anticipating an attack from the outside world. How had everything gone so wrong so fast? He didn’t understand how this nightmare had come to fruition. He thought back on his actions during the past year. Was it something he did or neglected to do? He knew he was responsible for Lyla’s death, but could he have prevented this tragedy?

No, a voice whispered. Alec turned around expecting someone there, but there was no one. He brushed it off as his imagination running wild.

This was not your doing, the voice whispered again. Alec started to worry, he turned all around and readied for an attack.

“Calm yourself child,” the voice said much clearer. The voice came from behind him. He rolled forward and turned as he landed firmly, drawing his swords. Before him stood Ares, the god of war.

“Ares,” Alec snarled.

“I am not here to fight child, I am here to help.”

Alec’s eyes narrowed. “You come to us now? Why not come sooner?”

“Let’s just say desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“I know you were there in Kasnia. You could’ve stopped Superman.”

“Actually I was there fueling his rage and feeding off the carnage he caused.”

Alec’s mind went blank with white hot rage. He yelled and sprung at the god of war. He slashed at his helm, only to be deflected by a sword. He slashed with his opposite arm and again was blocked. He continued slashing at Ares, who made no strikes of his own. He flipped over the god and went for a backwards stab but Ares turned and kicked outward, sending Alec sprawling on the ground. Alec rose and glared. He flipped his swords so they were in a reverse grip and sprung again. He first struck low, which was sidestepped, and then struck upwards, grazing his chest plate. Alec then began slashing and striking relentlessly at Ares. Ares, of course, blocked every strike.

This isn’t working, Alec thought to himself.

Then let me help, Flamebird thought back.

Alec was startled. I don’t remember talking to you.

Well then, since your strategy is clearly having an effect on Ares by all means continue your attack.

Alec thought about it, and knew the Flamebird was right. Fine. Just retreat once you’ve caught him off guard.

As you wish.

Alec felt his body temperature rise and felt strength flow into him. Feeling the rush of power he flew at Ares. He continued his assault, hitting him with slashes and stabs, Alec knew that even a god had to make a mistake, especially when underestimating a mortal. Sensing his opportunity, he stepped up his attacks. When he had the opening he was looking for, he struck Ares with a side swipe and knocked his sword aside. He followed up that strike by bringing his other arm inward and raising his index and pinky finger. From that a blast of fire erupted and blasted Ares back into a column, collapsing it on top of him. Alec felt the rush of power start to leave him.

Not yet! Not until he pays for what he’s done!

Alec felt the power rush back in and felt invincible. He leaped toward the god of war and angled a strike at his exposed head, where the neck met the rest of the head. Ares opened his eyes in time and bellowed, issuing a shockwave from his body and removing all the rubble and collapsed column from his body and knocking back Alec. Alec steadied himself in mid-air and barreled toward Ares. He kicked outward and was blocked. After blocking a feint to his left which turned into a strike to his right, he continued his assault on the war god. Ares continued to block his attacks until their swords were locked. Sensing an advantage, Alec used the hilt of his long sword and hit the bottom of Ares’ sword, sending it flying. Ares gripped Alec’s hands and slammed them into the ground, forcing him to let go of his swords. Alec twisted and kicked out at his shins, causing him to yell and fall to his knees. The grip on his hands loosened and he uppercut Ares, sending him a few feet into the air. He was intercepted by Alec who pummeled the war god. After a few punches he reared his fist back and slammed in into his helm, sending him flying toward Themyscira. Ares’ body flew in an arch, hitting the apex above the palace. Alec grappled him at this point, tossing him upward just a bit, flew around him so he was above his victim, and blasted him with telekinetic fire. Ares was blasted downward and crashed into the ground near the steps. He slowly rose and summoned his sword. Alec focused and had his swords in hand with a golden blast of light. Amazons flooded the area, battle lust in their eyes. The doors of the palace burst open as Wonder Woman, Donna Troy, and Wonder Girl rushed the god of war. They each took a position on all sides, entrapping him. Ares glanced around him and saw he was outnumbered and outmatched. He looked up at Alec who was 10 feet in the air.

“I am not here to fight you!”

“Then why come? You’d like nothing better than to watch Themyscira burn!”

“Not if it means relinquishing my power.”

Alec paused. “What does that mean?”

“Come down and sheath your weapons so we may talk.”

Alec remained still, raising his eyebrows at Ares.

Ares sighed. He made his sword disappear and crossed his arms. Alec’s expression softened slightly. He drifted toward the ground and sheathed his swords.

You can go now, he thought.

Not until he has paid for his crimes.

Flamebird retreat to your dormant state. He was startled by her noncompliance.

I am far stronger than you and I will make him pay if you will not.

He felt her starting to take over and focused again. In his mind’s eye he saw the massive fiery form of the Flamebird envelop his being.

NO! He yelled in his mind’s eye. Golden light erupted from the dark fires of the Flamebird. A golden owl sprung forth and wrapped its wings around the smaller form. Flamebird returned to its dormant state.

Alec returned to the current situation before him: the god of war, one of the Amazon’s most hated enemies was offering his help.

“Now Ares, why have you come?”

“I am here to help you win this fight.”

“Why?” Wonder Girl asked. “Each time we’ve encountered you, we’ve been enemies. What’s different now?”

“Superman,” he said with contempt. “I was tricked. I was told that if Superman were to turn dark, his rage would bring forth insurmountable conflict worldwide, making me the most powerful of the Olympians. I did not consider that he would use this darkness to bring peace through violence and fear, and as a result my power has diminished greatly. I went to Apollo to confirm my suspicions. What he showed me was enough to put aside my hate toward the Amazons and seek out your help.”

Wonder Woman stepped forward. “Why should we trust what you say?”

Ares looked at the Amazon Princess. “Ask Apollo yourself if you need to. But you’re wasting your time. Even now, Superman plots his moves against you and your allies. Just look at Atlantis.”

The Amazons whispered to each other, unknowing of the devastation that was being unleashed on Aquaman.


 

The doors to the throne room blasted open, sending pieces of the doors scattering all over. Inside were Aquaman’s elite guard, Queen Mera, Aquagirl, Tempest, and the King of Atlantis himself. Circe smiled darkly toward the host before her. Behind her were Green Lantern, Aqualad, and Star Sapphire.

“You should have taken our offer when you had the chance,” she gloated.

“Altantis will never submit to the likes of you witch.”

Circe cackled. “Witch. I’ve been called many things over the past thousand years, but that is probably the most used compliment. Witchcraft isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s power.”

She raised her hands and her eyes glowed. The soldiers before her bellowed in agony as their forms began to change shape into various fish bestiamorphs. Some were transformed into various shark species, some into electric eels the size of grown men, and some into massive jellyfish with actual electricity snaking down their tentacles.

“Now,” she continued. “Submit.”

Aquaman answered with a blast of energy from his Trident, which caught Star Sapphire in the chest and sent her into a wall, causing the whole thing to collapse. The bestiamorphs rushed forward at their former rulers. Mera made quick work of the sharks by knocking them into the jellyfish with a turn of the current. Aquagirl drew her sword and cut the heads off the eels, putting them out of their misery. Circe blasted Aquaman, who caught and held the blast at bay. Mera sent a mystic bolt at Green Lantern, which had a stunning effect. Aquagirl engaged an enraged Aqualad, who had drew his weapons and was ready to end his former king. Tempest sensed more adversaries coming their way looked on to his mentor. Aquaman caught Tempest’s gaze and nodded.

Do it now.

There was a slight pause before Tempest responded. I will my King.

Keep her safe.

Tempest nodded and opened a portal near Mera and sucked her into it. Tempest quickly bolted to it and went through. Aquagirl noticed this and sealed it with a wave of hand after they passed through.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” Aquaman bellowed. He knocked Circe’s blast aside and blasted her again. “You were supposed to leave with them!”

“I will not abandon you my- AHHH” she was interrupted by an electric blast from Aqualad as she shrieked in pain.

“STOP THIS!”

“Submit,” was all Kaldur said. He stared at his former mentor, daring him to continue the fight.

Aquaman tensed. Every fiber of his being fought the urge to submit. He was King of the Seas, under the subjugation of no one. But he could not let Tula or his people die because of his arrogance. He dropped the trident and raised his hands.

“Let her go.”

Aqualad nodded and ceased the electrical current. Tula’s form went limp and she passed out from the currents of electricity being passed through her body. Green Lantern used his ring to create a bubble around Aquaman, preventing his escape. Circe stepped forward, looked Aquaman dead in the eyes, and spoke the words of a conqueror.

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

I came, I saw, I conquered.

Chapter Text

The assembled Anti-Registration members on the backup Watchtower on the Moon stared up incredulously at the holomonitors above them. Atlantis had fallen, and Aquaman was being led away in chains and an inhibitor collar. Now, the news was showing live footage of the crowning of Atlantis’ new king: Orm (or better known to the world as Ocean Master). After his coronation he was set to issue a statement. In the main hall Martian Manhunter was monitoring this and other news feeds around the globe. Mera and Tempest were also in there, outraged at Orm’s actions. J’onn looked at who was available in case a crisis arose. Vixen, Huntress, Zauriel, Barda, Orion, and Stargirl were on call in the base. In addition to this, Arrows Green and Red, Black Canary, Zatanna, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn were away from the base but were still available to be called on.

Mera was glaring at the monitors. “How dare he take his brother’s crown so willingly.”

“He will pay for his treachery my Queen,” Tempest reassured. “And we will liberate our true king.”

“Not without a plan,” Martian Manhunter interjected.

“We must act now! While there is still time! With each passing day our king slips further and further away from us.”

“I am not assigning anyone to rescue Arthur until we first know where he has been taken. That way we can come up with a plan to safely extract him.”

Tempest glowered at the Martian. Mera put a hand on his shoulder and his expression softened.

“Thank you for your assistance and allowing us to stay here for the time being.”  

Dr. Fate entered the hall walked over to the trio. “Sorry to interrupt but have you seen Wonder Woman or Batman?”

“They are not here,” J’onn said. “Wonder Woman is preparing her nation for an attack from Superman and Batman and his associates are busy with a growing problem in Gotham.”

“I need to speak with them both, Wonder Woman especially as she is now working with Ares.”

“Is something wrong?”

“Yes. I’ve received some disturbing visions from one who has passed on from this world and steps need to be taken to ensure these visions do not come to pass.”

Suddenly the screen was taken up by a live news feed showing the upper body of Ocean Master, sitting on the Atlantean throne.

“I would like to thank the people of Atlantis for their support of my coronation. King Arthur was weak and did not do enough to protect his constituents from the threats of the surface. By aligning Atlantis with the registration act, I have ensured protection and security for the people of Atlantis. However, our war is not over. The Amazons are in open rebellion against this act of peace and it is our duty to assist our allies in pursuit of peace. In short my brothers and sisters, we are in open war with the Amazons. Fear not! We shall prevail, and the Queen of the Amazons will bend the knee or fall to the sword. The choice is hers.”

The broadcast cut out, taken up by an image of Batman. Behind him were the streets of Gotham, but lit up with gunfire as well as sporadic explosions.

“J’onn, I need backup.”

J’onn looked surprised. “You never ask for backup. Am I to assume the situation has taken a drastic turn?”

Batman looked exhausted. “I have Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, Batwing, Batwoman, Catwoman, and the GCPD with me, but we’re slowly losing ground. Since the ceasefire under threat of death, crime has gone down in Gotham. At approximately 5 pm, Gotham experienced a series of raids all over the city. I deployed my team to the place where the violence was the worst, but we were slowly being overrun. An hour into this I received a transmission from Poison Ivy saying she was given an access code to a video chat, where Gotham’s criminal element were planning a siege of the city. The Penguin, Two-Face, Black Mask, and the Joker’s gangs would provide the numbers to take down the police and keep us distracted while the super criminals would target key points in the city. So far, I’ve identified these criminals who are wreaking havoc on the city.”

As he said this mug shots appeared on another holoscreen. On this screen were: Penguin, Two-Face, Black Mask, The Joker, Killer Moth, Firefly, Mr. Freeze, Mad Hatter, Man-Bat, Scarecrow, Bane, Clayface, Grundy, Anarky, Great White Shark, Maxie Zeus, Key, Zsasz, Scarface and the Ventriloquist, and Blockbuster. Next to that appeared a map of Gotham, with a series of red coloring over certain areas as well as a whole island.

“Miagani Island has fallen, GCPD cannot get in and we’re having difficulties as well. Bleak Island is under attack on a few fronts, especially at GCPD headquarters. A few banks here and there are being assaulted. Founder’s Island appears to be relatively undisturbed, but I know criminals are being mobilized for an assault on the island. ACE Chemicals appears to be a launching point for Black Mask’s crew, helicopters are leaving there daily and raining fire on us from above. Whoever you can send, send them. I-”

And his transmission cut out.

“Batman come in,” Martian Manhunter said. “Batman,” he said after a few seconds.

“We can’t get a signal out,” Zauriel said, “They’re being jammed.”


 

Gotham was under siege. Most of the civilians made it out before the situation had gotten worse, but there were still emergency response teams and the GCPD on standby in the city. The bridges were heavily under fire from both sides, and neither one giving ground. Barbra stared at the tactical maps, live feeds from surveillance cameras, and analyses running on the possible outcomes and the likelihood of those occurrences in their most recent base of operations: the clock tower. Beside her was Batwing and Robin, awaiting orders from Batman as to where they could be sent. Suddenly, the alarm started blaring.

“Intruders?” Batwing asked.

Batgirl checked the cameras surrounding the tower. “No.”

Warning. Unverified teleportation imminent.

Suddenly the back of the room glowed in five spots. When the light cleared, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Zatanna, and Harley Quinn stood at the ready.
“J’onn sent us to help in any way we can,” Green Arrow said.

“Perfect,” Batgirl said as she pressed a button. They needed all the help they could get. Batman’s gaunt face appeared on the holoscreen.

“What is it Batgirl?”

“Batman, J’onn sent reinforcements with more on the way. I have Green Arrow, Black Canary, Poison Ivy, Zatanna, and Harley Quinn with me.”

“Good. Send Green Arrow and Black Canary to my location. I’m on the rooftop of Wayne tower. Send Zatanna to Nightwing’s location at the docks, he’s closing in on the Penguin. Have Poison Ivy check on Catwoman. She hasn’t checked in since going behind lines on Miagani Island near an orphanage.”

“And Harley?”

“Keep her there.”

“WHAT?!?!” Harley screamed.

“The Joker’s somewhere in Gotham. I can’t risk having her join in on the rampage.”

“No Bats I can help! I could find him for you!”

“How do I know I can trust you?”
“Because with you and your whack-job friends I’m safe from Waller. Out there with Mr. J I’m toast.”

Batman was silent for a moment. “Fine. Have Robin go with her.  Robin I need you to get to the Gotham bank, Two-Face was last seen entering there. Batwing, I need you in the sky. Take out those helicopters and keep us updated on their movements.”  

“Sounds good,” Batwing replied.

With that he took off upward, flying through the opening in the ceiling of the tower. Robin, Harley, and Poison Ivy took to the elevator. Zatanna chanted and disappeared in a puff of smoke. Green Arrow and Black Canary stuck around for a few minutes while the elevator rose again.

“Batman, aren’t you concerned that Superman will catch wind of this war in Gotham?” Green Arrow asked.

“I’ve had Beast Boy and Miss Martian in D.C. monitoring activity from Cadmus and the Registration Task Force. When they make their move, we’ll know.”


 

Washington, D.C.

Miss Martian’s mind wandered the Capitol Building, searching for any information she could regarding the anti-registration movement. Unsurprisingly, she had not discovered any information they did not already know. However, she now knew information about a majority of congressmen and congresswomen; who was having an affair, who was having family troubles, who was blackmailing who, and other government scandals. She had disguised herself as the senator of Virginia’s secretary, and was tuning out the senator and his committee as they hotly debated the issue of the registration movement. She sharpened her senses, focusing her power on the specifics of anything having to do with the registration act. Suddenly she heard a faint whisper of a thought.

… fight… Gotham… sending…

Her attention snapped as she focused in on whoever’s thoughts those belonged to. To her surprise, she had reached into the mind of the Speaker of the House.

…can’t believe they would approve of such drastic action. Why any situation needs almost the entirety of our registered assets I’ll never understand. Though this could win the “war”, I guess.

Miss Martian panicked. How many had the government sent to Gotham? Telepathically, she notified Beast Boy of the situation and told him to contact Batman. While he did this, she was connected to his mind, hearing what was being said and seeing what he saw. Batman simply nodded and told them to go back to base before cutting out. She excused herself from the debate and walked to an elevator, determined to reach Beast Boy and leave this city. A thought then occurred to her: a majority of the registration’s forces were headed to Gotham, leaving Cadmus and the LexCorp offices virtually undefended. Gathering this valuable intelligence could give them the advantage they need to win this war. She had to get into Cadmus and uncover their plans.


 

Gotham Docks

Nightwing looked down on the docks atop a tower crane. He saw movement on the deck of the main vessel and pulled out his scope to see more. There were 10 hostiles, all equipped with various firearms. He switched the scope to heat vision and modified it to show life which radiated body heat. This switch revealed another 40 of the Penguin’s men, the majority of which were located in the main lower deck. Nightwing smiled to himself. He hadn’t had this much fun since taking over as leader of the team. Putting away his scope and standing up, he picked his first victim: a sniper who had taken a vantage point in the crow’s nest. Silently, he jumped down and free fell, landing right behind him. He pulled an Eskrima stick off his back, ignited it, and super-tazered the sniper who crumpled to the floor. Nightwing crouched down and dropped to the deck floor. He crouched behind a pile of crates and turned on the heat vision in his mask, allowing him to survey and takedown the hostiles. One came creeping up on the other side of the crate. As he turned, Nightwing knocked the gun from his hands, put a hand over his mouth, and held him in an intense grip until he moved no more. Nightwing then ran silently to the side of the ship where two hostiles were laughing. He jumped, planting each foot on each one’s back, and shoved hard. They fell off the side and smacked their heads onto the side of the ship, keeping them silent. Nightwing turned and continued his onslaught. He snuck behind another assailant and slammed his head into a steel door, knocking him out quickly. He turned and threw one of his electric charged Eskrima sticks, connecting with the head of the gunman and shocking him upon impact. He ran forward and grabbed his weapon, shouldering it and drawing his grappling gun. He rounded the corner and aimed at the deviant in front of him. He fired, and it grappled the leg as he yanked and pulled the gunman out from under him. He leaped forward and slammed his fist down on the side of his head, sending him into a forced nap. Nightwing rose and looked about the ship: three were left. One was on the front of the ship while the other two were at the rear near the helicopter. He ran to the front of the ship and grabbed a few electric pellets from, his belt. He removed the grappling attachment from the grappling gun and loaded it with the electric pellets. He rolled, aimed, and fired the pellet, which exploded in a cloud of static smoke. The henchman was knocked out and crumpled to the deck. Nightwing then leaped onto crate after crate, reaching the top of the ship and saw the two henchmen pacing on either side of the helicopter. Once again, he aimed and fired and repeated the process for the second one. Both crumpled on the deck one after the other surrounded in a cold of smoke. He heard giggling behind him and spun around, ready to fight. Standing behind him in a mist of smoke was Zatanna.

“I was going to step in and help but it didn’t look like you needed any.”

Nightwing chuckled. “Nice of you to show up Zatanna.”

“Well we heard you all were in trouble and we came to help. How many are left?”

“About forty. Most of which are closest to the Penguin.”

“Why would he have a ship as his hideout?”

“I’ve been wondering that too.” With that he jumped down and smashed one of the crates. Piles of weapons spilled out onto the deck. “He’s providing arms to the criminal cells in Gotham.”

Zatanna stared at the pile and then looked at Nightwing. She gestured to the door leading to the lower decks. “Shall we?”

Nightwing smirked. “After you.”


 

Miagani Island, Gotham

Poison Ivy walked silently toward the orphanage on Miagani Island. As she approached, she could feel the life energies of a few humans near the entrance. Her expression softened while hiding her true intentions beneath the surface. She sauntered toward the four men, captivating their attention. She intentionally gave off pheromones which would inhibit their senses and overcome with lust. They raised their guns as she approached.

“Don’t come any closer,” one said.

Poison Ivy grinned innocently. “Now boys,” she said seductively as she released the pheromones, “do you really want to shoot me?”

Then men faltered in their action. They lowered their guns slightly, taking in the pheromones she was giving off until they dropped their weapons completely. Their faces flushed and eyes filled with desire for this seductress. She slowly made her way to them and put her hands on the closest one’s chest. She lightly moved her hands down his chest and stomach, making him shudder. He lowered his head as he placed a kiss on her waiting lips. The effect was instantaneous: his body shuddered violently as he collapsed on the ground, convulsing until he moved no more and the top of a mushroom sprouted from his gaping mouth. The other men watched in horror as this occurred, but were still entranced by Poison Ivy.

“Men,” she scoffed. “So easily broken.” She raised her hand as vines shot from the earth and entangled the remaining men. One was able to fire his gun, shooting through the plant. The vine shuddered and whipped him around in a circle before slamming his body into the ground, breaking him inside. The vine relinquished its grip and slashed toward the exposed head of the second criminal, decapitating him. The second vine relinquished its grip on the headless corpse as the third loosened up a bit. The first wrapped around his legs, the second wrapped around his neck, and the third wrapped around his arms all while he screamed at the top of his lungs. He had just watched three of his friends die horrible deaths and he faced his own. The vines each pulled in different directions, stretching him out.

“PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! LET ME GO I’LL DO ANYTHING ANYTHING JUST LET ME GO I DON’T WANNA DIE!”

Poison Ivy raised her hand, stopping the pulling of the vines. He groaned in agony as tears fell from his eyes. He looked at her with relief that his torment was put to a stop. She sauntered closer to him and looked down on him as his breath quickened and the fear in his eyes reached higher levels. She stroked his face, shushing him as she attempted to comfort him. He calmed a little bit, which caused her to cease her comforting moves and walked toward the door with her hands clasped together near her chest. The vines tightened around their respective holds and, as she pulled her hands apart in fists, began to pull in opposing directions. His screams reached high octaves until they were cut off by the snap of his neck, followed by it being ripped from his body. His arms and legs were ripped out of their sockets and flung about the front yard. She reached the doors as the vines flew forward and smashed the doors to pieces and retreated back into the ground. She stepped over the threshold of the broken entrance and continued down the hall. She extended her senses, looking for any life in this dump. She felt one individual, pushed to physical limits and facing exhaustion. She also felt something strange and non-organic in the room with the individual. She opened the door and saw the room dip downward, as the entrance was on a stage and the floor was a good ten feet below. In the middle of the room was an exhausted and battle-worn Catwoman. Surrounding her were a large host of humanoid robots that glowed green. She was jumping about from robot, raking her claws against their throats, slamming her heels into their heads, snatching them using her whip and yanking them about. All the while some jackass was taunting her using speakers. Poison Ivy jumped down and joined the fight. She slashed her hand upward, sending jagged, thorn-tipped vines breaking through the floor and impaling many of the robots. She then moved her arms behind her as two long vines shot out of the earth and twined around her arms and used them as an extension of her arms. She swung her arms back and forth, knocking them down as she moved. She made a grasping motion with her fist and grabbed a few of them and slammed them into the ground. She focused and summoned a massive Venus fly trap, springing forward from the destroyed floor and snatching up many of their foes. The robots struggled as they slowly decomposed in its highly volatile acids. Catwoman finished the remaining bot by slamming the heel of her boot into its cerebral cavity. She looked up at Poison Ivy appreciatively, but was interrupted before she could say anything by the voice on the speakers.

“NO NO NO NO NO NO! NO! YOU CHEATED! IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE YOU!”

Catwoman looked up annoyed. “Well Eddie if you wanted it to be just me you should have made sure I couldn’t be tracked.”

“YOU CANOT WIN! I AM THE RIDDLER! I-”

His voice was cut off by thorny vines that impaled the speakers. She looked at Poison Ivy.

“What took you so long?”

“I was delayed by some inferior specimens. How did Riddler get his hands on you?”

“There I was scouting out Miagani Island for our Dark Knight, when those damn robots caught me off guard. They drugged me and dragged me to this dump and started some brawl. Then you got here like 10 minutes later.” 

“Well, now I can contact Batman and let him know you’re back.”

The building shuddered and rumbled as pieces of the ceiling and walls began to collapse. Poison Ivy turned to Catwoman. 

“Come on, let’s go.”


 

First Bank of Gotham

Robin and Harley Quinn stood on a rooftop overlooking the bank. Robin had successfully hacked Two-Face’s communications and confirmed he was in the building. All that was left was to capture him and end this. He got a running start as he leaped off the rooftop and extended his arms outward, causing his cape to snap to the outstretched position as he glided toward the bank. Harley leaped onto one of the antiquated telephone lines and ran across it. The pair landed on the roof and made sure they were alone, then headed to the window ceiling that looked down on the bank floor. Inside there was at least 20 men, most armed with some sort of firearms. Alarms were blaring, so there was no need to silently take them out to get to Two-Face. He opened one of the glass windows and leaped down, falling a good 75 feet before landing on one of the henchmen. He slammed him down, rolled on the floor, and tripped another one while slamming his head into the floor. Harley repeated his movements with the exception of landing on a henchman’s shoulders, using him as a springboard and slamming her mallet into his head, landed on the floor, and lead with a mallet swipe to another henchman’s head. Robin threw three electric pellets, which each knocking out the henchmen. He drew his staff and went to work on a group of five robbing another vault. Harley pulled out her guns and started firing on another group of three, enraged to find that they were not dead. She unloaded her gun to see that her bullets had been swapped out for rubber ones.

“BATS!!!” she screamed.

The remaining 5 stormed to her location, all with weapons trained on her. Robin was in the middle of disarming a henchman when he saw Harley was surrounded. Quickly, he tossed a smoke grenade at the group. It exploded at one of their feet, forcing them to violently cough and temporarily lose sight. Harley saw her window of opportunity and systematically began taking them out. One she grabbed by the shoulders and kneed in the crotch, who fell to his knees and was immediately pistol whipped. The second went down in a blaze of rubber bullets. The third grabbed Harley by the neck. She wrapped her legs around his arm and twisted, enjoying the sound of his arm bones snapping. She roundhouse kicked him across his face and, for good measure, smacked him in the crotch with her mallet. The fourth and fifth each ran at her from either side. She waited until the right time and leaped up as they collided into each other.

Robin had already taken his out using his staff and was enjoying the show. It was nice to not be on the other end of Harley’s wrath. Suddenly the alarms stopped ringing, and Tim heard the sound of a round being loaded into a chamber. He slowly turned to see Two-Face standing ten feet away from him.

Two-Face regarded him. “I was expecting the Batman, but having you here might be better. Your death will cause him endless torment as he realizes his failure.”

“That’s only if you can kill me,” Robin said bravely.

Two-Face laughed. “I have no problem killing you whelp. You-” he was cut off by the sound of a gun going off, the round connecting to the gun in his hand. The gun was knocked out of his hand and landed a few feet from him along with a rubber bullet. As he turned back to Robin, he saw a staff going toward his chest, connecting with a sickening crack as he fell to his knees. Another strike followed to his head and he fell flat on his face.

Robin looked at Harley with surprise on his face. “Thank you.”

She shrugged. “Eh you would have done the same.”

He nodded. “We should contact Batman and let him know Two-Face is down.”

With that the pair along with their captive exited the building and made their way to the already waiting police squad outside.


 

Wayne Tower, Gotham

“Thanks Robin,” Batman said. “Head over to Miagani Island and help Catwoman and Poison Ivy.”

“Will do.”

With that the communication ended. Green Arrow and Black Canary were on the balcony looking over Gotham. Batman walked over to them as they were discussing something in hushed tones.

“Robin and Harley took down Two-Face,” he informed.

Both stopped talking and looked at him. “Well that’s good news,” Black Canary said slowly.

Batman eyed her. “Do I need to step back into the building for a minute?”

“No, no it’s okay. We were just discussing something Roy told us.”

“What?”

Green Arrow looked at him. “J’onn sent him to Themyscira for help, specifically Wonder Boy as the others are preparing for invasion and Diana said they could spare Alec for a time.”

“Is something going on with Wonder Boy?”

“Apparently the Flamebird is becoming more imposing and more powerful. In the beginning he could control it, but now it seems to be resisting him. It hates being suppressed and brought out whenever it’s convenient for Alec and wants control.”

“Then having Alec here is a liability. He needs to be in complete control if he’s coming to Gotham.”

“Maybe he can’t control it. Sometimes when you cage the beast, the beast gets angry. It becomes feral and loses sense of who is who and lashes out at anyone in its path.”

“What are you saying Ollie?” Black Canary asked.

“I’m saying send Dr. Fate to Themyscira and use his magic to help Alec and the Flamebird work in concert rather than one over the other.”

“I’ll contact Dr. Fate and let him know.” Batman said.

He walked back inside Wayne Tower, leaving Black Canary and Green Arrow looking out on Gotham. Storm clouds were rolling in, and they were black as night.


 

Themyscira

Red Arrow exited the vortex with Dr. Fate. The vortex deposited them on the outskirts of Themyscira’s city walls, and the sight was stunning. The walls were being armed with massive crossbows and catapults as well as other nasty defenses sure to bring down an attacking army. The thing that bothered Roy the most though was that these walls were not there originally. The Amazons were quick builders but they must have begun construction right after hearing Atlantis had fallen. He spotted Donna Troy supervising the project and caught her eye. She gave a command to one of the second-in-commands and flew down to them.

“Red Arrow. Dr. Fate,” she greeted. “This is an unusual time to visit.”

“Donna we’ve come to speak to Wonder Boy, did Wonder Woman not tell you we were coming?” Red Arrow asked.

“No she didn’t. But then again she’s been very busy supervising the defense of Themyscira and developing the defensive strategies with the Queen and Ares.”

“Ares?” Dr. Fate asked suddenly.

“Yes. He came to us saying he was here to help us in these troubled times. He actually surrendered to Wonder Boy after they fought.”

“I must speak to Wonder Woman at once. Where can we find her?”

“She is within the war council chamber with the Queen, Artemis, Ares, and Wonder Boy.” She raised her hand. “I, Donna Troy of Themyscira, hereby grant you permission to enter Themyscira.” There was a welcoming, calming gust of wind that swept over them.

“Thanks Donna, we owe you one,” Red Arrow said.

Donna nodded and flew up to the top of the wall to continue the defensive walls. Dr. Fate’s eyes glowed and they teleported to the palace. When Red Arrow’s vision cleared, he was standing in a room that was very large. In the center on a raised block of marble was a massive map of Themyscira. On it, movements were being shown: the building of the wall, the reorganizing of their forces, and the outskirts of their island. In the walls were torches lighting the room and surrounding the table were Queen Hippolyta, her leading general Artemis, Wonder Woman, Wonder Boy, and the god of war Ares. They looked startled with the exception of Wonder Woman. Artemis began to draw her sword when Diana gave her a stern look.

“Dr. Fate. Red Arrow. How nice of you to join us. J’onn informed me you would be coming.”

Dr. Fate bowed. “Apologies Queen Hippolyta for the interruption but I come on urgent business from the Lords of Order as well as one from beyond the grave.”

The Queen looked at the sorcerer supreme with a confused expression. “What do you mean by that?”

“My queen if we may speak in private I will explain all,” he gave a pointed look toward Ares.

Ares sighed. “I will return to Olympus and inform Zeus of our progress.”

With that he erupted in a flash of flames, leaving them alone to speak.

“Now, what news do you have for me?” the Queen asked.

“Ares is deceiving you my Queen.”

“How so?”

“He will use this battle to gain more power and, when the battle seems lost, he will kill you and place Circe as the new Queen of the Amazons.”

The Queen was startled by this new information. Wonder Woman shook her head. “I know Ares. He seems concerned that this has gone too far and has committed his efforts to our cause.”

“Superman knows that he cannot take Themyscira, even with the Atlanteans on his side. He is using Ares as a Trojan horse to destroy you from the inside.”
 The Queen looked skeptical. “How do you know this?”

“Because I have seen it. I was shown a vision of these events happening by one who speaks from beyond the grave: Harbinger.”

Wonder Boy’s eyes widened and shone with tears. “That’s impossible. Lyla’s dead.”

“I understand your confusion but her abilities were largely mystical and her spirit is now connected to the mystic plane and can sometimes commune with those also connected to it. She showed me this vision and it will come to pass if you are not careful.”

Queen Hippolyta looked at Dr. Fate. “Do you know of any magic that will restrain Ares and prevent this from happening?”

“I do indeed.” He raised his hand and light shone in his palm. Once the light faded there were two silver bands, each branded with an Eta. “These will block all flow of the psychic energies of war that Ares feeds on, leaving him essentially powerless.”

Red Arrow pulled Wonder Boy off to the side while Wonder Woman, the Queen, and Dr. Fate discussed strategy while Artemis stepped out to coordinate the defenses. He looked Alec in the eyes, “Are you okay?”

Alec looked at him with an annoyed expression. “I just found out that my best friend is able to communicate with others beyond death and that Ares is a traitor. No, I am not okay.”

“That’s not what I meant, I was talking about the Flamebird.”

Alec shivered a bit. “What do you mean?”

“Wonder Woman told us what happened with Ares. Are you in control?”

“For now, yes. She is becoming increasingly more difficult to reign in once I call on her for help, and she is getting tired of it. She wants control Roy, and I don’t think I’m powerful enough to prevent that from happening.”

Roy put his hands on Alec’s shoulders. “You are strong enough. You’re the strongest person I know, and I won’t ever let you lose control.”

“How? If it could happen to Superman, who is supposedly the best of us, can’t it happen to anyone?”

“Well if it comes to it we’ll figure something out. But right now Batman and I need you in Gotham. It’s all-out war there and there is a massive group of registration heroes on their way to bring their version of peace.”

Alec’s expression tightened. “Then what are we waiting for?”


 

Wayne Tower, Gotham

The portal rippled outward over the terrace. Wonder Boy and Red Arrow jumped out of the vortex and landed on the balcony. He looked up and saw Batman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary. Each were staring at a tactical holographic map of Gotham, analyzing the opposing forces.

“Glad you could make it,” Black Canary said with a smile. “I love the costume change though, it suits you.”

Alec nodded. “Thanks, I like it with the darker colors. How can I help?”

“We need you here,” Batman said pointing to the bridges connecting Founder’s Island to Bleake’s Island. “Movement from the Joker’s gang has risen, and we are having difficulties holding them and they are on the verge of breaking through. You and Red Arrow will go there. GCPD are holding them but they don’t have long.”

Wonder Boy and Red Arrow nodded. Red Arrow glanced at Alec. “You ready for a dive?”

Wonder Boy raised an eyebrow in confusion, ten realized what he meant. “Oh, wait you want to do that?”

Red Arrow chuckled. “Yeah let’s do it!”

Wonder Boy gestured in front of him. “After you.”

Red Arrow grinned and ran toward the edge of the balcony, lightly jumping onto the railing then springing face downward as he fell from Wayne Tower. Wonder Boy looked at the perplexed adults and shrugged. He followed Red Arrow’s lead and leaped off the balcony, ecstatic with the feeling of being in free fall. Red Arrow was only 50 feet ahead of him, so he sped up slightly. He reached out with his mind and got a grip on Red Arrow’s body, slowing his fall and angling him skyward. Wonder Boy ceased his descent and shot skyward, bringing Red Arrow with him and pulling him close. They passed over many rooftops and passed by some skyscrapers, none as massive in height as Wayne Tower. They had just reached the water leading to the bridge when they saw the smoke and flashes of light from gunfire.

“Drop me on one of the crossbeams, I’ll cover you.”

Wonder Boy nodded and obliged. He pushed Red Arrow ahead of him and dropped him lightly on the nearest crossbeam. Immediately he bombarded Joker’s gang with various trick arrows. Wonder Boy sped up and focused in on an officer who was knocked down by one of Joker’s men. He was aiming his handgun at the officer when Wonder Boy arrived between them, grasping the handgun and crushing it. The henchman pulled the trigger and the gun exploded, damaging his hand. Wonder Boy stood over him as he crouched down in pain and screamed obscenities directed at him. Wonder Boy rolled his eyes, picked up the henchman, and threw him into a totaled car. His body and voice ceased as he impacted, and was knocked out. Wonder Boy turned and saw more gunfire coming toward him. He raised his bracelets and began deflecting their bullets, careful to avoid redirecting them into officers. A few seconds later, a sonic arrow impacted in front of the men, knocking some back a few feet and immobilizing others as they clutched their heads in agony. Wonder Boy flew forward and began his assault. He uppercut one who was raising his gun in defense, grappled two more with each hand and slammed them into the ground. A fourth and fifth were standing up, and wonder Boy jumped between them, and back flipped in place, kicking one under his jaw and knocking another back into the pavement. Another came behind him, but was stunned with a rabbit punch. He finished him off with a roundhouse kick, while another body slammed him and was headed for the edge of the bridge. Alec got an arm free and chopped at his leg, cringing at the sound of bone snapping. The man collapsed on himself and Alec spun free. More were coming, so Alec lassoed a criminal behind him, and brought his hands from over his back to in front of him in a swinging motion. The man was yanked into the air and was brought down on the on-coming henchmen. More followed from behind them, but were stopped by five explosive arrows fired right at their feet. They stopped in their tracks and waited, contemplating their odds against Wonder Boy, Red Arrow, and the cops. A manic laughter broke out among their ranks, and the Joker shoved his way to the front of their lines. Alec quickly and discretely reached out with his mind and began raising the largest object on the bridge.

“I thought if I made enough noise for Batman, he’d show up. But NO! Instead he sends some discount Amazon and a discount archer to deal with me? ME!”

“What’s the matter Joker, are we not enough of a challenge for you? Or do you prefer getting your ass handed to you by Batman?”

The Joker laughed. “Well you certainly have a mouth on you. I’ll be sure to cut it off when I send you back to Wonder Woman in pieces.”

Alec scoffed. “I highly doubt you can kill me, clown.”

“Why don’t we find out?” Joker said threateningly.

“Because this was over before it even began,” Alec said looking up.

Joker noticed this and looked up with a puzzled expression that quickly turned into a massive smile and uncontrollable laughter. His men yelled in shock and fear as a semi was hanging over their heads.

“You won’t do it,” he challenged.

Wonder Boy froze. He thought this would happen but he hadn’t exactly come up with a contingency plan for it.

“But I will,” Joker finished as he threw a grenade at the front of the truck, causing it to explode and breaking Wonder Boy’s hold on the truck. It rained down in pieces on Joker’s men as they rushed forward, with the Joker at the head of the charge. Wonder Boy rushed forward and brought his hands up to deflect bullets with his bracelets as the Joker raised his gun. At the last second he raised it above Wonder Boy’s head and fired. Wonder Boy had time to knock the gun aside and punch the Joker so hard he slammed into a car door, but not enough time to stop the bullet that had hit Red Arrow. Red Arrow stumbled and fell off the crossbeam toward the bridge. Wonder Boy blasted forward and caught his boyfriend before he hit the ground. They took cover behind the beam as Alec analyzed the bullet wound. Somehow Joker managed to aim too far left and he caught Red Arrow where his skin was showing on his upper arm. It was a through and through wound, thankfully.

“It’s not bad,” Roy said.

Alec shook his head. “I know but you’re staying here. I can handle Joker.”

“Let me help you, you shouldn’t have to face him alone.”

“Roy if I lost you, I would never forgive myself. Please stay here away from the fight.”

“But-” He was cut off by a passionate kiss from Wonder Boy. Red Arrow deepened the kiss in fear that it would be their last. Alec broke it off after a few seconds.

“Alec-” But he was cut off as Wonder Boy rushed forward and fought through the Joker’s men to get to him. He didn’t stop to individually take them down, only cartwheeled and kicked outward at anything that moved and throwing them over the edge of the bridge. Finally he reached the Joker, but was protected by a massive one armed man wielding a huge hammer.

“Meet Mr. Abromavitch, or as my traitorous bitch Harley likes to call him: Mr. Hammer.”

The massive clown brought the hammer down where Wonder Boy was standing, but he moved at the last second. Alec was on his way to bring his fist crashing into Abromavitch’s face, but twin red lasers connected with his forehead and burned holes where they hit. He toppled over, falling backwards. Wonder Boy turned around and saw Superman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and Fire floating above him.

“Stand down Wonder Boy,” Superman ordered.

“How could you kill him?!”

“The world was warned. I’m doing what I have to in order to keep the world safe.”

“This isn’t safe. Killing off villains just because they aren’t peaceful isn’t right. You’re only adding to the chaos instead of attempting to calm it.”

“We tried it the old way. It didn’t work. Now, stand aside or be killed. It’s time for me to do what Batman never could: take care of this monster once and for all.”

“Now hang on,” Joker interrupted. “You’re going to kill me? Well the boy scout’s fallen off his rocker!” He laughed hysterically.

Superman’s eyes glowed red. Wonder Boy leaped between them with his arms at the ready to block the man of steel’s blasts.

Superman hesitated. “I don’t want to hurt you Wonder Boy but you’re about to give me no choice.”

“There’s always a choice Superman. Make yours.”

Superman eyed Wonder Boy, who remained unmoved. Fire looked concerned at each hero, while Green Lantern looked unmoved. He slowly began to raise his hand, but before it could be leveled at Wonder Boy’s chest, an arrow impacted on his chest. Red Arrow released arrow after arrow at the once great intergalactic guardian of Earth. Fire flew higher into the air and unleashed volley after volley of fire bolts on Red Arrow’s position, which he barely dodged. Wonder Boy turned his attention back to the man of steel and readied himself. Superman’s muscles tensed, ready to shoot forward and slam Wonder Boy.

Wonder Boy turned his head slightly. “Run,” he said to the Joker. Joker turned and ran as fast as he could across the bridge.

Telepathically, Wonder Boy caused a car behind Superman to come at him from behind, but it was intercepted and smashed to bits by the Kryptonian. Superman turned his attention to Wonder Boy, who had begun levitating above the ground and rocketed toward him. He slammed into the fallen hero and bashed him into a support beam. He pulled his arm back to hit him, but his hand was caught. He looked and saw Green Lantern had shackled his hand. Lantern yanked his arm over his head, taking Wonder Boy with him, and slashed his hand and Wonder Boy downward. He impacted into a totaled car with a massive crash. His vision cleared and saw Lantern floating above him. He aimed his ring at him and began sending down blasts of energy. Wonder Boy scrambled to his feet and began blocking them. He increased the amount of blasts being fired at Wonder Boy, and Wonder Boy had a difficult time sending them back at him. In irritation, Lantern conjured a freight train and caused it to explode upon impact at Wonder Boy. He was sent off his feet and smashed into a totaled car. He looked over at Red Arrow, who had just dowsed Fire with a cryogenic arrow. He then continued firing arrows at Green Lantern. Lantern raised a shield, and the arrow exploded upon impact. He could feel Lantern’s concentration on him, gathering to create a massive orb to slam into him. No! Wonder Boy refocused and mentally assaulted Lantern’s mind with unrelenting rage, shattering his focus. Lantern screamed in agony and suffering as his mind was assaulted. He drifted from the skies to the road of the bridge on his knees clutching his head.

You will not hurt him! Alec telepathically yelled into Green Lantern’s mind.

Yes! Yes, destroy our enemies! The Flamebird intoned.

His mental assault increased in power and intensity, ripping his mind intensely. Lantern’s screams turned into agonizing incoherent screams for the pain to stop. Wonder Boy tried to make it stop, but could not control the mental output of his power. Lantern’s screams climaxed as the sound of his mind snapping became evident in the area. Lantern fell from his knees onto his face flat on the pavement, with no clear indication that there was any mental activity present. Superman hovered above the scene, taking in everything.

What have you done? Wonder Boy asked Flamebird.

What you could not. I stopped him for good.

That’s not our way, no one deserves that!

“What have you done?!” Superman yelled. He floated next to Green Lantern’s fallen form and looked down on him.

“I- I didn’t mean-,” Wonder Boy started.

“But you did it!” Superman interrupted. “You ripped his mind to shreds. You’re no better than the criminals I came to put an end to.”

“Superman please-” Wonder Boy reasoned.

“No. You had your chance to surrender. You’ve lost that chance and now I’m putting you down.”

If you will not willingly do what is necessary, then it is time I act of my own accord.

Wonder Boy felt heat rise within him, his thoughts clouding with violence and darkness as Flamebird took over. In his mind’s eye he was on a cliff overlooking a sea as black as night. It was heavily storming and under its waves were events and thoughts he had not thought about in years, things he had repressed and pushed down so they would never come to light. A beam of light touched down a few yards in front of him, and what stepped forward from it was him. But this version of him was different, his smile colder and his eyes flame yellow: Flamebird. Flamebird rushed forward and fought Wonder Boy. His training kicked in, but he realized he was fighting himself, and Flamebird knew all his weaknesses and flaws in combat. Flamebird anticipated a strike to the chest and intercepted it, twisting his arm behind him and slammed her fist into his rib cage repeatedly. Flamebird released him and pummeled him with strikes until he collapsed.

No! Stop! Please! Wonder Boy thought as he wrestled for control. Flamebird sauntered toward him.

Give in child. Your time is done. Flamebird envoked as they took control for themselves. They shoved her hands forward and blasted him over the edge of the cliff with a pyro-infused telekinetic strike. Wonder Boy was rocketed over the edge and crashed into the sea, losing consciousness as his mind sunk into the repressed sea. Flamebird’s control was absolute, and Wonder Boy’s mind was repressed beyond hope. Superman rushed forward only to be knocked back by an explosion of cosmic flames emitting from Wonder Boy. Superman got to his feet and stared. Wonder Boy was now hovering on the bridge, but he had changed. His Amazonian gear was morphed into a singlet but covered the entirety of his body except for part of his hands (cut in a circle in the crease of his thumbs showing his fingers) and his head. The color of the material was a gradient of flames that seemed to move as he did. His headpiece was still there, but his sigil had changed to bear a shield similar to Superman’s but inside with a bird with outstretched wings in gold. His belt was thin and in the middle warped into the sigil of Wonder Woman. His eyes glowed the yellow color of flame and his smile showed no happiness, but darkness and cruelty. He raised his hand at Superman and caught hold of him, pulling him close. Superman struggled against his mental hold on him, but could not break free.

The Dark Flamebird regarded him. “I think you and your cause have done enough for one day.” With that it positioned its hand at Superman as lightning crashed down from the sky, striking Superman continuously. As Superman bellowed he pushed his hand outward and the man of steel shot outward, off the bridge and into the sea while lightning still struck him until he had sunk too far to be reached. The Dark Flamebird shot skyward above the bridge and looked down on the criminals and cops still staring in awe. Flamebird extended their hand as blasts of fire rained down on the bridge, incinerating those caught in the blasts upon impact and creating massive holes in the bridge. The cops and criminals still standing and not running opened fire on Flamebird, but they were radiating a heat shield so intense that the bullets melted/dissipated before reaching them. Flamebird raised a hand pointed toward the bridge and twisted, forcing the bridge to bend to their will. The bridge creaked and strained against the unnatural movements, until it snapped all over and fell into the ocean. Flamebird reveled in the chaos and flew off to the city, leaving behind death and destruction in the Gotham Harbor.


 

Gotham Docks

Nightwing and Zatanna stalked down the stairwell to the main hold of the ship. In the hold there were various crates and boxes strewn all over the floor, each containing various firearms. Near the center of the room, Penguin was counting massive stacks of cash as his men loaded other boxes with firearms. Zatanna and Nightwing looked at each other and nodded. Zatanna concealed herself in a stealth spell while Nightwing opened the nearest grate and followed it to get as close to Penguin as possible. He crawled through the nasty passage, taking various twists and turns until he could hear the annoying voice of the Penguin.

“I told you to load that box with 50 assault rifles and 50 handguns. HOW HARD IS IT?!”

“Sorry boss I-”

“NO EXCUSES!”

There was a short silence followed by the bang of a gun going off and the sound of a body hitting the floor.

“CLEAN THIS UP NOW! So difficult to find good help these days.”

“Boss. The crates are loaded.”

“About bloody time!”

“Boss, what do we do if Batman shows up?”

Penguin laughed. “The Batman’s too busy to deal with us tonight when there’s war in Gotham. He’ll never find us-” He was interrupted by Nightwing blasting out of the grate and slammed him into the ground.

“Miss me Cobblepot?” Nightwing snarked.

“Oh shit not you,” Penguin groaned. “Anyone but you!”

“Well you got me, and I’ve got you.” He was aware of the sound of readied firearms. “Tell your men to stand down before this gets messy.”

“HA! You think I’m gonna tell them to stand down after this? Don’t press your luck pretty boy. You think you’re so-AAHHH,” he was interrupted by Nightwing snapping his arm.

“Tell. Them. To. Back. OFF.”

Penguin panted from pain before bellowing “FUCK YOU!”

Nightwing shood his head. “Zatanna? Little help?”

“MRASID ESEHT NEM!” Their guns snapped in two and clattered to the floor as Zatanna appeared next to Nightwing.

“Now. About coming quiet-,” Nightwing started.

He was stopped by Zatanna groaning and clutching her head.

“Zatanna what’s wrong?”

She looked shaken, hurt, and confused all at once. “He’s gone. He’s gone and it took control of him.”

“Zatanna, what’re you-,” he started before he was interrupted by the shaking of the ship. Blasts rained through the metal and melted it, causing the ship to sink into the harbor. They heard a loud creaking noise as the ship was being torn to pieces by fire bolts, some of which connected with some of Penguin’s men as they screamed for the pain to stop. Water rushed in and quickly overtook them. Zatanna was unfocused due to whatever was affecting her concentration, which left Nightwing to get the three of them out. He kept his grip on Penguin as he grabbed Zatanna and pulled her through one of the craters created by the fire blasts in the roof of the ship. As they broke the surface Penguin was coughing up water and Zatanna was breathing heavily. As Nightwing looked up he saw a streak of fire barreling toward the city before it stopped about half a mile above it, and unleased a rain of fire down on Gotham. Nightwing watched in disbelief as he watched the city he loved burn in the night.


 

Downtown Gotham

Batman watched as the police force and criminals fought each other. Bane was tossing cops like rag dolls, and none stood a chance against him. Batman leaped from the rooftops and landed on Bane’s back, yanked the venom tube from his head, leaped backwards as Bane collapsed to his knees from the pain, pulled out his long distance Taser, and fired it, connecting the wires to Bane’s head and watched as Bane convulsed with electricity passing through his body. He collapsed on the pavement as Man-Bat swooped down and made a pass at Batman, who rolled and fired his grappling gun. It tied around his legs as Batman fired the bolt from the gun into the ground and watched as Man-Bat was yanked back to earth, slamming into the road. Batman ran to the impact site and slammed his fist into Man-Bat’s face, knocking him out cold. Green Arrow and Black Canary were making quick work of a squad of thugs lead by Mr. Freeze. Green Arrow unleashed a volley of smoke screen arrows, obscuring their vision. Black Canary jumped in and took the men down easily, disabling them by breaking arms and legs and hitting their pressure points. She heard the sound of Mr. Freeze’s gun preparing to fire, and the sound of an arrow piercing it. The gun malfunctioned, causing Mr. Freeze to swear. Black Canary stood up, turned around, looked Mr. Freeze in the eyes and unleashed her sonic scream. The scream tore through his glass helmet and sent him pummeling into a brick wall.

The trio began to walk toward each other when they were stopped by a radiated blast, which tore a hole in the street. They looked above them and saw the blast had come from Major Force. Alongside him were Blue Beetle, Steel, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, Killer Frost, Enchantress, and Silver Banshee.

Major Force laughed. “Nice to see you’re doing such a good job containing Gotham.”

Batman stepped forward. “I was wondering when Luthor would send his lackeys to take over, I just thought he would send someone with actual power.”

Major force was livid. “Watch it Batman. I will end you.”

“If Luthor was going to send one of the radioactive heroes to handle Gotham, he should have sent Captain Atom. At least he would have put up a fight.” Batman grabbed an electric batarang from his belt.

“You’re going to regret that,” Major Force fumed. He was set to charge but was stopped by a wall of green energy. Guy Gardner set a wall between the two and spoke.

“Enough both of you. Batman we can handle it from here. Get out before we have to take care of you as well.”

“No,” Batman growled. “This is my city and we are handling the situation.”

Just then the sky was lit up with light. He looked upward and thought he saw Wonder Boy, except there was something off. Wonder Boy extended himself and fire bolts erupted from all around him, twisting and curving as they exploded into nearby buildings. Some of the littler ones connected with people and they burned instantly.

Major Force growled. “Wonder Boy. I’ve been waiting for this rematch.”

He flew right at Wonder Boy, but was arrested in a telekinetic grip.

“Let me go you pathetic child!”

Wonder Boy turned his attention to Major Force. “Wonder Boy no longer inhabits this form. I am Flamebird.”

“Well whatever the hell you call yourself now, let me out and face me like a man!”

Flamebird cackled. “I am more than a mere man. And in reality you don’t slightly count as one considering you’re made of pure energy.”

“HOW DARE-” he started.

“I grow tired of this annoyance,” Flamebird interrupted.

It glared at Major Force as he swelled up, screaming as his suit inflated with more energy. His suit expanded until it was a big ball with five small points sticking out where arms, legs, and a head should be. Flamebird blinked and the suit exploded, releasing all of the nuclear energy contained within, but it gravitated to Flamebird. It extended its hands as the energy flowed into it. Blue Beetle, and Silver Banshee rushed him first, while Enchantress floated off chanting and Killer Frost landed on the ground for better cover. Blue Beetle unleashed a barrage of missiles, each of which were turned back on him when they neared their target. Beetle flew around and managed to evade them, but was caught telekinetically and pummeled into a vehicle, causing it to explode on impact. Silver Banshee neared Flamebird and unleashed her sonic scream, which was blocked by an energy shield. Killer Frost made it to the top of a building and unleashed icy blasts, which dissipated when nearing Flamebird. It turned its head and unleashed a fiery scream of its own, blasting Silver Banshee into Killer Frost’s building. The collapsed on Silver Banshee and Killer Frost as she went down with the building. Enchantress sent eldritch blasts at the dark being, but it batted them away as one would shoo away a fly. The Flamebird assaulted her mind with an overwhelming psychic attack, causing her mind to snap instantly. Guy Gardner and Steel charged Flamebird, Guy sending blasts from his ring to distract it but were deflected back at him by its gauntlets. One connected with Guy and he was sent back a bit while Steel continued his attack. He swung his hammer, but it was caught by Flamebird’s hand. It blew a kiss at Steel, and from its mouth a small flame came forth and made contact with Steel’s forehead. Upon impact Steel’s entire body was engulfed in flames as he fell to the streets. He struggled to get up but was slammed back down by his own hammer, which was controlled telekinetically by Flamebird. Flamebird smirked as it made the hammer slam into Steel a dozen times in rapid succession, until it was blasted away by Gut Gardner. Flamebird turned its attention to Guy Garnder. He extended a hand and Batman watched as the building being targeted blasted to pieces. Using the wreckage, it pummeled Guy with the debris. Guy’s shield kept up, but was eventually broken from the continuous barrage. Flamebird rushed forward and grabbed Guy by the throat, choking him. Guy slammed his fist into the Flamebird’s face, his ring hand. It exploded on impact and causing the two to break apart. Guy’s broken form crashed into the street, 20 feet from Batman. The blast had caused his arm to disintegrate, and the rest of him was charred from the blast. Flamebird raised a hand and a fireball formed. It let it roll off its hand lazily, and it fell straight onto Guy Garnder. It violently exploded, unleashing a heat wave and disintegrating Guy’s body.  

Batman stared in awe and agony at what had happened before him. In anger, Batman pulled a batarang out of his utility belt and threw it at the Dark Flamebird. It disintegrated a good three feet before it hit its mark, and the entity turned its attention to Batman. It raised its hand, and the sky crackled with electricity. It brought its hand down as lightning came crashing down on the streets of Gotham, electrifying cops and criminals alike. Batman grappled to the top of a convenience store to evade the lightning. Black Canary summersaulted around the area, carefully evading lightning until Green Arrow shot a lightning rod arrow into the concrete, drawing the lightning around that area. The Dark Flamebird’s expression hardened as it clapped its hands together, sending a fiery shockwave outward, decimating everything in its path. Green Arrow and Black Canary leaped behind a police car, only to have it explode and send them flying and crashing through a concrete wall. The Dark Flamebird resumed releasing blasts of fire down on the city and its current occupants. The fire continued to consume Gotham, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. Flamebird had taken control of Wonder Boy, until Batman thought of someone who could buy them some time. Just then a golden anhk appeared next to him, and Dr. Fate stepped out of it.

“I was about to call you,” Batman said.

“I felt the mystical disturbance from Themyscira and came as quickly as I could. I can’t stop him but I can buy us some time to figure out a more permanent solution.”

He flew up to Flamebird, carefully evading blasts of fire. He hovered face to face with the dark entity that had taken control.

“Release Wonder Boy! That form is not yours to take!”

“You are mistaken. Wonder Boy called on me in a time of need, and now I am exacting true justice. Stay out of my way Lord of Order or you will perish.”

“I will not ask again. Release him.”

The Dark Flamebird sneered and unleashed a volley of firebolts, each of which Dr. Fate narrowly avoided. Flamebird directed its hands at the Lord of Order and send a pyrokinetic blast barreling at him, which Dr. Fate answered with his own eldritch blast, causing the two to collide and explode into displaced energy. The Dark Flamebird snarled and telekinetically sent chuncks of building and rubble flying at Dr. Fate, who had quickly summoned a shield to block the oncoming debris.  

Dr. Fate bowed his head. “I am truly sorry Wonder Boy.” He outstretched his hands and brought his legs together, forming the general shape of an anhk. A white light anhk pulsed forth from Fate and encased Flamebird, holding it in suspended animation. The flames ceased falling from the sky, but the fires still burned. Fate waved his hand as the incapacitated entity was transported in a flash of light. Dr. Fate floated down next to Batman.

“It is done.”

“Where did you send him?”

“A pocket dimension, it should hold him for a while but one can never be too sure.”

“How long do we have?”

“Not long enough. He’ll break free and find a way out of that dimension soon.”

Batman looked around at the carnage. “We’re not going to be able to recover from this. The government is going to be outright hunting us because of what happened here.”

“Then we’ll deal with that bridge when it crosses our path. I must admit though I do not know how to help Wonder Boy. His mind is being suppressed by the Flamebird, who has now turned to darkness. Simply pulling his mind from the subconscious will not be enough. We have to expel it from his body, which I do not know how to do.”

“Find Supergirl and have her help you in finding a cure for him.”

Batman turned and walked toward Wayne Tower.

“And what will you be doing?”

Batman stopped. “Telling Diana what happened here.”

Dr, Fate nodded as he disappeared into thin air, leaving Batman wondering how they were going to come back from this.

Chapter Text

Wonder Woman rested her hands on the war room table with her head lowered. Her head had been pounding for a while but had just stopped. She felt something was horribly wrong, that something was not right in the world. When she looked up, Queen Hippolyta and Artemis were staring at her, uncertain of what was going on.

“Diana,” her mother acknowledged, “Are you alright?”

She slowly nodded. “I’m fine. But I feel something is wrong.”

“What specifically?”

“I’m not sure, something feels off in the world.”

Diana, Donna spoke telepathically. Cassie and I need you in the communications room, Batman is on the holocomm.

I’m on my way Donna. She thought back.

“I need to go, Donna needs me.”

The Queen nodded, and Diana flew off to the nearest tower where Donna was. She flew onto the balcony and entered the room where Donna and Cassie were. The room was a large circular shape with some of the only technology on the island. Along one curve of the room were a holocommunicator, telepad, and a supercomputer all solar powered and connected via a Wayne Satellite over their location in space. Donna and Cassie were looking at Wonder Woman while near the holocommunicator, waiting to patch Batman through. Diana walked to the center and nodded. Donna pressed a button and a projection of Batman came to life near Diana. He looked worn down, more so than Diana had seen in years.

“Batman, is everything alright?”

“No,” he said gravely, “It’s not alright. Gotham is still under siege by the criminals and now the anti-registration movement is involved. Superman led a massive force here but he hasn’t been seen for some time. However, I haven’t called to inform you about Gotham. After Wonder Boy and Red Arrow arrived in Gotham, I sent them to deal with the Joker, but Superman showed up and tried to kill Joker. Wonder Boy stepped in and something happened. Flamebird took over and it unleashed hell on Gotham. The city is still burning from its assault. Dr. Fate locked them away in a pocket dimension, but it won’t hold for long. We’re still trying to hold Gotham, but it’s not going well. I-I’m sorry about Wonder Boy.”

Diana was in shock. “Was there any part of him left?

“No. Dr. Fate didn’t sense any part of his mind left. He had no choice Diana, Alec’s body and mind were ripped of his control by Flamebird.”

Diana’s eyes began to water. “What can we do?”

“Dr. Fate is looking into any possible solutions. In the meantime, he locked Flamebird away but we can help by finding Supergirl. Her knowledge on Flamebird is vital to understanding and defeating it.”

Diana nodded. “I’ll have some of my Amazons scry for her. And Bruce, good luck in Gotham. If you need any more help, I’ll do my best to send all the help I can.”

“Thanks Diana. I’ll let you know. Good luck finding Supergirl.”

With that the hologram dispersed, leaving Diana feeling like a piece of her was gone. She turned to Donna and Cassie, both of which were silent with somber demeanor.

Donna spoke up after a few moments. “I’ll gather the scriers and lead the search for Supergirl. I’ll also speak with Hawkgirl and Shazam since they may know her location.” She flew out the window, leaving Cassie and Diana alone.

“Are we going to get Alec back?” Cassie asked quietly.

Diana hesitated. “I’m not sure. But we will do whatever we can to bring him back.”

Cassie nodded, her eyes shining. “I’ll make sure our defenses are ready for any surprises.”

She too flew out the window. Diana followed her, headed to her quarters in one of the spires of the palace. She touched down on the balcony and closed the doors behind her. Her room was the same as it had been her whole life: simple with minimalist designs. Her furniture was of cherry wood and her weaponry hung on the walls as decorations: her shield, sword, spear, battle axe, and myriad of knives adorned the wall opposite of her bed. In the center of this was her war armor, each piece crafted by Hephaestus and forged from gold and imbued with power from the gods.  She rested her hand on one of two column between the interior of the room and the balcony outside. How could she have missed that Alec was struggling with Flamebird? She blamed herself for what happened, as a mentor she should have seen the signs. Suddenly she heard a loud crashing noise coming from the coast. She rocketed out of the palace and took to the sky for a better view. The beachfront was drenched, and the sea was pulling back from the shore. As it rescinded, it became apparent that there were bodies moving quickly along the beach where the first wave had struck: Atlantean soldiers. They were mobilizing their offensive measures and setting up siege weapons, preparing for an assault. Diana pushed down her feelings of regret and sadness as she bolted to the sentry outpost that was now built into their first of three stone walls. The outpost consisted of a stair like ascension as well as a top level with a pile of wood to signal an attack. She touched down on the top level and glanced up. Two of her sisters were on lookout duty, and she grabbed the torch from one and lit the pile of wood to signal an oncoming assault. 

She turned behind her and stared where the second outpost and wall was, waiting for the beacon to be lit. Sure enough, it was lit and conveyed the message to the city to prepare for siege.

Diana turned to her sisters. “Prepare our defenses!”

She flew to the war chamber as fast as she could, where her mother and Artemis were waiting.

“The Atlanteans have made it to Themyscira, they are on our shores!”

The Queen turned to Artemis. “Ready our first line of defense. We cannot allow them to prepare for an assault, so we draw the line in the sand.”

Artemis nodded and leaped from the balcony. The Queen waved her hand over the battle map.

“Show me the intruders,” she ordered.

The map shrunk into mist. The mist cleared and a clear picture of the shore showed up. There were forty Atlanteans that had rallied as many more of their forces were rushing from the sea and onto the beaches. Wonder Girl emerged from the jungle with a force of twenty Amazons behind her, the first line of defense. Each Amazon was equipped with heavy armor and various weapons each specialized in. Wonder Girl herself was equipped with her lasso, shield, and sword. Twenty were all they could send as the others were scrambling to the beach and the farthest outpost. Wonder Girl led them as they crashed into the Atlantean’s initial force. She bashed her shield into the first Atlantean soldier, sending him flying into the ocean. She sliced a second’s spear in half at the base and smacked him in the forehead with the butt of her sword. A third came running at her, but she stopped him by throwing her shield at him. She ran toward her shield, but something leaped in front of her blocking her path. In front of her wearing black armor with gold etchings and a gold lightning bolt was Black Adam. He made a motion with his hand, as if swatting a fly, and electricity rained down on Wonder Girl and the Amazons. Many were electrocuted, but Wonder Girl blocked some of the bolts with her bracelets. What she couldn’t see was that a portal opened up to her right, and Tala, Star Sapphire, Circe, Aqualad, Tara, Hawkman, and Bizarro stepped out. Tala sent a blast of dark magic at Wonder Girl as she leaped toward Black Adam, hitting her and sending her sprawling in the sand. More Atlanteans spilled out of the portal on both sides as well as the ocean, numbering in the hundreds in only a minute. Wonder Girl got up slowly, taking in her odds. As she got up, a squad of Atlantean riflemen readied their weapons and aimed on Wonder Girl. She barely levitated in the air when they opened fire on her. Blasts of blue-green energy were being deflected by her bracelets as she fled to the first outpost, where Donna had assembled fifty Amazons outside the outpost. Along the walls there were some Amazons armed with bows and arrows as well as crossbows and siege crossbows that fired explosive bolts. Circe led the charge, bursting through the jungle to the clearing where the first outpost was, and following her was the Atlantean army. The Amazonian archers unleashed volley after volley of arrows and fired their ballistae on them. Most of the arrows met their marks, but the bolts from the ballistae simply exploded in air safely from their targets. Donna rushed forward and slammed Circe with her shield, knocking her back a few feet as the Atlanteans as Amazons rushed forward to battle. Donna drew her sword and sliced at Circe, who narrowly evaded the blade. Circe answered this by blasting Donna with lightning, sending Donna flying into the gates of the outpost. They all heard a loud crack through the air, and they vaguely saw a figure barrel past them and slam through the outpost, obliterating it completely and sending electricity spraying everywhere. As the smoke cleared Cassie made out Black Adam hovering over their location. She barreled skyward to meet him in combat as the mist caved in on the image, obscuring Queen Hippolyta and Wonder Woman’s view of the battle.

“Circe,” Wonder Woman swore. She pressed the comlink in her ear and said “J’onn.”

“Go ahead Diana,” he replied.

“I need support, the Atlanteans have invaded Themyscira and they have powerful allies with them. We can’t hold back Circe and Black Adam with the team we have.”

“I will only be able to send in a few members of the League due to the attack in Gotham. I’m sending them now, any specific location?”

“Send them to Themyscira’s gates, they will be needed there.”

“Understood. Sending them now.”

 She turned to her mother. “J’onn is sending allies to us now, but I need to go out there and lead them.”

Her mother nodded. “May the gods be with you.”

Diana flew out of the room and headed to the gates where Hawkgirl and Shazam were greeting Vixen, Barda, Raven, and Dr. Light.  She touched down and greeted them all.

“How bad is it?” Barda asked.

“Bad. The Atlanteans took us by surprise and have help from the Registration movement with them. Circe, Tala, Star Sapphire, Aqualad, Black Adam, Tara, and Hawkman are providing support.”

Diana! Donna yelled.

Diana winced from the mental volume. Donna, what’s wrong?

They pushed us back to the second outpost, but it was quickly obliterated by Bizarro and Black Adam slamming into it. We’re rushing back to the main city gates now and are close by.

“Open the gates!” Diana yelled to the Amazons on duty.

How many are with you?

About twenty-five including Wonder Girl and myself. But Circe and the others are gaining on us.

The gates creaked open as Donna, Wonder Girl, and the remaining Amazons blitzed into the city. The doors quickly slammed shut behind them, and the sounds of a massive army could be heard from the other side of the wall. Amazons on top of the wall rained arrows down on the enemy, causing them to take cover. They heard something slam into the gates, but it was followed by the sounds of trees being snapped in half.

“Our gates cannot be breached. They have been reinforced with a protective barrier from Athena,” Diana explained. “No amount of brute force from Black Adam or Bizarro will bring down our walls.”

“Couldn’t Circe or Tala corrupt them with their dark magic?” Raven asked.

“Circe may be a goddess, but even her power does not compare to the protection of Athena.”


 

Circe watched as Black Adam slammed his body into the walls of Themyscira for a second time, and watched as his body ricochet off the wall and went flying through the jungle. She shook her head in disappointment. She could feel him barreling toward the wall for a third time and arrested his body with a flick of her hand. He looked down on her with contempt as he was pulled from the sky and back to her side.  

“What are you doing?!” he bellowed.

“Your attacks have no effect on the gates!” She answered in anger.

“Then maybe a little magic will help,” Tala suggested.

“No don’t-,” she started to warn.

Tala unleashed a tendril of dark power, speaking in harsh demonic languages. The tendril evaporated upon nearing the gates.

“I tried to warn you. These walls are fortified against our magic and any who dare assault it.”

“Then how are we to take the city?” Aqualad asked.

“Only a major god could let us in. Ares was meant to be out Trojan horse, but once he left Dr. Fate put up a shielding spell preventing him to travel to Themyscira.”

“Well I hope you have a major god in your pocket, otherwise this siege will have been for nothing.”

“Quiet child! There is always a way for those who seek one.”

“So are there no other ways in the city?” Tala asked.

“Only an Amazon or major god can open the gates to us and go in, and they are protected in their city.”

Star Sapphire and Hawkman touched down next to them. “We scouted the island and there are no other entrances along the walls. Also, more of our forces are landing on the shores and will be led here by Tara and Bizarro.” Hawkman reported.

“Good. Now all that’s left is to figure out a way into the city.”

“Too bad we don’t have an Amazon on our side,” Tala said.

Suddenly a spark of an idea came into Circe’s mind. “What did you say Tala?”

Tala looked confused. “I only said that it’s too bad we don’t have an Amazon on our side.”

The full idea formed in Circe’s mind. “I need time to think,” she said as she walked away.

She walked until she reached a clearing, and she drew a pentagram in the grass surrounded by two rings, each filled with dark runes. She levitated while meditating in the center and focused her mind. She searched for the answer to their problem in her mind’s eye. The city was on fire and the fighting was on-going. She mentally traveled back, waiting for the moment that would be the answer she was searching for. The fires receded until the only massive surge was coming from a bridge. She focused her mind’s eye there and sensed darkness. She watched the events unfold from that moment on, focusing especially when the dark force was expelled from Gotham. She studied the runes on the ankh, understanding them to be runes of confinement, suppression, and travel. Once the force disappeared, she knew what had occurred. She refocused, sending her astral form further into the void.


 

The Mystic Plane

She opened her eyes and saw infinite swirls of various colors suspended in empty space. Surrounding these swirls of color were miniature swirls of different shades. The massive swirls were dimensions, and the mini ones were pocket dimensions and minor dimensions where life took an alternate path. She found the swirling azure mass that was their dimension and focused on the smaller swirling masses. She searched for one that was recently opened and sealed with layers of protection. Eventually she found the one she was searching for that was nearly white, but its interior was muddled with reds, yellows, and oranges: the colors of flame. Circe pressed her hand against it and felt it burn as the protective charms glowed intensely at her touch. She gathered strength from the mystic and cosmic energy surrounding her and unleashed freezing beams from her hands, turning the protective charms solid and dampening their power. Circe then unleashed a pulse of energy from her fist and watched as the protective charms disintegrated before her. She entered the mass, and her vision went white. As more became clear, she could see a figure suspended in the air and held there by a glowing silver ankh. This figure radiated dark power. However, its gear was muted flames, as it its power was dampened by the ankh. It raised its head and spoke in an amplified voice.

“Circe,” the Flamebird acknowledged.

She folded her arms. “Well now, this is interesting. When I heard what had happened, I didn’t believe it, But here you are, Wonder Boy.”

“I am not Wonder Boy,” the figure snarled. “I am the Dark Flamebird.”

“Well I can feel that much,” Circe snarked. “I could sense darkness being unleashed in Gotham, but I was most surprised when I discovered it was from you.”

“The boy was weak. I assumed control seeking to hand down true justice on humanity and its protectors.”

“True justice meaning?”

“Purification by flames,” the entity said harshly. “This world is a disease filled with injustice, hatred, and violence. As humanity’s protectors divided on how they should regulate themselves and how they differ on dispensing justice onto those who add to the injustice in the world, it only added to the chaos. More death and more conflict has risen from this civil war between humanity’s protectors and it must end. I sought to end this war by bringing purification through fire, but I was prevented from accomplishing this endeavor by Dr. Fate. Now, I am a prisoner in this dimension.”

“I understand your position and I must say you’re thinking too small for a cosmic being.”

Dark Flamebird regarded her. “And just how am I thinking too small?”

“Think about it. Your goal is to purify this earth by purging it of its evils through fire, effectively destroying all life and leaving this world ablaze.”

“Yes.”

“That is where you think too small. Instead of destroying all life you could rule all life alongside the winners in this conflict.”

Flamebird sneered. “You have added to the chaos in the world Circe. Why would I listen to you?”

“Because what is to come is far stronger than you, far stronger than any one of us. However, our combined strength will work in our favor to defeat him.”

Flamebird scoffed. “Who is this being that you say is stronger than I?”

“Trigon, an interdimensional demon who conquers worlds. He’s conquered many thus far, and now he has set his sights on earth.”

Flamebird’s face cringed. “I have heard of this evil. What makes you think you can stand against him?”

“Alone, I cannot. But I have been gathering others to assist me in rising him and allowing his power to permeate this plane of existence. Once this occurs, we will be able to siphon his power and add it to our own which will weaken him once he fully rises. Once this happens, the combined strength of our dark magic users will allow us to destroy him, effectively allowing us to take the remnants of his power and conquer this world. This will help us shape the world the way we see fit: under our subjugation. A world with no war that bows to our will.”

Flamebird’s face remained unchanged.

“I offer this to you. Help me in my endeavor to put an end to the war mongering Amazons who refuse to accept my rule, and I will help you end darkness itself and offer you dominion over this world.”

Flamebird stared at Circe, who was unable to determine the entities position. Finally, it spoke.

“Release me.”

Circe was shocked. She hadn’t expected this to work, but she needed assurance.

“Swear to me,” she said firmly. “Swear that you will assist me in ending the Amazons and assist in the rising of Trigon.”

“I swear by the name of Rao as his daughter Flamebird that I will comply with your request as you complete you end of the bargain.”

“Then I swear by the River Styx that I will meet my end of our arrangement upon completion of yours.”

Flamebird nodded. Circe blasted the ankh, filling it with dark power until it shattered completely, releasing the Dark Flamebird. Its gear came to life in a blast of flames, reinvigorated with the emancipation of its bonds. Circe smiled darkly as her astral projection dissipated from the dimension and returned to her body on Themyscira.


 

Themyscira

She opened her eyes and saw that day had turned into twilight. She gathered herself and returned to her allies, who had amassed the full strength of the Atlantean army.

Tala turned to Circe. “Where have you been? We’ve still had no luck getting into the city.”

“I found a way in, it’s just taking time to get here.”

“How?”

Suddenly the air near them turned hot and a blazing portal opened. The Dark Flamebird exited the portal, radiating with dark power.

Tala stared openmouthed at the entity.

“I simply knew where to look,” Circe snarked.

Flamebird regarded the pair. “This conversation bores me. What is needed of me?”

Circe pointed to the gates. “Unleash hell.”


 

Wonder Woman gathered the majority of her forces at the gates of the city. A group of nearly 50 Amazons armed with bows and arrows were on the wall, awaiting the return of their adversaries. Diana walked along the front lines with Donna and Wonder Girl by her side. Suddenly, one of her lieutenants on the gate shouted.

“Diana!”

She leaped to the top of the wall and looked down from their walls. Emerging from the jungle and into the clearing before the wall was Wonder Boy, who was stumbling along until he looked up and saw Diana. His face was scratched and his armor was scorched with burn marks and his arms were bruised and cut. He looked physically, emotionally, and mentally broken. Diana leaped from the wall and started toward him, but then recalled what had happened in Gotham. She stood in a cautious stance, ready to react if anything went south. She approached cautiously.

“Alec.”

He met her eyes. “Diana,” he said with a saddened expression.

“How are you here?”

He looked confused. “I-I don’t know. I just woke up on the shore and figured you would know what happened.”

Diana stared at him with uncertainty. “You have no memory of what happened?”

“I don’t fully understand what happened. I remember seeing Roy, and then going to Gotham for some reason but after that is a blur.”

“Alec,” she said slowly, “you went to Gotham to help Batman save the city against a massive gang war and defend against Superman’s assault. Is any of this helping?”

“Sort of, I’m remembering pieces of the picture but…” suddenly his face morphed into a look of shock and disgust. “I remember. I fought Superman and Flamebird took control. After that it’s hazy.” He paused a second, trying to read Diana’s expression. “What happened?”

Diana struggled to find the words. “Alec…I… I wasn’t there so I don’t know entirely. Just in general.”

Alec’s face fell. “Who did I hurt?”

Diana was silent.

“Diana,” he said slowly, “who did I hurt?”
Diana remained silent.

“Diana,” Alec said as his voice broke. Tears began to fall.

She couldn’t handle it. She walked forward and embraced him in her arms. He held her back, trembling with anxiety and emotion. She led him to the gates, crossing the threshold and the gates closed slowly behind them. She held him by the shoulders and looked at him as he shuddered.

“Whatever you did, it’s done. You’re going to come back from this. But are you completely in control?

Alec stopped shaking and raised his head, but his expression changed. He had a dark smile on his face and his eyes blazed with white flame.

“Why yes Diana. I am in complete control.”

Flamebird punched her in her stomach and sent her sprawling in the dirt. Flamebird then telepathically arrested the motion of the door and fully opened the gates. Atlanteans came pouring through the jungle lead by Tala, Aqualad, and Tara at the front with Circe, Star Sapphire, Black Adam, Hawkman, and Bizarro overhead. The Amazons on the wall scrambled to fire off arrows on the enemy, but they were deflected off a shield produced by Tala. Black Adam swooped down on the wall and began unleashing pain on the Amazons. The Atlanteans came crashing through the threshold of the gates and engaged the Amazon army. Barda leaped on the wall followed by Shazam and engaged Black Adam in a deadly dance. Raven unleashed her fury on Tala, one of the mistresses of Hell. Hawkman swooped down on Hawkgirl’s position as she bashed an Atlantean soldier off her feet. He swiped at her with his mace, which she blocked with hers. He swiped at her with unrelenting anger. Aqualad was tackled by Wonder Girl, who he kicked off after she landed a few punches in the dirt. Dr. Light blasted Star Sapphire with cosmic energy, knocking her out of the sky and taking her attention. Donna Troy flew up and prevented Bizarro from slamming into her sisters by bashing him in the face with a shield, which shattered upon impact. Vixen channeled the animalistic powers of her totem and unleashed the fury of the animal kingdom on the Atlantean army. Queen Hippolyta rushed from the citadel, ready for battle in her battle armor with her sword and shield in hand and short sword on belt. She gazed out on the carnage as her sisters held the line. They were losing ground though due to Circe, who was sending tendrils of magic along the front lines in an attempt to blind the Amazons. Hippolyta rushed to the aid of her sisters, setting her sights on Circe. She leaped over her sister’s heads and raising her shield to repel the magic. Upon coming into contact with her shield the magic dissipated. Circe sneered at the Amazon Queen and unleashed volley after volley of eldritch blasts. Wonder Woman looked on this carnage and was astonished. She turned her attention to her former protégé, who was overhead watching the chaos. He smiled and his armor shifted into a full body suit with gold gauntlets, headpiece, and belt. The suit was the color of flames, which moved along the dark fabric.

“You didn’t think I was actually him, did you?” Flamebird asked.

“How? What have you done with him?”

“Alexander was weak. I destroyed him,” the entity darkly described.

Diana’s expression of sadness shifted to one of anger as she flew to meet her opponent. She slammed her fist in Flamebird’s face, and sent Flamebird flying into the wall. She then bashed the entity through the wall, lassoed it and through it back through the wall and causing it to collapse. She spread her arms and her shield and sword appeared in golden light. The Dark Flamebird burst through the rubble with an angry expression. Both arms were extended outwards and flames burst forth from their hands. Diana raised her shield just in time to block the intense flames. She flew toward the flames, shield still raised, and flew until their hands were on her shield. She knocked them aside and hit them with the butt of her sword. They sneered and telekinetically blasted Wonder Woman into a statue of Athena, causing it to collapse onto her. The Dark Flamebird turned its attention to the battle. The Amazons were holding their ground, even pushing the Atlantean army back inch by inch as they slowly lost ground. While the Atlanteans were formidable warriors, they now faced the Amazons hell bent on defending their home. Flamebird raised their hand, ready to blast the Amazon front lines when they were interrupted by a large stone shield slamming into them. Flamebird was knocked into the ground with the shield keeping them pinned. The shield exploded in a blast of heat, releasing them. They slowly stood only to have the top half of the statue slammed down on top of them by Diana. She hovered over the debris, knowing she hadn’t put them down for good. The Dark Flamebird burst from the rubble and slammed their fist in her face. They followed by attacks to the stomach, throat, a double hit to the face, and ending with a pyrokinetic blast. The blast sent her flying into the ground, forming a small crater where she impacted.  She rose from the crater slowly, feeling the anger swell within her. Dark Flamebird unleashed hellfire from their hands, which Diana blocked using her shield. The hellfire increased in intensity, causing Diana to buckle at the pressure. Her shield was crafted by Hephaestus, and was able to withstand nearly anything, but she and the shield were starting to give under the pressure from the Flamebird’s power. Suddenly her attention was divided by a voice in her head.

Diana! Raven exclaimed. We’re slowly losing ground here. I can feel Tala and Circe gaining strength from the Dark Flamebird’s presence here.

I’m trying to hold him off Raven but I fear this entity is far too powerful for any of us. Diana admitted.

There may be another way to beat the Flamebird. Raven started. I can breach their mind and search for Alec’s cousciousness and bring it to the surface. With any luck, the two of us will be able to suppress the Flamebird’s presence in Alec’s mind. However, I’m held up with Tala at the moment. If I breach their mind now, you’ll be freed up to hold Tala.

Diana considered their options. Fine. Move now!

Raven opened a portal in front of the blast from Flamebird, causing the blast to enter the portal. Raven then opened a portal directly behind Flamebird in which the blast exited and continued to hit them as Flamebird’s attack did not cease. They screamed in agony as Wonder Woman rushed forward and slammed Tala with her shield, freeing up Raven as she entered a meditative stance. The ground beneath her crackled in rings filled with runes that glowed with a dark purplish light. She opened her eyes which glowed white as she entered the mind of the Dark Flamebird. The beams stopped coming from their hands and they stopped screaming, their attention diverted to the unwanted guest. Wonder Woman rushed forward at a stunned Tala. She smacked her with her shield, lassoed her with her free hand, and yanked her arm across her body which sent Tala flying into a column that collapsed on top of her. Diana turned to Raven with a silent plea to Athena.

Athena, guide Raven to Alec and help bring him back to us.


 

The Mind of the Dark Flamebird

Raven opened her eyes and was uncertain of her surroundings. She stood on a cliff side overlooking a vast, dark sea. There was not much light exposure as the clouds covering the sky were black and unleashing torrents of rain. She turned to see Themyscira behind her, but the city was in ruins and everything was on fire despite the harsh weather conditions. The clouds broke and a column of flame came forth and struck the ground in front of her. When the smoke cleared, the Dark Flamebird stood in front of her looking vengeful.

“You will regret breaching my mind,” the entity said ominously.

“Enough games demon! Where is Alec?” Raven demanded.

The darkness laughed. “You think you can save him? He is weak. I took over his body and mind with no problems whatsoever.”

“Do not-” Raven started.

“And if I could end him so easily, what makes you think you stand a chance?”

Raven’s expression darkened. “Because you’re not the only one with darkness.”

She lowered her head and channeled the darkness within her. She could feel the two extra eyes come forth as her brow obliged with sockets. She raised her head and opened her eyes, all four of them glowing red with power. Flamebird stared at Raven with newfound interest.

“So you’re the daughter Circe spoke of,” they mused. “The mortal spawn of Trigon.”

“Yes. And I will end you if you do not tell me where Alec is,” she threatened.

The Dark Flamebird laughed. “You do not have the power to destroy me.”

Raven growled.

“However,” they amended, “I will not stand in your way. I drove Alec’s consciousness into the depths.” They said as the gestured to the sea.

Raven paused as the darkness receded as well as the extra set of eyes. “Why tell me?”

“Because you cannot possibly bring him back. And this way when it is time for your father’s return I will have you right where I want you in order to release him.”

“But you know as long as I reside in here still kicking that you will be stuck here too until I succumb.”

“I am aware. You will not survive this attempt.”

Raven looked to the sea.

“Well go on then, try to save your friend,” they challenged.

Raven glared down at the dark waters and dove off the cliff and into the murky depths. She closed her eyes. For Alec, she thought as her body crashed into the waves and her body was enveloped by darkness.


 

Alec’s Subconscious

Once again, Raven opened her eyes with clear certainty she had no understanding for where she was. She appeared to be in some other dimension as there were chunks of rock floating around in empty space. She was standing on what appeared to be a floating platform of rock, which was very wide and stretched on in many directions as far as she could see. There were strange formations in the shape of rings which formed along the paths. In some parts, the ground rose into miniature hills and columns of earth. Raven concentrated, attempting to locate her lost friend. She could feel his presence, but there was something wrong. It was muted, as if being suppressed. She focused on that and could feel him in pain. Finally, she could form a clear picture in her mind: Alec chained to a massive rock formation, and he was being attacked by Circe, Killer Frost, Volcana, Black Adam, and Felix Faust simultaneously. They were being cheered on by a collection of Court of Owl assassins, members of the League of Assassins, low life criminals from Gotham, and members of the Cult of Ares. Raven stopped remote viewing and knew she alone could not set him free against those numbers. Despite this being Alec’s subconscious, she felt little resistance from him against his attackers. She closed her eyes and viewed parts of the outside world, specifically Gotham.


Gotham

She focused in on the Gotham docks, where Nightwing was pulling Red Arrow’s limp form out of the river. Zatanna rushed to their side and began quietly chanting in hopes of reviving him. Suddenly his form twitched and he turned his body sideways and threw up lots of water until he laid back down on his back, exhausted from his ordeal. Zatanna looked around suspiciously, as if she could sense someone was watching them. Raven revealed her corporeal form, which startled Nightwing.

“Raven! What’s wrong?” Zatanna questioned.

“Themyscira’s under attack from the Atlanteans, but the Amazons are holding their ground. But that’s not why I’ve come to you.”

“What is it?”

“I need you to follow me using your astral self, and bring Red Arrow. Alec’s in trouble and I can’t help him alone.”

“But we’ll be vulnerable in that state, Red Arrow especially.”

“I’ll watch over your bodies,” Nightwing suggested.

“Are you sure? You spent a lot of energy getting Roy back safely,” Zatanna pointed out in concern.

“I’ll be fine, you help Alec.”

She nodded, knelt down, and went into a meditative state. Her body was outlined in soft light, followed by Red Arrow’s form. From their bodies their corporeal forms sprung forward and moved toward Raven. She looked behind her and a portal opened, followed by her form dissipating. Zatanna and Red Arrow went through the portal and exited into Alec’s mind.


 

Alec’s Subconscious

They looked down and saw their ghostly forms were solid here, and both were fully equipped in their gear complete with weapons. Zatanna brandished her wand, flexing its mystical prowess. Meanwhile, Red Arrow rushed to Raven.

“Is Alec okay?”

Raven hesitated. “No he’s not.”

“What’s wrong? Is he hurt?”

“Well, for starters, we’re inside his mind. His subconscious specifically. His consciousness was pushed into his subconscious mind by Flamebird when they took over, and his subconscious mind is attacking him, keeping him weak and distracted by Flamebird.”

“What’re we up against?” Zatanna asked.

“Flamebird created mental constructs of all of Alec’s enemies and chained him to a rock formation. Also, there’s a large army of henchmen in our way.”

“So worse than usual?”

“Right. But what Flamebird doesn’t realize is that we have the upper hand.”

“How so?” Red Arrow asked.

“We’re some of Alec’s closest friends, and we love him. If he senses our presence, he should be reinvigorated with energy and he should be able to help us dispel these nightmares.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Roy asked. “Let’s get him out.”

With that the trio rushed forward, ready to set their friend free.


 

Themyscira

Back on Themyscira, the Amazons were defending their home island with intense tenacity. Wonder Woman surveyed the battle from above, impressed by the valor of her sisters. They had managed to push the Atlantean forces back to the main gate, and their allies were doing a fine job holding back the enemy’s super powered foes. Donna Troy was doing well against Bizarro as their fight continued. Donna was doing well to avoid his Kryptonian strength by moving out of the way of his attacks, and when she could she landed a few well-placed blows of her own. After another jab to the face, Bizarro bellowed in rage and unleashed a blast of heat vision. Donna ducked under the blast and flew behind him, grabbing her lasso in the process. She turned quickly and lassoed the Kryptonian imposter around his barrel chest, and swung him around in a continuous circle. Bizarro groaned with nausea as Donna whipped him around and around, until she released the hold and let him crash into the steps of the palace. She rushed down to the impact site, gathering force as she descended. When his head was visible, she aimed a strike at his left temple and slammed it as hard as she could. The right side of his face was slammed back into the steps as his left was shattered by Donna’s strike. She got up shaking and could feel immense pain shoot through her hand. She grabbed her sword with her opposite hand and rushed to her sister’s aid on the front lines. Cassie was also having luck against her opponent: Aqualad. He drew his water hilt weapons, and the water had taken the form of twin scimitars. Cassie had her lasso out and held it with both hands so a strong strand was visible between her two hands. Aqualad rushed forward and brought his arm down, only to have his weapon blocked by the lasso. She wrapped it around the water blade and yanked it free of Aqualad’s hand, leaving him with only one sword. She grasped the lasso in one hand, freeing up her hands to dismantle her opponent. He sliced at her, which she blocked with her bracelet, and landed a blow to the side of his face. As she caught him off guard, she lassoed him and pulled him close. She held him where the lasso knotted in a loop, and pulled him over her head and slammed his body into the ground. He knocked out as she gathered her lasso and joined Donna and her sisters on the front lines. Diana was feeling immense pride in her students when she was interrupted by the sound of trees snapping. Springing from the jungle was an army of Amazoids, each equipped with advanced weaponry and lead by Amazo itself. Diana glared and plummeted toward the oncoming threat. She flipped so her legs were pointed toward the ground, aimed at the Amazoid pushing past Amazo. She easily crushed it as she landed hard on its body, feeling the metal and wiring rip under her legs. Amazo and the Amazoids halted their assault and focused on the champion of the Amazons. With a look of death and determination, she drew her sword and shield and armed herself. Suddenly, the air around her shimmered and two forms appeared: Dr. Fate and Supergirl. Diana looked on this with irritation.

“Why would you bring her here? She-,” Diana started to say.

“She is here because she can help Alec,” Dr. Fate interrupted.

“I don’t agree with what my cousin is doing, and helping relieve Alec of this burden will give me enough power to help you stop him, possibly for good,” Supergirl explained.

Diana was skeptical. “We’ll talk about this later. After this army is demolished,” she said turning her attention to the army before her.

Supergirl cracked her knuckles. “Then let’s wreck ‘em.”


 

Alec’s Subconscious

Raven, Zatanna, and Red Arrow rushed forward to the army before them. Red Arrow started their carnage by firing an explosive arrow at a small group of owl assassins. Upon impact, the owl’s bodies shattered like glass. The remaining hundred enemies turned and rushed toward the intruders, their bodies subtly reflecting the environment around them.

Zatanna noticed this and poke telepathically. They’re constructs, they’ll shatter instantly if you hit them in the right places.

Red Arrow tested this hypothesis by shooting three arrows at the oncoming army. One stuck in a joker henchmen’s heart, another in a league of assassin’s head, and the third impacted in the throat of a cult member. All three shattered as soon as the arrows stuck, leaving shards of obsidian glass where they once stood.

Well that fits, Red Arrow thought.

He rushed forward, relieving a couple constructs of their heads. Raven released bolt after bolt of mystic energy, each one connecting with a construct and demolishing it. After initially knocking down the ones closest to her, Zatanna quickly grabbed her deck of cards. She spread them out in her hands and flung them with deadly accuracy as heads were sliced off by the razor sharp cards. While they were holding their own against the army, they were slowly being overwhelmed. Red Arrow took a cut across his cheek and took a bat to the head, which shattered upon impact. He rose steadily and unleashed his full fury on the army. Zatanna was knocked back by a spawn of the minotaur and hit in the head by a sword butt. Sensing this, Raven shot into the air and gathered power within her. Zatanna rose and saw what Raven was doing and rose quickly. She put her hands together.

“TCETORP SU!” she shouted as beams of light formed around Zatanna and Red Arrow, who stood in shock at what was happening.

Raven glared down on the army of constructs and unleashed the full power of her soul self on them. A dark cloud of energy formed from Raven’s body, taking the shape of a raven. She spread her arms and the raven shot forward, growing in size as it slammed into the ground and shattered all of the constructs within the army. The bird reformed back into a raven and shot back into Raven, who then descended back to Zatanna and Red Arrow. The three of them then turned their attention to Circe, Killer Frost, Volcana, Black Adam, and Felix Faust who were still torturing Wonder Boy. As if sensing their gaze, Killer Frost and Volcana turned around and rushed forward with astonishing speed. Killer Frost landed in front of Red Arrow and backhanded him, sending him sprawling into the ground. Zatanna blasted toward her with her wand, but she readily evaded the blast, only to run into Raven’s path. Raven had gathered up some energy, which was whipping around her. She directed the blasts at Killer Frost with her hands by slashing downward. The energy solidified and shot forward with deadly precision as they sliced through the construct’s form, shattering it entirely. Volcana’s construct send waves of hell fire toward Raven, who flew out of the way. Red Arrow shot a concussive arrow at her feet, which exploded and sent her flying in the air. He rushed forward, slid, and shot a grappling arrow at her, wrapping around her as he linked the end to the ground. He came into a crouch as he pressed the button which slammed her into the ground, cracking her form. He flipped over her form, sending a combustive arrow into her head, shattering her completely. Black Adam turned rapidly and rushed forward, only to be met by Zatanna who had encased him in a prism of energy, suspending his limbs and forcing his head to stick out of the top. She flipped it around and slammed him head first into the ground, shattering his head and reverberating the shockwave through the construct’s form. The trio rushed forward, reinvigorated with pride and determination to free their friend. Circe directed a blast into the ground, causing a multitude of animals formed from the earth itself to rise and attack the group. Circe cackled and rushed Zatanna, slamming her in the gut with a mystic infused punch, and smashed her across the face with a hammer made of mystic energy. Raven made short work of the animals by gathering them together and crushing them into rubble. She then unleashed the remains on their master, causing Circe to be blinded and slowed down by the storm of rubble. Red Arrow sped past this battle, eager to free Alec. He saw Felix Faust torturing him with lightning, and was filled with rage. He got behind Faust and cut his legs out from under him with his bow. He notched an arrow in his bow and fired, sticking an arrow in Faust’s forehead as it exploded and shattered him. Red Arrow holstered his bow and rushed to Alec. He looked like he had been through hell. His body was covered in burn marks, slashes, and bruises so dark it looked as though someone has dyed parts of his skin dark blue and purple. He opened his bloodshot eyes and looked frightened.

“No. No, no, no, no, no, NO! You MONSTER!”

Roy looked hurt and confused at the words coming from Wonder Boy. “Alec it’s me! It’s Roy! We’re here to get you out, not to hurt you.”

Alec looked murderous. “LIES! I know it’s you Flamebird!”

“Flamebird? No. It’s me, Roy. Your boyfriend, not some dark entity.”

“No! I know it’s you. You’ve disguised yourself as some of my closest friends, tricking me into thinking I can escape only to send me back into chains. Well no more.” His hands tightened on his bonds. “I refuse to give into this illusion.”

“Alec! It’s me I swear! I love you!”

Alec looked at him with a deadly glare. “Get out of my head.”

Circe’s form grew in size until she was 10 times the size of Raven and Zatanna, and sent blasts of magic down on them as they struggles to evade her.

Roy looked at this in shock. “Alec we are your friends! Themyscira’s under attack and we need you!”

“No!” he shouted as his eyes filled with tears. “I won’t go through that again. I remembered what you made me do to my friends. I can’t- I won’t I-,” he tried to say though the tears and sobs.

Roy was devastated. This darkness killed his spirit and mentally scarred the love of his life. He walked up to his boyfriend and put his hand on the side of his face gently.

“Alec,” he said softly, “I love you. And I promise I will help you through this. You need to have faith that I am real and rescuing you is also real. Please, I can’t lose you again to darkness.”

Alec opened his eyes and looked on Roy with fear. “I don’t want to remember what happened.”

“I know, but that wasn’t you. It took control of you and used your form for its own darkness, but we will take it down. Raven has a plan to expel it from your body and thinks she can trap it as she has with Trigon in the past. But you have to help me so I can help you.”

Alec nodded and struggled against his bonds, Roy stood back as his chains shattered and caught him as he fell forward. Circe stopped her assault on Zatanna and Raven to see what was happening with her prisoner. Alec looked up and rushed her, flying toward her head. He pulled his arm back and slammed his fist into her nose, sending cracks and fissures all over her form. He then telekinetically slammed her into the ground by the head, sending her forward and finishing her completely. He touched down next to his friends, and all signs of his torture had vanished. He hugged his friends and turned to find Roy standing behind him. He tackled him in a hug and held him close. Roy stroked his back as Alec whispered thank you into his neck. The two broke apart as Raven portaled them out of Alec’s subconscious.


 

The Mind of the Dark Flamebird

The group appeared in the same setting overlooking a cliff during a violent storm. Wonder Boy looked pissed at the sky as a column of flame erupted from the sky and slammed into the ground. From the flames the Dark Flamebird version of Wonder Boy stepped forward, looking outraged.

“You,” they said with hatred.

Wonder Boy smirked. “Surprised to see me?”

“I didn’t think you or your friends were strong enough to resist me.”

“You were wrong to underestimate me and imprisoning me instead of ending me. Now, I want you out of me.”

The entity cackled. “And what makes you think you can beat me, mortal?”

“Because, I’m not alone in this fight.”

Just then Red Arrow fired a concussion arrow at the entity, which exploded on impact. It was thrown off balance as its senses were overwhelmed. Raven appeared next to them, blasting them with demonic energy. Zatanna fired a blast of freezing magic at them, locking them in place as Wonder Boy uppercut the entity and slammed it into the ground.

Zatanna pointed her wand at the Flamebird. “DNIB,” she shouted as chains embossed with mystic runes shot from her wand and bound their hands and feet. Red Arrow fired arrow after arrow at the subdued entity, while Raven pummeled them with her magics. As they did this, the intensity of the storm lessened. However, the entity shouted and broke their bonds. Fire erupted from their hands as they were directed at Zatanna and Red Arrow. Wonder Boy flew up and slammed the entity skyward.

“Get out! I’m going to finish this!” he shouted.

Raven opened a portal as the trio rushed out and back into their bodies. Wonder Boy continued to slam the entity higher into the sky, until they reached the bottom of the storm clouds. He landed a final punch that was intended to send them through the clouds and out of his mind, but they simply kicked off the bottom of the clouds as if they were solid and unleashed fire on Wonder Boy. He quickly evaded the blast and caught the other with his bracelets.

“I am in control here, you cannot win,” the Flamebird cackled.

Wonder Boy was losing hope when he detected the fallacy in the entity’s statement.

“You may have had control when you took over my mind, but I’m back now. And I have more control over my mind than you ever did or could,” he said as he proved his point by lowering his defenses and watched the fire go right through him.

Flamebird’s face contorted into fear and uncertainty.

“This is my mind. My body. My life. My friends. My world. Not. Yours,” Wonder Boy said dangerously.

He raised his hand as lightning came down and connected with Flamebird’s mental construct, forcing it into submission. Wonder Boy flew in real close and stared the entity down.

“GET. OUT. OF. MY. HEAD!” Wonder Boy yelled as he telekinetically blasted the entity into the clouds and out of his mind. HE instantly felt a sense of relief as the clouds turned white, the seas calmed, and the rubble that was Themyscira was returned to its natural beauty. He closed his eyes in peace.


 

Themyscira

The army of Amaziods defeated, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Dr. Fate returned to the city, eager to end the conflict with the Atlantean army. Wonder Woman noticed the courtyard was lighting up as The Dark Flamebird’s form glowed with harsh light. She blocked as much light as she could with her hands, until the light seemed to be ascending into the sky. She lowered her hands, only to see Raven flying toward the light, encasing it in her magic. Dr. Fate rushed to her and assisted in containing this light. She looked down where the light had originated, and was overjoyed to see Wonder Boy standing in the courtyard, in his armor, looking revitalized. He levitated slowly and flew to the Atlantean front lines, blasting them backwards with a telekinetic blast. Supergirl flew to Dr. Fate’s side, apparently arguing with him. Diana flew up to them, right as the encasement was dissolved and Supergirl reached out, allowing the Flamebird into her. Diana looked horrified as the Kryptonian as washed in light. Once it died out, a different Supergirl emerged. This Supergirl had longer hair, which was tied together at the end by a metal band. Her suit had changed into a blood red and midnight blue undertones. The tunic was longer in the back and slightly longer in the front with it splitting on either side of her legs. Her thigh high boots were replaced by similar ones with the blood red color and reinforced on the top part of the thigh and foot by white gold metal. Her hands were also covered by white gold gauntlets with the fingertips shaped like short talons. Her “S” crest was modified into the white gold metal version with the blood red color showing behind it. The crest was connected to the shoulder armor, which was light armor. She wore a helm that exposed most of her face, and was in the shape of a bird with outstretched wings on the sides of her face and the head extending between her eyes and ending between her brow. She looked down on the carnage and raised her hands. Balls of fire formed around her numbering in the hundreds, however these were much lighter than the harsh flames of the Dark Flamebird. The balls of fire reacted and flew toward their targets when Supergirl moved her hands toward the enemies. As the first ball connected with an Atlantean soldier, Diana expected them to burst into flames, but they simply vanished. One by one, all of the Atlantean soldiers vanished as did the registration team leading them. Supergirl outstretched her hands as a ring of light circled Themyscira until it disappeared. The Amazons cheered, basking in their victory. She floated down, facing the Amazon army and the anti-registration team.

“I am Kara Zor-El of Krypton. I am also the host of the Falmebird, daughter of Rao. As the host of this mystic and cosmic entity, I am Arcane Supergirl. I vow to help you take down Superman and his regime of misguided followers.”

Diana floated next to her, as did Dr. Fate, Raven, and Wonder Boy. “What did you do to the Atlantean army?”

“I teleported them back to Atlantis and covered the outskirts of Themyscira with protective magic, so no one may enter Themyscira Amazon or mortal.”

“So you shut Themyscira off from the rest of the world?”

“Yes. It was the only way I could send away the army and keep them from returning without permanently damaging or killing them.”

Diana looked like she wanted to say more but was stopped by Wonder Boy.

“How do we know you’re in control and that darkness isn’t?” he questioned.

“When you expelled the entity from your body, Dr. Fate had time to pacify it and that process was solidified once she and I combined forms. Instead of fighting for control we both work together using the same body.” She closed her eyes. “I’m sensing a lot of strain coming from you Wonder Boy. You should probably rest after everything you’ve gone through.”

“I’m fine,” he tried to say as his eyes slowly closed. He started to fall only to be caught by Wonder Woman.

“He should have passed out from the strain of everything he went through. But his determination got the better of him,” Supergirl explained.

“He needs time to rest and to heal,” Diana said. “I’ll take him to Olympus and ask Athena to expedite this process, but after we must get in touch with Batman and see what is happening.”

“Do you want me to make a portal for us?”

“Make a portal for you all to return to the base, I need to be here for my sisters and Wonder Boy for a while.”

Raven nodded and opened a portal for herself, Arcane Supergirl, Dr. Fate, Shazam, Hawkgirl, Vixen, Barda, and Dr. Light. Each stepped out into the portal and it closed after Raven stepped through, leaving Diana contemplating their next course of action.

 

Chapter Text

 

Batman paced his chambers inside the League’s secret moon base with regret. The past 48 hours had been hell for him. While he and his team had performed admirably, he could not protect Gotham. Bruce thought back on the night’s events, wondering if there was anything he could have done to protect his city. After the Dark Flamebird set Gotham ablaze, it all went downhill from there. US soldiers air dropped and landed in the city streets and quickly subdued the criminals alongside the Registration forces. And, of course, HE showed up. Clark finally showed up after hours of inaction and unleashed his fury on the Gotham criminals. Very few of Gotham’s rogues escaped, most of which were critically injured by Superman. Batman tried to engage the rogue Kryptonian, but Superman barely paid him any attention. He simply evaded his attacks, the ones that would hurt him at least, and continued attacking Batman’s villains. It wasn’t until dawn was coming that Batman decided to concede and get his team out of Gotham before they were killed. Thankfully, they all made it out thanks to a quick portal from Jennifer Morgan. However, many were badly injured. Green Arrow and Black Canary suffered several fractures from Flamebird’s assault, while Harley Quinn had a run-in with Joker and suffered some minor contusions and lacerations before she unleashed her fury and broke both Joker’s arms. Batwing was grounded due to one of Two-Face’s helicopters firing an RPG and knocking him out of the sky, and Nightwing was resting from Maxie Zeus unleashing a lightning barrage on him. Any one of his allies could have easily died tonight, and he would never have forgiven himself. Most of the GCPD was placed under arrest, including Commissioner Gordon. Thankfully, Alfred placed the Batcave on lockdown and the exterior was lined with lead, perfect for evading Superman’s gaze. Upon exiting the portal, Superboy tackled Robin in a tight embrace, which shocked Batman. Then what really got him was when Superboy kissed Robin, and Robin was kissing him back. It caused Batman to reminisce on a time where he was in a shockingly similar situation. While he cared deeply for him, he couldn’t have feelings for him without fearing for his safety and decided to end it. Of course, it stung a lot once he moved on to his mundane coworker at the Daily Planet, but he just wanted him to be happy. How could everything fall to pieces between them so quickly? He cared so deeply for Superman, so much so that he felt conflicted about being on opposing sides. He felt he worked better alongside him, that he balanced Batman’s inner darkness with his beacon of hope. But this conflict caused a rift between them. Using the team and the League’s stealth force to infiltrate may not have been the best idea, but it got results and provided useful intel for future missions. He felt regret for siding against his friend, the decision that resulted in the death of harbinger, the loss of Wonder Boy to darkness, and the loss of his city to fear. He knew he had two options before him: throw away everything he worked for and side with Superman and the government, or continue to oppose the registration to fight for what he believes is right. This upcoming meeting would confirm or reverse his position on this civil war. He heard a knock at the door, and he reluctantly opened it. Outside his door stood Martian Manhunter, looking somber and exhausted.

“We’re ready for you in the conference room.”

Batman nodded and followed his friend out of his room. They went down the hallway quickly, passing by many of their team member’s quarters. Batman heard a door open on his left behind him, and knew it was Tim’s room. He heard a couple footsteps in the hallway toward his direction.

“Batman-,” Robin started.

“Not now Robin,” Batman harshly interrupted. Noticing his abrasiveness, he stopped and turned toward his protégé. “Later, I’ll come find you,” he amended.

Tim nodded as Batman and J’onn stepped into the conference room. Inside, the room was very active. The conference table was in a circle, similar to the one on the watchtower. Holoscreens were playing in front of each member allowed in on this meeting, updating them on the current happenings in the world and their specific bases. Wonder Woman sat at the head of the table, .watching the carnage Flamebird unleashed in Gotham. The seats on her left and right were empty, saved for Batman and Martian Manhunter. On her left, Martian Manhunter took his seat next to Hawkgirl. Next to her sat Shazam, followed by Dr. Fate, Mera, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Zatanna, Arcane Supergirl and Batman who took the chair on Wonder Woman’s right next to Arcane Supergirl. Green Arrow and Black Canary still looked banged up from their Gotham fight, as did Hawkgirl and Shazam from their fight on Themyscira. Once all members were seated, they looked toward Wonder Woman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter.

“Let us begin,” Diana started. “We have much to discuss. First, I would like to thank you all for your valor in battle. You’ve all proven yourselves against Superman and his registration forces in recent days. To start, I would like to go over what has been happening in recent days. Mera, you should start.”

Mera cleared her throat. “As some of you know, Circe and Green Lantern Hal Jordan lead an assault on Atlantis. Using some type of surface world technology, they took over the city quickly and captured my husband Aquaman and my student Aquagirl. Tempest, under my husband’s orders, created a portal for us to make our escape. My loyal guards in Orm’s rule have told me they have yet to locate Aquaman’s location unfortunately.”

“Which leads into the assault on Gotham and Themyscira,” J’onn said. “Batman, would you mind explaining the events that occurred in Gotham?”

Batman nodded and pulled up holoscreens to aid him in his retelling.

“About an hour after Atlantis was attacked, a massive assault broke out in Gotham. Each super criminal gathered all of their thugs and set them loose strategically in Gotham and coordinated with each other. Seeing this assault, Superman went on live television and announced Gotham would no longer offer amnesty and rehabilitation services to its criminal element and, to aid in this new policy, he would lead a team to Gotham to help law enforcement carry out the order. Gordon, of course, refused and asked for my help. I gathered my team and dispersed them throughout Gotham. Knowing we were spread too thin, I called for back-up. Among those responding was Wonder Boy. In recent months, his control of Flamebird was growing weaker. I sent them to hold The Joker’s thugs back. I had no knowledge that The Joker would be with them, or that Superman would step in and try to kill Joker. Wonder Boy fought against Superman and Green Lantern while Red Arrow incapacitated Fire. Green Lantern turned his attention to Red Arrow and almost killed him before Wonder Boy telepathically assaulted his mind, at which point Flamebird took over and amplified their attack until his mind was snapped and Flamebird asserted their control over Wonder Boy’s body and disposed of his mind. It was then they came to downtown Gotham and unleashed hell. They destroyed Major Force and absorbed his nuclear energy, broke the mind of the Enchantress, set Steel ablaze and beat him near death with his own hammer, and incinerated Guy Gardner. Dr. Fate then stepped in and sent him to an alternate dimension to be held until a solution could be found. After, the situation got worse. Superman and his allies demolished our forces and he overthrew the city. He and his forces captured Penguin, Two-Face, Bane, Firefly, and Mad Hatter. Many are still at large.” Pictures of Joker, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Clayface, Black Mask, Man-Bat, Anarky, Maxie Zeus, and Commissioner Gordon appeared on screen. “We were able to get our team out on time, but Gotham was lost. Which leads to Wonder Woman’s story.”

Wonder Woman stood as Batman sat down. She looked tired and worn down from the recent events. “After the fall of Atlantis and during the siege of Gotham, Circe led an army of Atlanteans and Amazoids to attack Themyscira. They came out of nowhere and caught us off guard. They pushed us back to the main gates, and we held them there. However, Circe played an awful trick. She released the Dark Flamebird under the guise of Wonder Boy, and used him to breach our city. In an intense fight, I could barely stand against the power of Flamebird, and Raven breached their mind in an attempt to free Wonder Boy. Dr. Fate and Supergirl showed up and helped me fend off the Amazoid reinforcements, while Raven, Zatanna, and Red Arrow freed Wonder Boy. They purged the Flamebird from his body and it was absorbed by Supergirl, who then absorbed the essence of Flamebird and turned into Arcane Supergirl.”

The whole table turned their attention to Arcane Supergirl, who looked defensive. “Don’t worry,” she started to say, “I have it entirely in control. Kryptonians have a better handle on Flamebird and Nightwing than other species have. Where Wonder Boy and Flamebird fought for control, she and I are in concert with each other.”

Wonder Woman nodded. “She proved this when she expelled the invaders from Themyscira. Since then, Wonder Boy was taken to Olympus for healing and reconstruction has begun for Themyscira. However the Queen has decided that the Amazons shall take time from this conflict. We will no longer offer aid in this conflict as time is needed to fix our home. Now, I’d like to go over what Miss Martian and Beast Boy have found. J’onn?”

J’onn rose from his chair as Wonder Woman sat down. “My niece uncovered many secrets the government has, especially from Cadmus and ARGUS. Cadmus has been investing in scientific and arcane research. Specifically, research into ways to defeat us using information from Superman. They’re attempting to weaponize our weaknesses and put them in the hands of soldiers around the world. This much we speculated would happen, but ARGUS has made a bold and dangerous move with the Registration movement. As many of you know, Amanda Waller controls the Suicide Squad using microscopic bombs in the neck. She is now able to spread and implant these in the air, releasing them into the ventilation shafts as they are breathed in by the registration team. Now, if any of them defect, they are able to put a stop to them once and for all.”

Everyone was silent during this, trying to understand what was said. Finally, Green Arrow spoke.

“How long until this is able to be done effectively?”

“It has already begun, it started during the assault on Gotham.”

“So Supergirl, Shazam, and Hawkgirl are all safe then?”

“They should be. I have the schematics here, so we should be able to conduct scans to ensure nothing remains in their systems and provide antibodies for those allied with us and the others.”

“Others?” Batman asked.

“Yes,” Martian Manhunter said slowly, “the others. We need to help them and free them of this threat.”

“How do we know they would do the same for us?” Batman questioned.

Wonder Woman looked at him with a shocked expression. “Of course they would! Despite the current predicament we are in, we’re still all on the same side just separated by ideologies.”

“After Kasnia and Gotham, I doubt Superman would do the same for us.”

“How can you say that? How can you turn your back on one of your friends?” Diana said aggressively.

Batman rose from his chair. “You didn’t see him in Gotham Diana! He murdered over 300 criminals and GCPD officers. He tried to kill Robin! There’s no humanity left in him!” Batman shouted. He sat back down and rested his head in his hands. “He’s too far gone to bring back. We have to consider any and all options to take him down.”

The room was silent as they took in Batman’s words, until Arcane Supergirl spoke up.

“I agree with Batman,” she said gravely.

Green Arrow looked shocked. “But he’s-,” he started.

“I know,” she interrupted knowing what he would say, “He’s my cousin. But as Batman said, he’s too far gone and has to be put down.”

Shazam looked up. “I don’t think we should. Yes he’s gone off the deep end, but he needs to be put on the right path. I agree we should take him on, but to bring him to justice, not to kill him.”

Dr. Fate then spoke. “I am in agreement with Shazam. Order and justice must be restored to this broken world and team.”

Zatanna shook her head in disapproval. “The only justice that is right here is to take him out considering how many people he has murdered.”

Black Canary looked pissed. “I disapprove of his actions as much as the rest of you, but if you intend to kill him you prove yourself no better than him. We must find a better path.”

Green Arrow nodded. “Canary’s right. We need to show the world there is a better path than vengeance.”

Hawkgirl spoke somberly. “You didn’t work with him. You don’t truly know how far gone he is. He spoke to me as if I was a solider in his army, not his friend or equal. Lois’s death changed him, and I agree with Batman.”

Mera’s eyes were filled with fire. “He ordered the attack on my home and the capture of my husband. He will pay for these actions and all actions he has ordered against the world.”

All began to argue with each other loudly as Wonder Woman looked conflicted on the argument unfolding in front of her. Annoyed with their squabbling, she slammed her hand on the table, causing a loud smack and rumble to reverberate through it. All of the assembled heroes ceased their tirades toward each other and looked to Wonder Woman.

She rose and spoke firmly. “We are not going to kill Superman. We will not allow anyone to come to harm when we have the prior knowledge t put an end to the threat. As there are six in favor of this position, we will move forward with J’onn’s plan to pre-emptively destroy the bombs. Not only will it save our friends, but it will create dissention in their ranks between them and the government. This is the right choice.”

The others looked on her with conflicting emotions and sat in silence as they processed her proposition. Eventually, the others nodded slowly in support. Batman got up and walked out of the room silently. He was headed down the corridor toward the elevator to his chambers when he heard steps behind him. He knew who it was before she spoke.

“Bruce what’s wrong?” Diana asked.

He said nothing in response as he pushed the button for the elevator.

“Please talk to me. Is it because of what happened in Gotham, or something more?”

He still stood in silence. She put her hand on his shoulder.

“I know of your past with him and how he hurt you. You refuse to open up to anyone, and he was one of the very few you let in. When he made his choice it killed you inside and made you feel weak, but opening to others isn’t weakness. It invites strength in mutual understanding and care for others. I know right now you aren’t ready, but when you are, I’m here for you as are any of your friends.”

The elevator doors opened as Diana removed her hand and walked back to the conference room. Batman entered the elevator and lowered his head, unable to fully comprehend the conflict growing inside him.


 

Superman paced the main deck of The Watchtower, reminiscing over the events of Gotham and how he wanted to handle the fallout. A manhunt had begun for those who were not already captured or killed, and the city was under martial law and its police force disbanded for a time due to their loyalty to Commissioner Gordon. The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Clayface, Black Mask, Man-Bat, Anarky, Maxie Zeus, and Commissioner Gordon went underground after Gotham was sure to fall, and had little luck since then closing in on some of them. He knew Joker could not stay underground for long, his longing for chaos and death would force him out of hiding soon enough. Clayface, on the other hand, would be more difficult to track as he could blend in with the populace using his shape-shifting abilities. And Gordon knew the city better than any of them, making him almost impossible to find. Superman knew he had to bring Gordon in the quickest as he would bring insurrection in hopes to retake the city, but he struggled finding the means to end this manhunt. He felt little remorse for his actions as he knew what he did was the right thing to do. Batman allowing these criminals to live after all of the death and destruction they unleashed on Gotham was a mistake, and Superman rectifying it was the best decision for the collective safety of the people. He did, however, feel for Bruce. Gotham is his home, and he came in and brought order to the chaotic city through violence. Currently, he and Batman disagreed on the way to handle threats to the populace as well as the proper way to go about the worldwide government regulations on metahumans. He knew, after his attack on Gotham, there was no going back. Their relationship was pushed past the point of returning to the way they used to be. He wished Bruce could just drop the ridiculous moral code he had and join him, but he knew it would never happen. He would oppose him until his death and if that outcome would end the conflict, then so be it. Suddenly the communication array went off, signaling an incoming transmission. The signal was encrypted, but he knew who it was. He pushed the accept button on the terminal and the holoscreen appeared above the terminal, and was shocked by what he saw: Martian Manhunter.

J’onn nodded. “Hello Superman.”

“J’onn,” Superman regarded. The silence between them was heavy in the air.

Finally, J’onn spoke. “I’m sorry about Lois.”

Superman’s eyes narrowed. “Why’re you contacting the Watchtower?”

“I’m trying to warn you, your allies intentions are not what they seem.”

He crossed his arms. “Talk.”

J’onn looked uncomfortable. “While you were attacking Gotham, Batman had sent Miss Martian and Beast Boy on a reconnaissance mission to Washington. She found information on ARGUS and Cadmus, specifically looking into ways to put you all down. Just as she controls the Suicide Squad, she managed to implant microscopic charges in all of you.”

“How?” Superman demanded.

“She managed to get them microscopic enough to pump them into the ventilation shafts and selectively arm them.”

Superman took this in slowly. “Do you have proof?”

Suddenly there was a second holoscreen that appeared with the diagnostics for the charges.

“We’ve analyzed them and given you software for Cyborg to apply to his scanner to corroborate our claims.”

Superman nodded. “If these claims are true, you have my thanks J’onn. I’m guessing not all were in favor of sharing this information?”

J’onn was silent for a moment. “Not entirely.”

“I see,” Superman said with his eyes narrowing.

Suddenly a hand appeared on J’onn’s shoulder. He looked shocked but then recompised himself and disappeared. In his place, Batman stepped forth.

Supermnan’s eyes widened. “I didn’t expect to see you.”

“I didn’t think I would come,” he said in response.

There was a silence between them, one which was heavy and full of grief, anger, and regret.

Superman spoke again. “I heard you got Wonder Boy back and that Kara took in the Flamebird. Your idea?”

Batman said nothing in response.

“I know it was you. But it doesn’t matter. She’ll come back to me, she always has.”

“Not this time,” he finally responded. “She saw how your actions were affecting the world and knew it was wrong.”

“And Shazam? Hawkgirl?”

“Both turned of their own volition.”

Superman was silent for a moment. “Then I guess I’ll have to reaffirm my allies position with me.”

“This has to end Clark. All the fighting, the death, it has to end. The world can’t be protected by a fractured Justice League.”

“I’m doing just fine protecting it. You’re the one who lead a group away from the League and started this whole thing.”

Batman looked down. “I know.”

Superman looked shocked.

“I know my faults in this conflict. But you have to admit you are at fault as well. Killing civilians, villains, and our friends is wrong.”

As he said this Superman lowered his head.

“You’ve lost yourself Clark, but it’s not too late. Please come back to us. Come back to me.”

At that Superman raised his head, conflicted with what he said.

“I need you Clark, more than you know.”

Superman struggled with his thoughts and feelings.

“My- feelings for you haven’t changed. I-I thought that after you chose Lois that I would move on, but I can’t. Despite all the horrible things you’ve done, I can’t lose you. Please.”

Superman decided on what he was going to say, and he was sure it wouldn’t end well.

“My feelings for you haven’t changed either Bruce. And I need you as well, but I’ve gone too far with this movement to back down now. If I do, we will lose all momentum we’ve gained. I can’t lose the support of the Government just as we’ve achieved peace. If I back down, what will form in the vacuum I leave?” He paused, wondering how he would receive this offer. “I still need you, however. You’re able to strike terror in the hearts of the unjust in ways I can’t. Please, join me and the registration movement and disband your group. You’re right in that we need to be a united front, but we need to stand with the people. Join me, and we can be together,” he stressed.

Batman was conflicted, Clark observed. Clearly he had been wrestling with his stance on the issue, and he could tell he was melancholy by the slight frown on his face, Clark knew him better than anyone in the League. However, that frown hardened and he knew he would not like the answer.

“I can’t. I can’t leave behind everything we’ve worked so hard for.”

“What have you accomplished?” Superman questioned harshly. “You’re on the run. You’ve been declared enemies of the state and have bounties on your heads. What’s the point in fighting anymore? Make the choice that’s best for all, please join me. I won’t ask again.”

Batman looked at him sternly. “So that’s it then? Join you and we can be together? How selfish do you think I am?”

“Bruce –“

“No! You’ve made the choice for me. I will NOT abandon my friends, and the Clark I knew would never force a decision on someone by manipulating their feelings. But that Clark is dead. I see that now.”

With that Batman cut the transmission and left Clark standing there, wrapped in his feelings. He was angry with himself and angry with Batman simultaneously, and had to divert these thoughts. He then stepped into the elevator to the R&D level where Cyborg and the Atom were, working on technology that would be able to track the anti-registration’s teleportation movements. He pulled up the schematics for both to see, and they looked baffled.

“Why are we looking at schematics for a bomb?” The Atom asked.

“Are these legitimate?” Superman countered.

He did a quick scan of the data provided. “Yes, they are,” he said slowly. “Are these also schematics for a scanner to detect them?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll remote download it then and test it out,” Cyborg suggested as the download started. “Where should I scan?”

“Scan Atom.”

“WHAT THE HELL?” Atom yelled.

“Trust me,” was all Superman said as Atom continued to yell while Cyborg scanned him.

Cyborg’s eyes widened. “You have the bombs in you Atom.”

“What? How? I don’t-”

“It’s nanotech. The government ordered they be placed in our heads.”

“Well, if I have the schematics I can devise a way to-” Atom started.

“Batman already synthesized a neutralizing agent to disarm and dissolve them,” Superman said as he handed Atom the canister.

"You should know, Hal's recovered from Flamebird's mental assault. Circe went inside his mind and repaired some of the damage, but the rest was fixed by Grodd who just recently pledged his allegiance. We're still trying to locate Enchantress, Morgan Le Fey, Silver Banshee, and Killer Frost. We assume they were taken by Batman's Insurgency."

“Keep looking. Meanwhile, I need to pay our allies a visit,” Superman added as he left the room.


 

The White House

The President was in the middle of a cabinet meeting when he heard the tapping on his window. The whole cabinet was looking at the window with the curtains drawn. He turned around slowly, fearing what was behind him. His fears were affirmed when he saw Superman floating outside his window, looking pissed.

He turned to his cabinet members, “That will be all for now.”

They hastily got up from the table and exited the oval office, leaving only the president inside. He walked slowly to the window and opened it, knowing a window would not keep his visitor out. Superman drifted inside, landing on the floor and looking positively irate.

“I know what you’ve done,” Superman said menacingly.

“What have I done, specifically? I’ve done a lot today,” the President responded calmly.

“I know you gave Waller the order to place charges in our bodies.”

“That was to keep you in check,” he said defensively. “I only meant to ensure you were not a threat to the American people as we do the same for Task Force X.”

“We are not the Suicide Squad! We were supposed to be working together but instead you treat us just as you treat them.”

“That was for our protection!”

“You had protection! We were your protection. But you broke their trust. MY TRUST.”

“You lost our trust first when you decided to threaten the world. We were going to put you down after Kasnia, but the UN decided that we would keep you in check instead of killing you because of what you had done for the world in the past.”

“So you implanted bombs in our bodies?”

‘Yes. I gave the order to Waller and she followed it to the letter.”

Superman paced the room and stood in front of the President. “If you can’t see that all I’ve done for the world has resulted in world peace, then I don’t think you’re fit to be a world elader any longer.”

“Is that a threat?!”

“No,” Superman started. “It’s the truth.”

His eyes glowed red as he blasted him in the head with his heat vision, burning twin holes in his frontal lobe. The President’s body fell to the floor as Superman walked out of the room where a press conference he called earlier was congregating outside the capital building. He put his hand to his ear piece and pressed a button, signaling to the others that it was time. All over Washington D.C. and the country, ARGUS and Cadmus bases were attacked by teams of two to three of the registration forces. All around the world bases burned and people were killed. In an instant, it was over.


 

Moon Base

Tim and Connor watched in horror as the news captured the violence all over the country. Flash rushing into bases and blowing them up, Star Sapphire, Sinestro, and the Green Lanterns raining down blasts from the skies, Aqualad on a tidal wave leading Atlanteans against navy fleet. All over destruction happened, and they were outnumbered in this fight. Many others of the anti-registration movement had moved into the “living” room where Tim and Connor were watching the news, unbeknownst to them. Batman walked in as the cameras captured Superman walking out of the White House as he was fired upon by Secret Service agents. He watched in disbelief as Superman blasted off and rocketed into the Capitol Building, where all of congress were in attendance. He watched as Superman changed trajectory straight into the air, twisted, and came back down toward the building. Superman crashed into the building and caused it to crash down in itself. He did it, Batman thought. He overthrew the government. One of the cameras were knocked down on the ground, and suddenly dirty and bloodied boots filled the screen. It began to pan up as someone appeared to pick it up. It panned over the ‘S’ on his chest before showing Superman’s face. His face portrayed anger and betrayal as he began to speak.

“I brought down the US Government. The President gave an order to implant nanotech charges in the bodies of my allies and I in an attempt to annihilate us. Thankfully, we were given schematics of the bombs in order to disarm them before I put an end to him. I have brought peace and true justice to this world. My mistake in this was leaving these corrupt governments in charge of your well-being. Instead, my allies and I will be establishing a new world-wide Regime in order to bring true order to the world and free it of its conspirers against justice and peace. I relay the following message to all world leaders: Step down. Allow my allies to come in and assume control of your country and continent and you will be allowed to live. Refuse this, and we will take power by force. You have 24 hours.”

With that he crushed the camera and killed the feed, sending the coverage back to the news studio. Batman cringed when he watched Superman crush the camera, feeling his fist around his neck. 

The reporter put his hand to his earpiece. “As we are following this story it seems the Man of Steel has made it to Gotham, where we go now to Iris West-Allen. Iris?”

The view changed to show Iris’ face, trying to control the fear on her face.

“Thank you John. I am outside the decommissioned courthouse in old Gotham, where Superman is joined on the steps by members of his newly established Regime and many local super villains and former police commissioner, Jim Gordon.”

The camera switched to another view showing Penguin, Two-Face, Bane, Firefly, and Mad Hatter. Joined by them were Riddler, Clayface, Black Mask, Man-Bat, Anarky, and Commissioner Gordon appeared on screen. Surrounding them were the Lanterns Green, Sapphire, Yellow, Red, and White. White Lantern Kyle Rayner (long story but basically he learned to control all the different rings in the emotional spectrum) looked on the scene with concern, as Red Lantern Atrocitous looked on in anticipation. Greens Jordan and Stewart looked somber, as if they’d done all they could and there was no other recourse. Sinestro looked giddy as he fed off of the fear of the captured villains. Star Sapphire was focused on Kyle Rayner, concerned with his expression. Superman paced in front of the gathered villainy.

“You all have a choice. You can choose to join us and bring peace, or you can choose a more permanent solution. Speak now if you wish to join, or hold your piece.”

Man-Bat rose. “I will join you,” he said raspily.

Firefly also stood. “I will join you.”

Bane rose. “I will join, so long as I have the opportunity to break the Bat.”

Superman nodded. He raised his eyebrows. “And the rest of you?”

They said nothing in response. Superman looked at Atrocitous and nodded. Atrocitous floated above the captured villains as those who pledged their allegiance to Superman moved away. Atrocitous reared his head back. “BURN!” he bellowed.

Blood fire rained down from his mouth on the villains, drenching them and causing them to slowly be incinerated. Their screams of pure agony echoed throughout a silent Gotham as the gathered reporters, crowd, and billions of others watched as some of Gotham’s worst of the worst burned. Batman watched in horror as his friend Commissioner Gordon burned, and Barbra screamed. The camera showed something that caught Batman’s eye. Kyle looked in disbelief at what was happening, and rocketed off into the air, followed by Star Sapphire and Green Lantern John Stewart. Hal Jordan was about to go after them, but was stopped by Sinestro by placing his hand on his shoulder. Finally, the screams ceased as each villain and Commissioner Gordon died. There was a moment of silence, and then followed by cheers. These villains had caused mayhem in Gotham for too long and, in the opinion of some, had received true justice for their crimes. Batman turned to Batgirl, who was shaking in Nightwing’s arms, unable to accept what happened to her father. He didn’t know what to say. She watched her father executed on TV, but he was interrupted in thought by Superman’s voice.

“This is what will happen to all who stand against us,” he threatened. “Either stand with us, or face the consequence. That is your choice.”

With that he flew off with the remaining allies he had around the court steps. The cameras lingered on the burning corpses of the villains and Gordon, just before switching back to their main stations.


 

Batman stood in front of the medbay doors. Inside the Enchantress, Steel, Killer Frost, Enchantress, Morgan Le Fey, and Silver Banshee. J'onn and Miss Martian were inside trying to piece together Enchantress' mind. Raven, Tempest, Zatanna, and Jennifer Morgan were all tending to the others, as their wounds from battle were major. Of course, the Martians were going to wipe their minds of these events once they were all healed. Batman was against this and opted to leave them, but Batgirl, Nightwing, and Robin convinced him they needed to help. He heard the door open behind him and head them walking to his side. He knew it was Diana without looking.

"How are they?" She asked.

"Our team is making progress. Alec really did a number on Enchantress and Steel."

"That wasn't him," she scolded.

"Either way, it's going better than expected. Morgan Le Fey is close to ending treatment as she was abducted by Wonder Boy some time ago."

"He did? He never mentioned that to me," Diana expressed concern.

"He thought it was best. I'm not sure of his intentions with her, most likely see what she knew about Superman's plans."

Diana was silent.

"How is he?" Batman asked.

She rubbed her eyes. "Athena is doing all she can to calm his mind. His telekinetics and telepathy have been going off on Olympus more and more each day, convinced he is under attack and sending out power to protect him."

"Have you gone to see him yet?"

She waited a moment before responding. "No."

"Why?"

"I'm worried about him. I'm worried that my presence would only make things worse. He needs to work this out himself and overcome the mental strain and stress put on him by Flamebird." 

"Don't you think he'd want you there?"

She hesitated before answering. "I'm not sure. I know he blames himself, but I also blame myself. I should have seen the signs that Flamebird was taking control. It was my fault and I should have called an intervention sooner."

"You can't blame yourself Diana. You couldn't have known this would happen. All we know now is that it happened and we have to move forward from this. You should see him and help him in this process."

She was silent for a moment before nodding and walking away before she stopped. "You were right, by the way."

He turned around to face her. Her face was tight with anger and determination.

"He needs to be stopped. For good this time." 


Space Sector 0, Oa

The Guardian known as Ganthet looked on his colleagues with irritation. The Guardians of the Universe sat in their seats in a half circle, each briefing on the on-goings of each space sector. Their council chambers were on Oa, the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps. Ganthet hardly believed that going over all of the sectors with little to no issues was relevant. They adopted the task of guarding the universe using the Green Lanterns, and as such should discuss active threats.

“- and Kilowog was able to stop the pirates from taking the Blue Lantern hostage. Ganthet, what news of Earth?” one guardian was saying.

Ganthet refocused and spoke. “In truth, I am not certain. All of our Earth-based operatives have gone silent in recent months, despite my many attempts to establish contact. However, I have heard of rumors that warrant investigation.”

Suddenly the center of the room was lit up with indigo light, which quickly receded and showed White Lantern Kyle Rayner, Carol Ferris of the Star Sapphires, and their own John Stewart.

Ganthet looked surprised. “Lantern Stewart, Lantern Rayner, Sapphire Ferris. What are you doing on Oa?”

John stepped forward. “Guardians, I’ve come with an urgent request and update on Earth.”

Ganthet’s eyes narrowed. “Not surprising that you choose to communicate with us when you are in need of something. You’ve missed your weekly check-in for several months now.”

“And it is because of that silence that you must hear me now. Superman, one of Earth’s champions, has gone rouge and imposed his will on the populace. In the beginning, the other Lanterns and I had decided to join him as his reasoning to side with the people made sense. But in recent weeks, he has lost his mind. He has begun toppling governments and publicly executing people who dissent. His control of the planet is almost unopposed, save for the Insurgency lead by Batman.”

“Why is Batman’s group labelled as an Insurgency?”

“Luthor’s idea to drive public opinion against him, but that’s not what’s important here. Batman has some chance against Superman, but that’s not what’s important here. The Green Lantern Corps need to step in and bring order back and place power back in the hands of the people.”

The Guardians looked at one another, locked in intense psychic debate. The trio looked on the Guardians with concern, hoping they would act on the actions of Superman. Suddenly, Ganthet spoke.

“We have made a covenant with the universe that we shall protect all life, and if what you say is true, then we have no other recourse but to go to war. Lantern John Stewart, gather our forces on Oa and send the signal to our away agents. The time has come for Superman’s reign to end.”

Chapter Text

Amid all the conflict and crises happening in the universe, one place was completely free of conflict: Olympus, the home of the Olympian gods. Since the beginning of the current conflict with earth’s heroes, Zeus decreed that all gods would stay out of the conflict and those that chose to ignore his decree would have to deal with the consequences of this war and they would receive no help from the other gods. Circe and Ares were two of those who decided to ignore his decree and intervene personally. After the assault on Themyscira Diana came to Olympus with Alec in her arms, who slipped into a coma after the battle. She begged the gods to help him, and as she was the chosen champion of the gods, they agreed to do what they could for her protégé. Athena and Apollo chose to head up the healing process as Apollo could heal him physically and Athena could facilitate healing his mind. In Apollo’s temple of healing, Alec laid on his back in the middle of the room on an altar, absorbing the healing power of the sun. Athena and Apollo stood on either side of him, deep in concentration. Alec’s mind was still under stress, his subconscious still under the fear that he was being attacked by Flamebird and Circe. Suddenly a light shine bright above them all. Once it dissipated, the ghostly form of Harbinger floated down between Apollo and Athena. Both nodded toward her in appreciation as she bowed in their presence.

She looked down on her unconscious friend. “How is he?”

Athena sighed. “In time, yes. His strength and soul were taxed in his battle with Flamebird and caused much turmoil in his mind.”

Harbinger’s face changed to sadness. “I’ve been trying to watch over him, trying to guide him but when Flamebird took over I feared he was lost forever.”

Athena nodded. “Thankfully he has powerful and caring friends.”

Apollo looked on Harbinger with curiosity. “Why are you here Harbinger? I understand that you care for your friend but to appear before us as you have must mean you have come for a second purpose.”

She nodded. “You’re right my lord. I knew you were both working on Alec, but I must inform you of events I have forseen.”

Apollo looked at her with irritation. “You know the rules of time. Any altering to the timeline could cause disastrous changes and possibly make the future worse than you have seen.”

“My lord, what I have seen cannot be ignored. With all of the events that have happened since Superman unleashed his fury, this current future is unavoidable unless drastic changes are made.”

Athena looked concerned. “Why tell us this? Does this have something to do with the future of the gods?”

Harbinger bowed her head. “Yes my lady, it does. If Superman is not stopped and made to see the error of his ways, the divided heroes of earth will be powerless to prevent the coming calamities.”

“Why don’t you tell us the future of the gods?”

Harbinger waved her hand and mist appeared, obscuring most of the images being shown. “A triad of world-ending threats come to earth in rapid succession from heaven and hell. The gods divide their forces to serve as a line of defense, but you are overwhelmed and captured, killed, or corrupted. Those who are corrupted eventually turn to help the enemy gain ground in the conquering of earth and earth’s divided heroes stand no chance of stopping the domination of the planet.”

Athena looked on her with shock. “We fail?”

“Yes. Together, the gods accomplish much. When divided among the threats, you fall.”

Apollo looked deep in thought. “Are you certain this is what is to come?”

“Yes,” she said without hesitation. “I’m certain this is the future that is coming.”

“Then we have no choice but to do what we can to alter this future.”

“How?” Harbinger asked. “The gods cannot directly interfere with the fate of humanity.”

“No, but we can tell Alec of what is to come in order to change the future,” Athena said. “Apollo will Stay here as our physical tether and continue to facilitate the healing process.”

Athena and Harbinger placed one of their hands on either side of Alec’s face as they closed

 their eyes and concentrated, entering his mind.


 

The pair opened their eyes and were perplexed at their surroundings. They were inside an apartment, a decent sized and nice looking apartment. The kitchen and living room were separated by a small kitchen counter. The area was furnished and used a black, white, deep red, and deep blue color scheme. The bookshelf in the living room was full of books and Greek pottery depicting old stories. Out of the large window in the living room, a mountain and a town covered and surrounded by large pine trees. They heard a door open and Alec entered the space from behind the staircase where his room was tucked away. He looked perplexed but also happy to see the pair of women as they had both been there for him in times of need. He smiled and walked over to them, arms outstretched. They met him in the middle and hugged him. He began to shudder as he started to cry. They held him tighter, allowing him to release the emotions he was feeling.

“I’m sorry.” he said through tears. “I just miss you both so much.”

“As I miss you Alec,” Harbinger said.

They released their hold on him and stepped back.

Athena looked around. “This is your apartment in Colorado?”

He nodded. “This is where I live when I have classes.”

“It is a nice home, you furnished and designed it well.”

“Thanks, I took an interior design class and it helped so much. But is everything okay? How much time has passed since I went under?”

“A week. Apollo and I have been unable to pull you out of the coma, almost like you’re fighting us.”

He lowered his head. “I guess I’m afraid of what I’ll face. I killed so many while under Flamebird’s control and I’m not sure I can handle the pain and misery I caused.”

Harbinger shook her head. “You didn’t do those things. Dark Flamebird did. And it has passed now. Flamebird has been pacified within Supergirl.”

“But?”

“But there have been some developments. Superman has overthrown the US government and his regime is going around the world and taking over governments all over. Batman’s forces are going further underground and trying to bring back peace and restore the world to the natural order, but Superman is making it very difficult. Also, I came to show you what is to come.”

“What is to come? I don’t understand, you still have access to your abilities?”

“Yes. I didn’t lose my abilities in death, I gained mastery over them. And what I have seen must not come to pass.”

She waved her hands and the wall with the window was completely obscured by smoke. The smoke changed color and became clearer The scene showed an intense battle. Regime and Insurgency forces were battling furiously in Metropolis. Wonder Woman and Batman were at a standstill against Superman. Hal Jordan apparently turned to the Sinestro Corps as a yellow lantern and was fighting White Lantern Kyle Rayner furiously, fear against life. Alec watched as Black Adam came crashing down on top of Green Arrow, crushing him instantly. Circe unleashed her full fury on Zatanna, who was unable to keep up a shield as a bold of green light struck her in the chest, killing her instantly. Shazam flew at Aqualad at top speed, only to be brought down by Black Adam. He gripped his neck in his hand and squeezed until the sound of his neck snapping could be heard from afar. He dropped his lifeless body and slammed Arcane Supergirl with a lightning charged fist. Black Canary unleashed her sonic scream on Black Adam, causing his ears to bleed as he clutched his head in agony. Her scream brought him down as she rushed him with one of Green Arrow’s arrows in her hand. She slammed him in the stomach and shoved the arrow under his chin and impaled it in his head, twisting the bottom as she backflipped away. The arrow detonated as his head was blown off, completing her vengeance for Green Arrow’s death. Nightwing was in furious combat with Bane and Aqualad, holding them both at bay. Suddenly, the earth shook and the ground at their feet cracked. They all stopped fighting as demons poured out of the earth and began attacking the fallen heroes and the city. They stopped fighting each other and began to fight the demons as a huge shadow appeared, obscuring all light from the city. They looked up as a fleet of Brainiac’s ships came down from the atmosphere. Smaller Starfighters poured out of the larger command ships and began firing on them and the city, causing many of those with flight to take to the skies and fight them head on. Suddenly, the sky cracked as large boom tubes opened up and parademons poured out, attacking everything in sight. Larger tanks and attack ships poured out as well, led by Darkseid’s furies. Overwhelmed, the trinity split up, leading teams of different heroes against the overwhelming odds. Superman flew up at Brainiac’s ships along with Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Star Sapphire, White Lantern, Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Arcane Supergirl, Volcana, Bizzaro, and Luthor.  Wonder Woman led Dr. Fate, Dr. Light, Raven, Starfire, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Aqualad, Impulse, Beast Boy, Morgan Le Fey, Circe, and Martian Manhunter against Trigon’s demons. Batman led Nightwing, Bane, Firefly, Zauriel, Klarion, Black Canary, Red Arrow, Cyborg, Flash, Deadshot, and Deathstroke against Darkseid’s Parademons. Earth’s defenders were doing the best they could, but were unable to combat the combined efforts of the overwhelming forces. Heroes and villains were killed off as at an alarming rate. Circe flipped sides and drained Donna Troy of life, tossing her lifeless form aside as she hit Diana with a spell, throwing her aside like a ragdoll. Raven fought her father’s minions with unrelenting fury as her eyes split into four and her skin was tinged with red. A massive fist broke through the earth and grasped her, pulling her into hell. Sinestro was bound by Brainiac’s main flagship. The ship fired a beam and as he was hit he was digitized until he ceased to exist; his power ring falling down to earth as it glared with yellow light and sped off into the atmosphere seeking a new host. Darkseid himself stepped out of a boomtube and slapped aside a furious Superman. He crashed into the Daily Planet building, causing it to collapse into itself. Wonder Girl whipped a demon around in a wide arc with her lasso, knocking down any who were charging toward her. Suddenly, the space around her glowed with bright light as a form came crashing down on top of her, pinning her to the earth. When the smoke cleared, Wonder Boy saw Athena standing there, with her spear impaled in Wonder Girl’s chest. However, this Athena was much different. Her armor was obsidian, right down to the spear and shield. Her eyes glowed red with chaos magic and her expression portrayed great rage and hatred. She leaped off the lifeless corpse of Wonder Girl and slammed Wonder Woman into the ground with her shield. She then opened her moth as a tendril of darkness erupted from her mouth and into Wonder Woman, whose eyes began to glow red as her resistance ceased. Athena rose and allowed Wonder Woman to rise, grasp her sword and shield, and rocket off toward Aqualad. He turned after decapitating a demon, ready to take on another foe. Before he could react she swung her sword and its blade met his neck, relieving his head from the rest of his body.

Harbinger waved her hand again and the mist showing the battle dissipated. Alec was in tears and shaking from what he had seen. He watched his mentor decapitate one of her greatest friends, his patron goddess kill one of his sisters-in-arms, and watched as one of his friends was dragged to hell by her father.

“This is what is to come,” Harbinger said.

“Is there no way to stop any of this?” Alec asked.

“There is, but it’s not going to be an easy task. To fully understand, you’ll have to see how this all ends.”

“That’s not the end?” he asked shocked.

“No, but I wish it was.”

“Couldn’t you just tell me what to do differently?”

“Unfortunately not. I can only see outcomes, not the choices that led there. In order to reach this point, you’ll have to live the ending. I can place a part of your consciousness into your future self so you are able to look for the answer you seek. Would you be willing to give it a try?”

Alec was silent for a few moments before answering. “Yes. If it will change the course of the future, I will do it.”

She nodded and pressed her hand against his chest as her eyes glowed. A moment later, his vision went black and he could hear nothing.


 

Insurgency Base Camp, Gotham

Wonder Boy entered his future self with his eyes closed, still deep in sleep. His future self’s body wouldn’t move around so he could figure out where he was, which annoyed him greatly. He decided to leave his future self’s body in order to get a better view of everything that was happening. He exercised his astral form out and was floating in the chamber. It was dimly lit, and there was not much in the quarters with the exception of a small dresser, trash can, and a mirror attached to a sink. He saw his future self on a beaten up mattress, holding a body pillow close. His attire, however, was much different from his usual Wonder Boy armor. His sleeveless upper body armor was silver and worn from years of conflict with a leather belt across his waist and a leather strap that wrapped around his upper body from one shoulder to the other side of his waist. His gauntlets were worn and had dark brown leather gloves that extended to his forearm under them. His leg armor was also shortened significantly, a thick leather that ended about four inches above his knees and was covered with pieces of dark silver metal. His armored boots were similar to the rest of his armor, leather and covered pieces of worn out silver. He noticed that his weapons were mounted on the wall: short sword, his standard sword, and shield. He noticed his lasso was gone, which troubled him greatly. He floated through the room’s ceiling and into Gotham, the city which was on fire. Trigon’s demons marched and flew through the city unopposed, mobilizing for an assault. He turned to Metropolis across the bay and saw Brainiac’s ships over the city. He looked closer and saw a group of his fighter ships speeding across the bay toward Gotham. He lowered himself back into his future self’s quarters, unable to comprehend what he had just seen. He passed through the ceiling to see his future self was awake and putting his weapons on his back. He stopped by his dresser and touched a photo Alec didn’t see previously. It was a picture of him and Roy, kissing with Big Ben in the background. Something in Alec broke as he realized what this meant: Roy had died at some point after Superman took over the world’s governments. He felt the anguish and pain swell up within him as he came to this realization, but forced himself to calm down as his future self had left the room without him noticing. Shaking, he flew through the door and followed his future self down the hallway. The corridor opened up in a wide sphere shaped room with a large, circular command station. Surrounding it were people Alec had known, and he was shocked with how the events of the future shaped them. Zatanna ‘s typical magician’s outfit was almost entirely gone, replaced with a corset covered in obsidian armor, leg armor, forearm coverings made of metal, and a theatre mask pulled so it rested on top of her head which glowed with eerie cyan light. Batman’s armor was much different than it had been. First, it was a mesh of black and dark gray armor plates. His bat symbol was red and the eyes of the cowl were red as well. His full head was covered by the cowl and the cape was gone as well. Nightwing’s armor hadn’t changed much since he last saw him, only became faded and worn over the many battles he had been in. Miss Martian looked almost the same, as if no time had passed. However, Alec could see in her eyes that much had changed. Superboy also did not look much different from the past, as did Blue Beetle and Black Canary. The Flash’s suit had changed to be constructed of pieces of red armor. Arcane Supergirl looked the same as she appeared on Themyscira, glowing with light. Catwoman’s entire attire was light armored obsidian and leather suit with razor claws on the fingers and feet, and her whip was entirely made of flexible steel. Volcana had drastically changed, as she was a living embodiment of fire and pyrokinetic energy and her armor pieces were made of solidified magma. Poison Ivy walked in, followed by White Lantern Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire, Dr. Fate, and a teenage Tibetan Green Lantern Alec had never seen before. Poison Ivy and the others hadn’t changed much. Two more bodies followed, and Alec was shocked to see that The Joker, the goddamn JOKER had survived all of this and was standing alongside Harley Quinn. Each of them wearing US army combat gear, but dyed to look like their original attire. Joker’s was dyed with green, purple, and white while Harley’s was red, white, black, and blue. Alec was beyond pissed. How had this maniac survived everything that happened but Roy hadn’t? He suppressed his anger and listened as Batman began their briefing. He pressed a button on the console and a projection of Ra’s Al Ghoul appeared, along with a projection of earth. Surrounding it were many flagships and smaller frigates and fighters from both Darkseid and Braniac.

“This is what we know: Braniac and Darkseid’s forces are fighting in space, and Braniac is gaining ground over Darkseid’s space forces, but they’re holding ground. Darkseid, however, has set up his base of operations in Africa and what used to be Australia. Trigon’s forces were pushed back to Europe, and they have taken all of it and Asia. Braniac’s ground forces aren’t making much ground as they’re mainly in South America and coming through the southern US. Trigon is attacking from Europe and coming across the seas, while Darkseid is opening boom tubes and coming from Canada. The East coast is all that’s left of the free world, under our protection and what’s left of the US military and League of Assassins.” He pushed another button and pictures of the commanders of the triad of invaders showed up. “Reports have been confirmed visually by our forces. Superman, Impulse, Hal Jordan, Barda, and Deathstroke are with Darkseid. Braniac had Luthor, Cyborg, Bizzaro, and Firefly backing him. Trigon has the most support from Raven, Wonder Woman, Athena, Circe, Ares, Morgan Le Fey, Eris, and Hecate. He also is rumored to have called forth a small amount of undead heroes and villains, who have not been visually confirmed by anyone. Braniac has the lowest amount of ground forces as most of them are stuck in space thanks to Darkseid’s intervention, making him an easier target.” The hologram disappeared and a large flagship took its place. “This is Braniac’s flagship, and it is stationary over Metropolis at this moment, where the three sides have converged and are locked in heated battle with one another. While Darkseid and Trigon have not been spotted in Metropolis, Braniac has been spotted by Cyborg who has been undercover working for him all this time. Thankfully, Cyborg has placed a device that allowed him access to Braniac’s systems and has Discovered that Darkseid has a secret factory in Gotham that is mass producing Parademons and mother boxes. Our mission is to infiltrate the facility, disrupt all manufacturing, steal a mother box, and send all of our enemies off world. After that, it’s up to us to rebuild and try to fix our world. In order for this to work, we’re going to have to divide into teams of two. One team will have to engage our enemies on the front lines in Metropolis as a diversion, while a smaller team will infiltrate and destroy the factory. Wonder Boy, Green Lantern Kai-Ro, Blue Beetle, Miss Martian, and Superboy will go in and complete this task, while the rest of us engage the enemy on the front lines.”

“Is it worth it to distract an enemy that is already distracted by two other foes?” his future self asked.

“Yes, if we meet the main leaders in battle, they will not be able to pay attention to your efforts in Darkseid’s factory. Supergirl, Flash, and I will engage Darkseid and Superman. Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire, and Volcana will distract Braniac and Luthor. Finally, Ztanna, Dr. Fate, and Black Canary will face Trigon. The rest will distract the ground forces. Nightwing, you’ll lead this team.”

Nightwing nodded. “Then let’s get moving.”

“Right.” He looked at his assembled forces. “You are all Earth’s last hope for freedom and protection from these evils. We cannot fail. If anyone falls in battle, know your sacrifice will not be in vain and, one day, your efforts will be remembered. Good hunting,” he said as the team moved into their separate groups and took off. Dr. Fate opened four portals for the different teams, each leading to a different destination. All went through their different portals, and Alec decided to follow his future self.


 

Wayne Tower, Gotham

His future self and his team exited the portal, which deposited them just outside Wayne Tower. He watched as they rushed forward, Miss Martian uprooting a sewage grate which they all then jumped into. Alec followed them through the various twists and turns until they reached a portion that appeared to be blocked by a pipeline that lead down further into the ground. Wonder Boy stood in front of the pipeline, and a beam of light came forth and scanned him. The light disappeared and a doorway opened in the pipeline, revealing an elevator. The five stepped into it, and began their ascent toward the top of the building. The doors opened on the 50th floor, research and development. They stepped into the wide room as the lights turned on, revealing many of Batman’s vehicles and gadgetry. As soon as they stepped out, the elevator closed and shot back down, leaving them there.

“Blue, can you conduct an internal scan of the building?” Wonder Boy asked.

“Yeah, scarab suggests a sonar scan as that will cause much less disruption,” Blue Beetle responded.

He aimed his blasters at the ceiling and floor and released a sonic burst, causing cracks in the ceiling and floor.

“Scan complete,” he said. “There’s an unusual amount of activity in the basement of this facility, as well as in the office of Mr. Wayne and on the rooftop. Based on scarab’s scan, it looks like the main power core of the facility is in the basement, the control room for the Parademon manufacturing and mother box assembly is in Mr. Wayne’s office, and the main boom tube sending out all Parademons is on the roof as well as a communications array.”

“Alright then,” Wonder Boy started. “If we’re going to succeed, we’re going to have to split into teams. Superboy, you’re going to act as a diversion and draw most of the security away from the core and control room. Miss Martian, you and Blue Beetle will go to the basement and destroy the power core. Use phase shifting and wait for the signal to begin its destruction. Lantern and I will go to Wayne’s office and download the schematics for the mother boxes and possibly get our hands on one for Batman. Once we’re done, blow the core and help Superboy so you all can meet us on the roof.”

The team nodded in response to their friend’s suggestions and went their separate ways. Miss Martian and Blue Beetle went intangible and began floating through the floor, while Superboy slammed through the doors and began tearing the place to shreds while yelling for challenge. Alec watched Kai-Ro and his future self float to the ceiling and cut a hole in the ventilation shaft. His future self went first, flying in with bracelets raised and ready to fight. However, there was no challenge. Alec floated after Kai-Ro and his future self as they navigated through the shaft, until they reached the point where it emptied into Wayne’s office. However, the vent was closed and they were unable to go past without knowing what lied ahead.

“I’m going to astral project my soul self to see what we’re up against.”

Kai-Ro nodded, and his future self closed his eyes. Suddenly, an astral form of his future self burst forth from his body. He sensed someone near and looked right at Alec with wide eyes.

“What’s this? Another one of Circe’s illusions?” he asked.

Alec was in shock. His future self was speaking to him.

“You fooled me once with your illusions witch. But I will not fall for them a second time.”

He rushed forward only to be halted by Alec’s force of will.

“STOP. I’m not an illusion, I’m from our past. I’ve come from the moment you went into a coma after Flamebird was exorcised from your body. Harbinger and Athena came to me and told me I needed to see what was to come if this war was not ended soon.”

His future self regarded him with uncertainty. “How do I know what you say is true?”

“How can I prove this to you?”

“Tell me something only we know.”

Alec sighed. “Our father is not our real father. Our true father is Ares, god of war. He told us while we were in a coma.”

His future self’s face cringed. “I've never told anyone that, not even Roy when he was alive. You’re me.”

“Now, I need to know how to end this conflict before this future comes to pass.”

His future hesitated. “I need to continue this mission, but I’ll give you what knowledge I know.”

He touched Alec’s head and passed on what knowledge he knew before passing through the wall. Alec’s mind was flooded with memories: him fighting yellow and red lanterns, him holding the broken body of Roy, Wonder Woman decapitating Martian Manhunter, Trigon’s forces overwhelming Themyscira, Queen Hippolyta getting killed by her daughter Wonder Woman, him losing his Amazonian powers, him physically training with Batman, Nightwing, and Black Canary then magically training with Dr. Fate and Zatanna. He was overwhelmed by the memories and realized the way to end this conflict before these events came to pass, but the others weren’t going to like this, or even trust a rumor. Alec was not sure how anyone would take the news he had to bring back to the league, especially Diana. He closed his eyes and willed himself to go back to the present, but could not. Apparently, this vision was not over. He opened his eyes and saw that Kai-Ro and his future self had left down the open ventilation shaft. He phased through the shaft, only to see many parademons knocked out on the floor and Kai-Ro destroying the console while Wonder Boy held the flash drive with the intel on it. Suddenly, there were loud crashes coming from behind the main doors. Superboy crashed through the metal doors and landed right in front of Wonder Boy, who helped him up. Entering the office was an army of parademons, each armed with various weapons. Wonder Boy drew his sword and shield and readied himself.

“Kai-Ro, go to the roof and shut down that boom tube,” Wonder Boy ordered. “We’re right behind you.”

Kai-Ro detonated a green construct over the parademon’s heads, causing a blinding flash of light as he rushed out the balcony. Wonder Boy rushed forward and sliced a parademon across the chest while burying the shield in another’s neck while Superboy slammed down on the closest parademons’ necks. They fought furiously, easily thinning out Darkseid’s forces. However, a parademon grabbed Wonder Boy’s shield and tossed it out the window. Compensating and preparing to show his real skill, he drew his short sword and stabbed the demon through the chest. All of the sudden, the sky flashed green momentarily, causing panic across Wonder Boy’s face.

“You got this?” he asked Superboy.

He slammed a parademon with his fist. “Go! I’ll be fine.”

Wonder Boy nodded and flew to the roof. Alec floated through the ceiling and onto the roof, unable to comprehend what he was seeing. Kai-Ro was on his knees clutching his bleeding hand and his power ring in two pieces in front of him. Before him was Wonder Woman, or what used to be her.

“Surrender child,” she threatened. “You’re too weak to continue.”

“Never,” he croaked as he stood up.

Diana smirked. “Perhaps I was wrong,” she said as she raised her sword.

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” a voice said from behind them.

Diana turned to see her former protégé standing before her, swords lowered at his sides. Her body was encased in obsidian armor, even her face was mostly obscured by a black Grecian helm with a thin slit for the eyes that glowed blood red and a wide slit for her mouth. Her mouth twitched into a smirk.

Diana chuckled. “Athena said this may happen. Our long-awaited reunion has come at last.”

Wonder Boy’s eyes narrowed. “I’m glad I gave you something to look forward to. I wasn’t sure you’d remember who I was or who you once were,” he said with hostility.

Diana shook her head. “We don’t need to be hostile. Trigon has agreed to show you mercy if you tell me where the remaining Amazons can be found.”

“There are no Amazons. You and your demonic forces made sure of that.”

She turned back to Kai-Ro. “Perhaps this young one will provide the answers you refuse to.”

Wonder Boy’s voice trembled. “I used to think I knew who you were behind this demonic allegiance. But it’s impossible, my former mentor would never have turned her back on her sisters.”

She turned quickly back to her former student. “Diana of Themyscira was weak. I destroyed her.”

Wonder Boy closed his eyes in mourning, then opened them as they filled with rage. “Then I will avenger her death,” he said slowly.

“Revenge is not the Amazon way,” she chided.

He looked on her with anger. “I am no Amazon,” he said as he raised his swords and readied them in front of him.

Diana raised her sword in front of her in a low guard with an eerie smirk on her face. Wonder Boy narrowed his eyes and rushed forward. He began their deadly dance with a swipe at her knees then followed up with a kick to her head, following that with a round house kick. Diana avoided all strikes and responded with one of her own toward his head, which he ducked to avoid. She struck again and again at his head, and he narrowly avoided each strike. He met another of her strike with one of his swords and brought their blades into a cross with his other sword and pushed back. He then backflipped a few times, each time avoiding Diana’s strikes until he stood his ground and met her strikes with each of his own. She pushed him back to the balcony, leaping after him and leading with an overhead slash. He rolled out of the way and slashed upward at her face, but she spun out of the way and stabbed down on his back, only to be deflected by the sword in his opposite hand. He spun upward, getting back on his feet and began swinging at his former mentor. Each strike was followed by one of her own, and the sheer force of the strikes caused sparks to ignite where the blades clashed. Wonder Boy knocked her back, and leaped at her, knocking aside her sword and following with a reverse gripped slash at her head. The slash connected and her helm fell to the floor with a wide gash in the middle. Diana rose and turned, showing the slash he had made across her left cheek leading to her forehead. She rushed forward and attacked with renowned fury. His future self could hold his own but Alec could see that, even in the future, his chances of beating Wonder Woman were low and the fact that she was corrupted by darkness lowered those chances drastically. He could recognize that his future self was growing weaker and weaker as the dark Diana began swatting his attacks away as if they were nothing. She batted another strike away as she drew her fist back and slammed him across the face, sending him flying off the side of the balcony.

Wonder Woman followed to ensure her former protégé had fallen, but was stopped when a device exploded at her back. She staggered, and regained her footing. Glaring, she whipped around to see Batman standing in front of Kai-Ro. He glowered at her before rushing toward her with twin battle axes in his hands. Wanting to throw him off, she allowed him to attack her, each time avoiding the swing of his axes. She decided she was bored of this display and grabbed him by the neck and slammed him into the ground. She grabbed his axes as she noticed a small flashing light coming from her stomach. It exploded and knocked her back to the edge of the room, enraging her. Batman got to his feet only to have an axe buried in his chest, thrown by Diana. She sauntered over as he groaned in pain and sank on his hands and knees. She hefted the axe on her shoulder and stared down at his exposed head as Wonder Boy came flying into the room. He saw what was happening and leveled his swords as he rushed forward, only to be arrested by an unknown force of dark magic. Raven appeared in the room through a portal, followed by the broken form of Zatanna suspended in the air. Diana smirked at her former student as she brought the axe down on the dark knight, severing his head from his body. His head hit the floor first, followed by his body. Wonder Boy stared in horror at what happened but his attention was diverted as the energy suspending him began infecting his form with darkness. He struggled against his bonds and against the infection, but it was too late. Trigon’s dark influence had infected him, and he too was under the demon’s thrall.

Alec felt a tug at his astral form and knew he was now able to leave. Just as this occurred, his corrupted future self looked right at him, sensing the interference. With that, he passed through an unseen portal below him and was enveloped in bright light.


 

The light receeded, and he saw he was back in his apartment where Athena and Harbinger were waiting. They both looked on him with concern, seeing what he had seen. He was still shaking, even when Harbinger hugged him.

“Are you alright?” she asked.

“No,” he responded.

“Did you uncover the way to stop the coming war?” Athena asked.

“Maybe. I can’t be sure. But my future self was doing research after Brainiac, Trigon, and Darkseid began their conquest of earth. He took it upon himself to chronicle what happened since the beginning of the league to determine what happened that lead them to that outcome. Doing this, he found a discrepancy in one of the league records that contradicted what he was told by Spectre.”

Athena and Harbinger looked at each other. “What did he say?” Athena asked.

“He said the league’s mission to the earth 3 and their battle with the Crime Syndicate had a different outcome than what was reported in the league systems.”

“That seems strange, who wrote that report?” Harbinger asked.

“The same person that reviews all league reports. Batman.”

Chapter Text

                                         

Chapter 14: The War of Light

Insurgency Moon Base

Wonder Woman paced the conference room, deep in thought. She had received word from Athena that Alec was doing better and that he would come out of his coma by day’s end and that he would be back with her shortly, but that news was delivered yesterday. She had received no updates since then, from any of the gods regarding anything. She also accepted a closed channel message from Kyle Rayner saying he had news from Oa, but that it was news best shared in person and she was waiting for he and Star Sapphire to arrive. In addition to this news, Superman had secured his hold on the last of the seven continents and had begun recruiting for his Regime’s military. On top of all these issues, Themyscira had gone silent since their decision to stay out of man’s world. She knew her mother did not support what Superman was doing, but she had her people to think about and engaging in war would decimate the Amazons.

Suddenly, a portal ripped open in the conference room and Diana readied herself for whatever would step through. Dr. Fate stepped through, accompanied by Wonder Boy. Diana was shocked and overjoyed at the same time, unable to comprehend it was him standing in front of her. She wasn’t sure if he was ready to return to battle, especially since she hadn’t heard from Athena regarding his status after the events in Gotham and Themyscira. Alec’s face was unreadable as he stared at his mentor, undecided in his course of action. Hesitantly, Diana reached out and he stepped forward until she was holding him as he began to cry and shudder softly.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated over and over again into her shoulder as she held him close.

She lessened her grip and held him in front of her. “You have nothing to apologize for. You are not responsible for what happened when Flamebird took over. It’s due to your efforts which allowed Supergirl to expel the forces invading our home. Nothing that happened was your fault.”

Alec wiped his eyes and nodded.

“Now,” she continued, “how are you? Are you still in touch with your mystic and mental abilities?”

“Yes, I am thankfully. Although I will say that while using both abilities I was able to uncover some information on how this whole war started.”

Diana looked at him with concern. “We know how it started. The US government drafted a law-”

“Right but I am talking about before all of this, years before,” he said cutting her off. “I’m talking about the beginning of this entire conflict, and it starts with the founding members’ mission to Earth 3 and your encounter with the Crime Syndicate.”

“How does our current conflict relate to a mission that happened years ago?”

“Because what was written in league records and what I saw did not match up.”

Diana stared at him, not understanding what was being said. Alec shook his head and nodded at Dr. Fate, who linked their minds as Alec showed them what actually happened during the League’s mission to Earth 3.


 

Memories of Earth 3

Alec accessed the memories Spector showed his future self and the darkness became clear. They were on a desolate world filled with archaic ruins and floating debris in the atmosphere. On a slightly elevated platform with a few steps stood a large, oval shaped device connected to a control panel. At the control panel, stood the Earth 3 version of Batman: Owl Man. His cowl was in the shape of an owl’s head and his cloak was made of light, flexible metallic feathers. Out of a portal 10 feet away jumped Batman, or at least a younger Batman who was holding a grocery store scanner looking device. Diana’s eyes were wide with shock. She had read the report that they had fought but had not actually seen their fight. After a brief exchange, Batman started the fight by throwing a batarang which Owl Man deflected with his cloak. Batman then surprised him by grappling him once his cloak was down and yanking him toward him. Owl Man turned the sudden change of position into a kick which connected to Batman’s sternum, beginning their battle. In a fair fight, Wonder Woman would have said they were evenly matched. But this fight was definitely one sided. Owl Man’s armor had been reinforced to go up against Super Woman and Ultraman, giving him a distinct advantage over Batman. He grabbed him by the arms and slammed him into a nearby pillar and then drop kicked him right through it causing it to collapse on him. Wonder Woman stared in shock, she had never seen anyone get the better of Batman like this, not even Superman. Batman rose shakily and blinded Owl Man with a spray of explosive gel and detonated it, causing Owl Man to become disoriented. Batman rushed the controls and began typing while Owl Man regained his senses. He saw what Batman was doing and rushed him, forcing him into a headlock. Batman ran his legs up the bomb and broke the hold and threw a boa at Owl Man, securing his arm to the console. The bomb began to beep loudly, initiating its countdown. Owl Man frantically grabbed a long needle from his belt, a needle that had a strange glow to it.

“Watch carefully,” Alec said.

Diana watched as Owl Man flung the needle, which impaled Batman’s shoulder. The strange thing was, Batman had no reaction to it as the needle sank into his shoulder. Batman pushed a button on the console and the bomb along with Owl Man teleported away, safeguarding Earth Prime. Batman left the world through the portal he entered and the vision ended.


 

Insurgency Moon Base

The three woke from their shared vision, a bit disoriented from glimpsing the past. Diana looked at Wonder Boy with uncertainty.

“I’ve read Batman’s report and it mentions nothing of Owl Man hitting him with that needle. Dr. Fate, what was that?”

“From what I have gathered, it is a soul object,” he explained, “It appeared to be an object that contained a bit of Owl Man’s soul, passing it into Batman. As to why this was not in the report, My guess is that there was a sensation dampening effect on it preventing him from sensing the object as it neared him and impaled him.”

“My theory is that a part of Owl Man’s soul is inside Batman, orchestrating this entire conflict,” Wonder Boy stated. “I reviewed the mission logs from the tapes released to the media on the Team. Each mission we shut down surveillance. However, I remembered how on the first mission the Team completed, Batman used these nanodrones to record the performance of the Team for improvement. My guess is that these were attached to our suits before we went on missions and they were activated once we made it to the location of the assignment.”

Diana looked at him in shock, then became stern. “If this is true, we must be able to verify your claims.”

“I can mystically analyze his soul to see if there is tampering and see if there’s any presence of another in his body,” Dr. Fate said.

“And if there is, will you be able to expel Owl Man from Batman?”

“Yes, but only if he is present and influencing Batman’s actions.”

Suddenly the door opened and Batman stepped into the conference room. If he was surprised, he didn’t show it as he saw Wonder Boy and Dr. Fate in the conference room with Wonder Woman.

He nodded to the pair and walked up to Diana. “Any word from Kyle Rayner?”

Diana looked at him with genuine concern, masking her true suspicions. “No, I haven’t. It worries me that he is already hours late.”

“I’m sure he and Star Sapphire are fine, but I am curious what he has to say.” He turned to Wonder Boy. “How’re you feeling Alec?”

“Better,” Alec responded quickly.

“Good. After Gotham you had a lot of us worried,” Suddenly he stopped talking. “Why are Fate’s eyes glowing?”

Wonder Boy turned his attention to Dr. Fate, whose eyes were glowing white. His eyes stopped glowing and he nodded Wonder Woman, whose expression turned fierce as she turned on Batman. She flew right at Batman, trying to grapple him but he dodged at the last second by planting his hand on her back and flipping over. As she sped past, a concussive blast detonated sending her into the hallway. Batman then began throwing batarangs at Fate and Wonder Boy, both of which were dealing with this threat in their own way. Fate was dispelling them with an ankh shield, while Wonder Boy was deflecting them with his bracelets. One connected with his bracelet that exploded on impact, disorienting him while Batman threw a smoke grenade but was destroyed by Dr. Fate. Batman used this distraction to his advantage by then blinding the room with a flashbang, disorienting both Wonder Boy and Dr. Fate. Wonder Boy was trying to regain his vision while being vaguely aware of the sounds of fighting happening in front of him. Through his clouded vision he could see Wonder Woman and Batman fighting, but Alec could already see the problem: Batman wasn’t holding back. While Diana was trying to incapacitate her friend, Batman was fighting to kill. In each hand, he held a batarang which scraped her bracelets as she deflected his strikes. He used this to his advantage by kicking at her knee, momentarily crippling her and released his batarags which exploded on impact, knocking her out of the room. Dr. Fate then threw out his hands in a wide area and the ankh shielding him from the projectiles flew forward and contained the dark knight, forcing him to his knees. Wonder Boy rose steadily.

“He’s currently being controlled by a fragment of Owl Man’s soul, barely enough to control his body and modify his memories.”

Diana entered the room clutching her head. “So can you help him?”

“I can, but I’ll need him to be restrained as I’ll need complete focus to remove the parasite.” He looked at Wonder Boy. “I need you to restrain him with your mind.”

Wonder Boy’s heart raced. “I-I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

Flashes of his onslaught of Gotham and Themyscira assaulted his mind. “I just can’t. Not after everything that happened.”

“It must be you. Wonder Woman may use her lasso to restrain him but he is resourceful. I need his entire body restrained if I am to complete the exorcism.”

Wonder Boy looked at Batman. He knew what he had to do, but he didn’t trust himself to do it. He took a deep breath and concentrated on what had happened while under the Dark Flamebird’s control. He watched as he made major force explode, set Steel aflame and beat him with his hammer, make Guy Gardner’s arm disintegrate and consume him with fire, and fracture the minds of many others. He let each incident flow like water, down the river and out of his concerns. It was not his fault what happened, and he had accepted events occurred and he would do what was in his power to fix it. He opened his eyes and nodded at Fate. He outstretched his hands, locking Batman’s body in place. The ankh disappeared and Dr. Fate placed his hands on the side of Batman’s head. He could feel him struggling but Wonder Boy intensified the hold on him, imagining him stuck in concrete. It was then that Batman began to scream in agony as Dr. Fate pulled his hands up, holding a swirling nimbus of dark energy: a fragment of Owl Man’s soul. Batman seemed to have passed out from the strain, but Wonder Boy held him in place. Dr. Fate held the piece of Owl Man’s soul in one hand and jolted it with an electric blast, causing it to shudder violently and burn before their eyes until there was nothing left.

Dr. Fate looked at Wonder Woman and Wonder Boy. “From what I gathered, Owl Man’s soul only influenced the creation of the law by anonymously sending Luthor the videos of the team. He was planning on sending the location of our base to Superman, but we stopped him before that goal could be accomplished.”

“Thank Hera it’s over,” Wonder Woman said. “How long until he’s regained consciousness?”

“I do not know,” Dr. Fate said as he waved his hand and teleported Batman to his quarters. “The strain of removing another’s soul was a lot to handle. But it’s far from over.”

As he said this an indigo light erupted at the other end of the room. When the light receded, Green Lantern John Stewart, White Lantern Kyle Rayner, Green Lantern Kilowog, and Star Sapphire Carol Ferris were hovering in their light auras. They touched down on the floor and walked toward Wonder Woman. She shook their hands and looked at them skeptically. 

“What’s happening?” she asked. She turned to John, “I thought you joined Superman.”

“That was until I witnessed what happened in Gotham,” he said. “I’ve come to make amends and offer support in fighting him.”

She looked at Wonder Boy, who nodded in confirmation that what he was saying was true since he had read his mind.

“I believe you, but we’re losing this fight. We were hoping you had some information that would help us in our fight.”

“He never shared his plans with us, mostly told us right before it happened. But Kyle has a plan,” he said as he turned to Kyle Rayner.

“I took John and Carol to the Guardians and made a case with them. They’ve decided enough is enough and they’re mobilizing the corps to put a stop to Superman.”

Diana and Wonder Boy looked at each other with a shocked expression. “When you say the corps, how many do you mean?” Diana asked.

“Our numbers aren’t what they used to be, but everyone who’s not currently dealing with a crisis in their sectors. So about 200 Green Lanterns and the Guardians are coming to Earth as we speak.”

Diana was stunned. “Thank you all for your help. Perhaps this is the answer we seek to ending this conflict.”

“Actually,” Alec interrupted, “ending this conflict may be more difficult than we think. In order to find out how this whole thing started, I had to project my soul self into the future and speak to my future self. But that’s not all I saw. I saw a final battle in Metropolis between the Insurgency and the Regime, and it was a bloody battle. However, it was interrupted by the arrival of Darkseid, Trigon, and Brainiac at the same time. We were forced to split our forces between the three threats and it was cataclysmic. I have a feeling bringing the Lanterns to Earth will not end this, only make it worse.”

Kyle Rayner looked at him. “So you’re saying we’ll lose this battle.”

“I don’t know the outcome of this battle, but he was in power when that battle was fought, so I don’t think we will win this fight even with the Green Lantern Corps on our side.”

“Well they’re already on their way. I could contact the Blue Corps and see if they could assist us, Saint Walker and I are friends and I’m sure he would come to our aid if I asked.”

“And I could contact the Star Sapphires ask them to come as well,” Carol Ferris suggested.

“They may help, but we’re going to have to figure out ways to repel the main threats: Trigon, Brainiac, and Darkseid,” Wonder Boy said.

“I may have a solution for Trigon,” Dr. Fate said. “We could send him to the Void where he could never again reach our plane of existence. It’s another dimension in which there is no escape and a place where he will not harm anyone else.”

“How would we accomplish that?”

“I do not have the ability to send him off, but Billy Batson uses interdimensional lightning to transform himself into Shazam. If he could call down the lightning as I am over him, I can direct it at Trigon and remove him from this plane.”

“So while we engage Superman with the Lanterns, you and Shazam will handle Trigon?” Diana asked.

“We can accomplish this, yes.”

“Good, then all we have to worry about is Darkseid and Brainiac,” Wonder Boy said.

“We’ll worry about them in time, for now we’ll wait for the lanterns to arrive,” Diana said.


 

Wonder Boy walked down to the medical bay of the base. He stepped through the doors and was shocked with what he saw. Nightwing was stretching alongside Black Canary and Green Arrow, who appeared to have gotten better after the battle in Gotham. He continued past them and went to a door at the end of the hall. He entered his security code on the panel and the door hissed open. Inside were five separate hazmat containment cells, and four were occupied. Killer Frost was laying down on the bed in the first cell, and her mind was silent, indicating she was in a trance. The second cell held Morgan Le Fey, who was facing his direction as he walked in the room. The third held Silver Banshee, who glared at him as he walked by. The fourth cell was empty, but the fifth was holding the Enchantress. Outside the cell stood Zatanna, who was deep in thought and in her magics trying to restore her mind. She sensed him approaching and opened her eyes. She turned to him and gave him a welcoming hug.

“Welcome back,” she whispered.

“Thank you so much for what you did,” he replied.

The two stepped back from their embrace. “I was able to heal both Killer Frost and Silver Banshee, Killer Frost is in the final stages of the process. Enchantress, however, is another story. I was able to somewhat fix the mind of the Enchantress, but her host June Moon needs a lot more work. I can’t seem to completely fix one without damaging the other, it’s like there cannot be balance in the shared body.”

“You’ll figure it out, you’re one of the most powerful magic users in the world.”

She winked back at him. “You could help me, you know? Your magic is strong and your telepathic abilities have grown so much in the past year.”

“No,” he said immediately. “I can’t. I need more time to trust myself after what happened in Gotham and Themyscira. At least with my telepathic abilities.”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “I understand. When I first lost control with my magic I also needed a break in order to retain my sanity. But the best way to regain that is to use your abilities. I understand you need time, but just know that we need you too now that you’re back.”

He nodded. “And what of me?” a voice said.

They turned to Morgan Le Fey. “Why am I still here? What use do you have of me? Batman spent days interrogating me to understand Superman’s plans and it went nowhere. He told us nothing prior to sending us out on our missions, and I know nothing of his future plans. So why am I still a captive here?”

“You’re a prisoner of war. And it was because of your attack that Harbinger is dead,” Wonder Boy said.

“If I recall, that was Circe and Killer Frost. Not me.”

“Either way you were there. But what I cannot understand is why you serve Superman.”

“I am no one’s servant,” she said dangerously.

“Then why fight for him?”


‘We were given amnesty if we joined him.”

“No, you could have easily retreated to another dimension. Plus, Superman is vulnerable to magic. You could have easily overpowered him.”

“HE HAS MY SON,” she yelled. The room got quiet. She let out a low breath. “Right when the fighting broke out, I tried to get my son and I to safety. However, we were intercepted by Waller’s Suicide Squad and Superman. The Enchantress and the rest of the squad held my attention while Superman grabbed my son and knocked him out. Waller threatened that if I did not comply that he would die. To prove it, she had Enchantress strip him of the protective spells I had placed on him and shocked him. I had no other recourse except join him. And now, because of you, his death sentence is going to be carried out.”

Wonder Boy looked at Zatanna, who nodded at him. He turned back to Morgan Le Fey. “If I release you and send you to your son, will you swear you will not allow Superman to find us?”

“Why would you trust me not to betray you?”

“You’re only trying to protect your son. I respect that, and I trust that you won’t betray us if his life is on the line.”

She simply stared at him. It was impossible to read her since her golden mask obscured her face. Finally, she spoke. “A bargain is a bargain.”

Zatanna put her hand in front of her toward Morgan Le Fey. “NRUTER REH OT REH NOS.” And Morgan Le Fey disappeared in smoke.

“And what of us?” Silver Banshee inquired.

“I still need to wipe your minds of what you have heard and seen of this place. Batman’s said that when we’re done here that I can send you both back.”

Killer Frost stirred in her sleep. “Well, it looks like she’s done. Now let us out,” Silver Banshee demanded.

Zatanna held out her hands in front of her. “TEGROF AND PEELS.” Two light balls of energy blasted from her hands and hit Killer Frost and Silver Banshee, as both fell silent and Silver Banshee hit the floor. “I never said I’d be nice about it,” Zatanna said. She waved her hands over their cells. “NRUTER MEHT OT NAMPREPUS.” As before, the two disappeared in smoke.

The pair exited the containment room to find the Lanterns and Wonder Woman waiting for them.

“We sent most of them back to Superman, except for the Enchantress. She’s still in there. And Morgan Le Fey was sent to her captive son, they’re leaving this dimension until the conflict is over.”

“I’m guessing those were Batman’s orders?”

“Yes, but I wiped their minds before we sent them back.”

“Hopefully it worked and they won’t be able to trace your magic back here. Could you do a spell that would block them from backtracking your magic here?”

“I could do that,” she replied.

“While that’s important, I think we’re out of time,” Kyle Rayner interrupted as he pointed to space.

Wonder Boy saw green light speeding toward their location, getting faster and faster until it sped right by them. Alec could make out forms in the green light, some humanoid and some other forms. The Green Lanterns had arrived.

“I asked them to meet us in Metropolis so they won’t reveal your location to Superman,” John Stewart said.

Diana nodded. “Let’s go then.”


 

Centennial Park, Metropolis

Superman was suspended in air overlooking the park alongside Firestorm, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Hawkman, Blackfire, Bumble Bee, Fire, and Volcana. He had gotten the alert from Luthor that Lanterns had entered Earth’s space and had received a message that they wanted to meet. He was aware of how the public and some members of his Regime felt after he overthrew the government, but it did not affect him. He knew what he was doing was right, he was brining eternal peace to Earth. But he was still no closer to finding the Insurgency, even when Killer Frost and Silver Banshee appeared right in front of him asleep but healed from their battle in Gotham. He ordered Flash and Cyborg to watch them and prepare for battle, he had a feeling this conversation would not go well with the Lanterns. This was why he asked Sinestro and Atrocitus to stay away as their presence would impact the Lanterns. He heard them coming from the north and zeroed in on their position. He only saw eight individuals: John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Carol Ferris, Kilowog, Wonder Woman, Wonder Boy, Ganthet, and another Green Lantern he did not recognize. They stopped 50 feet across from them and he was able to get a better view of the Lantern. While she was humanoid, she was clearly not human. Her skin was white with a tinge of light blue mixed in. Her lantern uniform reminded him of Wonder Boy’s except green on top and black on bottom. She had no hair, but five head tails with circles on them slightly darker than her skin tone and green combat goggles on her forehead. Her eyes were light orange like a blazing fire. The two sides floated toward each other until they were ten feet away from each other, and Ganthet spoke.

“ Kal-El. The Green Lantern Corps have come to Earth in response to your domination of this world. Relinquish control over this planet and come with us for your trial.”

“What am I accused of? Bringing peace to this world?”

“Causing mass fear in the populace, assassinating world leaders, establishing a dictatorship over this world, hunting down its protectors, and conspiring with the Sinestro and Red Lantern Corps to hold power over this world.”

“I brought peace and justice to this world. What have you done Ganthet? Who elected you to form the Green Lanterns and run an intergalactic military force?”

“That is irrelevant.”

“What you have done is no different than what I am doing here. You have to accept that what I am doing is best for the world.”

“I respect your vision, but not your methods of reaching this goal. You know deep down what you’re doing is wrong and that this makes you no different than the villany you swore to defeat.”

“We’re asking you to stand down,” Wonder Woman said. “It’s not too late to undo the damage you’ve done.”

“You should talk Diana. If you all had just joined us none of this would be happening. You could have helped me bring peace but instead you all add to the chaos.”

“This was not the way to bring peace Superman, you know this. You know we would never kill to bring peace.”

“Tell that to the soldiers you killed in World War I.”

“The difference is after that I vowed never to kill again. You have continued to kill and place others under your subjugation.”

“This debate is pointless,” Ganthet interrupted. “The corps You will surrender yourself to the Green Lantern corps and face trial for your crimes against the Earth. Or we will be forced to unleash the entirety of the corps on you and your regime. Your rule over this world is at an end.”

“You do not want to threaten me,” he paused, as if listening to his coms. “Tell me something Ganthet, you’re a guardian of the universe. Did you stand by and watch my world die?”

Ganthet’s face portrayed no emotion. “Your people brought about their own destruction. There was no saving them from themselves.”

“You have NO RIGHT to call yourself a guardian when you stand by and did nothing for my world as it burned. Get the hell off my planet.”

“Not without you in Lantern custody.”

“Last chance. Leave now and never come back.”

Ganthet stared him down. “Take him.”

John Stewart, Kilowog, Kyle Raynor, Carol Ferris, and the other Lantern moved in, but were forced to put up a shield as Volcana, Blackfire, and Firestorm blasted them. This distraction allowed Superman to rush in and slam Ganthet across the face and send him pummeling through the nearest building. At that point, the two sides converged and each chose an opponent. Bumble Bee shot her stingers at Wonder Boy, Volcana bombarded Kilowog with fire, Fire went after the new Green Lantern, Firestorm flew after Kyle Rayner, Star Sapphire was blasting Blackfire, and Hawkman was slamming his mace against a shield from John Stewart. Wonder Woman was locked in a fist fight with Superman, and Ganthet blasted Hal Jordan with willpower. Wonder Boy quickly dispatched Bumble Bee by redirecting her stingers at her and telekinetically throwing her into the statue of Superman. Kilowog also quickly ended his fight with Volcana my trapping her in a sphere of willpower, suffocating her flames until she was unconscious. He then called for the Lantern reinforcements using his power ring. Superman saw this and batted Wonder Woman away and flew right at Kilowog, but was stopped by Wonder Boy’s telekinetics. He was pushed back and the protégé went between them. Does he really think he stands a chance against me, Superman thought. He rushed forward and aimed a punch at him, but Wonder Boy caught it and slammed his knee in Superman’s ribcage, followed by one-two combo at his face. He ended this grapple by lassoing him, yanking him toward him, and roundhouse kicking him backwards, right into Diana’s oncoming fist. She sent his right back into Wonder Boy, who answered this with another kick to his diaphragm back to Wonder Woman as she grappled him and slammed him into the ground. Superman got up slowly and rocketed toward Diana, who narrowly avoided his attack. Superman turned to see his allies in chains made of hard light constructs, and the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps behind them. Coming in to their left was a massive surge of blue light, and Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps had arrived with all of his corps. To their right a massive surge of violet light erupted and out came the entirety of the Star Sapphires. Superman was badly outnumbered. He sensed something coming up behind him, and when he turned he was pleased with what he saw. Atrocitus and Sinestro had arrived, with all of their corps behind them as well as most of Superman’s allies: Booster Gold, Steel, Bizzaro, Rampage, Count Vertigo, Atomic Skull, Aqualad, Lagoon Boy, Ice, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, and Flash. Superman turned to his adversaries and gave them a cold smile. This ends today, he thought.


 

Wonder Boy looked at the army behind Superman. He hadn’t expected Sinestro and Atrocitus to arrive so quickly much less with the entirety of their corps with them.

We’re going to need backup, he thought to Wonder Woman.

Already called for them, she thought back. Zatanna, Shazam, Atom Smasher, Huntress, Hawkgirl, Red Tornado, Wildcat, Red Arrow, Hawk, Dove, Etrigan, Batwoman, and Jennifer Morgan are on their way.

As she said this a portal rippled below them, and their allies materialized.

Did he and Fate-

Yes. They removed Trigon from this dimension. Dr. Fate is placing wards between the dimensions to ensure his imprisonment.

Once again, Ganthet started the fight by blasting pure willpower toward Sinestro, who blocked it but failed to warn a fourth of his lanterns who caught the full might of the blast and were incinerated. The two sides converged in a vast spectrum of light. Wonder Boy took on three members of the Sinestro Corps at once, blocking two of their blasts and destroying a third one’s constructs. The two blasting were knocked out of the sky by twin arrows that exploded on impact, leaving the third dazed long enough for Wonder Boy to take him out of the fight by breaking his hand, removing the ring, and throwing him safely on the roof of a building. Wonder Boy flew down to meet Red Arrow, who had shot the two with the arrows and began deflecting blasts from the yellow and red lanterns.

“Thanks for the assist babe,” Wonder Boy said.

“Any time,” Red Arrow said. “I want you to be safe, nothing too fancy or life threatening please.”

Wonder Boy got annoyed. “I can take care of myself Roy.”

“I know that,” Red Arrow said defensively. “But these are lanterns, without quick thinking and strategy you won’t be able to stop them. Their rings are too powerful.”

As he said this a member of the Green Lantern Corps crashed a few feet away from them, his life ended and his ring leaving him to find a new host. Three others landed near him; yellow, red, and blue. Each of their rings left them.

“I’m not backing down from a fight Roy, I have to believe there’s hope that we can beat him this time.”

“I’m not too hopeful we’re going to survive this fight.”

Wonder Boy deflected a red light blast into the ground, followed by another red light blast and made sure it hit its sender. “As long as we’re together, I know we’ll make it.”

Red Arrow turned his head and smiled. “I know. There’s no one I’d rather have by my side. I love you.”

“I love you too. Now less talking more shooting!” He said as he deflected more blasts.

Roy went to work by taking down Lantern after Lantern with his arrows. Some delivered mild electric shocks while others exploded and disoriented them. Some were knocked out and fell to the battleground below them and others were slammed by hard light constructs. He also shot arrows at Superman’s Regime forces, taking Booster Gold and Steel out of the fight. Unfortunately, the initial team backing Superman got out of their bindings and were back in the fight. Hawkman made a dive for Red Arrow but was stopped by Hawkgirl. Alec watched as Shazam, Atom Smasher, and Red Tornado cornered Superman, and knew something terrible was about to happen. Superman dodged the punch from Atom Smasher and flew right through his chest, creating a hole where his heart should be as he collapsed on the ground. Superman quickly smacked Red Tornado with the remains of Atom Smasher’s heart, and ripped the android to pieces. Shazam went in for the knockout but Superman was too fast. He grabbed Shazam by the throat, his hands covered in motor oil and blood as he ignited his heat vision and sent it straight through his head. He tossed aside his limp form and moved on to his next victims as Wonder Boy stared in horror. Superman laid waste to the Lantern army, as Ganthet did the same to the Sinestro Corps. All that remained of his corps were his honor guard, which Ganthet disposed of using a powerful blast of willpower. Sinestro was the only yellow lantern left save for Arkillo, and Hal Jordan blasted Ganthet in the back. This simply provoked Ganthet and he held his hand out to Hal Jordan, and his ring left him. He fell fast to earth but Sinestro sent a ring to him, a yellow ring. He accepted it and became a yellow lantern, rejoining the fight.

Superman, however, was still causing issues he had just snapped the neck of a blue lantern and was now continuing his fight with Wonder Woman. Wonder Boy feared for his mentor as she fought him, because Superman wasn’t holding anything back. He had to believe there was a way to stop him, and he knew what he had to do. He concentrated his mind on Superman’s, sending subtle thoughts of exhaustion and lethargy. Superman’s movements slowed, his reaction time slightly slower. Wonder Boy amped up his telepathic assault, attempting to completely shut down his body and mind into a sleep induced coma. Finally, he had reached the breaking point in Superman’s mind. SLEEP! He ordered, and Superman dropped out of the sky and crashed into the park. He created a small crater and was steadily in his sleep induced coma. Wonder Woman nodded at Wonder Boy and moved on to her next opponent. Wonder Boy turned as a blue ring appeared to him.

Alexander Stone of Earth, you have the ability to inspire great hope, it stated. Wonder Boy accepted it and it slipped onto his left middle finger. His body glowed blue and felt the power of hope spread through him. His armor morphed into all blue with the symbol of hope replacing the W on his chest. He had a blue aura about him and felt the power within him. Red Arrow was looking at him with awe.

“Please tell me you’re okay,” he said worried.

“I’m more than okay, all will be well.”

And with that he took off at full speed, right at one of the last yellow lanterns, Arkillo. He slammed his fist into Arkillo’s face, sending him reeling. He pointed his ring at Wonder Boy as it flickered on and off, his yellow aura growing weaker.

Wonder Boy smiled. “Blue rings depower yellow rings. Surrender.”

Arkillo snarled and blasted him with the yellow power of fear, which Wonder Boy batted away. He then answered with his own blast of hope and knocked him out of the sky and crashing into the ground. Red Arrow finished him with an electric arrow, knocking him out. Wonder Boy sped after Atrocitus, who had just killed three green lanterns and two blue lanterns with his napalm blood. He aimed a blast of hope at Atrocitus, who dodged and responded with a blast of rage. Wonder Boy took it to the face, and was stunned. Atrocitus grappled him and opened his mouth, preparing to drench him in blood. However, blue light hit him Atrocitus in the face, distracting him as Wonder Boy broke free and slammed him in the face. Atrocitus staggered back as Saint Walker delivered another blast of light at Atrocitus, knocking him into the statue of Superman.

“Thanks for the assist,” Wonder Boy said.

Saint Walker nodded. “You are one of us now. The rings require focus of the mind in order to operate, use it well.”

“Understood. However, we’re losing this fight.”

“I know, but I know that all will be well in time.”

“But I know what is to come, if we don’t do something differently we will lose this battle and eventually the war.”

Wonder Boy looked across the field of battle as Sinestro went behind John Stewart, who was battling a red lantern. He created a dagger with his ring and shoved it through his chest, killing him. Saint Walker watched as his friend was killed, and in a flash went after Sinestro, slamming into him and taking him out of the fight. Suddenly, Wonder Boy felt a massive surge of pain in his head and he fell out on the sky and crashed into the ground. In front of him stood Count Vertigo, who was ripping his mind and his concentration with his telepathic abilities. He turned his head to where Superman was in his coma and saw him steadily move and sit up eventually. The coma was broken, and Superman was pissed. He walked over to Wonder Boy and took his ring and crushed it, taking the power of hope from him.

“I’ll finish this Vertigo, take care of the lanterns.”

The psychic assault stopped and he walked away. Superman reached down and grabbed Wonder Boy by the throat and lifted him in the air.

“I’ve had just about enough of your interference,” he said as his eyes glowed red.

Suddenly there was a couple small explosions at Superman’s back, and a glowing green fog was enveloping them. He started to cough as he released Wonder Boy and fell to his knees. Wonder Boy rocketed into the air and realized it was gaseous kryptonite, thrown by Batwoman. She, Hawk, and Dove, and Hawkgirl all rushed him as Volcana ignited the ground in front of them. Superman rose, somewhat recovered from the gas and jumped into battle. He knocked back Hawk and Dove with a swift backhand, and caught Hawkgirl’s mace as it was nearing his face. He yanked it from her grasp as he grabbed her by the neck, strangling her. He saw Dove struggling to rise and threw the mace at his chest. The mace hit its mark, and he collapsed on the blood-stained ground. Hawkgirl was struggling to get free, but Superman put an end to it by squeezing with more strength. Wonder Boy heard her neck snap and Superman tossed her form aside. Batwoman ran at him, but was stopped almost immediately as his heat vision went through her head. He had killed four of his friends without even thinking of an alternative. He floated up to Wonder Boy.

“Now, where were we?”

Wonder Boy got into a combative stance and waited. “You’re going to pay for what you’ve done.”

“Says the one who set Gotham on fire. You-” he was cut short as Hawkman swooped in and tackled him.

Wonder Boy didn’t stay. He flew off to find Red Arrow. He was searching the grounds and found too many dead: lanterns of all colors present littered the park grounds and so many of their friends and enemies lay unconscious or dead. He found Red Arrow finally, holding the broken body of Huntress. Wonder Boy could tell she was gone, as Red Arrow placed her gently on the ground and went to Wonder Boy.

He embraced him in a hug. “There’s nothing you could have done.”

Red Arrow let go abruptly and shot an arrow over his shoulder, causing a red lantern to crash into the space near Huntress. Wonder Boy looked up and saw defeat. Only a few lanterns remained: Saint Walker, Two-Six, Ganthet, Kyle Raynor, Carrol Ferris, and Kilowog. They were surrounded by the dozen red lanterns that remained save for Atrocitus.

Kyle, Wonder Boy thought, get everyone out we have to fall back. This battle is over.

Kyle nodded and used indigo light to transfer them out of there, except for Ganthet. He had thrown up a hard light shield which prevented him from going with Kyle. He outstretched his hands and the shield blasted outward, obliterating the red lanterns surrounding him. Superman materialized out of nowhere and held the guardians neck until it snapped and dropped him. Superman then turned his attention to Wonder Boy, but his vision went indigo as his surroundings changed.


 

Insurgency Moon Base

The indigo light cleared and Wonder Boy saw the remaining lanterns, Red Arrow, Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Etrigan, Wildcat, and Jennifer Morgan standing around him. Their other allies filed in, clearly understanding what had happened. Batman and Dr. Fate walked in and went to Wonder Woman as she looked at them with tears in her eyes.

“Diana, you did all you could.”

She nodded as she hugged him, taking in all those they had lost.

Kyle Rayner walked to Wonder Woman and Batman. “This is all my fault. If I had waited and coordinated with you this would have turned out differently.”

“I doubt that,” Wonder Boy said. “This battle was lost before it was fought. We thought we could change the future by having more forces, but the timeline is set on this course.”

“Not entirely,” Dr. Fate said. “Before he went to fight, Shazam and I banished Trigon to The Void. There is no amount of power that can release him from that prison. While we lost the battle today, we may yet win the war. Barda has-”

“Enough,” Batman interrupted. “We will discuss that another time. We’ll send someone to collect our dead and give them proper funeral rites as they would have wanted. For now, you all need rest.”

They all left the main hall, returning to their chambers. Black Canary and Green Arrow showed Saint Walker, Two-Six, Kilowog, Star Sapphire, and Kyle Rayner to their chambers as Wonder Boy and Red Arrow went to their chambers. Alec pressed his hand to the access panel and they stepped inside, unsure of what was to come.

 

 

Chapter Text

Apokolips

The fires of the planet Apokolips ripped and roared with the cries of those in prison and torment. This was the home of the new god Darkseid, a dark god whose name inspired great fear and dread in his victims. The landscape was a mix of volcanic ash and reddish earth. Parademons patrolled the blood-red skies with some clouds as black as night. In this particular portion of the planet, the majority of the planet’s factories, torture camps, armaments facilities, and Darkseid’s Palace were located. About a mile from all of this, in a deep canyon, a boom tube rippled open and a small team of heroes exited from it. Barda first exited the tube, quickly analyzing their surroundings. Followed by her was Orion, Batman, Green Lantern Two-Six, Superboy, Supergirl, Mr. Miracle, and Wonder Boy. The team quickly followed Barda and Mr. Miracle, who had already begun to fly to the top of the canyon to survey their surroundings. Two-Six made a platform of will for Batman, Superboy, and Orion as Wonder Boy and Supergirl followed closely behind. Wonder Boy recalled how many of their members were not completely convinced their plan would work, especially with the team they sent to bring down Darkseid. However, they were the distraction. The real force that would bring down Darkseid was be there soon. Barda looked down on them and nodded, the coast was clear. Batman nodded back and they split into three teams. Barda, Wonder Boy, and Two-Six headed toward a structure that resembled a roman colosseum. Superboy and Mr. Miracle headed toward the factories with three mother boxes. Batman, Orion, and Supergirl headed toward Darkseid’s Palace.


 

Insurgency Moon Base, 5 Hours Ago

Wonder Boy looked at his fellow insurgents gathered in the conference room. He stood near the back with Robin, Superboy, Red Arrow, Starfire, Raven, and Green Lantern Two-Six. He fiddled with the blue ring, unsure if he even wanted to wield its power. The highest-ranking members of this group gathered around the table: Black Canary, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman, Mera, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, Zatanna, and Dr. Fate. Two seats were empty, Shazam and Hawkgirl’s. Those were offered to Saint Walker and Kyle Raynor. They were all staring intently at Barda, Orion, and Mr. Miracle who were giving the news from New Genesis.

“After High Father heard of the future seen by Wonder Boy, he has agreed to help in removing Darkseid from the future.”

“And Superman?” Batman asked.

“High Father has said he will help in taking down Darkseid. Superman will have to be dealt with without the assistance from New Genesis.”

Batman said nothing to this, only intensified his scowl.

“We do have a plan to prevent Darkseid’s invasion,” Mr. Miracle chimed in.

As he said this, a holographic map of Apokolips appeared on the table. “This is where the main activity on Apokolips is,” he said pointing to a red highlighted portion of the map. “Here most of the factories, armories, and Darkseid’s palace are located. Also here is Darkseid’s honor guard, the Furies. If we’re going to have any success here, they will need to be taken care of. We suggest having three different teams: one to engage the Furies and distract them, one to plant mother boxes in key locations to bring New Genesis forces in, and one to distract Darkseid while the others complete their missions.”

“And who would go on this mission?” Martian Manhunter asked.

“Well, the three of us would go,” Mr. Miracle answered. “We’ve all been to Apokolips and can guide each team to their objective.”

“However, not many sitting at this table should go to Apokolips,” Barda said. “If Superman tries anything while this strike force is gone, enough of you need to be here to stop him especially the powerful members.”

“Supergirl and I will go,” Batman answered. “We’ve been to Apokolips before, and can handle Darkseid with Orion.”

“The Amazon should also come,” Barda said.

“If Batman’s going, I should stay here and coordinate in case of-” Diana started to say.

“I was talking about your protégé actually.”

They all looked at Wonder Boy. He raised his eyebrows. “Me?”

“Yes. If Diana stays, I will need you to assist me in taking down the Furies. Your mentor and I took them by ourselves and won. Assuming you’re as talented of a fighter as she says, you should do just fine. The Lantern next to you should come as well, she fought valiantly during the battle with the Lanterns.”

“I don’t think-” Wonder Boy started to say.

“I agree,” Batman said. “They should both come. Along with Superboy. We’ll need another Kryptonian to keep Darkseid busy.”

“No more though,” Orion said. “Any more and it’ll be impossible to complete our goal quietly.”

Diana nodded. You should prepare for your mission, I believe we’ve discussed enough for today.”

Everyone began filing out of the room, except for the team going to Apokolips, Wonder Woman, and Black Canary.

“I’m going to take Zatanna and Ollie with me to Metropolis to gather our dead and give them proper burials,” Dinah said.

“I don’t think that is a good idea,” Diana began to say.

“I wasn’t asking permission. They deserve a proper burial.”

“I agree, but it’s too dangerous. As soon as you arrived you would be captured or worse.”

“He killed our friends Diana! They deserve better than being left in the park to rot.”

“This is exactly what he expects us to do. If we do this it could expose us.”

“I don’t care, they don’t deserve to be abandoned.” She said as she stormed off.

Diana followed her out, and Mr. Miracle began with the plan.

“So, as Barda suggested, Wonder Boy and Two-Six will go with her to fight the Furies. Batman, Suppergirl, and Orion will go to Darkseid’s palace and keep him occupied, which leaves Superboy and I to place the motherboxes. Once our objectives are complete, we go to the palace and help keep Darkseid busy until New Genesis reinforcements arrive.”


 

Darkseid’s Palace, Apokolips

Batman and his team gathered under the bridge of palace. He placed a sonic emitter on the side of the structure, and it emitted a sound only heard by the most sensitive canine’s ears. The scan was complete and they looked at what they were dealing with. Darkseid’s throne room was on the upper levels of the palace, and approach from air would be impossible with the many Parademons circling overhead. The lower levels had lower security but increased as you moved higher in the facility. Batman noticed that there was an old tunnel about five feet to their left that connected with the first floor of the 7 story structure. There were only ten guards on the first floor, fifteen on the second, twenty on the third, thirty on the fourth, the fifth had only a few guards, but they were large. The sixth would prove to be a challenge as it appeared to be the floor that housed the palace’s arms. There were close to fifty in there gearing up for war. And finally, only Darkseid and another were on the final floor of the structure. Batman nodded to Supergirl who burned a hole in the wall, allowing them access to the tunnel system. The trio moved quickly into the tunnels, navigating them until they were directly under the squad of ten guards.

“Who wants to knock?” Orion asked. Supergirl answered by moving them back a few feet as she couched down and slammed into the floor over her head, scattering Darkseid’s guards. Batman and Orion rushed into the building and saw that these guards seemed to be humanoid, not parademons. Supergirl had knocked them all out and motioned for Orion to join her. Orion leaped to one of the beams on the other side of the ceiling and the pair slammed their fists on either side, causing a ripple of cracks to form as the ceiling slowly collapsed. Chunks fell down to the first floor, taking some of Darkseid’s guards with them. Supergirl and Orion went to work taking out the remaining guards on the floor as Batman grappled to the top of the second floor. Batman checked his schematics. It had been about thirty minutes since they separated from the others. If he was right, Mr. Miracle and Superboy should be joining them –

CRASH! Suddenly a parademon slammed through the glass window on the second floor and went through the opposing wall. Batman turned around and saw Superboy and Mr. Miracle fighting the small squad of parademons circling the palace. Supergirl punched a hole in the ceiling leading to the third floor. She flew in and unleashed a wave of flame, destroying the parademons. Batman grappled up to the third floor and could hear fighting on the fourth floor. Suddenly a parademon crashed through the ceiling and fell, all the way to the first floor. The trio went to the fourth floor through the hole in the ceiling, and ran into Mr. Miracle and Superboy finishing up the guards on this floor. There was a shudder and two massive shapes crashed down from the ceiling and landed on either side of them. These parademons were easily 20 feet tall, armed with maces to match their size. They split up by team, each engaging a parademon. Batman and Orion blinded theirs with large flashbangs, and Supergirl finished it off by grabbing its mace and slamming it out of the palace. Mr. Miracle and Superboy made short work of theirs; Mr. Miracle flew around it as a diversion while Superboy slammed its neck. Batman pulled a monitor from his belt, and pointed it at the ceiling. He activated his sonar vision as his cowl emitted a low-level frequency. He spotted the mainframe on the next floor and connected the signals using his monitor. He handed the device to Mr. Miracle, who entered a virus in the system, and they heard small successive explosions and shrieks on the next floor. They all entered the elevator and skipped the sixth floor as the remaining guards lay unconscious from the hack. Suddenly the elevator stopped and the doors slowly opened.

The team exited the elevator and entered a vast room with large pillars on either side of the room leading to the throne, where Darkseid sat expectantly. He sat on his throne with an air of dominance and arrogance. His obsidian armor gleamed against the twin pyres blazed on either side of his throne. His eyes glowed red as he charged his omega beams.

“I was informed of your possible arrival,” he said smugly. “Now, prepare to face your ultimate demise.”


 

Colosseum of the Furies, Apokolips

Barda, Two-Six, and Wonder Boy approached the hellish structure strongly resembling a roman colosseum. Wonder Boy took stock of his weapons: short sword, standard sword, shield, lasso, and wrist bracelets. Barda had armed herself with her mega-rod and a shield. Her blue, red, and gold armor gleamed against the fire and her helm covered most of her face. Two-Six floated alongside them, looking anxious.

“So what’s our plan here?” Wonder Boy asked.

“Well, this fight should be even,” Barda began. “There’s only three of them since I killed Stompa the last time I came here. I impaled her with my spear. Granny Goodness isn’t much of a fighter, so she shouldn’t be a problem. Gilotina, Lashina, and Mad Harriet will be the real challenges. Just pick an opponent, take them down, and help the others or go for Granny. Since there’s three of us and three of them, it should be an even fight.”

Wonder Boy nodded as did Two-Six, and the trio entered the structure. The space opened into the size of half a football field, much smaller than anticipated. The field was strewn with broken weapons, columns, and skeletal remains. In the middle of the field, five women fought one woman. This woman wore silver armor and wielded twin battle axes, and she was badly outmatched. One of the furies, with wild green hair and razor sharp talons danced around her, landing cuts in various locations on her body. Another fury wearing white with light blonde hair engaged her with her swords, swiping at all sides. This was cut short by the largest fury completely covered in red armor came up behind her and slammed her fist into her spine, shattering it. Another fury unleashed her whip, wrapping it around her throat, and yanking it back so her neck snapped. The fifth watched as all this happened. Her skin was gray and her eyes, iris and pupil, glowed red. She had an undercut hairstyle on one side of her head and the remaining hair was tied back. What bothered Wonder Boy the most was that her armor resembled Amazonian designs: light armor with wrist bracelets. She noticed him and snarled. She motioned for her fellow furies to take note of their arrival and the five of them rushed toward them.

Barda growled. “I swore she was dead when I left this hell-hole. Never mind what I said earlier. Protect all our sides, they’ll try and separate us.”

Wonder Boy drew his shield and sword and Two-Six lifted her fist. She sent out blasts of willpower, scattering them along the furies path toward them. The furies evaded them and began their assault. The one who was laughing menacingly with green hair and claws, Mad Harriet was what Barda called her, lashed out with her claws as they raked against his shield. Lashina cracked her whip against Barda’s shield, who knocked it away and bashed Gilotina in the face with her shield. Stompa, the giant Barda had supposedly killed last time she was here, leaped and crashed down on Two-Six, who had thrown up a hard-light bubble at the last second. It shattered as pressure formed on both the top and bottom of the shield. Two-Six was slammed down and knocked unconscious, taken out of the fight. Barda and Wonder Boy had their backs to each other.

“Well she lasted shorter than I would have liked,” Barda said.

“Ideas?” Wonder Boy asked.

“Just one. Cover your eyes!” She said as she lifted her mega rod and let loose a blinding light. “Now!” she cried.

Wonder Boy opened his eyes and rushed at the nearest foe, Gilotina. He slammed her with his shield, flew after her, grabbed her by the shoulder, and threw her into the ground, creating a crater. Barda pointed her mega rod at Stompa, blasting her helm off her head and knocking her back. She collapsed on the ground, and Barda rushed forward slamming the bottom of her shield on her exposed neck, decapitating her. Before she could stand, Mad Harriet jumped her and Lashina followed. Wonder Boy ran toward her but was tackled from behind. He turned his body so his assailant would hit the ground first, letting him loose enough so he could break free by extending his arms and flipping in the air. He landed on his feet about 10 feet away from his tackler: the hellish amazon. She readied her twin scythes, each blade made with slight edges and grooves with forearm sized handles. She sneered at her opponent.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am Grail, daughter of Darkseid.”

Wonder Boy shook his head. “That’s impossible. You look and fight like an amazon.”

“That is because I am an amazon. And while we’re pointing out the obvious, you’re dead.”

She rushed Wonder Boy who barely raised his shield to block her attacks. She was faster than he anticipated, faster than Diana. She side swiped at his head and around his shield, trying to reach his neck. He stepped in and pushed her back with his shield. He then slashed at her with his sword, but she hooked it at the hilt and disarmed him. He then pulled out his short sword, only to have her knock it out of his hand by crossing her scythes and pulling them down as they wrapped around his sword. Armed with only his shield, he rushed the dark amazon. She slashed again and again at his shield, and he could feel it denting under her attacks. Finally, one of her attacks broke through the shield and cut his upper right cheek. He pulled his head back and she set her second axe in the shield. She pulled her arms apart and broke the shield in half, one of the gifts from Athena. The beautiful shield was destroyed, and he was weaponless. She grinned at him and rushed forward. He raised his bracelets to block her strikes but she threw them into the ground as she rushed him and landed a kick to his sternum. She then pummeled his body; striking his face, stomach, throat, and shoulders. She hit him again and again until he was just standing there from soreness and exhaustion until she landed the final blow to his face, slamming him with a powerful right hook. He was launched back a few feet before she leaped forward, grabbed him, and slammed him into the ground. He laid there on his back and looked to his left and saw Two-Six fighting alongside Barda. Barda had just blocked a strike by Gilotina but was blinded by an exploding construct. Barda moved in, clocking Gilotina across the head before grabbing one of her swords and impaling her with it, right through her heart. She collapsed spitting blood as Mad Harriet and Lashina attacked with renewed fury. Grail stood over him, a scythe in her hands.

“I expected more out of one who was trained by the amazons. But I suppose I was wrong. You are no amazon,” she said as she raised her scythe.

Wonder Boy glared her down. She brought the scythe down as he reached out with his mind, feeling the weapon in her hands. He stopped it with his telekinetics as it was an inch from his face.

“I’m more amazon than you will ever be,” he said. He blasted the scythe out of her hands and rose from the crater. She looked confused, as if she hadn’t expected him to survive. He landed a hit against her face, disorienting her as he knocked her back with a roundhouse kick and grabbed his lasso. He lassoed her as she knocked back. He yanked her over his head and slammed her down into the colosseum seating. Her body slammed down and brought down the section she landed in. She crawled from the rubble as Wonder Boy flew to her, grabbing her by the throat and entered her mind. He induced the similar effects of a coma, knowing she alone could kill them all and that his abilities had thrown her off. Her eyes slumped and her body relaxed as her body went into the faux coma. He set her down and turned toward his allies. Barda was finishing up Mad Marriet by bashing her with her mega rod while Two-Six sent a beam of willpower at Lashina, knocking her out. Wonder Boy turned to deal with Granny Goodness and what he assumed would be the army of Darkseid but was dumbfounded. Behind them, at the entrance, a small army moved in with Granny Goodness in chains. This army had enhanced tech looking armor and were equipped with blaster rifles and had swords and shields on their persons. Their commander bowed to Barda.

“High Father sent us from New Genesis to assist you in overthrowing Darkseid. His army has engaged ours but their numbers are diminishing. We will have control over Apokolips by day’s end.”

Barda nodded. “Secure this area then send your best fighters to Darkseid’s palace. I have a feeling we will need numbers in order to bring Darkseid down.”

“In the meantime,” Wonder Boy started, “why don’t we head to the palace and give our friends a hand?”


 

Darkseid’s Palace, Apokolips   

Darkseid rose from his throne and looked down on Batman and his allies. He knew they could not beat him on their own even with Supergirl and Superboy on their side, only Superman had been able to beat him. And while the pair of Kryptonians were strong, they were no Superman. Darkseid’s eyes glowed until twin beams shot forth and moved as if they had minds of their own. They zig zagged around the area aiming for himself and his allies. Supergirl threw up a fiery shield absorbing the first of the beams while Batman dodged them by backflipping and grappling high on the walls of the throne room. Superboy rushed Darkseid and slammed into his oncoming fist. Superboy was slammed through the walls of the throne room. Orion leaped in proximity of Darkseid and blasted him with his cannons. Darkseid barely flinched as he grabbed the machienery and tore it from Orion’s body. He then backhanded Orion and sent him back to the entrance of the room and sent his omega beams after him, incinerating him as he tried to get up. Batman threw his batarangs at Darkseid and they exploded on impact, providing a smoke screen for Supergirl to rush in and attack. She landed a couple hits to his face before grabbing one of his massive fists and slamming him down behind her. Superboy jumped back through the hole he made in the wall and slammed his fists down on the dark god’s head. Darkseid grunted and hit Superboy with a right hook and knocked him off. He rose only to be blasted by flames from Supergirl. He staggered back from the blast, and Batman noticed him grimacing. Clearly Supergirl was having an effect on him. Darkseid countered this by shooting his omega beams into them, disrupting the flame long enough for him to rush forward and grab her by the throat. She blasted him with her heat vision and he bellowed in pain. He threw her aside into the connecting chamber as Superboy stepped in for a gut punch. This attack was blocked and Darkseid grabbed Superboy with both hands and brought him down on his bent knee. Batman could hear his back break from across the room. Superboy cried out in pain as Darkseid tossed him aside. Batman ran at Darkseid only to have him stomp his foot into the ground, causing fissures and cracks in the ground and disrupting his movements. He tripped and landed in front of Darkseid, who looked down on his opponent. Batman looked up as his eyes glowed red, charging his omega beams. Suddenly, the rest of the window shattered as a figure flew in. It uppercut Darkseid and slammed him again with a right hook followed by a left hook, sending him crashing into the throne. He looked closer and saw that it was Wonder Boy, who helped him to his feet. Barda and Green Lantern Two-Six flew in behind him.

“Sorry we’re late,” he said.

“I hope you brought reinforcements.”

“They’re dealing with Darkseid’s parademons, but will be here soon.”

“Then we hold Darkseid here.”

Darkseid rose from his crumbled throne and glared down his opponents.

“You have no hope of defeating me. One of you is dead and another is dying. It matters not that you have a Kryptonian, Amazon, and Green Lantern on your side. You will all die by my hand in a matter of moments.”

With that the dark god leaped forward and slammed down in the space in front of the heroes. Batman, Barda, and Mr. Miracle were knocked back. He then grabbed Wonder Boy and Two-Six in both hands and slammed them into the ground. He tossed the unconscious Two-Six behind him and she crashed into the rubble of the throne. Wonder Boy kicked Darkseid off him long enough to hit him with a right hook and an overhead kick. Darkseid was knocked down and Supergirl blasted him with flames. He rose from the fire and charged his omega beams. He fired them right at Wonder Boy, who caught them on his bracelets. He could feel himself being pushed back from the force of the beams. Supergirl rushed in and slammed him in the back, disrupting his beams. Wonder Boy flew in and went in for a punch but was stopped as Darkseid grabbed his oncoming hit.

Darkseid was starting to rise when a beam of light hit him. The light cackled light electricity as it enveloped his form and electrocute him. He bellowed in pain and sank to his knees. The beam continued as New Genesis warriors rushed in, followed by High Father. The beam was coming from his staff and continued until his soldiers applied a dampening cuff to Darkseid’s neck. The beam connected to that and simply kept him in stasis.

High Father turned to Batman. “We thank you for your part in this operation. Do you have the necessary proof we required?”

Mr. Miracle moved forward and gave a small device to him.

“All plans for Darkseid’s second attempted invasion of Earth and New Genesis,” Mr. Miracle said. “Before you take him, one of our own was gravely injured in the fight, can you help him?”

High Father nodded as another beam was released from the staff and connected with Superboy. His broken form straightened as his injuries were fixed. High Father also pulled out a device and pushed a button on it, activating a boom tube.

“This will take you back to your headquarters, safe travels my friends.”

“Wait,” Batman said. “What will happen to Darkseid? What’s to stop him from escaping?”

“We won’t kill him. But he can no longer threaten the universe as he has in the past. Instead, we will take him to the source wall. There, he will touch the wall and become one with it and all others who sought the power beyond it. He will be trapped there for all time, never to threaten this world again.”

Batman nodded. “And Superman?”

High Father hesitated. “I have heard of what he has become. Unfortunately, I cannot intervene. The Source has spoken to me. You must defeat him alone, but it will not be the way you imagined it. You will first require his help in the coming threat.”

“Brainiac,” he said.

“Yes, the destroyer of worlds is coming to Earth. Nothing can prevent this particular threat. If New Genesis were to intervene, our world would die and it would only delay him. Brainiac is destined to be defeated on Earth. However, you must go. You have a world to save. I have a tyrant to take care of and a son to bury.”

He looked on the burnt form of Orion.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Batman said.

He and his team headed for the boom tube, Superboy in Wonder Boy’s arms. Batman entered the tube first, thinking on what High Father had said. If Earth was to survive Brainiac, he and Superman would have to put aside their differences.    

Chapter Text

Insurgency Base, Earth’s Moon

Wonder Boy exited the boom tube feeling naked. His shield was destroyed by Grail but he had his lasso and swords, but nothing as a means of protection. He was followed out by Mr. Miracle, Barda, Batman, Two-Six, Supergirl, and Superboy in Barda’s arms. The boom tube subsided, and Batman immediately looked around, on high alert. Wonder Boy was confused but then noticed what was strange: the lights were considerably dimmed. If the generator were simply down, it would’ve been back up in a few minutes due to Batman’s adaptive software in the base. However, a couple minutes passed and it did not kick back on, which meant power was cut from the station entirely. This could only be done by one of four people in the world, and only one of them was on their side. Luthor, Cyborg, and the Atom had sided with Superman. Batman motioned for everyone to follow him, and the team followed quietly. The station was quiet, a little too quiet. The considerably dimmed light made it very difficult to see their surroundings, but they managed. Wonder Boy could already sense multiple foreign minds in the station, but could not read them which was quite frustrating. They stepped into a long corridor and saw large forms spread down the hall. Batman was tinkering with the console at the beginning of the hall, and looked frustrated.

“This couldn’t have been done by Superman, the signal was emitted 100 miles away from the base farther than Earth.”

“Then who-” Wonder Boy started to ask as he was interrupted by the lights turning on.

He was shocked with what he saw in the corridor now that they could see better. In front of them was the body of Wildcat. There were holes in his body the size of a golf club, and were not corroded and through and through. Next to him was the bodies of Tempest and Guardian with similar marks. Further down the hall, the bodies of Blue Devil, Zauriel, Kilowog, and Stargirl’s bodies could be seen.

“What happened here?” Wonder Boy asked shakily.

He heard a small gasp from behind them, and quickly turned around. He could see blood coming from Two-Six’s chest as she crumpled to the floor. Behind her was a nightmare; a metal and organic humanoid with purple tinted armor and glowing red eyes. Its head resembled the top portion of a skull without the lower jaw. The monstrosity was easily seven feet tall, and lean. A cable was extended from its hand with a sharp point at the end, dripping with Two-Six’s blood. Three more emerged from either side of the hall and ejected their cables. Barda ducked and avoided one, while Wonder Boy stepped forward and started blocking their projectiles. Another crashed down from the ceiling onto Mr. Miracle, crushing him. Before he could react it shot a cable through his head, ending him. Barda bellowed in rage and agony as she dropped Superboy and began dismantling the androids. A portal rippled from behind them and Zatanna stepped through.

“Hurry!” she yelled pointing to the portal. Supergirl picked up Superboy and flew directly in. Batman followed her while Wonder Boy stayed.

“Barda come on!” he yelled.

“No! Go!” she yelled.

More androids piled in the room, and some of them came from the other side of the portal. He felt himself being pulled toward and through the portal, leaving Barda alone in the base.


 

The Batcave, Gotham

Wonder Boy exited the portal and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings. He appeared to be in a massive cave, but well lit in some areas. In those areas machinery was placed: a giant suit made of metal with the head of a bat, a massive supercomputer, a sleek and tank looking vehicle, and on a platform was a jet that had the appearance of a giant bat. He turned and saw the remaining member of the Insurgency: Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Raven, Starfire, Dr. Fate, Batman, Vixen, Supergirl, Star Sapphire, Kyle Rayner, Saint Walker, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Red Arrow, Martian Manhunter, Mera, Miss Martian, Beast Boy, Superboy, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn. Wonder Boy stormed toward Zatanna.

“I know,” she said before he reached her. He stopped in his tracks. “If I hadn’t left her behind those androids would have gotten in and found our position.”

Wonder Boy looked at her, his anger melting away. “We still left her behind.”

“I know. She wouldn’t have left her husband’s side even though he died.”

“We’ll discuss this later,” Batman interrupted. “But right now, we’ve got bigger problems to deal with.” He turned to Diana. “What were those things?”
“Brainiac’s androids. As predicted, Brainiac came to Earth, and we weren’t prepared for him. He hit the base first and quickly overtook the station. We lost many of our friends in that fight. Once we fell back, Brainiac took on the Regime. His invasion began almost immediately and flawlessly. Smaller command ships came out of the mother ship and spread all over the world. He attacked on all fronts, and each time taking more and more insurgency members out. He even convinced some of Earth’s villains to join him.” She pressed a button on the console and the images of Poison Ivy, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, Grodd, Parasite, Blackfire, Volcana, Live Wire, Killer Frost, and Circe appeared. “Atrocitous and Sinestro left Earth in fear of Brainiac. But this is what’s happened in the last 12 hours,” she said as she pulled up footage from all over the world.

Brainiac’s forces were all around the world, dismantling Superman’s Regime and any forms of human governance. In the footage, Alec watched as many of his former friends perished: Aqualad, Arsenal, Lagoon Boy, Guardian, and Bumble Bee. He also watched other members of the Regime fall: Professor Ivo, Nightshade, Count Vertigo, Atomic Skull, and Rampage.

“We suspect the remainder of his forces have retreated to the fortress of solitude.”

“Can you send out a signal at a frequency only he can hear?”

Wonder Woman looked at him for a moment, and then realized his plan. “No. We are not working with him.”

“None of us have a plan for beating Brainiac. He’s gone up against him before and won. Between myself, the Atom, Cyborg, and Lex Luthor we may be able to come up with a technical solution to the problem.”

“So, talk to them and leave him out of it.”

“It’s not a smart idea. We need Brainiac distracted while we come up with a solution.”

Wonder Boy walked up to the pair. “I don’t like it, but the future is not as it once was. Because we intervened early on the future has changed. I’m not sure we can beat Brainiac without his help.”

“I understand, but-”

“We need him Diana.” Batman interrupted. “I’m going to send the signal whether you like it or not.”

Diana’s face tightened. “I don’t want him there because he’ll kill us the moment we beat Brainiac.”

“Not if we take him down first.”


 

The Fortress of Solitude

Superman paced the walkway in front of his parent’s statue, reminiscing about the last 12 hours. In less than 12 hours, he had lost more than half his allies in Brainiac’s assault. On top of that, he toppled his worldwide government and forced them into hiding. Batman’s team hadn’t come to help, so he could only assume they were all dead. With him were Firestorm, Flash, Hal Jordan, Cyborg, Static Shock, Kid Flash, Bumble Bee, Fire, Ice, The Atom, Blue Beetle, Steel, Black Adam, Bizzaro, Luthor, Mr. Freeze, and Captain Atom. Many of his “allies” joined up with Brainiac, and many more were dead. He was unsure of what to do. Attacking Brainiac head on would only result in more death and unnecessary losses. He knew he was no Batman or Wonder Woman when it came to strategy, but he knew this route would be futile.

Fire, Ice, Black Adam, Cyborg, and Luthor walked up to him as he was pacing.

“We need a plan for Brainiac,” Luthor started. “He’s-”

“My people need me,” Black Adam interrupted angrily. “Brainiac is slaughtering my people and we’re here cowering from him. Kahndaq needs its king.”

Black Adam and Luthor began arguing, but Superman wasn’t paying attention to them. A sound frequency had erupted from somewhere, getting his attention.

Suddenly, the voice of Batman broke through. “We need to talk. Meet us under the Hall of Justice. One hour.”

The sound ceased and he could focus on the argument in front of him. He glared at the two of them and they stopped talking.

“Fire and Ice, gather our forces. We’re going to meet some old friends.”


 

Hall of Justice, Underground Bunker

Batman sat at a dusty table in a wide room of the bunker. Dust and cobwebs outlined the room and furniture, this room hadn’t been used in many years. The last time this room was used, Darkseid had invaded for the first time. Only certain members would be allowed in the room. From the Regime: Superman, Flash, Luthor, Black Adam, Hal Jordan, and Cyborg. From the Insurgency: Batman, Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, Martian Manhunter, Supergirl, and Catwoman. He didn’t want too many members of each team there, as many had personal issues between them and it would distract from their goal. He had a thought of what to do about Brainiac, but he needed to confirm with Cyborg and The Atom before proceeding. His team walked in, each taking their seats at the table. Their facial expressions ranged from unreadable to rage. Wonder Woman looked like she was trying to contain her rage and irritation with the meeting, while Martian Manhunter’s was tranquil. They were silent around their half of the table, no one daring to speak and start an argument. Then, as if tension could not be worse, Superman and his team entered the room. They each took a seat, not speaking either. Superman was glaring at Batman and Wonder Woman, while Martian Manhunter was looking at each individual.

Finally, Superman broke then tension. “We thought you were dead.”

“Almost, but still kicking,” Supergirl replied.

“Let’s focus on the problem at hand,” Batman said. “Our teams alone can’t beat Brainiac. We have to put aside our differences and work together to beat him.”

“Why should we work with you?” Luthor asked.

“I could ask the same of you, but we have a piece of his technology,” Batman said. “It was receiving a signal from his ship, and we were able to bounce our own signal off of it and it hit all of his forces. If we can create a jamming field around his ship and infect him with a virus, we could end this threat.”

“And how would we go about creating those devices?”

 “You, Cyborg, Atom, and I will draw up schematics and build the devices.”

“While the rest of us do what exactly?” Superman asked.

“You and I will lead the remaining of our forces against him as a distraction so once they have the weapons made, we can sneak aboard his ship,” Diana said. “The main issue is the force field surrounding the space of his ship. For this plan to work, we’ll need that down. Between Blue Beetle’s sonic emitter and Black Canary’s cry, we should be able to disrupt the force field for thirty seconds before it would reappear.”

Superman was silent for a moment. “And what happens when Brainiac is taken down? What then? Will we go back to fighting each other?”

Wonder Woman and Batman looked at each other.

“We can discuss that once this threat is over,” Batman replied. “For now, we have work to do.”


 

Hanger Bay, Hall of Justice

Wonder Boy was watching the other side of the hanger intently. His telepathic abilities were spread over the facility, trying to track whatever thoughts were aggressive. On the other side of the room were Firestorm, Flash, Static Shock, Kid Flash, Bumble Bee, Fire, Ice, The Atom, Blue Beetle, Steel, Bizzaro, Mr. Freeze, and Captain Atom. On his side of the hanger were Zatanna, Raven, Starfire, Vixen, Supergirl, Star Sapphire, Kyle Rayner, Saint Walker, Batgirl, Robin, Nightwing, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Red Arrow, Mera, Miss Martian, Beast Boy, Superboy, and Harley Quinn. While they greatly outnumbered the Regime forces, Batman gave them strict orders not to engage them. These were peace talks after all. Wonder Boy leaned into Red Arrow, who was standing behind him.

Anything? Roy thought to him.

No, nothing yet. He replied.

I don’t like this. They’ve helped him kill our friends.

I know, but the only way we can beat him is if we’re united. If we remain divided, we and Earth will fall.

I know, but I still don’t like it. Are you okay though?

Alec was surprised at the question. I’m fine.

Even after everything that happened? We didn’t get a chance to talk about it all.

I’m fine, Alec reassured. I was nervous about using my abilities but the blue lantern ring helped me get past that. And seeing the dark amazon on Apokolips was unsettling, but she’s beaten and can’t harm anyone else and neither can Darkseid.

Until they escape that is.

I don’t think he will be able to escape that prison, at least I hope not.

Roy paused in his thoughts momentarily and then thought to him. So, after we beat Brainiac, what’re you thinking of doing?

Well we need to beat him first.

You mean you haven’t thought about the future?

Well I haven’t had time. We’ve had to deal with Superman for so long and now Brainiac, I wonder if we’ll ever have a time for peace and quiet.

Well what do you think of London?

Alec looked at him with a shocked expression. What about it?

Well the prospect of living there, with me.

You’d leave Star City?

For you I would. There’s no one based in London as of now, we could head that up.

I would have to return to Themyscira sometimes, although I’m not sure given my parentage.

I still think he’s lying to you. But I’m asking you to move in with me, and who knows? Maybe we could retire early and live a normal life.

Alec smiled at him. I would love a normal life with you.

You sure about that?

He held Roy tightly. There’s no one I would rather spend my life with, normal or abnormal.

They kissed lightly as the doors entering the hangar bay opened and the members in the talks walked out, most looking like a bad deal was struck. A circular terminal came up from the middle of the room, and started to power on. Batman walked up to it and began typing. From the center a hologram appeared, showing multiple villains. Poison Ivy, Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, Captain Cold, Grodd, Parasite, Blackfire, Volcana, Live Wire, Killer Frost, and Circe’s images were shown.

“These are our opponents. They joined with Brainiac to assist in the conquering of our world, and whatever the reasons were, it doesn’t matter. They need to be taken down. So, before we start any sort of assault, they need to be removed from the equation. We can’t effectively beat Brainiac with this group defending him. So we’re going to split into teams and take them one at a time. We’ve identified that they’ve split up all over the world and are each leading their own squadron of Brainiac’s forces.”

He pushed another button and the teams showed up on the hologram as well as targets.

“Let me make one thing clear: We. Do. Not. Kill. I don’t care what feelings are between you and the target we are not killing anyone. That being said, not everyone is being assigned but here are the teams. Pair up and we’ll give you their coordinates. People started moving around finding their partner, or in one case partners. Wonder Boy looked at the list and noticed they had paired up each side with another, with the exception of one: Circe. He, Wonder Woman, Dr. Fate, and Zatanna would be taking her on, while Red Arrow was paired with Blue Beetle to handle Killer Frost. He walked to Red Arrow as Blue Beetle was walking to see his name on the list.

“So, you’re working with Beetle on this mission. Killer Frost.”

Roy grinned. “Sounds fun. Who do you have?”

“Circe. With Diana, Zatanna, and Dr. Fate.”

Roy looked concerned. “I don’t like that they’re having you help them with her, she’s crafty and has taken on more than them and won.”

“I’ll be fine. Besides, with Ares as my father I know I’ll at least have some rage to tap into.”

“I still think he’s lying to you. Talk to Diana, see if she knows something.”

“I will, but I don’t think she knows.”

As he said this, Blue Beetle walked up to them.

“Jaime,” Red Arrow said nodding.

He nodded back and looked at both of them. “I’m so sorry for what’s happened. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.”

“You don’t have to support him Jaime,” Alec said. “Join us and help stop him after we stop Brainiac.”

“Alec!” Zatanna called. He turned and saw the three of them waiting. He turned back to Red Arrow and kissed him deeply. “Good luck,” he breathed at him.

“I love you, please be careful,” he replied.

“Love you too,” he said as he walked to Diana and Zatanna.

He saw that Diana’s look had changed. Her usual suit had changed to be more war-like. The usual material had the appearance of armor and the usual swim-suit bottom had four thick strips only six inches long on the back, sides, and front. She had a sword and shield on her back and lasso on her hip. He got to them as Diana was saying where Circe was. “Circe is in Athens. She’s staying in the ruins of the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis. Brainiac’s army is laying siege to the city and it appears they are clearing space on the ground for something big. That being said, Cyborg was able to come up with a device that will short circuit the bots in a fifty-mile area. However, we will need to be above the Acropolis to activate it. Because Circe will be expecting us, we will be splitting up. Zatanna and Dr. Fate will portal in right on top of her location while Alec and I portal in at the base of the Acropolis to fend off Brainiac’s forces. Zatanna will fly above the Parthenon and activate the disrupter. Then, we’ll take on Circe.”

“I’ll try to activate the device as soon as we portal in, which might eliminate the need to watch out backs.”

Diana nodded. “We’ll leave shorty, but for now prepare for the battle ahead.”

Dr. Fate and Zatanna began speaking together, while Diana faced Alec. Her face conveyed both confidence and hopefulness as she looked at him.

“I asked for you because you’ve faced Circe and done well against her.”

“Oh, well I’m glad to help.”

“There’s more to it than your ability. I’ve sensed stress in you ever since you returned form Olympus and we haven’t gotten a chance to talk. Do you want to talk about it?”

Alec sighed. “There is something that has been bothering me. While I was healing, Ares cameto me and spoke to me while I was in a coma. He told me I was his son.”

Diana’s face hardened. “You’re sure this was Ares?”

“Yes. Roy believes his’s lying to throw me off or make me feel some fort of connection and loyalty to him despite my connection to the Amazons and Athena. I didn’t want to tell you that I was the son of your worst enemy because I was afraid of exile.”

“I understand your reservations for not telling me, but Ares is wrong.”

Alec looked at her with confusion.

“Ares lied to you,” she said. “He played a role in your development, but he is not your father. Ares and Athena have been in conflict from their beginnings. In an attempt to end this conflict, Zeus demanded they two collaborate on something that would end their rivalry. You were the result of that demand. Children of Athena are born from literal thought, so they chose a family looking to conceive a child and blessed them with you. Ares instilled combative reflexes and determination for victory in battle while Athena blessed you with strategy, wisdom, courage, ingenuity, and honor in battle. It was then decided that the Amazons would be your trainers in order to further heal the wound and conflict between the Amazons and Ares. Many Amazons were opposed to this, but they came to know you and accept you as one of our own. So no, Ares is not your father. He did instill some strengths in you, but he did not create you. You are a child of Athena.”

Alec looked at Diana with shock. He was feeling many emotions, but mostly relief that he was not a child of war.

“I know this is a lot to take in, but you have nothing to worry about. Your heritage was not a factor in becoming a part of the Amazons, you were accepted based on your integrity, your inner strength, your passion, your understanding and empathy to and of others. I didn’t choose you because of your relation to Athena, I chose you because you have a good heart and want to make a positive difference in the world. You-”

He stopped her with a hug. “Thank you for telling me, Diana. I’m glad you chose me because there’s nowhere I would rather be than at your side.”

They broke a part and looked at each other. As different as they were they were similar. He admired Diana and what she stood for so much and wanted to be like her in many ways. He even adopted a similar style and color scheme to hers. His changed from time to time, but this look was more similar to how he first left Themyscira. His armor was darker colors than Diana’s, with full leg armor and the usual sleeveless and v-neck cut top. Under his gauntlets were blue cut off sleeves that went a bit past his elbows with three metal bands on his upper arms. His headpiece he modified. He felt it was too similar to Diana’s denoting Royalty, so he added cheek plates that covered the sides of his face and was a bronze color. The middle portion was now a projecting owl’s head.

Diana reached into the space next to her into a pocket dimension. She pulled out a shield and set of swords, one standard and one smaller. The shield had an owl lightly etched into the middle of the bronze shield. The swords mirrored each other, both elegant and slightly curved. The blades were silver and the hilts were bronze wrapped in gripping leather.

“These are from Athena, with the instruction to give them to you when you found out the truth,” she said.

He took the weapons in his hands. They were perfectly balanced to fit him, all of it. The shield was light but not too light as were the swords. When he touched the swords, they glowed slightly with a silver-white glow.

“They have the blessing of Athena consecrated in them, granting you access to your full abilities in combat.”

He put the shield on his back with his swords behind it. He hugged Diana tightly, thanking her and sending a silent prayer of thanks to Athena.

“I don’t mean to interrupt,” Dr. Fate said. “But it’s time.”

Dr. Fate opened two portals and both pairs stood in front of them. Dr. Fate and Zatanna jumped through theirs as Diana and Alec leapt through theirs.


 

Athens, Greece

Wonder Boy and Wonder Woman leaped through their portal and landed steadily on the ground. Their portal had deposited them at the base of the Acropolis. Alec turned as the sky cracked with lightning and saw Zatanna flying high into the air as bursts of light erupted inside the Parthenon ruins. He turned back to the city in front of him and heard a stampede coming toward them. The first of Brainiac’s forces broke through a building in a frenzy, answering Circe’s call. Diana pulled the shield off her back and threw it at the advancing drone, decapitating it. Her shield rebounded back to her as the both drew their weapons. Easily a hundred more rushed through the buildings toward them.

Good luck. They thought to each other.

The front row blasted them with lasers from their eyes and the pair blocked them with their shields. The barrage stopped and the pair rushed forward. They moved toward the center of the crowd and each took a side. The swords cut through the metal and biological material easily, like a knife through butter. Wonder Boy’s brain went on autopilot, slashing, blocking, bashing away, and stabbing through the crowd. He was about to turn and slash another drone to pieces when they all stopped moving and collapsed. He turned and saw Zatanna flying down toward Circe and Dr. Fate as the device was pulsating its signal. He looked at Diana and they nodded to each other. They flew quickly to the top of the Acropolis and looked down on the battle below them. Dr. Fate and Circe were locked, each of their magical pulsing beams grinding against each other and pushing against the other for dominance. Zatanna had taken on Circe’s honor guard: the Beastiomorphs. There were easily a dozen, and Zatanna was doing a good job holding them off. The group split into three and rushed at all sides of her, so Diana and Alec rushed to her side and flanked her. Each took on four of the beasts and they were easily dismantled. Zatanna let loose a pulse of electricity that knocked out her foes easily. Diana Bashed one with her shield, slashed another’s spear in half and disarmed a third. The fourth held back and waited. The two that were disarmed were grabbed and thrown into each other. She let the fourth rush at her, and as it got close she slammed it in the face and sent it flying off the Acropolis. Alec’s went down fairly quickly. He sheathed his weapons and ran at them. He blocked one’s attacks and kicked at its head, sending it into a pillar that collapsed on it. The second was gripped by the arm and leg and slammed into the ground. The third threw a punch which he caught and grappled. He had his legs wrapped around its neck and held its left arm with is arms. He tightened his grip on its neck and pulled his arms toward him, snapping its arm bones. This sent the beast into shock and eventually passed out. He stood and faced his final opponent with lasso in hand. The beast snarled and leaped into the air, and Alec lassoed it mid air and yanked it toward him. He hit it with a strong right hook, sending it into the preoccupied Circe. The connection was broken and Fate’s blast pushed through and hit the Beastiomorph and Circe, but the beast took the majority of the blast. The four gathered together as Circe rose, glowering at them.

“So, Batman sent the four of you to face me? Fate and Wonder Woman I understand, but you two? I’m offended he thought you could face me.”

“We’ve fought before witch,” Alec said. “You and Killer Frost killed my friend but today I get justice for her murder.”

“Ah, Harbinger. Yes, I did help kill her. And soon you will join her in death.”

“No, he won’t,” Diana said.

“I’ve grown tired of your interference Diana. Had you accepted my leadership you would be among the ruling class when Brainiac has the Kryptonians. Instead, you’ll die as well.”

“I’m going to give you one last chance, surrender.”

Circe ignited her hands in fire. “Never.”

She sent the two balls of fire at the group and they exploded a few feet in front of them. The fire formed a circle and two demons burst out of them. They mirrored each other in that their hide was a vibrant green and red. They had reptilian heads with a serpent tail and six limbs, four arms and two legs. Their wings were ripped and torn with talons on the edges. They breathed fire and had a look of death in their obsidian eyes. Each demon tackled Alec and Diana, while Circe immediately blasted Zatanna with weapons made of pure magic. She dodged them as Fate was held at bay by a circle of flame keeping him within the circle. He blasted the fire, but it only made it grow continuously. Diana kicked hers off her but its reflexes were too fast. It regained balance and leaped at her again, but she was ready. She slammed her bracelets together and it created a field of energy in front of her, stunning the demon and sending it back rolling on the stones. She leaped forward and brought her sword down on its neck, decapitating it. Blood the color and consistency of oil flowed from its severed head. Wonder Boy had his well in hand. The demon made the mistake of tackling him, which meant wrapping its arms around his shield on his back. The demon bellowed in pain as its arms were burned from touching blessed items. It released him and he pinned it to the ground with his shield. Its cries pierced his ears and he couldn’t imagine its agony, so he put it out of its misery by snapping its neck. He rose as Zatanna was blasted off her feet and Diana stood between them. She rushed Circe with her shield up, only to be blasted away. Alec flew at the witch wielding his shield and sword, only to have his shield blasted away. He landed next to her and slashed at her, only to have her levitate away. He spun his blade in his hand and walked toward her. She raised her hands and started blasting him with her magic. He raised his blades and started redirecting the blasts at her, which she carefully started dodging.

She looked at him differently, there was still fire in her eyes but slight appreciation for his skills.

“You’re much better than the last time we fought. Little help from Athena this time?”

That triggered him. He sheathed his sword.

“I don’t need a sword to beat you witch.”

He rushed forward pinning her against a column and then kicking her through the column. She landed on her knees and sent a violet blast at him that cackled with electricity. He recognized the blast from the forest in Scotland, and dodged it. He sensed Diana coming in fast and decided on a maneuver to help her out. He slammed his fist into the ground, sending a ripple out in front of him staggering Circe. Diana came down on Circe by bringing her hands together and bringing them down on her head. This attack slammed her into the ground and knocked her out, freeing up Dr. Fate. He created an ankh underneath her and she disappeared into it.

“Where did you send her?” Diana asked.

“I sent her to Themyscira.” Dr. Fate replied. “Ares never returned so Hippolyta still has the bands to detain a god, I had them remodeled to suppress Circe’s magic.”

Diana’s communicator went off and Batman’s hologram appeared.

“Diana, we had to modify the plan. Brainiac accelerated his plans when he realized we were attacking his lieutenants, he’s bringing down his ships to abduct cities. I’m calling all away teams in to intercept these ships. So far, they’ve gathered at his main ship in Metropolis.”

“We’re on our way,” Diana said.

Dr. Fate opened a portal and the four of them rushed through it.


 

Daily Planet, Metropolis

The four of them exited the portal on the roof of the Daily Planet. Alec looked out and saw many of his friends attacking Brainiac’s ships, collection ships much smaller than the mother ship. Dr. Fate and Zatanna flew to the closest unattended ship and began bombarding it with magic. Diana looked at Alec.

“You and I are needed on the mother ship. Batman, Batgirl, Superman, and Supergirl are already onboard and need our help.”

“Then let’s go,” Alec said.

They flew off toward the mother ship, passing some of their friends on the way. Saint Walker, Carol Ferris, and Kyle Rayner were ripping ships apart with their rings, catching debris and sending it back at other ships in their area. Martian Manhunter and Miss Martian were phasing in and out of a ship, ripping wires and rendering it useless. Flash and Kid Flash were making a tornado that sucked in the ships and caused them to crash into each other. Alec deflected incoming blasts as they neared Brainiac’s ship. The ship was in the upper atmosphere above the city, releasing smaller collection ships. The ship looked like a giant skull and ships were pouring out of the sides. It was easily the size of a small city, and the smaller collection ships the size of a supermarket. Diana lead the way, leading them right to the left eye of the ship. She moved her arms forward into fists and began tunneling through the eye. He followed behind her as she made the tunnel until they broke into a large space. This was clearly the control room with panels and displays. He saw Superman and the others fighting off Brainiac’s drones and doing well keeping them at bay. They rushed into the fight, not bothering to grab their weapons to fight. He and Diana tore the drones apart until there was nothing left but scrap metal. The six of them looked at each other as a loud hiss erupted in the room They looked to the origin of the noise and saw Brainiac descending from a patch in the ceiling. His armor was silver, but a medley of blues, greens, and yellows danced across it. His green skin on his face and obsidian eyes stared at them blankly. His expression changed so he had a smug look on his face and spoke.

“Coming here makes it less of an inconvenience to hunt you down, so I thank you,” he said in a monotone voice.

“Oh, we’re here to inconvenience you don’t worry,” Supergirl said.

“You’re not taking Earth Brainiac,” Superman said. “You took Krypton from us but this ends here.”

His smug shifted into a look of annoyance. “No organic being has been able to defeat me or those who came before me.”

“Well, there’s a first time for everything<” Superman said as he flew quickly at him. A metal tentacle came out of his back and smacked Superman sideways as Wonder Woman and Batman dashed into the fight. Batgirl ran to the largest console, carrying a small piece of technology. Supergirl and Wonder Boy looked at each other in understanding.

“I’ll protect Batgirl,” Supergirl said.

“And I’ll help them,” Wonder Boy replied.

The pair set out on their tasks. Supergirl blasted more of Brainiac’s drones coming for Batgirl while Wonder Boy went after Brainiac. Brainiac has blacking sword strikes from Wonder Woman while taking hits from Batman’s explosive batarangs. Superman had risen from being thrown aside and flew right for Brainiac. He saw Superman coming and batted Wonder Woman aside. He charged his fists with green light and Superman slowed his pursuit, looking weaker. Brainiac saw his chance and bashed the man of steel across the face again and again, beating him into the ground. Wonder Boy flew in and bashed Brainiac in the face off of Superman and helped him to his feet.

“Thanks,” he said begrudgingly.

“Don’t mention it,” he said quietly.

Brainiac rose and looked at them with fury. He extended his arms and twin kryptonite swords came from his body. Wonder Woman flipped from behind Brainiac so she was in front of him and began their deadly dance. Wonder Boy flew in, drawing both swords and shouldering his shield. The pair parried his strikes and met with some of their own, forcing him back. Superman kept his distance, firing his heat vision at him. Suddenly Brainiac doubled over, yelling in pain. Wonder Boy turned around as Wonder Woman grabbed Brainiac and threw him across the room. He saw that Batgirl had finished uploading her device as the display had changed from blue to red with a black bat symbol. In addition, the drones had collapsed and were unmoving.

“A virus Cybirg, Luthor and I created. Atom created the delivery through nanites,” Batman explained.

“So what does it do?” Diana asked.

“It disrupts the signal from the ship to Brainiac and his drones. It emits a signal that constantly causes him pain to disrupt his focus.”

“Then why are we still talking?” Superman demanded as he flew right at the defenseless Brainiac. He uppercut him and then quickly hit him with a right hook. He hit the wall hard and Superman pinned him to the wall.

Alec saw how violent he was being. He thought how violent Superman had gotten after Lois died, how her existence grounded him. He had been in Superman’s mind many ties and each time searched for any morality or humanity within him. Each time, he did not see anyone who would be able to fill the gap left by Lois. He knew that they would defeat Brainiac, but what would happen once this fight was over? Alec didn’t see any other option, this needed to end today before more death ensued.

His eyes glowed red as a tentacle wrapped around his neck and threw him aside. He sprouted five more from his back and they writhed around from the signal. Each was tipped with pure kryptonite ad pulsed with light. Supergirl ran to her cousin while the others rushed Brainiac. Batman and Batgirl served as distractions, evading his strikes while throwing smoke batarangs to obscure his vision. Wonder Woman and Wonder Boy moved in and sliced all but one of the tentacles at the openings on his back.

“ENOUGH,” Brainiac bellowed.

With a furious swipe of his arm he knocked back Wonder Woman and Wonder Boy, who knocked into Batman. Wonder Woman’s sword, the prophesized god-killer, had been knocked out of her hand and landed near Superman. He looked at the sword briefly and picked it up, flying toward Brainiac. Brainiac swiped with his remaining tentacle only to miss as the sword met his organic neck and passed through like butter, severing the connection to the rest of his body and his forces. The ship’s lights and systems began to slowly power down, attempting to complete last protocols and actions. Briainiac’s tentacle twitched, the kryptonite tip still glowing a harsh green. A small thought passed through Wonder Boy’s mind and his fears came true. The tentacle whipped around with speed that would have rivaled the Flash and impaled itself in Superman’s chest. A pulse rippled through the tentacle as the kryptonite exploded inside his body, distributing radiation and shards throughout his body. Some shards stuck out of his skin and some went peppered the metal floor as the broke skin. Both bodies collapsed as Supergirl screamed and Wonder Woman and Batman rushed to their fallen friend. All around them, consoles started exploding and pieces of metal collapsed all around them as the ship began to enter free-fall. There were holes appearing in the top of the ship as it began to deteriorate and burn from the fall.

“We need to leave!” Batgirl yelled.

Wonder Woman picked up Superman and carried him out of one of the holes in the ceiling. Supergirl grabbed Batgirl and Wonder Boy grabbed Batman and they followed Diana’s exit strategy. They exited the ship into the upper atmosphere, following the ship as it went down. Batman pressed his hand to his left side of his cowl.

“LANTERNS WE NEED TO STOP THAT SHIP NOW!” he yelled into the coms.

As he said this, light from the emotional spectrum began to slow the ship, but it was too much.

Wonder Boy watched as Firestorm flew to the back of the ship and got down on all fours, pulsing radiation down the entirety of the ship. Wonder Boy watched as the pulses became more and more frequent until the ship was engulfed in nuclear energy. The energy dissipated and the ship was no longer there and in its place was a massive amount of water, enough to easily flood a city. Wonder Boy saw Firestorm free-falling until he hit the roof of a building and didn’t move. The blue, white, and violet light solidified into massive bowls, each one taking a third of the water. Not all of it was gathered and it rained down on the city. The three lights went out to the ocean past the Metropolis docks and dumped the water.

Wonder Woman and the others descended to the streets of downtown Metropolis, where it appeared they only added to the number of dead. Fire and Ice were in a crater in the street both broken. Kid Flash’s body was cradled by the Flash. They were lying in front of a wrecked car, a hole burned in his chest. Beast Boy was kneeling and sobbing while holding Bumble Bee’s stingers, which were charred. Steel’s arm was torn off and had bled out on the street as Mera tried to save him. Bizzaro was impaled by a blue crystalline staff that resembled kryptonite. Wonder Woman set Superman down in the street and the remainder of their friends gathered around him. His body had gone still and his eyes had been closed. His veins turned green and shards of kryptonite were still sticking out of him. Wonder Boy could not sense his thoughts, and he knew he was gone. Wonder Woman had tears in her eyes and Batman was kneeling in front of his fallen friend. Supergirl was cradling his head, shaking hers in disbelief. Wonder Boy found Red Arrow and tackled him in a hug, his whole body shaking.

I’m okay, Roy thought. Thank God, you’re okay.

It’s my fault.

What?

I did this. It was me.

 

 

 


 

Epilogue

It was a quiet day with a light breeze in the cemetery. Alec and Roy walked by the tombstones of their fallen friends, each engraved with their symbols they adopted. They stopped at one with an “s” surrounded by a shield with the name “Clark Kent” on it. He hadn’t been strong enough to do this six months ago. In six months, former members of the Regime were arrested for their crimes and some were pardoned for their efforts in restoring leadership to the people: Flash, Blue Beetle, and Captain Atom. Some of Brainiac’s former Society members escaped from custody and were being hunted by Batman’s new Justice League. The team of undercover operatives was disbanded and a new team formed: The Titans. World leaders were reestablished and there was a push toward balance in the world again. But none of that mattered to Alec. All that mattered was what he neglected to say six months ago. He put down a new flower called the krypton on his grave.

“I thought I was helping the world when I made my choice. I thought I made a choice that would better the world and end the civil war, and it did end the war. But it’s not how I wanted it to end. I wanted you to realize your mistakes and end it yourself, but I knew in your mind you had no intention of stopping. Instead of being better than you, I killed you. I mentally controlled Brainiac’s tentacle and stabbed you. My hope was to incapacitate you, not kill you. I didn’t know it would implode and infect you, and I’m sorry. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that day. I miss the man you were, and that’s how we choose to remember you.”

He walked back to Roy, who had distributed rose on their friend’s gravestones.

“Ready?” Roy asked.

Alec nodded and the pair walked away.


Alec and Roy’s Flat, London

The pair materialized on their personal teleporter pad and stepped off. In the six months since the conflict had ended, the pair had moved in together in London where they stayed as its guardians. They made quite a team protecting the city from those who would disrupt the peace, although there were fewer disruptions than before. Roy hugged him tightly.

“I’m proud of you,” he said. “I know that wasn’t easy.”

“It wasn’t,” Alec replied.

Roy pulled back a bit, still holding onto him. “You okay?”

“I will be, but don’t you have to get ready?”

“I do, but I can stay if you need me to. Ollie already said he could cover me if needed.”

“No, you should go. Monitor duty isn’t that terrible.”

“It is when I’m away from you.”

Alec smiled. “I’ll be fine, besides I’ll see you when you get home.”

Roy smiled back and kissed Alec. “I’ll see you tonight,” he said.

He went into their bedroom and changed. Alec waited ‘til he heard the familiar sound of the teleporter before he walked to their balcony. He looked out on the city and breathed deeply. These past six months had been a rollercoaster of emotions for him. Some of his friends were in prison, some had retired from the job, and many were gone. On top of his guilt over Superman’s murder, he sensed Roy’s thoughts and knew a proposal was coming. He looked up at the sky as day turned to night, the sky a perfect myriad of yellows, reds, oranges, and blues. He saw distracted by a flying figure with flaming hair going around the city. He heard gun fire and watched as streaks of violet energy rained down on the gunfire origins. He quickly ran to the bedroom and changed into his gear, grabbing his lasso and leaving his sword and shield. He had a running start as he neared the balcony.

Guess the fun never ends, he thought to himself as he planted one foot on the railing of the balcony and pushed forward. He propelled himself into the sky and headed toward another adventure.

End.