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Memories From Beyond

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A/N: I'm assuming Roxy is dead in this. Technically, she could be alive, but she vanished like what, 20 years ago and we haven't seen her since?

Limbo, I tell you all. Comic limbo.

I should probably have updated another story but… This idea has been in my head for a solid two weeks and wouldn't go away until written, sooo enjoy.

Also, the reason Bart doesn't show up is because he 'became one with the Speed Force'

(Aka Speedsters fade into their own personal pocket dimension when they die and it's totally separate from any other afterlife)

Also, while I do like Stephanie, Conner is(understandably) pissed at her

Published: 3/30/2019

Warnings: Ancient spoilers, for Death of the New Gods and other D.C. Storylines

Featured Character:

Knockout

Kon El | Conner Kent

Supporting:

Tana Moon

Roxy Leech

Jack Drake

Jonathan Kent

Barda Free

Antagonist:

The Source(background)

Darkseid(background)

Superboy Prime(background)


Memories From Beyond

Dying was definitely not fun. Not in the slightest. Dying while pleading for your life was definitely not the way Knockout had imagined it either, but that's exactly how it had gone.

Still, even dying by having your heart torn out while you pleaded for just one more moment with your beloved wasn't as surprising as… as… as this!

Knockout's eyes snapped open to the most unbelievable sight. Unbelievable, because she'd done everything to push this boy away. She'd nearly broken him, manipulated him, turned every person he cared about against him, and yet-

"Hey," Superboy greeted her with that same stupid smile of his, as if today was just another day in Hawaii, the sun beating above them and the pair of them sparring back and forth as she slowly taught him more and more about his own abilities.

And, because Knockout was a bitch no matter how you slice it, there was but one way to respond to that smile and to that hand, extended out to her as if the pair of them hadn't fought against each other so violently and viciously that they had literary destroyed an entire island and forced it to sink back down to the sea.

"Pup," Knockout greeted.

The Pup rolled his eyes at her, of all things. "Come on, Knockout, don't be a bitch. I'm trying to make this a slightly less jarring experience for you."

Batting his hand aside, Knockout rose with all the grace and skill of a little girl trained since birth to be a Fury.

"Make what slightly less jarring?" Knockout snapped.

"This place," the Pup answered, gesturing around.

'This place' being an endless white expanse that went off as far as the eye could see. Even the ground beneath Knockout's feet was the same, endless and going on forever.

What… What was this place? For a moment, a feeling of fear surged through her, primordial and strong. Fear, and longing. Longing to leave here, longing to find Scandal and never look back.

Knockout hadn't felt like that since she'd lost her daughter on Apokolips, taken and ripped from her arms because she was too 'weak and pathetic', killed before her eyes.

There was no place among the New Gods for the weak.

"This is the end of the line," the Pup spoke without her prompting, seemingly sensing her distress. "Well, almost the end." The Pup amended, just to be confusing. "This is a kind of limbo, where souls come to that haven't quite moved on yet."

Ah. So she was dead, then. Killed by the Infinity Man, of all things. Disgraceful.

Yet…

"Moved on to where?" Knockout demanded. The Pup, for whatever reason, seemed to be in a relinquishing mood. Gods knows why, but Knockout would go with it.

"No one knows," the teen shrugged. "It's just beyond. No one comes back from it, can't tell you much more than that."

Ah. Helpful as always.

With a snarl, Knockout lifted a hand, ready to strangle this brat to death. She had plenty of pent up rage, and beating the shit out of the boy that had locked her away in a cell and thrown away the key was just the kind of nostalgia Knockout needed to get through this.

An attempt that failed utterly when her hand went through the Pup's throat to no effect.

The Pup then had the audacity to raise a single eyebrow at her before snorting.

"We're dead, Knockout. We don't have physical bodies here. We only look like ourselves because this is how we perceived ourselves when we were alive."

Damn. There went Knockout's plan of torturing this brat into kingdom come.

"I told you, you should have just left her alone. If anyone deserves to be lost and confused, it's her."

Oh hell to the no!

Knockout spun.

Tana Moon glowered at her.

Knockout groaned.

"Darkseid's Bones," Knockout swore, "I thought I was finally rid of you when his sister," Knockout jabbed a finger in the general direction of the Pup, "blew you to pieces!"

Tana arched an eyebrow.

"Yes, and now you're in the exact same boat, if you haven't exactly realized."

Knockout twitched.

"Hey!" The Pup protested. "Amanda Spence it not my sister!" Then, a contemplative look overtook the clones features. "Anymore," he admitted.

Knockout spluttered.

"What do you mean, anymore?" She repeated incredulously.

"Superboy Prime rewrote reality when he kept punching the Reality Wall," the Pup shrugged. "It inexplicably rewrote my D.N.A., making me the generic love child of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor, instead of, you know, the bio engineered clone of some dick head with a god complex."

"Luthor has a god complex," Tana reminded.

"Wait, wait, wait," Knockout interrupted. Surprisingly, both the Pup and the bitchy Hawaiian reported fell silent and looked at her expectantly. "You're telling me some freak alternative version of Superman punched reality- somehow- and changed your genetic structure?!"

Because what in the hell? How would that even work!

"It also brought Jason Todd back to life!" the Pup said with a smile.

Knockout twitched.


"Oh. It's you. Joyyyy."

Knockout sighed. Turning her head, she was met with another annoying sight.

"Roxy. How'd you end up here, of all places?" Knockout asked.

Roxanne Leech, last spotted running off in chase of her perpetually retarded father, stood before her leaning on literally nothing. The girl was the definition of idiotic in Knockout's opinion, having tossed away a career in Metahuman Affairs for a man(her father) who's gambling addiction and get rich quick schemes caused endless trouble for everyone involved.

"She got here around the same time I did," the Pup said, looking at Roxy with guilt filled eyes. Psh. Gross.

"I was in Bludhaven when it got nuked," Roxy supplied helpfully with a shrug. "Hey, it wasn't that bad. It was pretty quick."

"I should have been there for you," the Pup said, ever adamant to blame himself.

Roxy, though? She just snorted and shook her head. "S.B., we hadn't seen each other in years. I cut our ties, remember? You don't owe me a thing,"

"I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for you," the Pup replied, "hell, I'm half convinced the cure Lex made to keep me from destabilizing after Superboy Prime beat the hell out of me came from you."

Considering that the first time the Pup's genetic structure had destabilized, Roxy's own genetic structure had been used to restore him, that honestly wouldn't be a surprise.

Roxy scrunched her nose at the name.

"Don't mention that asshole, S.B. He can burn for all I care. Both your parents can,"

Oh? Knockout just might like this one.

"They both care in their own ways," the Pup said.

"Luthor mind raped you and made you break your best friends arm," Roxy said viciously, "and Superman? He didn't even bother giving you a name for years! I remember the day you came home, cryin' because you finally had a real name and, honestly? I kinda feel like shit since none of us had ever considered calling you anything but Superboy."

Knockout was actually surprised at this revelation. Shooting the Pup a look, she arched an eyebrow.

"You finally have a name, Pup?"

"Don't call him that!" Roxy snapped.

The Pup ignored her. Turning to Knockout, he extended a hand out again, grin on his face, "The name is Kon El, or Conner if you prefer. Pleased to meet you."

Knockout shot him a look of pure disgust before stalking off. Clearly, the Pup's time here had disintegrated what little mental facilities he'd had in the first place.


Roxy sighed.

"I don't know why you keep stickin' to her, S.B.," she told Conner. "We both know Knockout doesn't care about anyone but herself."

Conner couldn't exactly deny that. Knockout had tricked him into becoming an accessory to murder once. While Conner himself hadn't actually killed anyone, he had unknowingly guarded a murderer from anyone who tried to apprehend her, a violent guard beating anyone who tried to bring Knockout to justice.

He'd turned on Tana and Roxy, because Knockout had told him she'd done nothing wrong and innocent, naive Conner had believed her.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Still…

Conner shot his sister a look. "Maybe it's stupid and maybe you don't get it, but helping Knockout is something I have to do," Conner told her.

Roxy frowned at him.

"Why? Why do you have to help her? Why you?"

"Because," Conner looked towards Knockout's departing figure. "She might have used me and manipulated me, but she also helped me realize who and and what I am. She helped me find myself, and for that reason alone, I kinda owe it to her."

"You don't owe that Fury anything."

"And, besides," Conner said, ignoring that last bit as he turned back to Roxy, "Who else is she gonna have, in a place like this? I'm probably the only friendly face she's gonna come across,"

"Because you're a moron."

Conner snorted.

"Maybe, Rox. Maybe."


"Come here," the Pup said, hand latching onto her shoulder and dragging her.

Batting it away, Knockout glared. Then, blinked.

"How did you touch me?" the Fury demanded, because when she'd tried to choke the life out of the brat(or afterlife, if you want to get technical), she'd had absolutely no effect.

"Beats me, I just did," the Pup, ever the scion of helpfulness, answered. "Come on, I've got something you might just wanna see."

"Oh?" Knockout said dismissively. "And what would that be?"

"Oh, nothing much," the Pup shrugged, "just this big great area we get full of windows that let you look at the people still alive. No biggie."

They managed to get there in ten seconds flat and, for the first time since coming here, Knockout shot the Pup a truly grateful look.

"Thank you," Knockout said, then turned and gazed down at the one thing she truly cared about on that wretched earth.

Scandal.

Leave it to Knockout to fall in love with the daughter of Vandal Savage.


Conner felt the man's presence before a hand landed on his shoulder. Looking behind himself, he met the gaze of Jack Drake.

"How is he doing?" Jack asked.

Jack didn't dare look himself. He didn't want to. He was too scared of what he would see, so he hid from it. His, far away.

But Conner couldn't do that. Conner couldn't just pretend it wasn't there. Maybe it made him a masochist, but he had to look, he had to see.

It killed him, seeing Tim that broken. Broken, and slowly spiraling worse and worse. The losses were driving Tim insane.

Cassie, at least, was doing somewhat better. Still. Joining a cult dedicated to the resurrection of Conner was definitely not healthy. Still. It was a step above Tim.

Tim, who was desperately trying to resurrect Conner, over and over again that he'd somehow managed to get both Luthor's and Clark's D.N.A. Tim, who'd already failed dozens of times over and was still trying again and again to bring Conner back to life.

Except, it wouldn't really be Conner, would it? Just another clone. Which, apparently, was suppose to serve as a vessel for Conner's actual soul, although Tim himself hadn't even started trying to figure out how to summon that, more stuck on making a suitable body first.

Conner wanted to go down there just so he could beat the crap out of Nightwing and Batman. How in the hell had neither of them caught onto this yet? They were supposed to be the world's greatest detectives! Yet, Tim was destabilizing before their eyes and Tim was such a good fucking liar that neither of them noticed!

Conner wasn't sure whether he should be impressed or horrified.

Still, Jack had asked him a question.

And, as usual…

"Fine. Tim's doing fine," Conner lied. "He's doing better, trust me,"

Conner didn't have the heart to tell Jack Drake his son was slowly spiraling to madness without them while his adoptive family stood off to the side, not caring enough to notice.


Bart… Bart was gone. He was gone, and he wasn't here. Conner didn't get it. Conner didn't understand. All he knew was that it hurt, one of his best friends was dead and gone and- and goddamnit, Tim wasn't taking that any easier than he had the rest.

"At this rate, the boy is going to end up taking Ra's al Ghul up in his offer," Knockout stated.

Conner glared.

Knockout tilted her head.

"I see the boy is a sore point."

"He's breaking," Conner's voice cracked. "He's breaking, and I can't do anything about it but watch. Of course it's a sore point!"

Knockout wouldn't understand, though. Yes, Scandal missed her. Yes, Scandal loved her. But, Scandal Savage wasn't breaking the way Tim was. No. She'd lived far too long for something like that to occur.

She was moving forward with utterly brutal determination, but Tim? Tim tried to do the same, but…

It wasn't working.

It wasn't working and- and- oh fuck.

Realizations always hit you when they're too late to matter. Because, looking down at Tim, Conner realized… He'd be the same, if their roles had been reversed.

Had been the same, in an alternate timeline, now that Conner thought about it. Hell, he'd seen it, without even realizing it. Seen in, when he'd been plunged into Hypertime, glimpsed at alternate realities.

One of alternate Conner's he'd met had even somehow managed to force Batman into making him the new Robin. It was only now that Conner realize what in the hell would push him towards something like that.

He was witnessing it right now.

Tim was breaking… And there was absolutely nothing Conner could do about it.


Knockout wasn't sure why she was sticking with the Pup anymore. After a while, it had just become second nature, really. He was like a fungus that stuck to you and didn't go away, really.

Which was how Knockout found herself present for one particular instance.

"Pa! You're here!"

Not caring that he was basically revealing the identity of Superman, the Pup was currently clinging to an old man he affectionately called 'Pa'.

Pa, who was apparently the father of the Man of Steel himself.

If Knockout ever managed to get herself back alive, she definitely knew plenty who'd pay good money for the information.

What? Knockout wasn't a saint in the slightest. The Pup knew that full well, and that wasn't about to change.


"Conner!" Pa hugged Conner back just as fiercely before pulling back. Tears in his eyes, the old man looked him up and down. "We missed you, my boy."

"I'm sorry," Conner apologized.

Pa, however, just shook his head.

"No, no. You've nothing to apologize for. Still…" Pa frowned. "I'm worried about your Ma. She lost you, and now me right after."

Conner winced at that. Pa had a point. Ma still had Clark, but losing people on quick succession was always hard. Just look at how well Tim was taking it.

Or rather, not taking it.

A snort sounded from behind them. A feeling of rage filled Conner at the sound before he calmed himself. Turning, he met Knockout's gaze.

"So, this is the father of the mysterious Superman and your grandfather. My, my."

"Knockout," Conner said, voice biting.

Ignoring him, the Fury extended a hand towards Pa. "Pleased to meet you. My name is Knockout. I took your grandson's virginity, we had a couples spat, and we made a volcano explode before he locked me in a cell." Knockout introduced herself with a wide, sadistic grin. Conner face palmed.

Pa blinked at her for a single moment before sighing.

"I suppose, considering Clark's rather wild relationship with Lex Luthor, I shouldn't be surprised his son also went through wild unhealthy relationships."

A beat. One. Two.

"CLARK DID WHAT WITH LUTHOR?"


Hours later, Knockout was still laughing at him.

"Shut up," Conner hissed.

The Fury snorted.

"You genuinely thought Jonathan Kent meant Superman and Lex Luthor had fucked. To be fair," Knockout looked Conner up and down, "that is the usual way a child is produced."

Conner twitched.

"How was I suppose to know they used to be best friends? No one ever tells me these things!" Conner exclaimed.

He was also a bit offended at other things Pa had clued him in on. Conner had been too busy checking in on Tim (read: spying) to pay too much attention to Clark, but, apparently, Clark had ran off, found the son of General Zod, of all people, and had decided to ADOPT the brat.

Conner hadn't been adopted. He'd been passed off to the grandparents without a second thought. It was hard not to feel jealous of this 'Chris Kent', but… Fuck, it hurt, okay?

The jealousy subsided quickly when his poor little brother was forcibly whisked away to the Phantom Zone. Goddamnit. Goddamnit all.


Conner's fist clenched.

Knockout actually backed away.

The image didn't change.

"He… He survived," Conner said, bitterness ringing his voice. Bitterness and rage. "I thought for sure- I mean, I don't approve of killing prisoners, but I didn't think he'd- I didn't think he'd survived."

But, he had. Even a prison orbiting a red star hadn't been enough, and that monster had broken free.

Superboy Prime, freed by the Sinestro Corps, running about and making a mess of things.

The Green Lantern Corps, the Justice League, the Justice Society, and the Teen Titans COMBINED weren't putting a dent in that monster. Prime was beating them all single handedly.

Knockout whistled.

"You fought that one on one and didn't die instantly? I'm impressed, Pup. Maybe I should promote you,"

Conner glared. Knockout shrugged.

"Hey, I'm complimenting you. He's wrecking everyone else, but you actually managed to hurt him. I think I'll promote you to Wolf."

Conner closed his eyes. One breath. Two breaths. Okay. Look back down.

Then, become instantly alarmed.

"Tim, what in the hell are you doing!" Conner shouted. Tim, for obvious reasons, could not hear him.

Knockout whistled again.

"You're little boyfriend has balls of steel, I'll give him that,"

"He is not my boyfriend!" Conner snapped.

Knockout eyed him skeptically.

"Right. Of course he isn't."

Then, Tim set Krypto, of all things, on Prime. Conner sighed. At least Tim wasn't trying to take out Prime directly.

Krypto didn't last long, though. In seconds, the dog was knocked unconscious, while Prime battled Superman, Power Girl, and Supergirl all at once.

Conner blinked several times.

"Did… Did Power Girl just almost give Superboy Prime a sex change?"

Knockout whistled again.

"I like her."


Tim was dating Cassie. Conner blinked. Huh. Well… As long as it made them happy, he would go with it.

"You're hopeless," Knockout told him.

"You're a bitch," Conner retaliated.


"She… SHE WAS ALIVE THE ENTIRE TIME!" Conner screamed, eyes glowing red with rage and anger.

"Who is she again?" Knockout asked, not looking at all interested in what was happening below but more in Conner's reactions.

Conner really hated her some times.

"Stephanie Brown. Tim's ex girlfriend. Tim's ex girlfriend that was tortured to death, but apparently, she faked it and he spent years thinking she was dead and I held him while he cried over her and his dad and that bitch was alive the entire time!"

A beat. Two.

"You held the boy wonder while he cried?"

Conner decided the hell with it and hit her. Considering his relationship with Knockout when they'd been alive had basically consisted of beating the shit out of each other for fun, it was a wonder they hadn't gotten to this point sooner.


Big Barda was not someone Conner had not expected to meet in the Afterlife, but that's exactly who they came across next.

"It seems none of the New Gods are safe, then." Knockout sneered.

Barda shot her a saddened look.

"You have no idea, Knockout. None at all."

Conner glanced between the two Apokoliptian defectors.

"... Wait, what's going on?"

Barda looked at him like he was beneath her, like whatever she had to say would be lost on Conner because it was beyond his comprehension.

Which, honestly, was a bit offensive.

"The Fourth World is coming to an end… The gods shall fall, and a new era will dawn on the multiverse."

And maybe she was right, because what in the hell did that even mean?


It apparently meant watching Scott Free break when he realized the deity he had worshiped and followed all his life was a pathological monster bent on destroying everything.

"God," Conner said, "is an utter piece of shit."

How else could he describe the Source? The Source, from which all reality spawned, taking an active role in is creation since it's advent, and what did it decide to do?

It had manipulated them. Manipulated each and every one of them, like pawns on a chessboard, and rewarded it's worshippers with aging and death.

"The Fourth World ends," Barda said, and her voice hitched. "The New Gods of Apokolips and New Genesis fall."

"Not yet," Knockout hissed.

Barda looked at her in surprise.

"Who else is left? My husband, weirder of the Anti-Life Equation- and believe me, I didn't even know about that so when he gets up here we will be having words about that- my husband was not enough to stop the Source. What possibly could?"

Knockout's expression hardened.

"Darkseid."

Barda scoffed.

"Even the Lord of Apokolips shall fall."


The Lord of Apokolips was not fucking falling, he was literally going toe to toe with the heart of all creation and he was winning.

Winning, and Barda and Knockout were pretty much out for the count, along with every other New God up here, because Darkseid being Darkseid, the fucker had somehow managed to figure out how to channel the power of the fallen New Gods into himself to give himself a fighting chance.

"He might actually win," Conner whispered, and wasn't sure what was more terrifying- Darkseid winning, of the Source.

If Darkseid won, he'd subjugate all reality, all life, everything under this rule of thumb.

If the Source won, it would wipe everything out, create a clean slate. All existence, denied.

Either way, they were all fucked.

And that was before Orion showed up and started whaling on his dad.

Knockout and Barda both hissed, strength returning to them.

"Thy was- that was unexpected." Barda said.

"As unexpected as that?" Conner gestured.

Both New Gods blinked.

The image did not change.

"Is… Is that Jimmy Olson, fighting Darkseid one on one and putting him in a choke hold?" Barda asked faintly.

"Yep," Conner popped the p.

"Ah. Just making sure."

Jimmy didn't last long, but he did last longer than Superman himself, so Conner was impressed all the same.


Darkseid was a fucking freak, because of course he was, and Orion killing him didn't even kill him properly.

The heavens shook and shattered apart. One moment, Barda and Knockout were next to Conner.

The next, they, along with any other New God was cast out, ripped from the Heavens as Darkseid's ethereal body fell through the universe itself, ripping reality to shards.

"Knockout!" Conner reached for the Fury. The woman gripped his hand in her own, but gave him a look of confusion all the same.

Barda herself was gone before Conner could even think of trying to reach out to her, but Knockout? Conner wouldn't let her go.

He refused.

"Why… Do you care, you stupid boy?" Knockout asked, voice cracking.

Conner narrowed his gaze.

"I know we don't see eye to eye on plenty of things. I don't agree with your morals, or lack of them." Conner said as Knockout snorted, "but, you're still the woman who taught me who and what I am, and as much as you like to deny it, I know- there's good in you."

Knockout actually laughed, loud and clear.

"Pup… Pup, there's never been any light in me. I'm not like Barda. I didn't leave Apokolips because it sickened me. I left because I wanted to be free, and any one who stands in the way of that he damned."

"Wanting to be free isn't wrong," Conner insisted.

"You locked me away yourself," Knockout reminded him.

"Because you killed people!" Conner snapped. "Because you killed, and you didn't care! You just slaughtered people because you could! That was wrong!"

Knockout smiled at him.

"Always… Such an innocent. Stupid, stupid boy."

Then, Knockout swung at him with her free hand. She'd figured out the trick to touching, evidently, as she hit him just as hard as she had when they were flesh and blood.

Conner was tossed back and Knockout? Knockout was gone, pulled away into the vortex, into the singularity triggered by Darkseid's Fall.

There had been a War. There had been a War in Heaven, and, in the end… Evil had won.

Orion's killing blow wasn't enough.

Darkseid lived again, and the Final Crisis had at long last begun.

Conner didn't have much time to think about it. Before he knew it, he was being pulled. Pulled back to earth, pulled back to his body, pulled through time itself.

Pulled, to the future.

His memories of the afterlife, stripped away, reborn just in time to punch Superboy Prime's face in one more time.