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*waves* Yeah, that is referencing Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. I had to watch two movie adaptations of it for class this week. *sighs, then waves again*

I've been back for a few months, but I've been working to settle some things before getting back into everything here. That, and the 2k+ deviations on my watch list alone demanded my attention. (I got through about half of them at this point. And journals are going even slower.)

I have gotten back into writing, although it has been going slowly. I've set up the basic goal of at least 100 words a day to one story or another. Right now the focus is finishing off Dying Lullaby before the year ends. And it might actually be feasible if I stick with the goal. That being said, we all know how good I am at this... ^^;

Abroad was rather amazing. I went to Scotland out of a recommendation and a desire to not be in London. Which is funny, really; I used to believe that I would go to London up until it came time to actually consider applying. Then I actually realized how easily I get sick of the urban setting. So that went out of the window rather quickly. Then someone said Scotland, and I was like, "Well, that sounds fun."

Scotland itself was very interesting. I picked up some of the dialect for my speech patterns, and got to see some amazing sights. And became appreciative of kilts. Because really, those things are really cool. And bagpipes, which is a bit of a cliché, but there was a guy on the corner of the street playing Star Wars with bagpipes at one point of my life, and I've memorized it. Seriously. It was amazing. Stirling Castle was probably my favorite place; it's pretty preserved and lacks the massive amounts of tourists that Edinburgh Castle has. (I really wanted to like that castle, but way too many people visiting it at one time.)

(And in a different story, when I returned here, I was hanging out with two friends at a book sale. I grabbed a CD of bagpipes because I need to make up for the lack of it in my life.

One friend said, "I heard the best bagpipe music in an anime."

First thing I snapped back was, "Dude, I was in Scotland. I think I win."

"But this anime was good!"

"But Scotland. You haven't even heard anything from Scotland, have you?"

"But no, seriously-"

"But Scotland.")

So yeah. Miss me?
  • Mood: Delighted


Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: strong language)

October 11, 2:14 AM
Gotham City

Bruce leaned over the chest cavity. He reached in and grasped a bundle of wires. He could feel the energy running through them, pulsing like blood. In a fluid motion he yanked them out.

He looked over at the face that was attached to the body and frowned. Then, with some more delicacy, he selected three more wires to remove. It was with the tug of the last wire that Red Tornado’s voice, once a steady babble in the cave, was suddenly silenced. Bruce’s frown deepened; he was certain that the circuitry for the android’s speech abilities was in head. If he had known that the wiring was actually in the chest, he would have been more careful. The things that Red Tornado was saying were amusing.

“Schadenfreude is a good look on you,” Muse said. The woman sat on the other side of the android, observing her husband. “Although I can see why others would flee.”

Bruce smiled at her. She had said something similar when she had discovered his secret identity. It was one of his fondest memories.

“It’s almost time,” he said.

“It is.” She stood and walked to his right side. “I’m going to miss this.”

“The torture?”

“The borrowed time.” Muse reached out and caressed her hand over his cheek. “Time to say everything we didn’t the first time around.”

His hand reached up and took hers. It was cold; she had stopped maintaining the façade of being alive for some time. He turned her hand so he could properly kiss the back of it. “There was a lot that I wanted to say.”

(sorry for my failures sorry for failing you all)

“It doesn’t matter now, though. We’ve said it all.” Muse reached into the android with her free hand. She reached for a large metal box, hidden beneath a mess of wires. “Would the League be able to put him back together again?”

“From this state? Yes.” Bruce let go of her hand. “I removed his ability to move and talk, and took out what seems to be the source for his air manipulation powers. But it’s relatively simple to replicate and replace.” He paused for a second, watching as Muse pull the box free from the wires. “He’s still conscious.”

“Does it matter?” she asked. She turned to look at Red Tornado’s face. “Remember the last time I took you apart? Then again, you weren’t awake for most of it. Such a tender mercy.”

Bruce chuckled. “He may not even survive this time.”

“Killing a former teammate?” said Muse. “That’s an appealing offer, Mr. Wayne. Are you willing to follow through?”

“Of course, Mrs. Wayne.” He reached into the chest cavity and pulled another box out. “That’s one of your larger hard drives, Tornado. I believed I already removed several others earlier. How many more do I have to take out before your processors are forced to rewrite over your identity?”

Red Tornado’s eyes flashed once. Bruce wondered if that was indication that the hero had something to say, rather than just simple surprise.

“You could also theoretically shut yourself down,” he said. “It would freeze your memory and possibly save you, assuming that we don’t just physically crush all of the pieces afterwards. But even if we choose not to, who knows how long it would take for someone to find you and put you back together.”

Red Tornado’s eyes flashed once more.

Light was suddenly projected from the android’s mouth. It was not the yellow glow that indicated that the android was talking. Instead it was a light blue, reminiscent of the Wayne Tech blue used to create interactive holograms.  The technology was currently only available to the Justice League, even after his death.

(but Red Tornado was part of the Justice League part of my side)

Bruce growled. “You’ve seen too much Star Wars, Red-“

“We have the ability to do a lot of harm.”


The image of the holographic Batman shimmered, but the audio was crystal clear.

“We also don’t know what can sway us. It could be mind control. It could be a mental break down. The point being is that we cannot guarantee that we will always remain good.

“We have to keep each other in check. I need to know that you are all willing to stop me if I were to turn sides. Even if it requires deadly force, you must. I am willing to do the same-“

The rest was cut off; Muse had placed her hand over the android’s face, and the metallic make crumbled to dust. The light fixtures were covered. The android fell silent.

“You never said anything about revenge, Bruce,” she noted.

“I thought I wouldn’t need to,” Bruce said. He traced his hand over the dust. It felt cold underneath his fingertips. “I had trusted them with my life.”

The two stared down at the android.

(is this how villains see us? so fragile so easy to break)

“I never wanted to be a hero,” he said. “I just wanted to clean up crime in Gotham.”

“A vigilante is not a hero,” Muse said. She pushed Red Tornado’s head to the side. A small cloud of dust arose. “They only want justice.”


(but wouldn’t a hero have been nice that night?)

“Still, there are expected morals for them to follow. Break one and the rest can come tumbling afterwards.”

Bruce snorted. “Quoting from nursery rhymes?”

“I have done worst.”

(we’ve done worst we all have)

Muse looked at the chest cavity of the android. “Which bit is next?”

Bruce smiled.


October 11, 9:59 AM
Gotham City

“I am afraid that I still do not understand,” Kaldur said. He was pacing near the cage, keeping enough distance between him and the bars to remain out of Orin’s grasp. “Is it different through the eyes of royalty perhaps?”

“Kaldur, can you not see what you are doing?” Orin protested. His voice was hoarse; the music had taken hours to stop, and it was only when there was silence that his mindless screaming ended.

The younger Atlantean seemed to ponder the words. For a brief second, Orin allowed himself-

(see reason see yourself)

-to hope.

Kaldur, however, shook his head. “It is not wise to advise such a thing when you yourself refuse to see the truth. Hypocrisy is not a good thing to fall under.”

“It had to be done-“

“It did not. If it had been Black Manta asking for Batman’s life, you would have fought against such a deal on principle of villainy. But you offer a different courtesy when a past hero asks for a sacrifice.” The Atlantean shook his head. “Was it because it was Doctor Fate who had asked? Did you really take his word and handed over the lives of Batman and his family? You must excuse my disbelief on the subject.”

“He said that there was no other choice.” Orin’s voice rose as he spoke, his throat crying in pain. “We were running out of time-“

“Pressure is not a good reason.”

“Fate said that we already lost Bruce!”

Kaldur stopped walking. The cave was silent. It was ten seconds later that Orin allowed himself to let out the air he was choking on. He had expected the music to start up again, but it did not.


The king chanced a look at his former student. The half-Atlantean had grown up well; he had gain muscle and a foreboding air to match. Orin had once believed that Kaldur had developed these characteristics to fool Black Manta. The villain would not have believed in anything else.

Now Orin knew better.

The silence dragged on. Kaldur’s face looked contemplative. Orin took a deep breath and, despite the state of his throat, continued to talk. “We were told that Bruce was already taken by whatever force was in Gotham. It wasn’t hard to believe. The man had been acting out of character-“


“There was a darkness to him that wasn’t there before.”

Kaldur was now turning away from Orin. “Did he harm more people?”

Orin brought his hand to his head as he remembered. Had Bruce hurt more people on patrol? The human was rarely gentle with the villains in his realm. It was how the man instilled fear into his enemies. A dissuasion to commit crime again, he had said. But for the month before…

“Yes, he was.” Orin shook his head. “We should have seen it then.”

Kaldur turned away. He chuckled slightly.

(wrong answer)

“You have mastered the art of telling lies,” Kaldur said. “You even believe them yourself.”


“I cannot say that I am completely surprised,” the young man continued. “You all wanted to believe that you did the right thing. Lying to yourself must be easier than dealing with the truth.”

“But it is true!”

Kaldur laughed again. “I have played a spy for years. I know how to pick up the truth from the delusions.”

“But you’re willing to listen to theirs!” Orin said. “You have willingly gone along with their desire for revenge despite all of the destruction that they have caused!”

Silence fell between the two Atlanteans. Somewhere within the caverns, Barry Allen screamed.

(he doesn’t deserve that none of us do)

Kaldur walked towards the cage, until he was only separated from the other by the bars. “Perhaps we are both delusional. I have, admittedly, considered this possibility. I am in love and looking for justice. I play executioner to those who sway from the rules. I am willing to betray even my own king, my mentor, for this cause.

“I am grateful for what you have done for me in the past. But I find that I am unable to forgive you for the harm you inflicted. It goes against everything that I had once believe in. And in order to atone for your betrayal, I have murdered. I find, however, that I am justified through my own logic. I am sorry, my king, that it had to come to this.”

Orin reached out through the bars. He grasped Kaldur’s arm, wondering when exactly the boy had become-

(his own man)

-a monster.

“Atlantis was once your home, Kaldur’ahm. Is whatever you find here worth betraying them?”

“Atlantis is full of fools. They fight amongst themselves and are willing to risk civil war over minor details. One of the only things that keeps them in check is their combined hatred of the surface world.” Kaldur looked at the hand that was grasping him. “Is that why you found it acceptable to sacrifice Batman? Because he was a man from the surface?”

"That does not answer my question."

"I think that it does. Atlantis offers me nothing, while the surface world has given me so much. I have found the truth behind your motivations-"

"What about Garth and Tula? Do they not matter anymore?" Orin demanded. "You went undercover to save Tula. Doesn't she matter?"

Kaldur jerked his arm from Orin’s grasp and quickly turned away. For a moment, Orin allowed himself to hope.

Kaldur sighed. “Wally has not told you, then?”

“Told me what?“ Orin tried to reach for Kaldur again, but the young man had moved out of his reach.

"They are dead."

Orin’s arm fell. "Wh- what?"

(did you kill them?)

"Garth was already lost to me,” Kaldur said, turning back to face Orin. “I knew that from the beginning. He was noble that way; he firmly believed in your justice and stood by it, even if it was all just delusions. He clung onto it until the end.

“Tula had lost her sanity years ago. She had encouraged me to stay on my mission and not to break cover, and I... I had listened. By the time that I realized that her sense of self was lost, it was too late. Black Manta's men had done a wonderful job," the half-Atlantean-

(he was more than that once)

-said bitterly.

"Are you claiming that you killed her out of mercy?"

Kaldur dropped his gaze. "She wanted to give Garth the same scars that she carried. Maybe she was hoping that he would understand her. In any event, Garth had managed to get free and fought back. I do not know how, but the two had exchanged fatal wounds. There was nothing that I could do except bury the bodies myself.

"I had accepted Tula's insanity as a chance to change and save her from the system that Atlantis is trapped in. Had I known the result, I would not have allowed it to happen.”

(remorse sadness in his voice


“There is still a chance to atone for and redeem their lives,” Orin said. “Free me.”

Kaldur offered a smile. “A futile attempt. As you have your own delusions, I have my own beliefs.”

“Based off what remains of Batgirl,” Orin said. "Can she actually love you?"

"As much as I am able to love her." Kaldur sent a look of disappointment and annoyance towards his former mentor. "If all you have left for me is comments about my choice in love, I believe we have no further business."

Orin frowned back. "Kaldur-"

(there is so much to ask still)

"I will take my leave." Kaldur bowed once, then turned towards the exit. "A pleasant chat, my king."


October 11, 10:30 AM
Gotham City

“That’s the funny thing about Kraken,” Wally said, looking up at the ceiling of the cave. “He is so incredibly in love with Siren that he changed everything about himself. Did you know that he is willing to slaughter an entire city for her?”

His head dropped, his emerald eyes fixed upon the two archers in their separate cages. “Funny how he can find a happy ending with a killer while I couldn’t get even a decent one with you.”

“You-“ Red Arrow-

(not Roy never was Roy)

-growled, “-are a no good-“

“I wasn’t the only one,” the speedster continued. His eyes flickered to Oliver, before settling onto Red Arrow. “For the longest time, I thought that I was a dumbass for falling for you. But Jade would know better. Jade should have known better. She was an assassin, for fuck’s sake!” The last sentence echoed throughout the caverns.

Wally took in a deep breath. Red Arrow wanted to accuse him of being dramatic, but the words were caught in his throat. He would have said it before-

(would I have told him?)

-but this version of Wally West was different.

“What I really don’t understand is how you can live with yourself,” Wally said. “You admitted your crimes aloud once, and even then it wasn’t the whole truth! Yes, you used two of us for sex. But no, we were not asking to be used. No, Jade did not deserve you murdering her-“

“It wasn’t murder-“

“In a drug-induced rage!” There were tears starting to come out of the emerald eyes. Wally turned his back towards them. “Has he told you yet, Green Arrow? Has he told you anything at all?”

Red Arrow paled. He looked at Oliver, noting how the other man began to appear sick at Wally’s words. The blond was looking at the ground of his cell. He may have been a moment away from collapsing and throwing up. The younger archer turned his attention back onto Wally.

“Ollie, he’s ly-“

“You know that I’m not lying!” Wally said. After a second of heated anger, the speedster’s shoulders slumped. “Not about this, of all things. Not after I saw you kill a child’s mother-“

“What?” Oliver did fall, resting his head against the bars. “Red Arrow-”

“I did not!”

“Actually, you did. You had a child with Jade. A little girl whose mother you killed-“

“That kid isn’t mine!”

(can’t be Jade unfaithful right?)

“Did you even bother to learn her name?!” Wally threw his hands into the air. “Her name is Lian. She’s almost five and a half. And every time I go and visit, she asks what happened to her real mommy and daddy.”

(but it can’t be it’s not possible)

“And every time, I have to lie to her. Do you know how much that hurts?”

Red Arrow turned away. He was trying to think of a scathing comment to say back, but words were failing him.

“The thing that really bothers me is your attitude. What, did you really think that being a hero put you above everything? That being a clone meant that anything that you’ve done here means nothing?”

(I’m a clone am I supposed to leave an imprint?)

“You may as well be Roy Harper at this point. You believed that you were him for years, and the real one never amounted to much anyways. He got a few months into being a vigilante and then boom, kept in a coma in a fucking tube. You went through the training. You filled in his shoes and became the person that you thought that you should be. You had all of his memories. In all essence, you are him.”

Red Arrow-

(I’m not Roy could never be Roy)

-didn’t look at Wally. He said, “You killed the real one.”

“To prevent him from repeating your fuck ups. One of you was bad enough already.”

(he acts as if I’m the original)

“And I save him some pain too. He was misplace for years. Unless you two were planning to get him a therapist, he was going to have a lot more issues than Red here.”

Red Arrow picked up his head, watching Wally sending Oliver a look of pure rage. “And we don’t even need to go over what you did. Were you really that jealous of Batman? Jealous enough to let him die?”

Oliver reacted with quick, spiteful words. “He was a danger to us all!”

“You’re all a danger to each other, considering that you are supposedly the most powerful figures on this planet!” Wally snorted. “You hated him and wanted him dead. Just admit it.”

“Okay, so the guy had a few quirks that I didn’t like-“

“So you bullied him and, when that didn’t work, you allowed for him to die. And not just him, but his whole family.”

“I didn’t want him to die!”

“Then why didn’t you do anything?!”

Wally’s question echoed in the caverns. Red Arrow turned to Oliver, hoping that his gaze could offer some kind of support. The effects, however, seemed negligible; the archer was trembling. It was impossible to tell if it was from frustration or self-loathing.

“Well, that answers my question,” Wally said. “I’ll deal with you later.”


Red Arrow clamped his mouth shut as soon as the word left. The speedster turned back, and for a second the redhead archer swore he saw something-


-in the emerald eyes.


Red Arrow turned away. “It’s nothing.”

Wally turned back to the entrance. “Whatever, clone.” In a burst of speed, he was gone.

Oliver looked over at him. “Roy- “

“I told you to stop calling me that.”

The older archer ignored the angry tone. “How much of that was true?”

Red Arrow turned away. Neither archer said a word afterwards.


October 11, 10:43 AM
Gotham City

Barry screamed again. His voice clawed out of his throat. Still, the music would not leave.

(stop it stop it stop it)

“Unlce Barry-“

(make it stop please make it stop)

“-I just wanted to say-“

(please I’m sorry I didn’t mean to I)

“-I’m sorry.”

(I’m sorry)


October 11, 11:32 AM
Gotham City

“I…” J’onn paused, swallowing the bile that threaten to rise out of his throat. The cage prevented any of his natural abilities from working. It made him feel powerless, like a human. “I am not sure if I can believe that your apologies are heartfelt, M’gann.”

“I know you don’t want to believe me,” M’gann rambled. “After all that I’ve done, I would understand if you hate me. But you have to understand, Uncle-“

“I am not your uncle.”

(never was)

The girl faltered at the sentence. If it had happened before her betrayal, he would have comforted her. He would have been happy to be called “uncle.” As is, the Green Martian could only watch as she looked away.

(why does it still hurt to watch?)

“I didn’t mean to offend you.” M’gann said. J’onn wondered if she was going to start crying.

He sighed. “I had wanted to find you to apologize for my hasty judgment of your character. I did not mean to react so volatile to the fact that you are a White Martian-“

(but it makes me so sick)

M’gann shuddered. “Is that what I am to you?”

It took J’onn a moment to realize that the girl could still hear his thoughts.


“No! Just- just stop!” She shook her head violently, her hands covering her ears. “Stop lying!”

“I’m sorry. I judged you too hastily.”

She let out a broken laugh. “Is that all you can say? Sorry?”

“I don’t know what else you are expecting me to say, M’gann.”

“I- I don’t know! But after everything-“ She wiped away some of her tears with the back of her hand. “Do you know how much I hated myself?”


“I spent so long hating myself. I couldn’t control anything about who I was, but I hated it all the same. Do you know how much that hurt?”

“It has not been easy for me, M’gann. My entire family has been wiped out by the war-“

“Do you think I wanted the war? I just wanted to go to Earth. To have a family and be that girl from the show and-“ She sat down on the floor and curled up into a ball. “I never wanted that much.”

“M’gann.” J’onn sat on the floor next to the bars of his cell. “I never wanted you hurt. I had wanted to protect you for years.”

“Only because you thought that I was a Green Martian,” she spat back venomously.

There was no point in lying. “Yes, at first. I had no other family at the time. But I began to trust you. I was so happy to have you around. I was grateful.

“It was a shock for me to find out that you were a White Martian. I had believed that we had suffered together. But you have suffered differently than I have. I was not expecting it.”

M’gann sniffled. “Is that supposed to justify you?”

“I… No. It shouldn’t.” he said. “I should have believed you. Before you murdered-“

“They deserved it.”

(and you are lost to me)

J’onn hardened himself. He did not want to hear her reasoning, but he needed to. “How could those men deserve it?”

“How did Batman deserve it?” M’gann countered. “How did anyone in his family deserve it?”

“They…” J’onn turned away. “It was not that they deserved it. We needed to save the world-“

“By sacrificing them! You willingly thought that their lives weren’t worth trying to protect!” She glared at him. “If Batman didn’t deserve to live, why should those men? The human race should never have allowed them to live.”

M’gann got up, and floated towards the entrance of the cavern. She brought a hand over her mouth, as if she was trying to stop J’onn from perceiving her pain.

(am I still the cause?)

“I am sorry,” he said. He wished that he could hear her mind once again.

M’gann let out a sob, pulling her hand away as she spoke. “Sometimes I want to believe you, Uncle J’onn. You were family once.”

 (she’s not just a tearful girl she murdered people enjoyed it

she is still M’gann)

The girl sped out of the room. And once again, Martian Manhunter was alone.


October 11, 1:32 PM
Gotham City

Clark only had anger left. He had burned through his tolerance and hope that Bruce would revert back into the vigilante that Clark remembered. There was no more trust or love in him, either. Even his hopes of escape had simmered away.

He couldn’t hear the screams of Metropolis as the city fell to his clone; he was instead trapped and powerless in the depths of Gotham. He was also left with the knowledge that Lois had been killed and buried right under his nose. He had missed the truth before. In naïve hope that the woman was still alive, he had never bothered to check the gardens.

In the few moments of sleep that he managed to get while in his confinement, he dreamed about her last moments. She was crying and screaming and begging for mercy. And those monsters had still buried her alive.

(they’ll all pay)

“You’re beginning to look a lot like me.”

Clark whipped his head up to stare at the latest guard. Superboy-

(clone weapon monster)

-had returned to wearing a black shirt and a pair of jeans. There was no Shield on his chest. There was no trace of Clark Kent’s identity in the clone’s appearance.

“I used to be angry all the time,” Superboy continued. “After all, no one trusted me. I had few friends, and no one really understood. They didn’t constantly break things when they were angry. They never thought that they were defective. They all knew who loved them.”

“You-“ Clark tried to surge forward, driven by animalistic instinct. The incasing he was placed in didn’t budge.

“Everyone expected me to listen, but no one really trusted me. I was supposed to emulate the good of all humanity without ever experiencing it. How was I supposed to know what I was fighting for if no one showed me?” the clone said. The frown on his face was familiar. It took Clark a second to remember where he had seen it before; it had always arrived after the clone failed to use one of his Kryptonian powers. The clone, despite Cadmus’s best tries, was imperfect.

(better this way)

“You really are predictable,” Superboy said. The sentence snapped Clark out of his thoughts.

“If you were going to replace me-“

“Not in that way.” The clone’s frown deepened. “Lampads-“

“He’s not Lampads.”

“Fine. Bruce said that it was easy to read your thoughts and emotions off of your face. I never really tried it; I thought that the times where you were clearly angry were just a fluke. That is one way that we are different; I hate it when people know what I’m thinking.”

(doesn’t he sound like Bruce now?)

Clark cringed at the thought. It was bad enough that there was someone who had all of his powers as an enemy. Combining it with Bruce’s intelligence would surely spell doom for them all.

(but aren’t I happy? it means that the clone is not me)

“Seriously? Do you try to prove the bad guys right all the time?” Superboy scoffed. “It’s like you don’t even try to defy expectations.”

Superman could feel his anger rising again. The pain that his prison gave him had become a dull annoyance to the back of his mind. The inability to utilize his powers had become the bigger nuisance of his confinement.

“Don’t give me that look,” the clone said. “I tried to fit in to your expectations. I did everything I possibly could. And you know what I got in the end? A bunch of people talking about me and wondering when I would finally snap and kill them all!”

“And that’s exactly what you’re doing!”

“Because that’s what you wanted of me!”

The words shocked silence into the cavern. Clark wanted to think over the words, but was quickly distracted; Superboy’s eyes had turned red. A beam of light shot out, forcing its way through the ground near Clark’s feet. The air was suddenly filled with the smell molten rock.

“Shit!” Superboy hissed. He closed his eyes, bringing both hands to cover his face.

(he still can’t control it even now)

“AGH!” The clone contorted, his voice filled with pain and anger as it spewed sounds.


If the clone had heard, he made no indication. He trashed around for a little longer. Then, with laborious breath, he began to count. “One… two…”

Some of Clark’s anger died. He had rarely withheld his sympathy, even if it was a villain before him. Superboy was, however-

(like me didn’t I look like him when I was learning?)

-different than the others.

The clone counted to ten before he withdrew his hands. Slowly, he opened his eye. When the heat vision failed to return, he relaxed.

“Is it always like this?” Superman asked. The question sprung from curiosity and sympathy.

“Why would you care?” Superboy said. He turned away, and began to walk out of the cave.

“I- I can help you!” Clark protested. “I can help you control your powers.”

Superboy continued to walk away. “I begged for your help years ago, remember? You said that Black Canary could help.”


(did I really?)

“I was wrong.”

The words made Superboy stop.

(let me help let me fix things)

“No,” Superboy finally said. “You weren’t wrong in the end. I just needed the right motivation.”


“Only a monster could destroy Metropolis, right? Isn’t that what you were thinking?” The clone peered over his shoulder. “I keep telling you, I became what you wanted me to become. Isn’t that enough for you?”

“But I never wanted this!”

“You’ve only wanted to be right. You never thought about the consequences.” Superboy glared at him. It was an odd experience; Clark could not remember his face ever contorted by such anger. “Not for me, not for Batman, not for anyone who mattered.”

With that, the clone left.


October 11, 2:04 PM
Washington DC

The room was almost pitch black, save for a sliver of light shining through the Plexiglas window. It was one of the few constants remaining in her life. Even the food, erratic as the schedule had been, had dwindled down to nothing.

Zatanna, curled up in the far corner, shivered. The room was getting cold again.

“Mr…” The partial spell scraped through her throat. She had lost most of her ability to speak at this point. She could remember Doctor Fate-


-from long ago, before they had placed her in the room. He had used his powers to rob her of most of hers. For a while-

(how long?)

-she could only preform the simplest of spells. They provided small comforts, but by no means of an escape.

That was before she tried to kill herself. It had taken-

(weeks? months?)

-time before she had figured a way out. A bit of creativity and magic would have solved everything. If luck was on her side, her father would be able to escape Fate’s grasp without worry of any repercussions. She was, after all, the ultimate hostage.

But Superman had caught her. He had called to Doctor Fate. Zatanna could remember the panic in his voice. In her dying stage, she thought she had heard genuine worry in his voice. It didn’t matter; Doctor Fate had saved her life and, in the process, killed something inside of her. She started to lose her voice afterwards.

Once that rapid process began, her prison began to drive her insane.

(is this what Dad feels?)

The girl was beyond weak. She had received nothing for the past few days. If she was lucky, they would let her die this time.


The girl closed her eyes. She hated the hallucinations. They preyed on her hope. She wouldn’t have been surprised to learned that Fate was creating them on purpose.

There were footsteps rushing at her. She wanted to believe in them. Even if it would hurt again.

A hand slipped under her head, moving Zatanna gently. It was nice; she sometimes wondered if this was how her mother treated her.

The sound of a wall breaking filled the air.

(don’t let the illusion go I want this please)

She braced herself for reality; for Superman’s voice to come, for her head to drop on the concrete. For hopelessness to fill her again.

“We didn’t know it was this bad.”

“We should of.”


“This is Tula all over again. I can’t let it happen again. Not this time. Not with Zatanna.”

(not Artemis)

“We have few options.”

“I-“ The voice roared. The wall was punched again.

“She can either live with the pain or die before she suffers further.” The other voice lifted Zatanna’s head up higher, cradling it against its body. “Tula’s luck is not Zatanna’s.”

“I know.”


“Just…” Siren faltered. Zatanna could imagine the blonde looking so unsure of herself. It had happened before when she was Batgirl.

No one said anything. Zatanna tried to open her eyes to watch the silent exchange, but they refused. Siren maneuvered the magician's head into her lap.

Tears began to hit her face. “I’m so sorry,” Siren whispered.

(still Artemis)


October 11, 2:05 PM
Gotham City

If Nabu were a human, he would have felt the need to throw up. There was something disturbing about the situation that bothered him. Zatara had certainly shown signs of becoming physically sick when certain thoughts reached him. It was almost a curse to be trapped in a vessel of that plane.

(this plane is a cursed plane)

Still, it was the only way for him to have any sentience. It was the burden of his punishment, but one that he had accepted with grace. He understood the need to maintain Order. It was his own foolishness that had allowed one of the most dangerous to escape into this plane. As much as he disliked the physical boundaries that were attached to humans, he could appreciate humanity as a whole. They were constantly looking for order in chaos. They could be one day precursors to a new version of Lords of Order.

He opened his eyes, cursing the darkness once again. The area was drenched with magic. Even if the bindings did not dampen his own powers, he would not have been able to "see" the shapes of the area.

The bindings themselves were impressive. There were four metal cylinders, each incasing his limb and attached to a larger skeleton that came up behind him. Rather than removing his power completely, the metal absorbed almost all of his attempts of exertion. What little magic that managed to escape could only illuminate a spark for a second before fading out.

Relying on Zatara's physical senses was futile; the human was aging and had used his magic to supplement what was failing. Nabu had seen no reason to change the habits himself. Magic was their greatest strength, and far easier to use than to build himself like the others.

(magic is still greater than strength we will prevail)

"Hello, Nabu."

The woman's voice-


-paralyzed the Lord of Order. It had been a long time-

(century on this plane)

-since he had heard her.

"You should be dead," he said as his wits returned.

"And you were the one to try to kill me twice." He could hear her turning in the darkness.

If he were a proper human, Nabu would have frowned. "The curse should have taken away your ability to be corporal."

"A fool and a students as always." She sounded both amused and disappointed. "Certainly your studies have not slipped too much in my absence?"

"Fate provides us with different gifts."

The sensation of a hand, not fully in existence but still there, passed over the Helm without touching it. "But it is our choices-"

The hand then touched the Helm, and with it a shot of pain ran through Zatara's body. The host screamed, disrupting Nabu's thoughts. Some of the sensation passed onto Nabu. The Lord of Order hissed.

The other was not unaffected; she withdrew her senses and hissed her own pain.

It took a minute for Zatara to quiet. Nabu had long learned to ignore his host's pain, but there was something definitively different about this instance. He did not want to admit his knowledge of it. Guilt-

(but I was never guilty I will fix this)

-pushed him to sooth the magician.

It was after silence reigned both internally and externally that Onyx spoke. "I should have realized. This is a rather fitting fate for you, Nabu."

"They were mistaken-"

"You believed in that aging system too much. And now look where we both are: the plane of mortals, where we can no longer interfere and help our brethren!"

"You deserve your punishment," he replied coolly.

Onyx laughed. "Your evidence lacks life."

"A Lady of Order turning to Chaos is evidence enough."

"For a corrupt court, yes. But for the balancing of our worlds..." Nabu could hear the tired sigh in her words. It was a different one from the one she gave him when she trained him. Those sighs had hope and belief. "Your sense of order was always the strongest of your peers."

"Order shall bring a wondrous fate-"

"But they sent you here," Onyx interrupted. "I had heard of the world in this plane called Krypton. I am beginning to wonder if it was not your influence..." After a pause, she said, "Your arrival was years before the last Kryptonian arrived. But I suspect that it would take some amount of time for the vessel to travel."

Nabu stayed silent.

"I do not like where this train of thought is taking me." She paused. "You doomed a whole race, Nabu. Does the guilt not eat you away?"

"It was not Order that killed them. They had brought Chaos upon themselves."

"But you would have prevented that, being the planet's guardian.” There was a smugness to her voice, as if she was proud of his failings. “You pushed them towards Order, and in the process trapped them to their fates.”

“Allowing chaos to reign would have ended them sooner.”

“Or it may have saved them.”

Nabu scoffed. “Is that your justification?”

“Introducing Chaos allowed them to find a way to save their world. And you cannot ignore what some Chaos has done for these humans. Was the man who calls himself the Flash created out of chaos?”

“One great hero does not provide enough reason to allow Chaos to reign free.”

“I only wanted a balance.”

“Even a drop of Chaos is too much!”

“And Krypton drowned in order. Where were you when they were taking their dying breath?” The woman paused, and recomposed herself. “Maybe it is fate that lead us to this path. You convinced those heroes that this was the absolute path to take, and have them damned the people that they once viewed as friends. And now we are here, on the verge of destruction.”

“You had corrupted them. I had no choice.”

“Becoming a part of this city was not corruption. There is blood and darkness, but it is not gone from redemption. I gave a boy part of my soul to protect him. I was not the one to send him on his journey in the first place.” Onyx sighed. “What corrupted them was death and vengeance.”

“But your soul-“

“My soul fragments took a part in it all, yes. I was not unaffected by your decaying curse.” There was a regretful smile on her face. “We have managed to delay its progress. But I think the end shall be soon.”

“I will end you myself.”

“You were always one of the more clever students,” Onyx said with a laugh. “I will miss you, despite all that you have done.”

“I will end you.”

He could hear her smile at him. “I am counting on it, Nabu.”


October 11, 2:20 PM
Washington DC

(one last thing)

Bruce had left Siren and Muse to retrieve Zatanna; he had never been good at comforting others and he didn’t want to scare the girl. He was grateful for the moment alone. They were all almost at their end. A minute or two away was needed. His last, probably.

Around him, there were people bustling towards their daily lives. The city was alive, reminding Bruce of what Metropolis once was. There were buildings that pretended to be friendly, skillfully managing to keep the truth hidden. The places that were truly innocent kept up the feeling of happiness in the city. No one was heading towards the Justice League Headquarters; the reputation that the heroes had accumulated scared most people away.

Bruce was standing at a street corner. It was the middle of the day, so the intersection was not very busy. There were a few people around. Most of them appeared to be tourists, enjoying their view. At the opposite corner from him, there was a family. The father was holding a map, and the rest of them were laughing at his seemingly inability to direct them. Despite their misfortune, they were all happy.

He looked down at the letter he was holding. He had asked Cassandra for her address before she had left. It was almost like an unsaid promise; he would write one last thing for her.

(but it’s not just about her)

He had thought out his words carefully. They were full of emotion, but there was some of the calculated coolness of Batman within the instructions. He had been careful to be thorough; he was scared of not leaving enough help. It was a painful thing for him to go through.

(but no choice I have to do it)

There was a mailbox a few feet away. Bruce took a deep breath, strode over, and opened the panel in one fluid motion. He dropped the letter in the mail box. He had done it. As much as it pained him.

(I can’t save them all but I can save him

just one last thing)

He watched the family, wondering if he should go over and point them to whatever they were looking for. But he shook his head, and walked in the other direction.


A hundred years ago
Time Unknown
Coordinates Unknown

Onyx sat quietly in the middle of the magic circle. The punishment-


-was still floating through her mind, dragging questions throughout her head. She knew the history of the punishment well enough; there was enough humanity and redemption built into it that she herself had advocated it on behalf of the condemned. It was a rather ridiculous hope, but it was her guiding principle nonetheless.

She could feel when the others entered the room. Despite the bounds, she could interpret power without relying on sight. Most in her position would have been robbed of such a power. She knew better than to mention it aloud.

The others began to talk, but she ignored it all. There was no pleasure to be had to listen to her condemnation again.

It was the chanting that woke her out of her meditations.

(Nabu my student)

Nabu’s voice was the strongest of them all. She wondered if it was just something that she was focusing on or if-

(was is always this hatred?)

-Nabu really believed in her punishment.

The pain of the ceremony was expected. The method was crude; literally stripping her soul for any form in their realm and shoving it to the mortals’ one, while making sure that they was no way for her to return. It was, in effect, a way to brand her spirit. But she had already decided that returning back could not happen.

(not while they are all like this)

Her consciousness faded. In. Out. There was noises, pain, and darkness in wherever she had managed to land. Her soul was reaching for something, anything, to anchor on to. It was a primal need to survive that took over what few senses she was aware of in that state. It was painful.

There was metal. She quickly grabbed onto it. As her awareness came back to her, she could feel warm liquid flowing over her new vessel. It took a moment to realize what it was.


She tried to slip out of the vessel. She grabbed onto the liquid, willing the rest of her to flow out. Only part of her did, falling into the cracks of the pavement below. Suddenly, her senses were bombarded with more noise. More pain.

It took days for her to realize what she had done. In a state of almost-delirium, she had bounded part of her soul to the ground-

(this city Gotham)

-and another large part to the dagger. A place that was brimming with Chaos, something that her brethren feared-

(they banished me because they don’t understand)

-and an instrument of destruction.

(but I can’t cry not now)

Her soul was also fractured. The pieces were all within the city bounds, although they were, in fact, pieces. It was impossible to set them together again.

The largest section kept with the city, and the second largest was in the knife. There was nowhere else to put the other pieces. At least, not for many years.

(for your protection my child

Bruce Wayne)


Human Textbook of Randomness/Starie
Artist | Student | Literature
United States
Hello everyone! I'm Starie, living in my mind, which currently occupies the universe. I'm mostly a writer, although I do draw once in a while.

I update somewhat irregularly, just to warn you all.

I'm an odd chick who knows a lot of different genres, including those I don't write about. I play some video games, read, and a whole bunch of things.

So look around. :D

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KorneliaSus Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014
Thank you for the watch :)
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:love: Thank you for the favorites, it really means bunches to me that you enjoy my artwork! I invite you to add me to your watch so that you can see all the future beaded and stitched pieces I have planned!
imaginationstarie13 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2014  Student Writer
No problem! Your work is amazing!
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Thanks for the fave!
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