Chapter 1: In the Ashes and Ruins of Old
She stood there trembling in the rain and ruins of her once great home. The bodies of her tribe were litering the desert ground and their home ablaze as the rain fell from the angry sky.
She screamed then as she felt her rage pulse outwards to crumble in her hands as she drove her fingers into her hair and collapsed to her knees with the tears falling from her eyes. What had she done!? Oh what had she done!?
A terrible though struck her as lightning cracked overhead and she ran for the temple, she shoved the doors open, not caring about the ruins. Skidding to a halt she stared in horror at the sight before her. Her eyes widened as she stared at the people before her.
Her lover's golden armor, and the blood on her white linen stained with the blood of their sisters as she stood there. Her friend's dark eyes flicked up to her, and she summoned Mistress to her hand as she stared at her lover and friend.
"So one of you lived," the green cloaked woman chuckled, which had her eyes flicking to the other two people in the temple of Ra.
The first was a woman, her amethyst hair curled in a magnificent mane around her, as her ruby eyes bright with hatred. The second figure was smaller than the woman, a girl with strawberry blonde hair green eyes.
"Release Bow, Akila," she spoke to her lover then.
"That is no way to speak to the Shim'Tar," the purple woman spoke cruelly. "Kill her."
"Akila, no, don't make me do this," she pleaded as she stared at her lover. Akila's head cam up slowly, her round soft features were hard then. Those dark eyes were cold, and cruel as they stared at one another, and all of Akila's dark braids fell around her face, the beads clattering and jangling. Once those eyes had looked at her with love, and now… it chilled her heart seeing that hatred there.
Her lover raised the bow still, and she hefted the axe into her hands. For a long time she felt like she just stared at her lover, but then that arrow was let loose, she ran. She charged her lover and the attackers
"Pain," the little girl whispered and she howled as she fell to the ground writhing in agony as it felt like there was now something tearing her brain apart. The excruciating pain had her screaming as she clutched her head.
"I believe Black Mask will be pleased with the newest addition to his shipment," the purplette spoke. "May Queen Hippolyta be pleased as well."
She screamed in agony as smoke wrapped around her lover and the girl from purplette then there was nothing. Collapsing on the alabaster stones of the temple as she gasped for breath. The tears fell then as she gasped in sobs at the pain of a lose she could not identify other than everything was gone.
Her home was gone.
It was September as Raven pulled her hair back and fixed her earrings; a habit she had kind of slid back into after the Christmas Party last year.
"Rae, are ya sure ya wanna do this!?" Harley asked.
"No, but, better to go anyway," Raven admitted.
A lot had happened in the last nine months since the New Year.
Victor had gone to the Justice League, he was making leaps and bounds of improvements there. Apparently the JL had not been expecting Victor to come barging in with a lot of changes.
Dick and Kori had had a daughter in March, her name was Mar'i Garyson. She was adorable with smaling black hair and glowing green eyes, with the same orange skin of her mother when she wasn't wearing an image inducer.
Tim was a leader of the Titans his team was officially composed of Conner Kent, Chris Kent (a different Kryptonian who had fallen out of the Phantom Zone when Raven's own powers had apparently gone wonky at her bleeding out; opening different portals and shutting them), Cassandra Sandsmark, M'gann Morrz, Bart Allen, Jaime Reyes, and Connor Hawke. He was rather pleased with his team, and they were making good headway in the hero community.
Garfield hadn't gone into hiding after his fall out with Tara but wherever the hell Tara was, was an entire unknown since she had vanished. Gar was actually working on making a big difference in teaching the other kids that the Titans had.
Damian griped about his team that was composed thus far of Jon Kent, Irey West (long, long, LONG story about that one's arrival, but another time traveling speedster), and William Clayton (who had recently picked up being Speedy on Team Arrow for his aunt's memory), and Melvin (Melvin wanted to punch Damian every time he opened his mouth, so Raven felt those two were even).
Damian also bitched about Rose Wilson's tentative ties to hanging around the Titans because of her brother; Joseph Wilson, a.k.a. Jericho, joining the Titan main HQ to help Garfield out with the Titans. Garth and Donna had also joined the HQ Titans to help with training as Raven was slowly backing off of the Titans. Vic was with the JL, Dick and Kori had slowed down greatly to be with their daughter; even lived in Gotham at Wayne Manor for the time being because of Mar'i's powers.
Jason and Roy had started a renovation business, and were doing fairly good with revamping warehouses into apartment complexes. They were doing good; and they both had no idea what they were doing with Lian, but Raven found it good for the two of them to have Ace and Lian to keep them on their toes.
Well, she had decided that maybe she should try civilian life. In August she had moved to Gotham, to live with Harley and Ivy for the time being, and to sign up for college. She had enrolled at Gotham Community College at the insistence of Stephanie Brown; who had also ditched the Titans and moved back to Gotham. So Raven was starting college classes with Stephanie Brown. They weren't friends, but Stephanie had decided that that was what they were doing, so Raven was getting used to having the new eighteen year old around and pushing her with bossy demands.
Harley and Ivy had gleefully started helping her start school, and at twenty now Raven felt a bit old to just be starting college, but she was doing it.
She also found she was sucked into much of the batfamily drama. Including babysitting Terry, Helena, Lian and Mar'i; which was fine with raven. She didn't mind kids; she still talked to Melvin, Timmy, and Teether weekly and had even helped set up a fostering program with the JL for Waller's victims. Though, Big Barda and Scott Free had had a bigger part of setting that up, after all, they had taken in Melvin, Timmy, and Teether.
But that brought her to this day, late September after starting classes and getting her life on track she was stepping out of her comfort zone.
Raven had been avoiding the persistent hounding of one Alice Williams, a woman whom Raven had no interests in meeting. Bruce had even relayed that message to Alice for her. But Alice's accusations were now getting front page news and Raven didn't like it. She did not like it at all, which was what had her reluctantly agreeing to meet with Alice Williams today.
"You don't have to go," Ivy said walking into her room. Raven stood and fixed her blouse a bit. Rachel Roth did not look like a half done girl, she wore clothes and actually looked decent. Rachel was often times in the news because she hung around the Waynes; something for which Raven cursed Jason for. But the rest of the family wasn't so bad either, it just annoyed Raven to see her face splashed on the front page with wild accusations or stories.
"I know I don't, but… I need her to leave me alone!" Raven sighed.
"Kay, we'll be here when it's over," Harley said.
"Thanks," Raven nodded as she grabbed her birthday gift from Jason and walked out of Siren's headquarters. She pulled on the leather jacket against the Gotham crisp air and damp mist.
She didn't hail a cab, though she did take the railway system to the diner she had agreed to meet Alice at. Raven often wondered how in the span of a year her life had gotten to be so drastically different, but she guessed it was a hazard of being tied up with Bats. She didn't mind, she had actually come to adore Harley and Ivy, and she and Victor were always good. Melvin, Timmy and Teether were also fantastic. Overall, Raven felt good about her family, and felt no need to hear out this Alice's demands.
It took her thirty minutes to get to the diner, and she walked in to the restaurant and spotted Alice almost immediately.
The woman was not small, an athletic woman though, shapely, a bit plump, her face was proud, and sharp, but also sad. Her black hair was in an array of wild curls, her brown eyes were light, and her copper skin stood out against the white of her blouse. Raven took a steadying breath as she walked to the table; knowing that that woman was Alice and sat across from her.
"Rachel!" Alice smiled.
"What do you want?" Raven asked flatly.
"My mother never said she had a sister, and if this is a roose for the Wayne Fortune, I'm not a member fo the Wayne family, nor am I dating Jason Todd, so what is it!?" she demanded sharply.
The waitress came over and Raven asked for tea as she waited.
"I don't care about the money," Alice sputtered indignantly which had Raven believing her a bit. The emotions she felt off of Alice were too genuine to fake.
"Then what is it?"
"I… this was Angela," she said as she opened up her purse and pulled out a photo. Raven tensed slightly but looked at the photo then back at the woman. The woman was a woman Raven would know anywhere, which had her slowly reaching over to trace the face.
"Mom?" she whispered. That was her mom, Arella, sitting on a horse, with the younger woman, Alice, beside her on another horse. "Where did you get this?" Raven asked icily.
"That's my sister Angela and I in Farmington, New Mexico, on our old ranch," Alice said. "Our father, your grandfather, was a Holocaust survivor, he survived Dachau, your grandmother, my mom, her name was Oolijee, she was a member of the Navajo Tribe."
"What are you playing at?" Raven asked again as she gently pushed the photo to the side. Her mother was of earth, human, Raven had always known that because it was hung over her head during her time in Hell.
"Can't I want to know my niece?"
"My mother never said she had a sister," Raven answered tartly. "And I do not appreciate having my name, and the name of my friend's father being dragged through the mud. Now I've come here to tell you to leave me alone."
"Wait!" Alice grabbed her wrist when she moved to stand.
"Mrs. Williams, I have two moms, and a big brother, I don't need more family."
"Angela disappeared twenty-one years ago, where is she?"
"Dead," Raven answered honestly and she turned to look at the woman. "My mother is dead because I opened the door for my father and he killed her."
Alice looked like she had been stabbed as all the color drained from her face. "And you saw it?"
"Oh Rachel, if I had known you were out there…" Alice came around to hug her and Raven moved out of the seat to stand.
"Now you know what happened to your sister, please leave me be," Raven asked.
"Wait, here, this is for you, and if… if you should ever feel like talking, my numbers are on the back," Alice said handing Raven the picture of her mom on the horse. Raven looked at Alice for a long moment before she took the photo and walked into the rain.
Some things were best left in the past, and why ever her mother had severed ties with her family, Raven was sure it was for a good reason and she wanted to keep her distance too. Her phone rang, she pulled it out.
"Hey little bird," a familiar voice greeted her.
"Can I come over?" she blurted out, cutting off whatever Jason was about to say.
"Can I just come over?"
"Of course," he said.
"Thanks," she hung up, turned into an alley, walked through a portal into his home as she walked right up to her best friend and her head fell onto his chest as she stood there.
"What happened?" he asked.
"I met Alice today."
Chapter 2: From the Ashes
Bruce sat in the park, Terry, nearly two was playing in the sandbox, Helena was napping in her stroller, and Bruce's newest charge would be coming to meet him here.
Well, not another charge, the lad had yet to agree. But about six months ago, on a patrol Bruce had been entangled with a war against Riddler (again) and Riddler's obsession with only the smart getting out alive. Bruce had met the teen when he had taken a bad wound and the teen had hidden him in his squat. Helping him, and Bruce had slowly been reaching out to the kid. First as Batman, now as Bruce, and today he was here with a proposition for the lad.
The gangly black teen came swaggering over to him, his hands shoved in his hoodie's pockets, his medium length dreads drawn back in a small tail. The teen looked him over carefully before sitting down on the park bench.
"I was told to meet you here, Mr. Wayne," the teen said carefully.
"It's Bruce, Duke," he said as he looked away from Terry for a moment to look at the proud teen.
"I… I'm not sure about what you want, I haven't told anyone…" Duke said nervously.
"I am not worried about that Duke," he assured the teen. The kid was of the few to know his identity outside of the life. And Duke had started chasing him around Gotham in a yellow hoodie, going by the name Lark. Bruce would prefer to have the teen safe and properly trained before something bad happened to the kid. He couldn't allow that to happen. He just… he couldn't. The simple reason for that was because, he couldn't let this kid be on the outskirts like Stephanie nor killed like Jason.
"I want to offer you a home, with real training, and proper living conditions. An education, a chance at a life outside the hero world and the hood, outside of Gotham," Bruce said.
"Duke, I am offering you my home, some place where you'll be safe."
"I'm no charity case," Duke said defensively.
"I do not do charity cases, Duke," Bruce said sternly. "I have taken in Dick, Jason, Cass, and Tim not out of charity, but you have potential Duke. Too much potential to stay stuck, running on rooftops, without training to make a difference. There are more ways to help the world than fists," Bruce admitted as he looked over at Terry who was scowling at his shovel.
"like you do?" Duke huffed.
"Like Wayne Enterprises does," he countered.
"Why do you want to do this for me?" Duke asked.
"Because…" Bruce faltered then. He cared, but he was the reason that Duke's parents were dead from the first Riddler War on Gotham, shortly after Jason's death. The kid, the teen, he'd been alone for years since then and that unsettled Bruce greatly. Especially with how smart Duke was.
"I am not charity," Duke huffed. "And I'm not your black boy either for publicity."
Those words struck a cord in Bruce as he looked at Duke then carefully. "My second eldest said something similar when he first accepted help," Bruce said.
Duke stiffened at that then.
"He was twelve at the time, he had been on the streets for three years by then. I do not see you as charity Duke, I have charities to help children in need of the help. What I see in you… that's greater, it is not publicity or anything else that you think. I see potential too great to squander."
"You're serious?" Duke sputtered.
"If you accept, yes," Bruce said as he watched Terry toddle to him, with determination before he caught Bruce's knee. Bruce picked up Terry and looked at his son.
"And your… wife? She's okay with you just bringing home strangers?" Duke sputtered.
"The offer stands," Bruce reiterated.
Selina wouldn't be thrilled about him bringing home another child, because they had Terry, Helena, and Mar'i all there. But, Selina, despite her reluctance to love his children, she loved them deeply and truly. She didn't like loving others, it was her fear to lose them, the fear was amplified after Jason's death, and that fear had her hesitating. But she would come to love Duke, not now, but in time. Duke was someone Bruce wanted to help, like he had for his other children.
"I…" Duke bit his lip.
"Da! Juice!" Terry demanded his hands flying up and he smiled broadly. Duke was startled, and Bruce saw his toddler get up and nimbly make his way over to Duke, Bruce fished through Selina's designated, Alfred stocked, diaper bag for all essentials. Essentials for Lian, Mar'i, Terry and Helena; somehow, they (Him, Dick, and Jason) all continuously juggled these children. And yes, it had not escaped his or Dick's notice that Jason was the favorite of these kids.
"What the!?" Duke caught the toddler who tapped his cheek with a broad smile. "Uh…?"
"Just hold him." Bruce dismissed as he found the juice bottle.
"Little monkey," Duke muttered.
"Juice-Juice!" Terry demanded. Bruce handed the bottle over to Terry.
"This isn't some crazy white boy stunt?"
"Duke, I'm offering you a home, not a publicity stunt. You have seen my home, seen everything, this is the offer, so you stay safe." Bruce said as Terry sat against him. Bruce slid his fingers through his son's thick black hair and Terry looked up at him with large, icy blue eyes.
"I… I think…" Duke looked nervous. "You for real? This isn't a stunt, or a sympathy pull, or some jacked shit like that?"
"It's real," Bruce said.
"Fine," Duke sighed, looking defeated. "They're tearing my building down this month, I don't want to be on the streets. People disappear from the streets."
"I'll get Alfred to help you collect your things," Bruce said.
"This is just temporary," Duke said sharply.
"Whatever you need." Bruce assured the teen. He was just relieved that Duke was going to come with him though. Another child safe, rather than on the outskirts. Bruce did not want something to befall this young man as it had Jason, or Stephanie. He wanted to get the lad safe first.
Jason was sitting at his battered kitchen table, Lian giggling as she chased Ace (that's what he had named the German Shepard puppy that Damian had gotten him), and Raven sat there with her chin on her knee as she stirred the tea he had made when she had arrived.
"You want to tell me how things with Alice went? Or just sit here stirring a hole into my cup?" Jason asked her as he watched Lian. Nine months since Roy and Lian had moved in, and things were… okay. Figuring out how to keep Lian alive, and safe; a lot more difficult than he had initially thought. But it was fun, Lian was an interesting little bundle who always had him curious what she'd do next.
Roy was doing good, sticking to his AA meetings, working hard with his program, and slowly he was making amends with Oliver; though those were controlled meetings. Meetings that Felicity and he would coordinate so neither of them could wail on each other. But slowly, and surely, Roy was making amends and bonding with the Arrows again.
Thea's funeral had been a beautiful service, one which Jason had attended with Roy and Lian; uncomfortably so. And that had kind of been the sad starting point for Roy and the Arrows; somehow Jason found himself being sucked into that mess too. Felicity always called and texted him, and if this phone didn't happen to be Cyborg proofed and Raven magic certified, then he was pretty sure Felicity would know where he and Roy were hiding out.
This was also the longest Jason had stayed in one spot, since his resurrection at least, and it was making him antsy.
"She's legit," Raven sighed finally as she pulled out a photo and handed it to him. Jason looked at it, there were two beautiful women on horses, they had copper skin, dark eyes, proud sad features, and broad smiles. They were model level of stunning, and… Raven, despite being gray, looked exactly like the one on the left. Exactly, minus the forehead and a few minor alterations.
"Bruce ran the DNA, my human half matches Alice on the maternal side," Raven groaned rubbing her eyes with the heels of her hands. Jason set the photo down and took a sip of the tea as she watched Lian tiredly.
"What do you want to do about it?" Jason asked.
"I don't know," Raven sighed. "She stalked me, Jason. She has been sending lies to the tabloids about your family, and my relationships with them, and… My mom, my mom never said anything about having a family or sister, or anyone on Earth! She said her name was Arella, not Angela!
"My mom, she obviously had a reason for that."
"All I know was that my mom was drawn into a cult, she was young, and naïve, and easy prey. She was brutally raped, and married to the most powerful demon ever, and fled. She found sanctuary with Azarath. I, there just… there was a reason, for the lies, for her leaving her family, I don't… I think it was probably a good reason, I just don't know it." Raven looked tired then as she looked at him.
"Don't look at me, my moms are adopted."
"I just… I can't have her close to me." Raven sighed.
"You don't honestly think you're being hunted by a cult, years of nothing Raven," Jason pointed out.
"Last year, Trigon," she snapped.
"Okay, point, but you don't know that there's a cult of Satanist worshipping you, what's the harm in letting Alice in? It's not like she'll kill you," he pointed out bitterly.
Jason had had an encounter with Alice Williams when he had been out with Terry, Helena, and Lian for the day. He had been suckered into watching them by Selina who had an emergency to attend to (Kori's labor), and he had reluctantly taken on three babies. Alice had ambushed him when he had gone to the park on subtle recon of one of his targets; Black Mask. Best cover ever was three babies, but Alice had stormed up to him and made a scene, so the recon was a bust sadly, but the earful he had gotten about kidnapping Rachel Roth… It was enough to have his eye twitching, Terry balling, Helena screaming and Lian in tears. Which was a triple handful, far more dangerous than any fire fight he'd been in.
"But what if they go for her?" Raven asked. "She's got a husband, three kids, and lives with her elderly father in her home, they life in Water Mill, Long Island, New York, I just…What if I cause something terrible to happen to them!? I can't take that! It's not like Melvin, or Timmy, or Teether, it's not like Vic or Harley or Ivy, it's not like the heroes, she's a civilian! And that cult, the only thing my mother and Azar would ever say about it was that it was dangerous and persistent. What if they go after Alice and her family."
"Fair point," Jason surrendered.
"I just… I need her to stop this," Raven sighed tiredly.
"You have a place to hide out for now," Jason said as he stood to get Lian who was looking ready to take a header into the wall; which wouldn't be good for her.
"Thanks," Raven sighed. "How's the Black Mask thing going?"
"It'd be easier if I wasn't babysitting all the damn time." Jason huffed, Lian giggled as he scooped her up and she wriggled up to his shoulder, smiling as she laughed in delight about her vantage point no doubt. Lian liked being high up for some reason; probably some weird ass Arrow trait as Roy liked vantage points too.
She stood there in her armor as the rain slid over her and she glared at the sight of the city.
For months she had been tracking down every possible hint, or clue, every possible whisper and rumor for the Black Mask. He would lead her to the purple haired sorceress who would take her to Themyscira, and she would wreak her revenge.
In the past months since the destruction of her home, her world, the slaughter of her sisters, the loss of her love, she had been forced to abandon the ruins and flee into man's world. This dsgusting world, she despised it, men were pigs easily seduced and manipulated with a mere batting of the eyes. She was unimpressed as to what man's world had to offer thus far, and found the inhabitants weak and useless.
She stalked for the city where she would find the Black Mask, even if she had to tear it down brick by brick. There was no way the death of everything in her world would go unavenged, and she was going to have the Amazon Queen's head on a platter, first though, she was going to find Black Mask and see what the purple haired sorceress had wanted with the man.
And only when he was on his hands in knees, thoroughly broken, would she destroy him without mercy. She would use him as a message to the world.
Bana-Mighdall would not die unavenged.
Dick sat in the park of Central City with Wally, Mar'i was in a carrier strapped to his chest, sleeping at the moment. Kori was out with Cass, Stephanie, and Selina for a girls day (Selina had said post birth day spa day, long over due)
"You know, with the image ring she looks exactly like Kori," Wally said touching his goddaughter's hickory colored cheek as she snoozed.
Dick grinned as he looked at his daughter. Image inducer or not, she was fucking adorable! Without it she had this flaming black hair that stood up every which way and she looked like him, a lot like Kori with her pumpkin colored skin. But with the image inducer she looked exactly like Kori did when Kori wore her image ring. Which was stunningly beautiful as always. He smiled at his baby as he felt a wonder filling him, she clutched his shirt tight as they sat there in the park.
"She's going to be gorgeous like her mama," Dick predicted as he touched his daughter's hair, the tight black curls felt rough and he could feel the heat of her flames licking at his skin.
"You like being a dad, everything you thought it'd be?" Wally chuckled as he took another bite of his hotdog.
"It's better, I swear Wally this is everything," Dick said as he looked his baby over. She was perfect, stunningly perfect. "What about you and Irey?"
"I don't know… That's… I'm not sure. I look at her, and some days it's like: 'Shit, I helped create that' and then there's days where I'm like: 'I have no idea what the hell I'm doing, I'm not ready to be a dad!'," Wally sighed. "It was easier when I didn't know that it was Artemis Crock I married, I didn't… I don't know, I feel like I got this noose around me, a weight, and Artemis has no idea. She still thinks Irey is my stupid teenage mistake, and she loves hanging out with Irey, but I honestly don't know… it's just hard."
"Do you like Artemis?" Dick asked. He was informed of the Artemis-Wally thing buddying because Wally's kid from the future, Irey West, hadn't informed them who her mom was. Irey didn't know that Caitlyn had done a DNA test and told Wally, so Irey thought Wally didn't know.
"I don't know about that, I do know I love Irey, and I love her so much I just can't seem to stop. But I don't know about Artemis, it's complicated… And Artemis is trying to keep me away from her, because I guess from her point of view this is all 'all of a sudden', and it is, but I can't tell her that we are married and have twins in the future, and that one of our twins is currently stuck here in the past because her powers are coming in and she can't control them. I can't shove all that on Artemis when she just… she's Artemis," Wally sighed.
"I asked Artemis out on a date. You know to test the waters, see if it's there. The way Irey talks about her mom though it's like Artemis is the perfect woman for me. And I don't want to scare her off, but I can't lose my kid Dick. I can't, I fucking love Irey, adore her, I like hearing about her days, or seeing what she'll do next. I find it hilarious she loves Kim Possible and tried to talk me into changing her name to Kim when she's born.
"But I don't know how I feel about Artemis. Just a lot of pressure not to lose Irey," Wally said.
"I'd say I get it, but… I can't," Dick admitted.
"Artemis isn't all bad, is she? Snarky, mature, annoying, but, she can't be all bad? She's Irey's mom! And Irey is perfect!" Wally sighed. "I don't know, it's just confusing and complicated."
"That it is," Dick agreed.
"When are you and Kori tying the knot, I mean, you got the kid and everything, shouldn't you two be getting hitched?" Wally smacked his shoulder playfully and Dick chuckled as he looked up from Mar'i at the park then.
"That's kind of why I'm here," Dick admitted.
"No shit! Really!?"
"Yeah, I got my mother's ring from the vault, and everything," Dick admitted pulling out the simple ring to show Wally.
"You're serious!" Wally grinned.
"Dead serious," Dick admitted.
"About damn time, thought you two would never tie the knot!" Wally chuckled looking at the ring.
Raven sat there feeling complicated as she stared at the tea before her. There was a lot in her heart of hearts involving Alice Williams and her family. Bruce had been kind enough to hand her a deep search file to her about Alice Williams, Victor had even helped compile the information. Harley and Ivy also had dug into the family, apparently tailing them. Though Raven would admit how those two could pull an inconspicuous tail was beyond her.
She didn't know how to feel about this, she didn't, she really didn't and that scared her.
What scared her more though was that Alice would not let up.
The woman had broken into her apartment in San Francisco (the private one she had taken up because she was going to try to be independent of the Titans for a bit). The woman was persistent. And that was something that worried Raven because what lay in the past.
Raven knew about her mother's cult, or what little she knew of the cult, it was dangerous. It wasn't like she could protect civilians from a threat even she didn't know.
The only reason Raven knew that she hadn't been attacked by whatever it was that had forced her mother to marry Trigon, was because she stood in the light as a Titan. She was a hero, she was a public figure, she was not someone who could simply disappear and not be missed. Now there was a civilian prying into the dangers of her life and while Raven was curious about Alice and her mother's family, she wasn't so curious to put the civilians in danger.
"Babysitting beats worrying about invisible threats," Raven said icily.
"I am a Bat, invisible threats are our specialty," Jason countered tiredly. He bounced Lian a bit and Raven had to admit Jason was rather uncannily good with kids. Raven thought it amusing for someone so anti-people, he was really good with kids. Adorably good with kids.
"You are not help in this matter," Raven grumbled as she huffed out a stray strand of her hair. Jason frowned and sat again.
"You keep shoving my family at me," he said as he looked at Lian who was balancing on his knees. "Seems fair I shove you at yours," he spoke 'baby' as he played with Lian. Lian squealed with delight as she squirmed.
"You'd be a very good dad," Raven mused.
"No I wouldn't," Jason said.
"I don't know, you're pretty solid with Terry, Helena, Lian and Mar'i," Raven pointed out. "Girls do find that attractive, and you don't play it up, so I mean it. You're good with the kids."
"I'm not dad material, Rae," Jason said as he looked at Lian, she gave him a droolly grin as she squirmed more. Raven softened, Jason was too good with people and kids. He just didn't give himself enough credit unless it was a high stress situation and someone had to stay level headed.
"We'll see when you have your own ninja kid!" she snickered.
"Not funny!" he snapped.
"Oh, what if Rose is the mother! you two would have gorgeous babies!" she mused.
"don't curse me, please!" he whined.
"Nonsense, to curse you and Rose to have a child together would require fresh chicken's blood, black and green paint, six goats, three liters of salt, a bit of black pepper, twenty-seven candles, and a bit of norse magic," she dismissed.
"Please don't… ever," Jason said looking ungodly pale which had her smiling as she took Lian from him.
"I think the demon just scared your daddy, Lian," Raven informed the baby who laughed and clapped her hands as she grabbed Raven's hair. the innocent fascination in Lian's eyes was so precious that Raven hugged the little girl to her. "How goes the Black Mask case?" Raven asked remembering Jason's long term project.
He groaned as his head fell back and he rubbed his hands over his eyes. "Fucking long, Roman Sionis is a whack job with some B&D kink on the extreme with a paranoia to match B's. Seriously, when Roy gets back I'm going to go after him, if I take over his control of Gotham crime that'll drop a lot of the murder rates, he's killing kids. But I'm more curious about his kryptonite storage, no one aside from Lex has that much Krypotnite; not even B."
"Well, you and Roy can go investigate it, I'll keep Lian for the week with Donna," Raven said.
"Don't you have school?" Jason asked her skeptically.
"That's why I said Donna would help," Raven defended. She and Donna had been helping the guys out with Lian when Jason's vigilant job had him in a pinch. Raven was about ninety percent certain that Donna was doing it because she had an attraction to Roy, ten percent chance on Donna doing it because she was interested in Jason. Raven wasn't really entirely certain she was reading all of Donna's emotions right. They were difficult to pin down at times.
"You and Donna, volunteering to take Lian?" Jason gave her a skeptical look.
"I might not have all the facts in your pet project, but I know it's important." Raven said. "Also, he's smuggling magic artifacts, which has to be stopped, because certain things should not be in the hands of mortals."
"True, alright, you got yourself a deal." Jason said.
"Yes! You hear that Lian, Donna and I get you all to ourselves!" Raven grinned at the girl.
"Have you heard from Constantine?" Jason asked suddenly which had Raven looking up.
"No, not since Christmas, think something's happened?" Raven asked as she played with Lian's hands.
"I don't know, I can't find them, and you can't either."
"I will see if I can," Raven said. "I know how the House of Mystery feels, I think I could track it down," she offered.
"Please," Jason said. Raven nodded as she stood and handed Lian back to Jason.
Constantine struggled to keep the shield up as the demon lunged at him snapping it's jaws. Zed was weak, she was currently cradled in the arms of Black Orchid.
"She is fading," Black Orchid said. "The disease is making her too ill."
"Back to the House," Constantine ordered as he let another pulse of magic. He barely stumbled back into the house, gasping for air as he collapsed.
He'd be on this fight for years, fighting the Brujería. There was something amiss though. The Archangels, the other angels, they weren't fighting this war. Hell, the Divine barriers were getting so dangerous weak between the living and the dead that it was going to cause an uprising.
Now that wasn't a big deal to mortals, but it was important.
The barriers were so weak that the Devil had escaped his prison, leaving his brother Michael in his place. Lucifer was Lucifer Morningstar of LA and owned a club called Lux. Gabriel who was usually was missing was now turning up, as were the other Archangels, and they were turning up on earth. The other angels were too. And his bloody angel Manny had vanished altogether! The fury of that had spurred Constantine on his trip to Lucifer's prison in seeking of answers from the Archangel Michael, though Michael had said nothing.
Whatever was happening in the Heavens it was being ominously silent, and Zed couldn't see it anymore.
"Zed!" he scrambled over her and checked her pulse.
"She is dying," Black Orchid said. "The strain of Sight was too much, seeing the Heavens…" Black Orchid trailed her fingers over over Zed's cheek.
"I'm taking her to her room, there's medicine for her there," Constantine scooped her up and hurred for where the meds were. "Contact Chas! Have him meet us in Atlanta!"
He got Zed to the bed. He scrambled to grab the right meds, coaxed them down her throat and waited.
He waited for them to get to Atlanta, Chas walked into the room and Constantine looked up at his friend.
"Get the cab, we're going to the hospital," he said as he carefully picked up an unconscious Zed. Her curls were everywhere, she smelled of foreign spices, charcoal, and paper, she was so slim and underweight in his arms; all her meds had caused this. Constantine got her out of the House and they were in the cab. Chas gunned it.
"Don't leave just yet love, there's still much to see, and do," he whispered into her curls as he kissed her head and held her tight. There were tears streaming down his face as they made it to the hospital. At the emergency entrance, in the rain Chas opened the door.
"Help! Help! I got an emergency here!" Constantine shout as he ran into the hospital through the emergency room. He put her on a gurney as doctors pushed him away, he shouted that he wanted to stay, barely managed to say she had cancer before she was gone, and Chas was at his side.
Roy sat with Oliver in the Queen Mansion kitchen, just him and Oliver, for the first time in years, with a cup of coffee between them.
"About Thea…" Roy started as he broke the awkward silence they had been sitting in for the last hour.
"Thea loved you Roy," Oliver said tightly as he cut off the argument and Roy looked up at his mentor then.
"I just… I'm sorry," Roy whispered.
"Roy, there is… I'm sorry." Oliver said. "I'm sorry I failed you so badly that you felt you couldn't call on me for help when you were stuck with Jade, Slade and Prometheus, I'm sorry that you felt that you had no one to turn to and I'm sorry, so sorry, that Thea died, but that wasn't your fault. She would have come to help you no matter what. Her death is not your fault, it's Prometheus' and one day, we'll get him."
"I just… that was my fault, I should have…" Roy sighed.
"How is Lian?" Oliver asked, he'd rather talk about his first granddaughter than dwell on the pain of losing Thea. He was still angered by her death, and he would kill Prometheus when he saw him, but for now Roy needed him and he was focusing on that.
"She's good, she follows Jay around a lot," Roy smirked.
"Jason seems like a good guy," Oliver said.
"He's been a great friend," Roy said. Oliver nodded, he had kind of been forced to accept the wayward Bat as a part of his family because of Lian and Felicity, but he didn't mind the standoffish young man.
"I'm sober, nine months, I go to AA, I'm working my program, even talk to my sponsor and Jay. I'm also going to counselling, JL recommended shrink, I… I get I'm a wreck," Roy said weakly.
"You were never a wreck Roy, just made bad choice, I made them too," Oliver said calmly.
"Not like… not like me," Roy whispered.
"You're healing Roy," Oliver assured him.
"Thanks," Roy gave a weak smile and Oliver nodded. He didn't know what to say to Roy but he accepted that he couldn't keep pushing the kid down and away. That wasn't helping anyone.
He wanted to be better for Roy, and for all the others who were under his care. He couldn't stand thinking that he had failed them, that thought was intolerable. Also, he now called Bruce about twice a week for advice or bitching; Barry too. Barry and Bruce were now the people Oliver trusted the most outside the Arrows with helping him with his family.
Tommy, John, and Felicity were also there for him, but he was finding an outsider could frequently point out where he was going wrong and be honest about it.
"When is Felicity due?" Roy asked.
"February," Oliver smiled.
"You'll have a kid younger than your 'grandkid'," Roy mused.
"Don't start, Connor already did."
Chapter 3: Wake Me Up When It's All Over
Raven stood with Lian as she walked over to Jason, he blinked twice at this action.
"You take her, I'll hunt for Constantine," she said and Lian made a grabby motion for Jason. Jason just sighed as he accepted the baby.
"I don't get why kids like me! I'm not that likeable!" he grumbled as he held Lian.
Raven smirked as she discarded her jacket and walked for a secluded area to focus. She didn't point out that Jason was one of the best people she had ever encountered and like her babies had instincts about who was good, who was bad, who was safe. Jason was safety. He wasn't good, he wasn't bad, but he was safe and he was a protector, it was why it was so easy to rely on him and find refuge with him. No one would ever hurt Lian with Jason around.
Pulling up her long hair Raven twisted it into a knot before hopping up into the air and focusing on the pushes and pulls of the House of Mystery's magic.
Her breathing slowed as she calmed her emotions and mind, letting everything still within her. Her second eyes opened to see all the magic of the multiverse and she stretched her soul out as she focused for the familiar pull of energy. Reaching forward she started filtering the masses of magic, pushing through the multiverse, the dimensions before she found what she sought. It was on this plane.
Gingerly Raven lifted her hand as she lightly pulled on the magic, letting it materialize for her like a door would. She grasped the energy then pulled it open as her eyes snapped open. Opening her mouth to call for Jason she yelped when she was yanked into the House before she could speak. The pink fairy like thing that had grabbed her now spun her around a coat materialized as she was shoved into it.
"You must go, Emory University Hospital Midtown, quickly, Zed needs help," the woman spoke.
"Uh… okay, let me get Jason," Raven said.
"No, now!" the woman snapped, and Raven gasped as there was a snap, the world spun as she was shoved through a literal door that materialized, her hair came falling undone and she smashed right into a solid body.
"Ow," she muttered. "Sorry, pardon me," she pulled away from the man's back and saw… Constantine!
"Raven!? What the bloody hell are you doing here!?" Constantine sputtered catching her arm before she fell on her ass.
"I was looking for you!" she gasped.
"Jason was concerned, we hadn't heard from you since Thanksgiving!" she stated.
"This way," Constantine guided her into an empty room.
"What is going on?" Raven asked.
Constantine rubbed a hand over his face, looking more haggard than usual as she waited for him to answer her question.
"For about six years Zed has had a benign tumor in prefrontal cortex of her brain. For years we managed it with healing potions, and spells. The last two years there's been a deterioration of this, and we've come to medicine," Constantine said. "It's now a terminal tumor," he whimpered.
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked as she touched his shoulder, she'd have taken this from Zed.
"Zed… Zed said it was her time," Constantine gasped, and Raven pulled the larger man into a firm hug because she didn't get it, but she could feel all the agony of this radiating on him.
"Let me call Jason, he'll be here," Raven murmured.
"No, no, they're running scans right now, I'll… We'll… she's dying Raven," Constantine said. "She won't let you save her, and she doesn't… She doesn't want to be saved."
"We should still call Jason," Raven said as she held him.
"What do I tell the kid?" Constantine demanded. "Zed won't be saved."
"He still needs to know, and hear it, and say goodbye," Raven pointed out.
"Fine, fine, but… stay," he whispered.
"I'm here," she promised the older man. Constantine nodded and collapsed in a chair, Raven pulled out her phone, squeezed Constantine's shoulder before she dialed Jason's number.
"Hey," Jason greeted.
"Atlanta, Georgia, Emory University Hospital Midtown," Raven said levelly.
"What about it?"
"Get Donna or someone to watch Lian, Jason, when you have I'll open a portal and bring you here."
"Rae, what's going on?"
"Just do what I asked Jason, we'll talk when you're here."
"Fine, but I hate hospitals," Jason said sourly. She hung up and waited with Constantine. Jason texted Donna had Lian and Raven reached out her empathy, opening a portal before Jason as she caught his wrist and pulled him into the hospital. He didn't stumble into her though he felt perplexed, worried and confused. Raven felt every emotion as it collided, despite his apathetic façade.
"What's going on, Constantine?" Jason asked. "Where's Zed? Why the fuck are we in a hospital? And where the hell have you been!?"
"Jason," Raven stepped between him and Constantine, firmly pushing her hands on his chest as she stilled his advance. His eyes flicked to her then to Constantine and back. "Sit down."
"What is going on?" he asked slowly.
"Zed's dying," Constantine said standing. "Has been for about two years now," he stated.
"What?" Jason snarled lowly and Raven could feel his hackles raising as he slowly stood to his full height again. He towered over her, and Constantine stood there looking miserable and sick, Raven pressed a firm hand on Jason's chest as she glared at him.
"She didn't want you to worry about it kid," Constantine snapped.
"Worry!?" Jason roared and Raven held her ground between the men, Jason wouldn't hurt her, she knew that, so she would just stay here so he couldn't hurt Constantine.
"She saw this coming long before we did," Constantine snapped. "She's refused the aid this long because she's remained firm on this being her time."
"You didn't…" Jason growled.
"Don't start on me boy," Constantine started. "SHE made her choices, I respected them even when I hated them."
Jason wanted to leap over Raven and tear Constantine limb from limb for the first time ever for this emotion of helplessness and this news. Zed was dying! DYING! And Constantine was just standing there!
"Enough, both of you, this won't help Zed. Go, go smoke, I'll be here for her when she gets back and she and I will have a chat about this," Raven shoved him out of the room. "No bruises when either of you cool your heads and get back!"
Jason snarled as he glared at Constantine with a green tint in is vision. He wanted to hurt Constantine for this. They were outside in the light rain and Jason glared at the man he had dared to trust. Now he regretted that as Zed was dying. Maybe Raven could save her…
"She won't," Constantine said suddenly.
"Zed, she won't let the Gem save her," Constantine sighed miserably.
"Why not!?" Jason snapped pulling a cigarette because he'd kill Constantine if he didn't have something occupying his hands.
"Because she SAW this, before she Saw You!" Constantine said softly.
"So you're letting her die because of something she saw!?" Jason sputtered. He was furious and hated this. He despised this. Zed shouldn't be dying! She Shouldn't! Zed was… Zed was perfect. Zed was special and perfect. He wanted her to be here, and safe. Zed, Zed was… like his mom.
"She saw it before she even met me, it's WHY she sought me out all those years ago. She wasn't looking for a cure though, not looking to be saved, not looking to be anything except Zed Martin and help me with something most Hunters, Alchemists, Magicians, Monsters, Angels and Demons alike wouldn't tangle with. This isn't Purgatory, or other gods, it's Darkness, the very Darkness that seems to have created monsters like Trigon. Zed came to use her gift, consequences be damned, to help me out before I even knew I was in the middle of a bloody war! I didn't ask her to do any of this!" Constantine snapped.
"I didn't want her to die, I bloody love her! I love her like I couldn't love Zatanna. Zed has been my best friend, my lover, my confident, my pupil, and my only hope some days, so don't think this isn't bloody killing me as much as you. Zed is someone I love very much, and I am losing her, don't think I didn't try to ask her to let me save her. But this is a war that saps you of your soul and life, and she doesn't want to be saved," Constantine growled.
Jason glared out at the street as he let the smoke out and closed his eyes. He didn't want to lose Zed. The thought was shattering to him as he closed his eyes and fought the tears at the knowledge Zed wouldn't fight this.
Raven stood when Zed was brought back into the room and looked at the doctors.
"This is Constantine's daughter, Rachel, she's alright," Zed rasped as she slumped in her chair.
"I got her, thank you," Raven said. Once the attendant was gone, Raven levitated Zed to the bed and got her comfortable. Sitting on the edge of the bed she looked at Zed, not touching her to refrain from doing what she wanted which would be healing Zed. Take the pain and illness.
"I'm not Constantine's daughter," Raven pointed out as she smiled a bit at Zed.
"Yet," Zed smiled.
"Oh, so this is a decree from the all-knowing Zed? I have to warn you I have two moms who don't seem inclined to share me, and I already have a shitty father waging psychological warfare on my mind," Raven said blandly.
"I will not reveal anything then," Zed chuckled.
Raven sat in silence with Zed for a moment before she offered. Only offering once she was sure she could walk away if rejected. "I can take it, Zed."
"If I wanted you to have it I'd have offered it to you, Raven," Zed pointed out weakly and she smiled a bit. "Oh, I have lived long enough."
"You're still needed," she argued gently.
"Not as much as you would think."
"Do you see your death as meaning nothing to us Zed?" she asked.
The older woman sighted, her curls were a bit flat, her amber eyes dimmed a bit and she smiled weakly. "No, I know it will hurt," she murmured. "But Raven, there will be other losses, far more painful than my own, betrayal from places you would never expect, threats from places we have forgotten, love in the most unexpected places, and family there to embrace you. My death, it is my stepping off point, but it's merely a moment in an endless line of coming possibilities."
"You see all that?" Raven asked blandly.
"I've seen it all," Zed sighed painfully. "My death, it is merely one of all, because we all die Raven. Death is waiting for me, and I don't mind going. I've fought my battles Raven, it is my time. And I'm alright with it."
"You're not taking this from me," Zed rasped and smiled. "It's time for me to let go."
"And what about Constantine and Jason? What about everyone else?" Raven asked desperately. She didn't know Zed well enough to make arguments for her to stay and live.
"Mmm… Constantine will have an epiphany one day, meet a bunch of people who will save his soul, and have a family, and Jason… he's got a lovely little angel looking out for him, plus a colony of Bats, a Cat, and a bunch of outlaws," Zed said with a smile.
"You're really alright with dying."
"I've lived my life, Raven, and I am very happy with how it turned out. Constantine will continue without me, as will Chas, and Jason, even Black Orchid will live without me. There's life to be lived Raven, I lived mine, now I would like to say goodbye to my boys if you don't mind."
"Alright," Raven nodded as she stood.
"You're so much more than a demon, Raven, never forget that," Zed said.
Raven turned to the older woman but said nothing as she walked out. Raven knew better than to think herself more than a demon, she was a born monster, and she accepted that. She walked to where the guys were, her own emotions roiling within her and she couldn't contain the turbulence as the rain came. Raven shuddered at the cool air when she found the men.
"Zed would like to see the both of you, now," Raven said. Jason's eyes flicked to her, they were green and she felt the Pit pulsing just beneath the surface. Constantine's sorrow was drowning her though as he snubbed out his cigarette.
"Rae…" Jason started.
"She said no Jason, this is what she wants," Raven said softly as he passed her. She stood there for a long moment alone before she felt something in her snap that made her want to scream as she felt their pains from here and she couldn't stop them. There was a pulse of emotions from her as she felt the power of the weight crushing her and she wanted to shove it off. She wanted today to have never have happened. She wanted to take Zed's pain away. She wanted None of This.
Raven finally screamed as the rain came down harder and stood there with her hands buried in her hair as she struggled against the tears.
Oh the pain, she could feel Jason's and Constantine's pain and it was like she was being stabbed as she felt her own pain tearing at her heart, breaking her down.
Gasping against the pain she collapsed in the rain and she felt it pulsing painfully. There was another presence with Constantine, Jason and Zed and she released a shuddering breath. She could feel it, feel it as it slowly took Zed's pain, embraced her left and pulled her soul away from this plane, she could feel it as Zed's soul slipped from this plane. She cried as she rubbed her eyes from the tears the rain was pouring harder, and she shivered against the pain as she tried to catch her breath.
Please be good to her, she deserves the best, she deserves paradise, please, Raven pleaded with God for the first time in her memorable life.
The world was a dimmer place without Zed Martin in it.
Raven knew that it was, for she had barely known Zed Martin and could attest to this world needing more people like Zed. And Jason had still needed her. Constantine had also needed her, and Raven felt their pain shattering her psyche at this moment as she curled up in the rain and cried against the pain. She couldn't take this away.
"Hey boys," Zed smiled when Jason walked into the room.
"Let Rae…" Jason started.
"Jason, I'm tired, and I have things to say before I go, so shut up," Zed ordered. His mouth snapped shut. Constantine was by her side, taking her hand, kissing her knuckles as he sat and Jason shoved his hands in his pockets as he moved to her other side. Her breathing was labored, her eyes half lidded.
"You'll know when the time comes but you know what to give that idiot, I left it on your nightstand, Orch will remind you," Zed said to Constantine.
"Zed…" Constantine started.
"Shut up, you're not a killer, this isn't because of you, I was going to die like this long before I met you. Just leaving made me die with people I love rather than alone and scared. Take care of the kids, don't forget to eat, and don't stop fighting, you're winning," she whispered and smiled. "You're needed here, not your brother or anyone else, no one could do this better than you do, John. I trust you," she said.
"Tell Chas to spend time with Geraldine, and to make up with Renee, life's short, and he's got a long one, he'll need them. Don't push each other away, you two have been through too much.
"And tell my father to go fuck himself, Hell will come soon enough.
"Jason," Zed turned to him. He stiffened when she weakly reached for him. Catching her hand, he stared at her amber eyes. "It's okay. Be angry, be pissed, be furious, but don't forget to live. You're free to live, Jason. There's life, don't… don't stop living because you're angry.
"I love you, but you have to live. Live Jason, you're here for a reason. Protect… protect them, but don't forget to live, and love."
"Zed…" he started.
"Time for me to go, I had a good life," she smiled weakly. Constantine was glaring at the door.
"Don't take her!" he hissed.
"Who is it?" Jason asked as he looked at nothing.
"It's Death," Zed whispered tiredly. "And I'm ready to go," she turned to Constantine. "It's okay, it's alright."
"No it's not!" Constantine said.
"I'm so happy you saved me," she murmured, and she was smiling when Jason would swear he felt her leave. Constantine cried out an inhuman sound that Jason couldn't identify as Zed's machine screamed.
"Zed?" Jason shock her shoulder, she felt frail. She had never been frail or felt frail. "ZED!?"
Doctors came running in and shoved them aside as they started in on compressions, Constantine was crying and just stared at her.
"Do something!" Jason shouted desperately.
"Come on, this way, the doctors will do everything they can," a woman took his elbow. He stumbled out of the room and watched helplessly as Constantine slid down the wall and the doctors tried to save her. But he could feel it, she was gone. Zed had left.
Lounging in the dying heat of summer she stared at the clean clear waters of the Mediterranean. A light breeze ruffled her hair as she lounged there. The girl sat beside her, her little demigod, staring out at the ocean. The slave behind them standing sentry.
"I don't want to do this," girl whimpered.
"Mmm, you know what makes me the most powerful woman in the world?" she asked as she caught the girl's chin and tilted her head back. Those strawberry blonde curls bounced in the wind and those green eyes were shining with unshed tears as she sat there.
"Because I don't do what everyone else does," Circe said. "We are here to change the world girl. With you as my secret weapon."
"I don't want to…" she started.
"You want a world free of men, of pain, I will deliver it, but I need you're beautiful mind," Circe promised kissing the girl's brow as she stood. She looked over the glittering waters to where Themyscira was hidden somewhere. She would destroy Hippolyta, and the Amazons would perish.
It was time for the tyranny of man to end, this world had suffered too long under the ignorant rule of men, and she would end it. It was time for the men to learn they were the weaker sex. But first, she would destroy the Queen of Amazons so that no one would dare to oppose her claim to the throne. With an army of Amazons, the Bow of Ra and a demigod, with her magic, she could change the world.
Men would finally see just how pathetically weak they were and she wanted them to see it. To see the damage they had inflicted on their 'weaker sex' and to end their reign on this world. Men were only needed for breeding and a select few could be used for that. Hippolyta would finally see that she was weak for not eradicating the problem, where she was strong.
The Bana-Mighdall Amazon stood there silent, her eyes were glassy and her dark hair loose. The Amazon looked at her without expression or care.
"The Themyscira Amazons destroyed your home and killed your sisters and your lover, we are close to avenging them," Circe lied as she walked past the woman. The girl was under the guard of the Bana-Mighdall Amazon, and would not be able to escape.
Everything was falling neatly into place, and she could see it coming to fruit now. The dreams she had had as a slaved girl were about to come true and her captors would encounter her wrath. A wrath that had not simmered in a millennium. The pain and humiliation of what she had endured was going to be felt by all, and she would have them suffering as she had.
No one could stand against her, and she would destroy them all.
The feeling was immensely satisfying knowing that she could and would now have the power to break her tormentors.
She stood there in the House of Mystery and wished today had never happened as she sniffed. Zed's death had happened four hours ago, and Raven hugged herself a bit as she stared at the fire of the study. Jason and Constantine hadn't said anything since Zed had died. Neither man seemed inclined to do anything as she stared at the dancing flames.
"What are you fighting?" Jason asked suddenly.
"Nothing you can kill with a gun," Constantine answered.
"Did it kill her?" Jason asked.
"She shouldn't be dead!" Jason grounded out and Raven turned on the men. Jason threw his glass of liquor into the fire before storming off and Constantine sighed as Jason slammed a door. Raven closed her eyes and let out a steadying breath. She could feel how Zed's death was tearing them apart.
"He'll be alright, kid has a way of working through grief by tearing monsters apart," Constantine informed her.
"I am aware of how Jason processes grief," Raven said as she walked to the older man and sat in the chair across from him. "I am aware of how I handle grief. However, I can feel your emotions Constantine, and I don't feel right leaving you alone, I feel this House too, and I'm not sure I should leave you alone."
"No, I'm an empath, empathy never lies, people might hide things from me but you cannot lie to me. I know what you are feeling because I feel it as my own."
"I've lost others, Raven, I'll lose people again, I'm a killer and a curse, I am used to the pain."
"What did Jason mean by what you're fighting? What are you fighting?"
"A darkness as old as God Himself, Gem, you don't want to get into this war unless you're willing to die, and you have too much to live for to die for this," Constantine said.
Raven nodded as she stood. "I'll call someone for you," she murmured.
"No need, Chas will be here, go, I need… I need time alone. Go make sure the kid doesn't do something stupid," Constantine said and she moved to leave when he caught her hand.
"Zed might not have known you really well, but she was very proud of all you could and would do, Raven, she said you were an inspiration," Constantine said.
"Call in the morning," she said softly. With reluctance she walked out of the House of Mystery, out the door into Jason's ware house where she could feel the Pit's fury fueling him as he tore apart his work out area in the locked up room.
"He came in looking ready to murder someone," Donna said looking over at her.
"Yeah, he lost a friend today," Raven sighed as she pulled off the jacket and rubbed over her sensitive eyes as the tears continued.
"I didn't know," Donna started.
"It's fine Donna, just a rough day, I'll be back in the morning," Raven sighed as she walked through a portal to her room in the Siren's HQ.
Jason roared with fury as he tore the room apart and finally collapsed against the door and felt the tears streaming down his cheeks and he closed his eyes as he pressed the hells of his hands into his eyes, fighting the pain of this. It was consuming, drowning and he wanted to tear the world apart.
Last time he had torn apart a terror cell, now there was nothing to destroy and that had him sitting there to deal with the pain of it. He didn't like it. He didn't like it at all.
A shuddering breath escaped him as he sat there and struggled to just breath with this pain pressing down on him, suffocating, heavy. He didn't know how people lived with this pain without something to hate because he couldn't hate Zed or Zed's brain tumor.
He so desperately needed something to do, something to destroy as he felt this pain. Reluctantly he looked up at the collage of survalience he had going on Roman Sionis and got to his feet.
Being able to destroy something evil, he could do that, this fucker was evil, he could live with ending him.
It wasn't what he wanted, but he needed to destroy something right now and this was a good pick as any.
He got to work on devising his plans of attack as he ignored the pain that was drowning him.
Roy walked into his home, tossed his keys, ruffled Ace's head as he walked to the couch and fell onto it with a groan. He and Oliver's hashing out things had sucked and now he was home as he rested his foot on the coffee table and let his head fall back.
It was two in the morning now, and he felt like he had been put through the blender.
There was a soft moan, his head snapped over to the sound and he saw Donna walking towards him, wearing his Captain America shirt, her wild black curls were everywhere and she fell onto the seat beside him.
"I thought Jay had Lian tonight," he said sitting up, propping his elbows on his knees as he looked at Donna.
"Long, bad day for Jason and Raven apparently," Donna sighed.
"Great that's three of us," Roy grumbled as he rubbed his face over.
"That bad of a time with Oliver?" Donna asked.
"No, just a bad day, just… painful. We'r getting better though," he admitted as he lit his head fall back.
"Mmm, I do not think Jason will be well soon," Donna admitted.
There was a muffled sound and he quirked his brow at her as he stood.
"He has immersed himself in his pet project, he hasn't been asleep, Raven left shortly after they returned," Donna supplied.
"You… you can stay, Donna," Roy offered.
"Shall I just move here? I am always here when I am not with the Titans," she teased.
"Why not?" he said seriously and blinked dumbly at his answer as she stared dumbly back. "Look, we're good friends, and it's great having you around. Jay likes you, I like you, Lian fucking adores you, and I don't know, you need a place in your off time to crash, you're always here, so why not? I'm sure Jay wouldn't mind rigging up a room for you," Roy said quickly.
"It would not be appropriate…" Donna started.
"We're just friends, nothing scandalous going on here. Unless you count stealing all my shirts, but I don't think that counts as Raven's always stealing Jason's clothes. And she's always here so I'm sure we could offer her a room too if that'd make you more comfortable," Roy rushed.
"You're… you're serious?" she stammered.
"As friends, nothing else, I'm in recovery, Jay is… I don't know honestly but I don't think he's going to be weird about it," Roy smiled weakly.
"I… let us speak of this when we are not exhausted, and hurting," Donna decided.
"Probably for the best," Roy agreed in relief as he took the couch again.
"Do you really think of me as a friend?" she asked looking at him over the couch.
"That or a freaky fangirl for a Bat, but Jason wouldn't let you hang around if that was the case, no offense, and neither would Raven, so yeah, I think we're friends. You were nice to me despite me detoxing," he shrugged.
"I think you are a friend too Roy," she smiled.
"Night, take the bed again, I got the couch," he sighed as he waved her off. Tomorrow, AA, breakfast with his sponser, then he would be working on a job Jason had lined up, and maybe he'd have time for an obstacle course and archery. Plus he got Lian tomorrow afternoon.
She sat in the hotel, under guard and she shook as she pulsed her mind out seeking help, seeing refuge. She felt a painful power pulsing, manipulating the weather and emotions of people around, and she hesitantly latched onto that mind.
Slowly she followed the power, unraveling it before she found herself standing in the mind.
She gasped at the starfield overhead being unfamiliar, the power of the mind here, the serenity here. The water, the stillness, there were birds overhead, black, large wings, and red eyes.
She gasped as she stumbled back a few steps at the sight of the red demon standing tall, the flash of white flew over her, as it turned black and into a massive bird diving for the demon. It was larger and more powerful than any god she had met.
"This Is My Mind! You Shall Never Control Me!" the black bird roared.
"Stupid Girl, you and I, we are one and will always be," the monster rumbled.
"No, We Won't!" the girl was back, in white robes as there was a wave of darkness the monster screamed as he vanished then. "My head, My dreams, You are Nothing here."
The woman turned to her, as she stared, and she stared at the white glowing eyes of the woman.
"You do not belong here," the woman spoke in a smoky monotone, her face in shadows, and a white cloak around her shoulders with the hood up.
Lilith gasped as there was a gentle pulse of darkness shoving her back to her mind. She jolted up then and shuddered.
That was more power than Circe, she would find a way to stop Circe.
That woman could help!
Chapter 4: Let It Begin
Raven had figured out Jason's process to grief, he was leaping head first into a project that would let him ignore his emotions. And Raven didn't know if that should be bad or good as she stood there in the warehouse after seeing Jason walk by absently, completely unaware of her.
"He's been like that for four days now, anything I should be aware of?" Roy asked as he sat at the table with Lian. Lian was munching on oatmeal happily.
"He lost someone who was important to him," Raven said.
"Who?" Roy asked sipping his orange juice.
"Her name was Zed, she was Constantine's lover and friend, she was very kind to Jason from what I've gathered, and very important to him," Raven said as she took a small bite of her cereal. The crippling pain she felt from Jason was enough to have her losing her appetite, but she forced herself to eat. Constantine was in Chas's care, Raven had found that out yesterday, and Jason was a whirlwind of rage, pain and focus. He was on a dangerous hunt.
"He had a friend named Zed? He never said anything," Roy muttered.
"Jason has many secrets, even from me," Raven softly murmured as she gave up trying to eat and settled on sipping her tea as she closed her eyes.
"Well, we all have secrets, you and he though are taking the lead in the secrets department in my opinion," Roy sighed as he ran his hands through his hair.
"How are you, Roy?" Raven asked.
"I'm good, making my amends, go to a meeting a day, talk to Felicity every other day and Oliver and I have started meeting up. So far he doesn't make me want to go get smashed, but you know… I got his little sister killed," Roy sighed. "Tommy hates me, but I got Thea killed so I guess that fair."
"It takes time," Raven said softly.
"Rae, it's not really something time heals, not this time. I fucked up, I got my best friend killed, and she… I loved her Rae, I loved her and I got her killed. Do you even realized how fucked up that is?" Roy asked.
"I wanted to meet my father and opened a door to extinction for my home world, murdering my mother, mentor and friends," Raven pointed out.
"Well, we suck," Roy muttered.
She said nothing to counter this, and sipped her tea.
"Anything I should look out with the idiot?" Roy asked. "I never seen him like this," Roy admitted.
"I don't know," Raven admitted softly. "This pain, it's just another thing to pile onto his other pains, he won't speak to me about it so I do not know how to help him. I just feel it, and it's killing him."
"Anything I could do to help him out?" Roy asked.
"I think just being here helps, but I don't know. It is difficult to get a read on Jason, he isn't concealing his pain or fury, or hatred, he's focused?, it, and I can't gage how he is doing emotionally other than he is hurting. Which is difficult to endure because I do not like my friends to suffer like this," Raven grumbled.
"You'd really take the pain of the world away wouldn't you?" Roy asked her.
"I don't know," she murmured. "When I was a child I would, I did not mean to, but I could not bear others to be in pain, which is why I would take it. If I had this wonderful gift of empathy then why not use it? It wasn't like I couldn't take the pain. But it is wrong, I was wrong, to rob people of their emotions and will, it did not end the suffering, merely replaced it with a different kind of suffering."
"So you aren't tampering with other's emotions anymore," Roy surmised.
"No, I will heal people, but I do not replace their emotions or pain, it is not the solution even if I were to wish it so."
"When you heal people…" Roy started uncertainly.
"I do not heal them how you think, I take the pain into myself, I take the wound for myself and I feed back the health," Raven said. "It's a loop, a replacement, as I syphon of the pain and wound I return the health and heal them."
"That's gotta suck," he decided.
"It is… painful, but worth it. I can take the pain Roy, I do not like watching the ones I care about suffer. But this pain, this wound, I can't take, it's not one that heals when I take it."
"Alright," he nodded. "I'll look out for him. in the mean time, would you possibly consider setting up a room here?" Roy asked.
"Well, you're here all the time anyway, and I kind of said something stupid to Donna I can't take back, and she might be serious, and if she is, then I'd like for her not to be uncomfortable here," Roy sighed.
"What did you offer her?"
"A place to live, she's here all the time when she's not with the Titans so I don't know, it made sense, but I get it if she's not comfortable living with two guys, a dog and baby," Roy shrugged.
"So you want me to pretend to live here so she won't think she's the only girl here?" Raven chuckled.
"You practically live here, this is what, you're second or third home after the Titans and Sirens."
"True," she conceded. "I will think about it." She offered as she picked up her bowl and put it in the sink.
"Kay, thanks, and I'll watch over Jay keep in touch," Roy said as he got up and gave her a light hug. Raven hugged him back as she picked up her bag and opened a portal to go to school. She walked into the Gotham rain and took a steadying breath.
She couldn't take Jason's pain, that would merely lead to a different kind of pain for him.
She'd just have to be here to watch over him and keep him safe.
This is what friends did for each other.
Duke had landed on a different planet! A Crazy Planet!
Seriously, he thought he knew the Bats; he'd been in the Cave, seen them decompressing, relaxing and unwinding.
But the upstairs life was VERY different from the Cave life.
And the Manor life was VERY different from the Public Personas each Bat had.
Alfred Pennyworth, the butler, and to the public just a butler. Butler his ass though, that man was an angel or a demon or something, but there was no humanly way possible for Alfred to do everything he did.
Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. the Batman, to the public was a wholesome, smooth, charismatic person. Really, Duke had never met a more exhausted, emotionally stunted, exhausted man in his life.
Dick Grayson, a.k.a. the Nightwing, to the public was a suave, genuine, sweetheart person who had girls swooning left and right. In reality, Dick was so whipped for his girl that it was kind of embarrassing and he was the second dad of this family despite being the eldest son.
Tim Drake, Red Robin, he was this child prodigy, brilliant mind set to run WE without aid of anyone. Reality, Tim was so sleep deprived that he didn't seem to know up from down and had the coffee in an IV practically.
Cassandra Cain, Black Bat, was the mysterious, American sweetheart good girl of the Waynes, who was shy. Reality, biggest prank orchestrater ever, and easily the most devious of the Bats; also, a total badass sweetheart.
Damian Wayne, Robin, the biggest brat ever sired, who believed he was a prince. Most awkward, angry little version of his father that it was hard to tell his public persona from his real persona and Robin.
Terry McGinnis was the baby of the family and had no distinction of his brothers being different from the rest of the world. Also ran to the door faithfully whenever it opened looking for Jay.
Helena Wayne, faithfully followed Terry's footsteps in search for Jay. Usually holding onto Titus (the great dane).
Kori Ander, a.k.a. Starfire; someone he hadn't met until four days ago and he saw her fly by in all her fiery glory to kiss Dick Grayson on the mouth and have him all but a puddle of goo before running off. Duke had been furious until he saw Kori slip on some ring and look like the model that Dick was dating, then a lot of things had cleared up.
Stephanie Brown, Spoiler, the public saw her as the sidekick to the Waynes, a hang on for Tim's money. In actuality she was the only reason Tim was functioning, and kept everyone on their toes, instigating legendary prank wars for the Bats; usually with the aid of Cassandra Cain.
And finally, Jason Todd, a.k.a. Red Hood, and Duke had no idea about him as he hadn't really met him outside of the Cave. But he must have been different with how Terry and Helena screamed for him whenever the door opened. Mar'i also seemed to be in on this as she was often times floating and being dragged by the shirt by Terry with them to the door. At least that's what Duke had seen in the last four days.
Then there was the matriarch of this home whom he could not get a true read on, Selina Kyle. Publicly she was charming, endearing, bewitching, privately though, he was pretty sure that she was all that even privately plus a hellcat.
But in the four days since Duke got dumped into this alien life he had had the following happen to him: lost all his shoes, but only the left ones, what was up with that? Nearly lost his head, literally, when Damian had come after Tim, which had led to Dick head locking those two and dragging them off. Tim borrowing just about all his books, and scribbling notes in them. Dick challenging him to Twister and Duke was pretty sure the guy was an invertebrate because that just was not humanly possible. Bruce had called him by every name but his own. Terry had clung to his leg like a lead weight for three hours screaming for Jay. Helena had cried with Terry. Mar'i had almost blasted him when she cried, her mother caught her.
Duke looked up from where he was sitting, in the extensive library (this was about the only reason he hadn't gotten mad at Tim for writing in his already written in books) when she walked in with a baby on her hip and another on her heels.
The dog was following Terry faithfully.
"Heyya kid!" she smiled as she set Helena down. "So how ya doin'?" she asked.
"I um…" Duke stammered as he was pinned by those brilliant green eyes.
"I don't bite, I'm just asking how you're doing."
"This is temporary," he promised.
"Kid, this could be permanent if you want, but that's not what I was asking," Selina said.
"I just…" Duke frowned. "I'm doing okay here."
"Good, the horde treating you alright?" Selina asked.
"Yes?" he managed. Training was more intense now that he was here, and none of the others seemed to even be phased by it.
"You know there's no time clock here, right?"
"My last place was being torn down, I don't want to be in the system and people disappear off the streets," he muttered.
"Kid, that wasn't what I was saying. I'm saying you can stay as long as you want. Or as long as you need, this can be your home too," Selina said.
Duke didn't point out that Bruce was the head of this house and that he might not last long enough to stay. Best to be prepared to leave. He wasn't a charity case, and he refused to be a publicity stunt.
Jason spent the next four days pouring over every possible attack he could do to Roman Sionis, and how to bring down the Black Mask and seize control of his operation. He needed the expansion as Red Hood anyways, and it would make his criminal enterprise the largest in the world if he did it successfully.
Controlling crime was not ideal, but his aggressive style, and micromanaging of his organization had dropped the numbers of kids hooked to drugs, and the murder rates. Bruce might not like his style but there was no arguing his results.
Leaning back, he glared at his plans.
The only problem was Roman's shipment, Jason knew it was from Lex Corp., and it was an under the table deal as it was off of Lex's books. The weakest point of this entire thing would be the transit, which was by train which presented a different set of problems. It would mean going into Gotham to handle this, and Jason wasn't sure he was prepared to have Bruce butting in on what Jason really did. Then again, he was betting Bruce didn't know as there had never been a move against his criminal enterprise.
Rubbing his eyes over he groaned as he tried to think of another way to do this. One that didn't land him intercepting a train to Gotham.
But he had nothing.
Getting to his feet he decided he needed food. Better to get it now than listen to his stomach growl all day. Walking out of his work area he found Roy with Lian.
Roy was stretched out on the floor, tinkering on something and Lian was sitting on his back as she played with an arrow. Jason frowned as he picked the arrow out of her hands, she pouted and whined, he scooped her up. Roy was completely absorbed in whatever he was doing which had Jason scowling. Living with Roy was like living with a mad scientist, it was infuriating. Roy had lit him on fire in the shower once just to see if his fire-retardant chemicals would work!
Roy jolted and looked over at him with large green eyes.
"What the fuck! Don't do that! Could have had us all going up in a glorious explosion," Roy sighed.
"What exactly are you working on?" Jason reluctantly asked. Lian was now smiling and snuggled into him.
"A bomb," Roy answered.
"And you're working on it with Lian on your back!?" Jason sputtered.
"She was perfectly safe."
"What the fuck were you going to do if it blew up!?" Jason demanded.
"It wasn't going to," Roy promised.
"And what the fuck were you going to do with it when you were done with it!?"
"Put it in a box," Roy answered.
"What the hell is a box going to do!?"
"Fuck!" Lian shouted which had whatever Roy was about to counter with muted as they both stared dumbly at the giggling girl in his arms. She was grinning with inane triumph which had Roy glaring at him.
"You did this," Roy growled.
"I wasn't the one building a fucking bomb with the kid on my back!" Jason defended.
"Okay, fine, we're both morons," Roy sighed putting his project down and getting to his feet. "How are you holding up man?"
"I was going for burgers and beer for me," Jason answered.
"Jay you know that isn't what I mean," Roy said dusting himself off.
"I don't think you're an empath demon so don't worry about it," he snapped as Roy put his project out of Lian's possible reach. Jason picked up his favorite leather jacket he pulled it on. Putting Lian on the work table as he grabbed Lian's light little sweat shirt and zipped her up, before picking up her shoes and putting them on her feet. The toddler was smiling as she sat there with his undivided attention.
"Fuck!" she giggled.
"I will pay you not to say that," he said as he looked at her bright green eyes.
"I'll give you a car, any car you want for your sixteenth birthday but please stop saying that," he bartered.
"Dada!" she announced as she clapped her hands.
Jason face palmed as Roy was roaring with laughter behind him. He wasn't winning tonight, he could already see that. Roy scooped up Lian, Jason ruffled Ace's ears as they walked out of the warehouse and Jason locked it up out of habit.
"Jason, seriously," Roy said as they walked down the docks.
"What the fuck!? Are you turning into Oprah on me?" Jason demanded.
"You've been holed up in that room for four days, Lian, Ace and I haven't seen hide nor hair of you, so I can be legitimately concerned for my roommate and friend, and Lian's second dad!" Roy defended.
Jason growled as he rubbed his hands over his face then he glared at Roy.
"You know what fine stands for?" Roy said.
"What the fuck Roy!?"
"Freaked out. Insecure. Neurotic. Emotional. Come on talk to me," Roy coaxed.
"What the hell are we? Girls all of a sudden!?" Jason demanded.
"No, we're human, and you can't keep all this shit secret," Roy argued.
"Watch me," Jason snapped and stalked for the street.
There was a lot of shit he didn't tell people for a lot of reasons. Mainly because he didn't want to talk about it.
Roy was fine as a friend and roommate; Jason had come to tolerate him, but Jason still expected some level of privacy. Prying into emotions and feelings; not happening. And Jason just didn't give a fuck if that was unhealthy or not. He didn't want to have them pried at. Some shit was left just with him. And losing Zed was fucking hell. He despised that she wouldn't let them save her and he hated her for being willing to die without a fight. The fury he felt for her permission to be angry was all consuming; and the anger was drowning the pain right now.
Okay… Selina accepted these facts as a part of her life:
1. Survival of the fittest.
2. Gravity brought all things down eventually.
3. Thievery paid well so long as one wasn't caught.
4. Bruce Wayne was the love of her life, and right now she wanted to throttle him.
Selina wasn't going to turn the teen out, no, she wasn't a bitch. But she was not pleased with Bruce going behind her back and taking the kid in (not that she would have turned the kid away, Nigma was a dick for all his survival of the smartest campaigns). And it wasn't even about B taking the teen in that upset her. What had her wanting to punch Bruce was the fact he thought she would turn the kid away and didn't bother to consult her!
She had never turned away his kids.
When he had taken in Dick she had thought he was nuts, because what did B know about kids? Also, Bruce was barely twenty-six when he had done that. The wild rumors of Bruce having a teen romance and unknown love child had surfaced, but it was all fine. And Selina had taken to Dick rather quickly, though she wanted to strangle B for letting the kid be Robin. Selina loved Jason, even adopted him last Christmas; despite Jason being a grown ass man, he was her Robin and her baby. She adored Tim, would die for that teen, and scratch the eyes out of anyone who dared to threaten him. Tim was just precious to her, and her baby bird would not be harmed. Cass had been easy to love, and Selina wondered when the little Bat had crept up and into her heart, but Bruce's daughter was a lot like him in the quiet stillness that was Bruce.
And alright, she would admit it right now; it had crippled her knowing that Bruce had loved another woman, loved her enough to marry her when he was younger. When he was discovering himself. When she hadn't been there and hadn't been enough for him. And though she despised Talia al Ghul with a fiery passion, she did not hate Damian al Ghul-Wayne. No, she had, at first, been painfully hurt by his existence, because it was like a slap to her face in her mind. There stood a kid, her lover's (now husband's) child and he had her lover's eyes, he had B's nose, he looked like B did. There were minor traces of Talia in his appearance, his skin tone was hers, his cheek bones were definitely hers, she was also sure that Damian shared his eye brows with her, and his temper.
Looking at Damian had hurt, until she started actually seeing that awkward, angry little Robin for who he was. A mini version of his father which had had her coming to love the kid and happier to take him into the family.
Damian was also proving to be an excellent brother.
Then there was the pain of Terry, but that was more of a pain of violation. God Bruce must have felt violated, he had two kids he hadn't consented to having then, both created because he was the Batman and people wanted to replicate that. Terry though, as much as it hurt to see him, had stolen her heart, and was her kid in every way. She'd gut whatever idiot thought differently and had even been pissed off enough to go after the press who had printed lies about her feelings on Bruce's hoard of kids.
Hell, she even considered Mar'i Grayson her granddaughter! That should speak to what she thought of Bruce's kids!
Helena might be her 'only' child, but Bruce's hoard was hers' in a way. Which was why she was sitting in the library with Terry, and Helena, Mar'i was with Kori who was napping right now, and her head came up when Bruce walked into the library.
"You're mad at me," her husband blurted out.
"Astute observation, detective," she replied, not looking up from the baby book she was reading. Helena was babbling in baby as she stood there wiggling. Terry was playing with blocks and the Alfred the Cat at the moment.
"I… I didn't want you to be angry about Duke living here," Bruce said.
"Oh, I'm not angry about that, trust me. Duke is more than welcomed to stay for as long as he needs, hell, he can even be adopted into this lunacy," Selina said and now she looked up at her lover. His blue eyes were confused, and that angered her as she stood and stepped over their daughter to him. "What I am mad about is that you would dare to think that I would refuse the kid. Have I not proven enough that I care about you and your hoard?"
"Selina…?" he started.
"No! You zip it. I have loved every single one of your kids, not like my own, but they're mine in a way. I wouldn't be upset about you bringing another teen in need to your home. I am upset that you thought so little of me to think that I would dare to turn him away.
"I haven't turned Damian away, and I hate Talia, I despise the fact she dared to have your child, that she did that to you, but I love Damian anyway. He's not mine but he's mine, despite whatever his idiot father and evil bitch mother think.
"I never turned Terry away. Goddamn it Bruce you have no idea how much it hurts! It hurts to know you think so little of me that I would turn away a kid in need, and I never turned away Damian or Terry, and they're more of a slap to my face than Duke. I am furious that you would think so little of me!" Selina snapped.
Helena fell with a hard thud, bursting into tears. Selina ignored Bruce as she scooped up her daughter, gathered up Terry and stalked past Bruce.
For as much of a genius as her husband was, he was a fucking moron when it came to people.
He stood in the warm gardens of his palace in the South, looking over the rare animals of his palace when his father flew towards him, his flaming yellow hair, and radiant amber skin shown in the sun and jungle's light as he landed beside him, his green eyes were serious.
"My son, X'hal smiles on you," his father smiled lightly cupping his cheek before pulling away.
"Father," he smiled as they started walking.
"There is a war coming my son, and if it should ignite then I fear all of Tamaran will perish," Tharras said. The heavy jewels and armor they wore was soundless as they walked.
"And what would you propose father, we follow the guide of a weak King, one who should have never had the chance to rule after selling his daughters to a warlord," he sneered.
"Yes, but now the King is dying, and Tamaran shall follow in the hands of his son," Tharras said.
"And what would you propose?"
"Peace. King Myand'r had two daughters, Komannd'r and Koriand'r, one is lost to us, and the other…" his father trailed off.
"The other?" he asked. He had heard the whispers, and rumors of Koriand'r, heard she had returned briefly to Tamaran to renounce her claim to the throne.
"Koriand'r is on earth, it would be in our peoples' interests if you could… woo her back. She is a might warrior, and a union between you two would prove to be prosperous for all of Tamaran. You are a worthy challenger for a warrior like her."
"I've heard she is infertile."
"That can be sorted out later, for now we must save Tamaran from Myand'r's heir," his father said.
He nodded, not in disagreement or agreement. The truth was far too complicated to worry about for him at this moment. The future too perilous without King Myand'r to contemplate the truths. Tamaran would need a strong ruler, a firm ruler, a warrior again, Kori was the desired ruler and with her many supporters he saw no foreseeable complications to her claim on the throne.
First though he would have to commission a sizeable dowery and an ambassador party to Earth. He could win Koriand'r over, he was sure of it.
"Prince Karras, we leave Tamaran's future to you. May X'hal smile on your success," his father smiled. Karras smiled back as his father touched his cheek and walked off. Tamaran needed sure leadership, he would do this. Peace was needed for Tamaran to thrive, and war was always so imminent. He would do this, for his people.
He closed his eyes as the sun lit a fire in his skin and he could feel the emotions pulsing in him.
She sat in a filthy bar, in man's world and was vastly unimpressed as she took a sip of the alcohol. They would not speak of the Black Mask or his operation. All she had was the information that there was some sort of shipment coming in on a train on Friday. But other than that, no one could say who, what, when, where, or how this was coming to be. Which infuriated her and had disheartened her.
Perhaps this was all a lie, perhaps she was wasting her time.
Then again, the Bow of Ra was not a play thing, and it was in the hands of the Shim'Tar, which was a very bad combination as Akila seemed to be bewitched by that woman or the child. Someone's wizardry had a hold on Akila and Akila had the Bow, which was lethal.
It was her duty to stop the abuse of this power. That sorceress was up to something truly dangerous. She would stop that woman, even if she had to tear the world apart. Which she was coming to think she just might have to do. Frowning she slammed her drink down and heard the outside commotion of the city. This city had vigilantes
She pulled her hood up and walked out of the bar, she could not allow the Bow of Ra to be in the hands of Man. That would destroy them all.
The rain hit her icily, and she just moved forward hating this world.
Lilith sat in her room meditating and reaching her mind outwards in search of that power. That power was a threat to Circe and she needed it. Slowly she tried to stretch her mind to find the taste of that dark power, though she was unsure of what she was seeking this time. The power had been silent, for the last few days. Which confused Lilith greatly.
Power like that did not vanish just because. It was power like that that ruled the world. It wasn't something that just vanished.
She could feel the gods' indifference from here, but she could not feel that power here. It was as if the power had just vanished.
Opening her eyes she bit her lip, she couldn't, she wouldn't let this happen. She could stop Circe, she just… she couldn't do it alone.
Power like that though…
Power like that could stop gods.
"The preparations continue, though there are missing parts," she said standing beside him.
"Everything must be perfect," he said as he looked at the chambers.
"Would it not just be easier to take her?"
"She would fight her place, but she will have to accept her place," he assured her.
"And if she should not?"
"It is her destiny, there is no choice, for her, and she shall feel her calling soon enough and be honored by it, and I," he smiled.
She would have a great honor, and she had yet to come to realize it. But in time, even she would see it.
Chapter 5: The Simple Things in Life
Jason sat at the bar of the restaurant, Lian was sitting on his lap, the game was on, and Roy sat beside him munching on fries. Sipping a beer he watched mindlessly as the skaters glided over the ice after the puck.
"You want to talk about it?" Roy asked.
"What do you need? Because holing up will have Lian upset," Roy said. Jason rubbed Lian's belly as she munched on a fry.
"it doesn't matter," Jason said.
"Okay, you're going to be an asshole, now it's me or Raven, and if it's Raven she'll force you to talk about feelings, you know how Rae is, and if it's me we can go blow some shit up," Roy said.
Jason grimaced. For as much as he adored Raven, because she was Raven and the best friend he had ever had, she was an empath and she hated people in pain. He was in pain, and if she was around him… she'd take the pain someway or she'd pry to get him to let it go. Jason didn't think he could handle that right now
"Fine," he groaned as his head fell back.
"You know she loves you because she wants to take the pain," Roy pointed out.
"It's maddening," Jason muttered.
"When she first came to earth she hated pain so much she kept taking it, or running away from the pain," he chuckled.
"I bet three years in hell as an empath pain hurts her a hell of a lot more than us," Jason sighed as his head fell back.
"Probably, being an empath must be hard."
"Probably," he admitted. "Fine, I got a job, but it's not really a long job."
"Fine, when do we start?" Roy asked.
"We'll need a sitter for Lian," Jason said as he took a sip of the beer.
"Pretty sure the girls will do it. I think I accidently got Donna moving in, Rae will too if it makes Donna comfortable," Roy winced.
Jason sighed as his head dropped and he looked at Lian. "Your dad is a moron Lian."
"Dude, women are high maintenance! Why the fuck would you offer that!?" Jason demanded.
"I didn't mean to, but she's always there! I didn't know I was offering her a room until it popped out of my mouth!" Roy defended.
"Then keep your mouth shut!"
"Oh come on, they both have toothbrushes, shampoos, conditioners and hair shit there, plus they have clothes, and they steal our clothes, seems normal they just move in!" Roy defended.
"What are they!? Our girlfriends?"
"Fuck no! They're both friends, and Donna's practically Lian's mom," Roy defended.
"Fan-fucking-tastic, what's next? You going to marry Donna?" Jason snapped.
"No!" Roy sputtered. Jason groaned as he glared at the ceiling then.
"You're a fucking moron!"
"Oh please, with how you and Rae are why don't you two just tie the knot now and save us the trouble of it later."
"One, she's the only friend I got. Two, no, no on so many fucking levels. And three, NO!" Jason snapped.
"What am I!? Chopped liver?"
"At this point, YES!" Jason hissed.
"You know our employees think we're married, right?" Roy asked.
"Why would they think that!?"
"Kid, dog, and the fact that we live together?" Roy supplied.
"I hate you," Jason muttered.
"You love me and you know it," Roy batted his lashes.
"Remind me again why I agreed to help you out?" Jason demanded.
"Because you are a better person than I am," Roy said.
"Oh right, Raven suggested it as my repayment to you for keeping my only friend alive," Jason countered.
"Fine, we'll get the girls to watch Lian for the weekend," Jason surrendered.
"It shouldn't take that long to blow the place up," Jason shrugged. It wasn't like Roman would be expecting him. Jason was good so long as he had the element of surprise to inflict his wrath, and even if he didn't… well, there weren't many more lethal than he. Jason wasn't bragging, just being honest, he was lethal, and had bested Ra's al Ghul, which was no easy feat.
"Alright, I'll call Donna, you call Rae," Roy offered.
"Fine," Jason surrendered. He didn't mind going to go blow shit up, and annihilating Roman Sionis' plans, but he refused to have Raven prying into his feelings. He might like her, he might adore her, but there was no fucking way he was going to let her pry into his psyche or emotions, that was a ticking time bomb to ruin their friendship.
"Glad you see it my way," Roy toasted his soda and took a sip of it. "I miss beer," he whined.
"And that, Lian, is how we know your dad is ready to go home," Jason informed the little girl who stared up at him with large green eyes. "Let's go," Jason grabbed Roy's shoulder as he paid and walked out with Lian on his hip.
"Being sober sucks," Roy muttered.
"No it doesn't, and being sober beats being a drunk dumbass," Jason said.
"And what are you?"
"I can't get drunk," Jason countered.
"If only," Roy sighed wistfully.
"If I could I'd be smashed, and a functioning alcoholic," Jason shrugged.
Roy laughed as they walked down the street. Jason just resigned himself to the silence. He didn't want to deal with this shit, he didn't want this, he didn't need this, and he didn't want to deal with this… this mess Zed had given him permission to feel. This would be so much easier if she was just willing to let Raven save her, then he wouldn't…
Well, that might not be true, but he wouldn't have to be dealing with it on top of everything else in his life. He just wanted everything to stop. Just stop.
A moment to stand still.
He didn't… he didn't want to be here anymore, or ever. He wasn't supposed to be here.
He shoved the thoughts away quickly before he fell down that rabbit hole; again.
Raven woke in the morning with an annoying, blaring alarm going off. With a groan as she rubbed her temples, the books from her homework were scattered around her on the bed, groping for her phone. The producer of the offending noise.
"Hello?" she yawned answering it.
"I need a favor," Jason's voice filled her ear which had her groaning as she stretched.
"What is it?" she sighed as she got off her bed then. Padding through Siren's HQ she scratched her scalp and made it to the kitchen for some tea. Opening the cupboards she pulled out the kettle and started prepping her tea.
"Roy and I got a job, for the weekend," Jason supplied.
"Mmm, so what's up?" she asked rubbing her eyes.
"Could you watch Lian?" Jason asked.
"Yeah," Raven looked at the note on the table of the kitchen and sighed.
~Out for Breakfast! Call if you need us! See you tonight! XOXOXOXOXOXO
"You're a life saver queen," he sighed.
"You could just give me waffles, I am a benevolent Queen of Hell after all," she replied dryly.
"How about dinner instead?" Jason offered.
"Yeah, I got a recipe I wanna try," he supplied.
"Oo! What?" she asked as she opened the fridge and pulled yogurt.
"Sweet chili steak," Jason answered.
"Sounds yummy, sides?" she asked.
"Undecided, so you in?"
"Sure, call Donna, she and I could talk this weekend about a few things," Raven yawned as she moved her hair off her shoulder and sat up on her counter as she rummaged for a spoon.
"This about Roy's offer for you two to move in?"
"Only if you're comfortable with it," Raven said as she pulled out a fork and noticed the full sink. Sighing she resigned herself to using the fork and doing the dishes after eating.
"I don't mind you," Jason stressed. "I am not comfortable having Donna there."
"Well, you're… you, and she's… Donna!" Jason explained as if that was an explanation.
"She's not going to be there all the time, Jason, and she's not that bad."
"Why don't I just make this a fucking apartment complex!" Jason hissed.
"Ah, so this is about space, if you're not comfortable with it, talk to Roy," Raven said as she gave up on the fork and settled for sipping the yogurt.
"I can't now that he's offered it," he grumbled. "And what the hell are you doing sunshine, that is a god-awful noise!"
"I don't have a spoon, and I just woke up. You little sisters are demanding!" Raven stated.
"Stephanie, she's roped me into the school thing, and Cass has aided her in making my life that of a miserable college student living at home with my new moms, who fully encourage this endeavor, but don't clean the house," Raven sighed as she stood.
"That's a girl thing."
"Deny it all you want, but I saw your bathroom in San Fran, all the hair!" Jason shuddered.
"I will knock you on your ass for that, I am clean."
"You are not."
"But you're alright living with me?"
"You aren't so bad, it's not like Kori," Jason said.
"Fair enough," Raven admitted. Her kettle screamed which had her grabbing it as she made up her tea. There was a knock on the door which had her looking over at the door.
"I just… It's hard enough sharing space with the dog, Lian and Roy. I'm me, and me doesn't like this idea of having a communal living; I could barely sleep in Wayne Manor with all the people there!" Jason grumbled. The knocking persisted.
"Look, talk to Roy about Donna, or prep two rooms, Jay. It's not like Donna or I will be there all the time like Roy and Lian," she pointed out as she set aside her mug and walked to the door; the knocking was persistent.
"Sunshine, you know, Donna doesn't."
"Donna's been sleeping there Jay, she might not know, but she's got the general idea," Raven said.
"Well fuck. And who is there?"
"I don't know, I just got to the door." Raven said. "Look, you need to talk to Roy about this, or you need to talk to Donna, or accept that Donna might be there and… HOLY HELLS!" Raven yelped opening the door and scrambling to keep her phone as she came face to face with Alice Williams.
"RAE! Sunshine! What the Fuck! Answer This Fucking Phone! I Swear To God If It's Joker I'll Skin Him Alive! Little Bird!" Jason roared.
"I'm fine!" She squeaked catching the phone as she stared into the brilliant, furious eyes of Alice.
"You and I are going to have a real talk young lady," Alice wagged her finger at Raven's nose which had her eyes crossing.
"I'm going to have to call you back," she said.
"Rae, what's going on?"
"Alice is here."
"Want me to come guns a blazing?"
"What the hell is wrong with you!? No!"
"Just offering to come save the damsel in distress."
"I'm a damsel, I'm in distress, I can handle it," she said as Alice marched into the house.
"And if you can't?"
"I'm the Queen, I got this shit handle. I'll call you back." She sighed as she watched Alice inspecting Harley and Ivy's home.
"Too right, call if you need backup," Jason said as he hung up.
Folding her arms Raven stared balefully at Alice, who looked expectantly at her.
"Was that your boyfriend?"
"No. What do you want Alice?" Raven asked.
"You can't…" Alice started.
"I should call the police, get a restraining order, call my moms home, you can't keep doing this to me Alice!" Raven snapped.
"You're my niece!" Alice countered.
"Which until I was plastered all over the front page of the news wasn't important!" Rave grounded out.
"I didn't know about you!" Alice started.
"Did you ever stop to think that maybe my mom wanted it that way?" Raven demanded.
"No. Because Angela wouldn't want that." Alice was fiercely glaring at her. Raven didn't bother bringing up that her mom had been brainwashed by a cult of Satanists, raped by the King of Hell, forced to have her, brought to refuge in a fifth dimension called Azarath and protected by a teacher called Azar.
"This is harassment," Raven snapped. "And stalking and it needs to stop. I am a twenty year old woman! I've done just fine for twenty years without you in my life!"
"Rachel…" Alice started.
"No, this is stalking and over the line, you've dragged my friends through the mud, and thrown wild accusations around about my upbringing!"
"Because you wouldn't talk to me!" Alice said.
"Maybe I didn't want to talk!" Raven countered.
"Angela was my older sister," Alice said. "You're her daughter, my father's granddaughter! Don't you think he deserves to know you, don't you want to know about your family history!?"
"I have a family," Raven snapped.
"Look, I know I am overstepping my boundaries," Alice said.
"First right thing you've said so far," Raven hissed. She really, really, really wanted Alice out of here, away from whatever threat loomed in the shadows. Raven was more than aware that there were ral dangers in this world, and she was highly aware that there was a cult that worshipped her father. Her father who was currently imprisoned in her head! She didn't need this aggravation or worry. Azar above it was maddening! It was like this looming storm she couldn't stop or predict but could sense all the same. This would bite Alice in the ass, and threaten her life very dangerously.
"Please, please don't shut us out," Alice said.
"Why should it matter!? I have a family!" Raven stated. "I have a big brother, two moms and friends! You just come barging into my life and making demands, spreading lies, hurting the people I care about!"
"Rachel, I can't excuse the behavior I have exhibited."
"You broke into my apartment, now you're breaking into my home!" Raven pointed out harshly.
"I just… one dinner," Alice said.
"One dinner, just one, give us that, please. I… I miss my sister, and I wish to know her daughter, I should have known you years ago," Alice whispered the last part.
Raven sighed as she pinched the bridge of her nose. She had to be going soft, she had to be! There was no other explanation for what she was about to do! Other than hanging around Bats so frequently had officially pushed her over the edge and she was mad. Good thing Harley Queen and Poison Ivy were her moms now, they were mad too; perhaps it was a family thing. Maybe she should inspect Vic for this madness.
"If… IF!,If I say yes to this one dinner, after that you leave me alone if I want it," Raven said glaring at the woman.
"Yes, I'll leave you be, promise," Alice said.
"No, not just you, ALL of your family, will leave me alone, and stay the hell away from me!" Raven clarified.
"No slander, no stalking, no prying and no contact, you'll leave me alone," Raven growled. It was for the best if it was this way, because Vic, Harley, and Ivy could handle whatever evil lurked in the shadows, Alice and her family were civilians and wouldn't handle it. "And I don't want to ever see you again."
"Very well," Alice nodded reluctantly.
"You forget I exist and leave me alone, and my family, and my friends," Raven clarified.
"Yes, I get it, I stay out of your life," Alice sighed.
"Fine, I'll do dinner, just ONE dinner," Raven sighed. Better to fill her curiosity and to let Alice go, also to give Alice a little bit of something. Raven was curious about her mother's family. Just not curious enough to place them in mortal danger.
"Excellent! Here, this weekend, my home, Alan will be so pleased to meet you," Alice smiled as she handed Raven an address.
Raven grimaced. "Now please leave."
"Just… is that your boyfriend you were talking to?" Alice asked.
"Not your business, Alice, now leave or I call the cops," Raven warned. The woman sighed as she walked out and Raven groaned as she rubbed her temples. It was too early in the fucking morning for this bullshit. She needed to rethink how this was going to go because whatever she was doing was clearly not working. Which was an annoying fact she hated.
Alone again Raven closed her eyes as she hugged herself and sought her center.
She just… She wanted Alice safe. Her mom's lies were in place for a reason, even if she didn't know that reason. Sighing she lifted her phone and dialed Jason's number.
She said nothing instead she hung up, the shadows enveloped her and she walked right into Jason's room. He looked startled and she dropped the phone as she walked forward and collapsed face first on his bed.
"I'm an idiot," she said into the blankets.
"I doubt that as you are the smartest person I know," Jason said.
"No, I'm an idiot!"
"What'd you do?"
"I said yes to dinner with Alice and company!" she hissed.
"Want to just sit here and wallow in self-stupidity for the hour?"
"Make me waffles then yes."
"Now if you let Donna stay we can both wallow in self-stupidity," Raven said as she propped herself up on her elbows.
"We'll both be wallowing then."
"We're morons," she sighed.
"So you'll let Donna and I have rooms here?" she asked.
"Why the fuck not? Roy offered, and she said yes if you were here, and you already practically live here, and is that my damn shirt?" Jason asked.
Raven sat up and looked down at the Black Panther shirt and then back at Jason. "No?"
"You suck at lying."
Roman sat in his Gotham penthouse looking over the shipping manifests for his coming shipment. He didn't know what LexCorp was planning but all this under the table deals were profitable to his business, and with this next shipment he would be a major, global dealer! The next shipment was a real gamechanger, and he would be top dog!
Not even the Red Hood would be able to rival him!
Next shipment wouldn't be like any A.M.A.Z.O., no, this next shipment would make the A.M.A.Z.O. look like a toy! He was excited to open up the bidding.
Now he would be a major dealer and respected by all, even the Red Hood would come to him for deals! And that was something that his own father would never be able to accomplish. Also he was untouchable!
Operating in Gotham since he was a child and never had he run into the Bats. His own father couldn't even best Jim Gordon, and here he was operating an empire right here in the comfort of Gotham. He snorted at the mere thought of a Bat coming for him.
Taking a bite of his breakfast he stared out at the city, his city and smirked. His empire was expanding.
Right under the noses of the Bats. He was untouchable.
Gotham was his and she was his beautiful mistress and dirty laundry, she was his bitch to rule. Gotham was just the beginning though and this shipment would have him global.
She did not know much about man's world, but these trains seemed to run in such a fashion that the shipment would not be here sooner. She would have to wait for it.
A thought which had her blood boiling as she sat there to meditate and wait. The train would come, and she would be here to intercept the Bow of Ra. Until then though, she was not moving from this spot. And after that she was annihilating the man who dare to claim a weapon from Bana-Mighdall. She would castrate the foolish man and shove his precious manhood down his throat for ever thinking he had a right to an Amazon's pride.
Then she would track down the witch and watch her burn for ever having harmed her sisters. This was what she was living for now.
This was all she lived for.
To watch those who destroyed her home burn. It was all she could live for now because there was nothing else.
Closing her eyes she took in a deep breath of the smog filled air, the damp chill settling into her desert bones, and her lungs burning. Exhaling she let the Gotham child pour over her as the dying summer's morning sun. She would wait, right here for the shipment. She would be here to intercept her Bow.
The light breeze tugged on her red hair and she opened her eyes as she stared down the train bridge.
She could wait.
Kori sat in the green house, her daughter was floating overhead, giggling happily, and her black flaming hair free.
"You look gorgeous," Dick said behind her, Kori gasped as he wrapped his arms around her, kissing her shoulder.
"Dick! You startled me!" she giggled as she twisted out of his grasp, floating up, pulling him with her.
"Hey, I was thinking," Dick started as he sat on her legs and grinned.
"You and I haven't had a real date since Mar'i was born, a night of just you, me and you looking gorgeous for a dinner or something." Dick said.
"A date!" Kori gasped in delight.
"Yeah! A date," Dick smiled, she caught their daughter as Mar'i's emotions gave out and she started falling. Dick smiled as he took their daughter.
"I would love a date," she promised.
"Good, I got us hotel reservations too, and B is more than willing to watch Mar'i for the weekend," Dick said.
"Weekend!?" she said uncertainly as they landed again.
"Yeah, just a weekend," he said.
Kori bit her lip, the day spa without Mar'i had been scary but at least Mar'i had been with her father. It was part of the reason she hadn't panicked all day.
"Please, just you, and me, one weekend, and we can call B every hour if you need that, but please," he smiled and she sighed.
"I… yes," she smiled. "I have missed you," she admitted. She had also been worried that he was no longer interested in her as sex was no longer a frequent enjoyment for them.
"Great," Dick smiled.
"Dick… I… Bruce…"
"You know B adores her, Kori, and no one would ever let anything happen to her," Dick said.
"He just… he despised my kind before, why the change of heart?" she whispered.
"Because I love you, and he loves me, and he adores Mar'i," Dick said.
Kori frowned a bit but resigned herself to accepting that as the answer. Bruce did adore Mar'i in his 'grumpy' way, just like he loved his own children Terry and Helena, he just… Bruce was scary. However, she could admit that he was very good with Mar'i, not even phased by her powers manifesting.
Still, she wasn't entirely sure how to feel about Dick's father. She could remember what little trust Bruce had held in her and not hurting Dick.
"If anything…" she started.
"We come right home, so you ready for a weekend, kid free, for dinner, sex, and Netflix?" Dick smiled.
"You have planned this thoroughly," she chuckled.
"We can even go dancing," Dick supplied.
"I love this," Kori giggled.
"Good," her lover smiled as he pulled her down for a hark kiss, and she softened as they entered the house. Mar'i pawed at Kori's breast and had brilliant green eyes.
"It appears that she has her father's appetite," Kori mused.
"Can't blame her," Dick grinned wolfishly and Kori floated upwards as she flew for her room, Dick a step behind her, and she laughed as he caught her, they rolled on the bed, Mar'i safe in her arms.
Jason sat at his table and scratched his head as he tried to figure out how his life had gone from just being me, myself, and I, to a group of people he needed to take into consideration. Starting with Lian, then Raven, and Roy, possibly even Donna. The thought was unsettling, and he looked over at the dog who smiled that dog smile, he groaned as he pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes.
He looked up when Raven walked into the kitchen. "You have got to stop stealing my clothes."
"They're comfortable," she dismissed sitting beside him.
"Roy's talking to Donna, you two will have Lian for the weekend, Ace is staying here for the mission, please train him," Jason said.
"Still training him for bombs and drugs?" Raven asked.
"Seems handy, but this is a good test for him," Jason answered.
"He's not even a year Jay," Raven pointed out.
"He's doing well, and I want keep the training up, please," he said.
"Fine," she sighed.
"And when are you and Roy leaving?"
"This evening," Jason said.
"Alright," she nodded.
"Donna will be here this afternoon, and you two set up her room as FAR away from mine as you can, I don't care if you put your room right next to hers, but keep her away Rae," Jason pleaded. The last thin he needed was for the princess to know he had nightmares that could wake the damn city. He didn't need her prying.
Raven prying was one thing, but the idea of Donna prying… that was enough to have him wanting to vanish. It would be like Wonder Woman prying. A terrifying thought.
"I can do that," Raven said.
"Thanks," he sighed as he leaned back to stare at the ceiling, his hand clasped behind his head.
"Of course," she shrugged.
"Will you stop doing that?" he asked.
"Making it seem like it's not a big deal!"
"It isn't a big deal."
"It is to me, Rae, and I really want you to see that."
"Alright, I see that it is a big deal but I'm not going to over glorify it even if it is a big deal, Jason. That makes you uncomfortable, so why would I do that?"
"Well, thanks for that," he surrendered.
"Are you going to blow up Black Mask's organization?" she asked in amusement.
"Yeah, but I'll keep to B's rules in Gotham," Jason resigned himself to this. He had put the red bat on his gear, so he was admitting to having ties to the Bats, but he still wasn't a Bat. No, Jason was the Red Hood, and he was hell. He was a crime lord, he was a King in the criminal world.
"You will?" she mused.
"I don't agree with B, but I can abide by his rules IN Gotham."
"Good to know," she smiled slightly.
He frowned. "You're up to something."
"I am up to nothing."
"You might be Queen of Hell, but I'm the advisor, I know when you're up to something."
"I swear, on my mother I'm up to nothing."
"That's not convincing as your new moms are the two most dangerous villainesses of the world."
"Well, that is true."
"Uh-huh, so spill it, what are you up to?"
"Nothing you'll ever be able to prove."
"A nefarious demon…" he rolled his eyes and shoved her a bit.
"Key word in that 'demon'."
"You're lucky we're friends."
"Too true, now I was promised waffles."
"Are waffles a currency in Hell?"
"I am the Queen so I say yes."
"In that case I'm Bruce Wayne rich, and demand a spot in the throne room."
"I will consider it upon payment."
"You and your bloody waffles."
"Careful mortal, I will wage war for waffles, and have my vice president aid me in my war."
"The world should tremble in fear," he snickered. Raven and Victor teaming up against the world should probably be a terrifying though, but he found it amusing because it was Raven and Victor. They were as good as it got in the hero world; just shy of Superman level of goodie-two-shoes.
"The world will cower at my will and give into my demands, immediately, even the JL would fall at my power," she retorted.
"At least you are a humble Queen."
"Fine, I'll get your damn waffles."
"I thought as much slave."
"I am the advisor!"
"I only allow you to think that, in actuality you are my slave, and shall soon be my minion and help me take over the world from the shadows!"
"You should go write a movie or something."
"Rather not, I have English 1O1 homework due."
"The joys of being a college student."
"You should try it."
"Did it once, didn't agree with me."
"This will be the death of me."
"Don't be such a drama queen."
"Oh please, like you Bats have any room to talk about drama queens!"
"I am not a drama queen!"
"Well, you're not a drag queen, but you're definitely a drama queen."
"You are a terrible friend."
"You should be ashamed of yourself."
"I'm Pride, shame is not in my nature."
"Humility is not your strong suit, is it?"
"I'm always humble."
He scowled at her smug look of triumph. He didn't know how it was she did this to him but the woman was a bloody menace, and she was only a demon! It was maddening, and slightly amusing.
"I still know you're up to something, little bird."
"And you'll never be able to prove it."
"Watch me," he challenged, she smiled sweetly, and he knew he would have to work his ass off to prove her wrong. The problem with her actually having a good poker face, she had no tells with that apathetic façade and when she smiled, he knew she had won. But for a few moments he could forget his pain.
Chapter 6: Guys Weekend Out
Donna chuckled as she tossed her mane of hair over her shoulder and double checked her purse, then knocked lightly on the door.
A lot had happened in the near year since she had come to man's world. It was not so bad, just very different, and she was kind of growing fond of it. Though she was ready to return home at a moment's notice.
The door opened and she smiled at Roy as he let her in. He was wearing a Hawkeye shirt, his red hair was standing on end, his sweats had stains on them and his feet were in bright pink fuzzy slippers. She thought he was adorable but left the thought unsaid as she walked in.
"Hey Donna," Roy yawned.
"DON!" a squeal shouted.
"My little Amazon!" she smiled as she bent down and snatched up Lian who smiled at her with a toothy grin and delight that was so purely absolute that Donna fought just taking the girl to Themyscira and never letting her leave. "We are going to have a delightful girls weekend with Raven, and it shall be wonderful, we might even talk Kori into coming!" she informed the little girl.
"Please just don't wreck the place," Roy said as he walked past her scratching his head. She smiled as she bounced Lian. She would never do that.
"How long do you and Jason intend to be on this job?" she asked rubbing her hand over Lian's back as the girl nuzzled her.
"Jay says a weekend, a week at most though," Roy shrugged. "You got all the numbers for Lian, and you know what to do, Rae will be here in the hour so… yeah, I'm grabbing a shower and changing then we're out," Roy gave her a slight grin. "Thanks for this Donna."
"Of course, I love this little one and will guard her with my life," Donna assured him.
"Uh… thanks, and I know you would."
"Now go, Lian and I have important, secret female warrior attack tactics to discuss!" she mused.
"Oh God… Oh, are you, um… you know, the offer?" Roy said uncertainly.
"I intend to speak to Raven before I decide, as this is more her home than mine, and then I wish to speak to Jason about it, then I will decide."
Roy nodded as he looked relieved.
Donna smiled at Lian as she walked to the designated kitchen to see Lian's other father with his dog, at the kitchen table nursing a coffee and looking three steps past dead.
"You look terrible."
"I wouldn't worry about it, princess, not all of us are drop dead gorgeous like yourself," he smiled charmingly.
"Why am I the Princess and Raven the Queen?"
"You're a real Princess, right, not the Queen yet?" he mused.
"Yes…" she managed.
"That's why gorgeous, when you get to be Queen you'll still be a princess," Jason chuckled as he ruffled Lian's hair and got up to leave her be. Ace trotted on Jason's heels.
Raven walked into Jason's room out of the shadows and was rummaging through her bag as she walked. She had been distracted packing for this weekend with Harley and Ivy prodding her weekend plans, Cass trying to track her to Jason's safehouse, and Stephanie calling to ask about the English 1O1 homework they had due on Monday. Which was stressing Raven out because she still had her math homework to complete this weekend and she was now talking to Donna and babysitting Lian and going to a dinner with Alice and her family.
When had life gotten so complicate?
At least things with Jason were simple enough. She just had to make sure Roy didn't let him do something too inanely stupid and they'd be good.
"Oof!" she grunted as she ran into a wall of something.
"Whoa!" a hand shot out and had her arm to keep her from falling back and she found herself staring at Jason's chest which had her blinking up at him.
"We have got to stop meeting this way, little bird," he smiled as he let her go.
"I didn't do anything! I was looking for my essay," she managed as she hopped into the air and started rummaging through her bag again. She had a printed copy she wanted Donna to edit because Donna was a merciless editor; if she was here for the weekend then she was going to be productive.
"You need to pay more attention little bird," Jason warned as he shoved her through the air to the bed, she fell onto it.
"I'm fine, you're fine, neither of us were hurt," she dismissed.
"With that attitude it's amazing you don't have more trouble."
"Before Bats I never had trouble," she said and pulled out her essay.
"Is that so?"
"That's a fact, Bats are magnets for troubles, and why aren't you wearing pants?" she asked noticing just then that Jason was wearing a towel only.
"Because I just got out of the shower," he stated.
"Oh," she blinked and now took in the wet hair then shrugged. "I hate math," she announced.
"Is that so?" he mused as he continued about his business.
"Yes, it is the apitimy of evil," she said as she opened her bag in search of her book again because that was due on Monday and she wasn't chancing the possibility of failing school though she had just started.
"Well, it's math, and if you need help, ask Tim, I think he's a genius," Jason shrugged.
"I was going to ask you," she admitted as he walked into the bathroom.
"Because I'm not doing the school thing, ever, Rae," he warned her and she groaned as she looked at the book.
"Jason, please!" she begged.
"Because you'll sucker me into helping you and Stephanie and that'll lead to Bats. No."
"Actually that's not why I was asking. And Stephanie's thing is math, I'm asking so I get out of math tutoring with Steph. I like Steph but she's not really a tutor, if you know what I mean," she sighed.
"Fine. We'll talk after this job," he said walking out dressed and she breathed a sigh of relief.
"How is it that I got suckered into the school thing?" she muttered.
"Because your smart Rae, and you actually could have a life outside this life," he answered as he picked up his pack and started double checking it.
"I don't want a life outside the hero life, the civilian world is complicated. Cass threatened to beat up some poor boy who handed me his number," Raven balked. "I don't even get why he handed me his number, we don't have similar classes or anything, I just see him at the library!"
"Rae…" Jason groaned.
"No, No, I NEVER had this weird stuff happen when I get to be Raven, and humans are infuriatingly confusing!"
"I'm human," he chuckled as he checked a gun over.
"And you're normal, but civilian humans… they're weird."
"Sunshine, Bats aren't normal."
"Are you sure about that? because you seem pretty normal to me," she said honestly. She was so baffled with the civilian world that she was just going to stay in the hero world. Then she was now Rachel Roth, college student, and holy shit that was confusing! Her empathy was giving her whiplash in her confusion! Though at least this was better than that time she'd gone undercover with Tim at his school; that had been a true hell, and she still shuddered with nightmares of High School.
"Very abnormal," he assured her.
"Why would a guy give me his number? I get when heroes do it, it's for communication, but why do civilians do it?" she asked.
"Ask your brother," Jason advised.
"I did, and Victor said he would go knock some sense into the kid, which wouldn't help matters as far as I know," she said earnestly.
"You're more naïve than Kori!" Jason balked.
"I have landed on an alien planet and demand to just fight evil have pizza and not deal with this nonsense of civilian life!" she snapped as she stood on his bed.
"Sit down," Jason shoved her back which had her falling back onto the bed. "You and I are going to have a talk about civilians when I get back."
"And the math!?"
"Fine!" he rolled his eyes at that.
"Thank you, minion!" she breathed a sigh of relief then.
"You'd be lost without me queen, and I'm the advisor, not your minion," he chuckled.
"I just let you think you're the advisor," she smiled then.
"No, I'm the advisor, not the minion, though we should make Roy the minion!" he decided.
"Very well, we shall recruit Roy into our nefarious dealings," she agreed.
"See, now I'll see you after the job," he promised.
"Don't do something exceedingly stupid, please."
He smiled and walked out. She felt his grief for Zed still and sighed as she stood off the bed. Oh, she wanted to take that pain from him.
Jason had his gear and they were in the car and on the way to Gotham. He rubbed his brow as he stared at the road.
"Where do we start?" Roy asked.
"The safe house," Jason admitted.
"You got a safe house already?" Roy asked.
"Yeah, same ones I always have there," he shrugged. He hadn't had the heart to get rid of it after the Joker fiasco; mostly because he was running out of Gotham as fast as he could. But he had been paying to keep it. Well, he technically didn't have to pay for it, but owning the buildings through the shell companies but that wasn't… alright, he paid for them still.
"How many safe houses do you have?" Roy asked him.
"As many as I need."
"Dude, that's not an answer," Roy chuckled.
"It's the only answer you're getting."
"You do realize the whole cloak and dagger, mysteries routine with me won't work, right? We live together, have a kid and a dog, short of being hitched we spend way too much time together," Roy said.
"I wouldn't marry you for all the tea in China," Jason snapped.
"Why, am I not pretty enough?" Roy mused.
"I'm not into redheads, that was always more of Dick's thing than mine," Jason shrugged. He had never really liked redheads, but the mantle of Robin; at the time, had had a long standing flirtation with Barbara. Which honestly had mostly annoyed Jason, especially with how the world was falling apart and flirting was a part of the persona. It was annoying. Flirting was never his strong suit before his time as Robin.
"Your type wouldn't happen to be Amazon, curvy, with black hair would it?"
"You are in the program," Jason pointed out.
"I can look."
"Don't look, focus on rehab, and the program, and the jobs."
"Is that why you don't look?"
"We are not looking at my love life, ever."
"Why not?" Roy chuckled.
"Why is it a topic of interest all of a sudden?"
"Why wouldn't it be a topic of interest? We have a kid, a dog and live together but I know next to nothing about you," Roy said.
"I am letting your stay at my place, you don't need to know more about me!" Jason sputtered.
"Nine months!" Roy snapped.
"So, gimme something, we're now on a team mission together!"
"I like books," Jason said.
"You're no help."
"Why the fuck does it matter!?"
"I get more information from Dick," Roy sighed.
"We aren't friends so that's fine," Jason smiled. He didn't really want to think about Dick or them at all, he didn't want to worry about Lian and the girls, and he did not want Roy's unneeded information on Dick.
"You Are Impossible."
"Why does Raven tolerate you?"
"When you figure it out, tell me because I have no idea," he sighed honestly.
Bruce looked up in his study that evening, he was reading over the final proposals of the day and saw his eldest standing there. Sitting up he brushed the papers aside as Dick walked in.
"Hey B," Dick smiled, he looked like he was thirteen then and about to get into mischief with Barbara, but that was another life. Mar'i was in his arms as he sat down and Bruce looked his eldest over carefully. "Duke seems to be taking to living here."
"Yes," Bruce answered uncertainly.
"Look B… I… uh… could you please take Mar'i for the weekend?"
"You collected your mother's ring," Bruce said.
"Um… yeah, yeah I did," Dick looked sheepish and Bruce softened as he stared at hi eldest for a long moment. He had watched Dick grow up from that cheerful kid, into a moody, complicated teen who loved Barbara with everything, and now he was a man. A man who was truly in love with an alien, warrior, princess, Koriand'r, and though Bruce did not particularly approve of the relationship he could see that what Richard had with her was once in a lifetime, real and vital.
"Are you sure?" Bruce asked softly.
"I'm not changing my mind!" Dick got defensive and Bruce smirked a bit internally.
"I ask because you can't take it back," Bruce said; he remembered when Dick was eighteen and had wanted to get the ring for Barbara. Just before the world went crashing to hell.
"I don't think I've ever been more sure of anything in my life," Dick admitted as he held Mar'i and looked nervous. "I'm… I'm not asking her cause of… you know, Mar'i, but I just… I love her B," Dick got a goofy smile on his lips.
Bruce nodded in understanding.
"I'll take Mar'i for the weekend," Bruce nodded.
"Thanks B!" Dick grinned.
"Dick, be sure," Bruce advised. Though he knew his eldest was sure as he accepted his granddaughter and he waited until Dick was out of the room before he smiled at Mar'i. He was always so fascinated with Mar'i, not in a way like he was fascinated with Helena, Terry or Damian, those were children of his blood.
But Mar'i, Mar'i was the daughter of his eldest. It was amazing, and he could find traces of Dick in the girl's appearance and her blooming personality. There was so much of Kori there too, and a lot of what he was coming to think of Mar'i's own personality.
It was fascinating. Just as fascinating as Terry, Helena or Lian.
Now he just had to get off Selina's shit list and life would be good. But he was still trying to figure out what exactly he had done wrong to upset her. It wasn't like she was making it easy and just telling him. Well, she had told him, but he hadn't exactly done what she thought he had done…
Raven stared at the wall as Donna was going over her paper, and she wanted to sigh in boredom, but she wouldn't. Lian was napping, and Ace was whining as he lay on her feet.
"You are very good at writing Raven," Donna said.
"I just need to pass, why is this so stressful!? I have saved the world, been in life and death situations and it's not this stressful!" she groaned as she rubbed the heels of her hands in her eyes. The stress was unsettling her father, and her mind was turning into another warzone. Then there was Stephanie and Cass who were proceeding to drive her insane. Though Cass less so than Stephanie; as Cass was rather good at being still and quiet and enjoying the silence. Also there was this new stress for her as a little girl with strawberry blonde hair kept popping up in her head; and that was not part of her dreamscape.
"You should not stress it, this is very good, few errors but fixable," Donna assured her.
"Thanks. But I'm stressing the math, not the English papers. Math SUCKS!" Raven sighed as she dropped her hands and stared at the wall.
"Raven… I wanted… I wanted to ask you something," Donna said.
"Roy offered for me to live here," Donna said handing back the paper.
"I know, Jay filled me in on that," Raven admitted.
"Would it… would it be improper for me to live here?" Donna asked her.
"I'm not the best one to ask about proper and improper," she admitted. "I only say that because I practically live here and steal all of Jason's clothes, am not his girlfriend, and continue to do so and have him slave away at the stove for me. So I am not the best person to ask about proper."
"Do you…?" Donna started.
"Look, Jason's okay with it as long as you're not near him, and Roy offered, Lian adores you, so if you want to talk to the guys about it then you'll have to pin them down and talk to them about it. As for me, I'm taking over a room here to hide from Jason's sisters."
"Cass and Steph are forcing me to go to school! Yes I'm hiding!" Raven admitted this shamelessly. Stephanie and Cass's gang up on her was so they could get Jason around, it wasn't working how they wanted so far. Jason wasn't likely to go to Gotham willingly unless he had a mission or the Joker was dead. And the second wasn't likely to happen so the first was really the only reason he'd go to Gotham. But the first was only a temporary way to get him there. Dragging him to the Manor required different skills, and they were apparently skills his family thought she possessed. Which she did not! She could no more make Jason do anything than she could alter a hurricane's path.
"You and Jason must be close for him to just accept you being here," Donna sighed wistfully.
"No, he accepts me because I accept him," Raven said. "I'm a genocidal demon, who can and has destroyed worlds. He's a very dangerous Bat who no one trusts. I see him for him, not what he's done, and THAT is why we accept each other. He does not like me being here, he accepts it though. Push him, judge him, be little him, that will have him keeping you away and have him wanting to leave you be. He's willing to let you be here though because Lian and Roy both like you."
"I just… I do not wish to impose."
"You won't be imposing. I'm pretty sure Jason doesn't mind you here so long as you sleep as far away from him as possible."
"I've heard them, you know, the screams," Donna whispered.
"Don't bring that up with him and you two will not have problems."
"Really. But if you're doing this to flirt with him or get close, I'm warning you now, he won't let you stick around."
"He's cute, but I do not think he is my type," Donna chuckled.
"And what's your type?" Raven mused.
"I'm thinking more redheaded."
"Mmm, taking a page from Dick's book I see," Raven mused.
"Undecided," Raven admitted as she got up to put the dishes in the sink. She hadn't dated enough to have a type, and she was too fucking busy to want to date. She could probably happily live and die single. It made her life easier.
"Oh, I have a dinner this weekend, tomorrow actually, so I'll be going to that, you have Lian then. I should be back in a few hours though," Raven said as she finished the dishes.
"A dinner? With whom? A date!?" Donna grinned.
"No, a family thing though I should dress up," she groaned then. Fuck, there went her plans for jeans and a blouse, she would actually have to look nice.
"Does Jason know?"
"Yes, as does Victor, my moms, and B, probably Cat and Dick too if I'm honest, and Kori will know when she calls me in an hour," Raven said.
"So it's not a date," Donna sighed.
"Why would it be a date when I said it was a family thing?"
"M'gann used the family excuse to cover up hers and Conner's date," Donna said.
"And how'd that work out for them?" Raven chuckled.
"Not very well as M'gann is pregnant," she admitted. Raven sighed. The drama for that pregnancy was not unknown in the Titans as Martian pregnancies lasted for a Martian year (six hundred and eighty-seven days, give or take) and according to Kara a Kryptonian's recorded pregnancy before they had ceased to do natural births, was roughly the equivalent of an Earth year. Lois even admitted to being pregnant for a year with Jon. So, M'gann was in for a long pregnancy either way, and she had just started.
"Well, I'm not going on a date, I'm attending a family thing I don't want to go to," Raven said.
"Then why go?"
"Curiosity." She answered. Then she paled. "I've been hanging around the Bats too long," she sighed as she scratched her head.
Jason sighed in relief at arriving at the safehouse and not having something terrible happen like the Joker busting out of prison.
"Well this is… well stocked," Roy observed.
"It's a World War II bunker," Jason admitted. Right beneath the precinct of Gotham Police.
"What the fuck!? And no one uses it!?" Roy sputtered.
"No, pretty sure they forgot about it," Jason said earnestly. Didn't matter, no one used it and it was linked into his own personal network. Jason was the Red Hood, he had networks offline of the normal networks that the Bats knew about, the JL monitored, and other Supers knew to look for. He could do this, enjoy the time of no pain and accept the job. He could do the job. He was great at the job.
"Okay, so where are we starting?" Roy asked, Jason turned on the power, and watched as his system rumbled to life. "This is like Oli, Felicity, Digg and I's first bunker," Roy grinned. "Not as… technical as Felicity would like."
"I am not into tech," Jason admitted. He didn't like tech, it felt too exposed, especially with people like Babs and Felicity in this world. But it would have to do.
"Well, where are we starting?" Roy repeated.
"Black Mask has an incoming shipment, coming in tomorrow evening from Metropolis by train. I'm thinking it's from LexCorp," Jason admitted as he started pulling the information up. Roy just nodded as he started looking it over.
"I guess it's true, Lex is going to run for presidency, these shipments are massive, and look like they are probably his illegal projects," Roy said.
"That much I have figured, they are too large to be just equipment. Also a few of my sources have said that there's been a big bidding war under the table for some equipment," Jason admitted. He didn't say employees because he didn't think of the men in his organization as employees. It was hard enough thinking of them as scum most the time.
"Well, looks like Black Mask is trying to move up and out of Gotham. Say, wasn't his dad some big time international mobster or something?" Roy asked.
"Before Selina gutted him, yes," Jason admitted.
"Selina gutted Richard Sionis?" Roy blinked.
"B can't prove it, but we know she did it because he tried to steal her neighbor's kid, Holly."
"I'd say that's cold, but she's the Cat," Roy shrugged.
"So wat are you thinking?"
"Attacking the tracks is too exposed, but they'll be going to this warehouse; this is the largest area for the size of product Black Mask is attempting to move that he owns," Jason said as he pointed on the map.
"So we attack there."
"The problem is all these," Roy gestured to the surrounding containors there, and the other warehouses. "What are these?"
"They're mine and they'll be empty," Jason shrugged.
"Red Hood. I am a crime lord," Jason pointed out bitterly. He felt that controlling the crime was what was making it go down just a little bit, though he was still working heavily on it. Interupting his own operations against human trafficking, animal trafficking, and arms smuggling was difficult though. They were being slowly destroyed though; not that his organization knew that. The All-Castes had taught him many things, but the one thing they taught better than the League of Assassins was discipline and invisibility.
The League of Assassins were too well known, members while challenging to identify were easy to spot if one knew what they were looking for. The All-Caste though… he was the last of them, and he was the best of them before they had been destroyed.
"I forget about that because you're so anti-crime at times."
"I'm not anti-crime, I'm anti-stupidity, and most criminals are stupid," Jason stated. However, others, they were in crime not because they wanted to, but because the didn't want to starve. Those criminals he took pity on and set them up with legitimate jobs, or places to be. He might be a crime lord, but he was just as clean as he was dirty. His operations were also brilliantly hidden right in front of the Bats, so they didn't know.
"Well, that's a valid statement," Roy shrugged. "If they want to keep this incoming quiet then they'll probably move the cargo through here, it's concealed enough to provide cover from the Gotham blimps, and be quiet enough. The think is the cops, there's a precinct not five blocks from the docks."
"Cops are dirty, almost all the ones in this precinct belong to Black Mask, minus a few good ones, but they won't respond to the docks alone," Jason said.
"Why not?" Roy asked.
"Because the docks are like Crime Alley, it's where you go to die," Jason answered. It's why the Bats normally had the docks, but Crime Alley, well, even the Bats stayed out of there.
"Why the fuck is this city so corrupt?" Roy sighed.
"Because it is, now focus, I'm seeing three optimal ins," Jason said as he gestured to the map. He spent twenty minutes going over the breeching ideas with Roy, and this… this was the first time in a very LONG time that he had someone on his team. Jason remembered the last time he'd been on a team, and it had been so long since then. It was kind of odd. And it was kind of nice at the same time.
Still very odd, but that was okay if he thought about. Beat being alone for some reason.
And he'd been alone for so very long he had forgotten what teams were like.
Her eyes opened when she heard the low thundering sound of man's world's machines and she stood. Gaining her feet, she decided she would not attack it here, but she would go with it to where ever it was going and then attack whoever was at the end of the line. She would find the Bow of Ra, and she would destroy the sorceress. She was more than willing to do that.
The brilliant yellow engine rounded the bend and she rushed it. Moving swiftly she charged the machine before leaping up, she saw the whites of the man's eyes as she flew over the machine.
Biting her lip in concentration she sought out that power again, the sweat beaded on her brow, and she desperately reached. Stretching her mind as far as it could go, but she could not feel that power, she could not sense the woman.
"We are going, now," Circe spoke which had her gasping as her eyes flew open and she fell back on the bed. "Pack your things pet."
"Y-Y-Yes ma'am," she stammered, she looked at the Amazon who stood there like a zombie.
"Shim'Tar will aid you, be quick about it," she ordered.
"Where are we going?" she asked weakly as she got to her unsteady feet.
"To make the preparations, now hurry along, we mustn't dally here," Circe said as she tossed her heavy purple hair aside which had her sighing. She could escape.
She would find that mind again.
Raven looked at Donna as she stood there in a dress. Donna had Lian in her lap.
"I look ridiculous," she stated to the Amazon.
"Well, it is in my size and the dinner is in an hour, you and I do not have enough shopping time, and Kori could take you but she's not answering the phone," the princess stated.
Raven sighed, and looked herself in the mirror.
"We put a jacket on and the family will be none the wiser," Donna said.
"I still don't want to go," Raven muttered.
"You are going," Donna stated.
"I have homework due on Monday!" Raven protested.
"It's dinner, not war."
"Maybe I'll get lucky and Jason will call with some emergency," she wistfully hoped. Azar above, get her out of this dinner.
"Turn around, I'll finish securing the back," Donna said.
Raven did as she was told before Donna nimbly pulled the dress a bit and safety pinned it, then braided Raven's hair. Picking up the jacket she had gotten from Jason she pulled it on and flipped her braid out.
"Presentable now?" she asked.
"Yes, and when you get back we shall have ice cream and movies as you help me select a room here," she smiled.
"Deal. I want cookie dough ice cream though, and none of that Dreyers stuff. The good stuff Donna!"
"Good, and I'll call Kori tonight," she promised as she walked into the shadows and walked out of them in Water Mill, Long Island, New York. She looked at the address she had gotten and then at the big farm house.
Here goes nothing, she thought as she walked up the stairs and knocked on the door.
Chapter 7: Dinner With a Side of Disasters
Jason looked at the docks, his gear on, and the night as cover as his scope assessed the movements on the unusually dark docks.
"I'm picking up twenty thermals, on the inside, one is… huge, Red, I mean huge. It's reading alien, I think, and I don't it looks like Supes' heat readings," Roy whispered into the comms.
"I'm not seeing a lot of exterior guards, here," Jason said.
"What do you want to do?"
"Train's still coming, lets have them getting their shipment before we bust it up. I don't like whatever Luthor is starting up," Jason said.
"Kay," Roy agreed and Jason continued assessing the docks, from his perch, his weapon swept over them, and he kept his breathing slow and steady, regulating his breaths as he watched the guards' patterns. They were lazy, undisciplined, and too easy. Still, he didn't like it as they had the automatic weapons, and he wasn't going for lethal shots anymore. At least, not when he was in Gotham.
Still, it was unsettling at this moment as he looked the permeameter over and he was unsettled by the stillness of the night here.
Gotham had the Bats running about, he could hear that on his comms, so he focused some more at the warehouse.
Patience, this was key right now, he could handle the patience. Still, something felt off to him. He didn't know what, but there was something unsettling him as he lay here.
Raven stood there, staring at the house, it was a large farmhouse, and it felt ancient, and modern. Slowly she drew her hand from her pocket as she walked up to the door and lightly rapped it.
The door was thrown open and she found herself staring at a twelve or thirteen year old, long black hair, large bright blue eyes, and a sharp exotic face she was still growing into. Raven stared balefully at the girl, and the girl stared back.
"You're Rachel," the girl deduced.
"MA!"the girl screamed and that had a baby crying and then Alice appeared. "She says she's Rachel."
"She is Rachel, and come in, come in, don't just stand there," Alice smiled as she opened the door. With great reluctance Raven walked into the house, and heard the door ominously shut behind her which had her stiffening. Her empathy was bombarded with their emotions as she felt everything from distrust to curiosity and even disgust towards her. But she squared her shoulders and walked forward towards the patriarch of the family and found herself staring at a very old man. His hair was white, his jaw was squared, his mouth in a firm line than neither smiled nor frowned, and his weathered blue eyes. There was a hardness in the man's eyes which had Raven folding her arms as she stared levelly back at him.
"You look just like Angela."
"So I'm told," Raven replied dryly and the man smiled at her then. She kept her indifference strong because she would not waver and she stared at him for a long moment.
"This is your grandfather, Alan Roth, he was from Dachau, Germany, he was in the holocaust," Alice said.
"No need to burden the young with an old man's history Alice," Alan held out his hand and Raven reluctantly shook the old weathered hand. The long boney fingers were calloused, and the skin was worn, he had worked. She saw his eyes flick to her with a mischievous look. "It is a pleasure to meet you at last Rachel."
"It's nice to meet you as well, Alan," Raven replied.
"I have seen the picture of you kissing that man," Alan said.
"It's old news, and no, Jason and I were never, nor will we ever be, together, the kiss was a hoax on his family," she defended.
There is no shame in being young," Alan chuckled. "When I met your grandmother, Oolijee, we could not stop being young."
"We are just friends," Raven stated again for this man.
"So you really know the Waynes?" the girl asked.
"This is Mary-Beth, Billy, Jack and Jessica," Alice said as she bounced a toddler on her hip.
"Yes, I know the Waynes, they're old friends of mine," Raven answered carefully. The public had it listed as Raven meeting Jason on his years missing, which wasn't too far off but it wasn't the truth. She had known Dick first, then Tim, then Damian, then Jason, and then she'd been dragged into meeting the rest of the family. Which was an ordeal now, as she frequently contacted and manipulated by the Bats, mostly by Stephanie and Cass; mainly Cass. One would think it'd be Damian always pestering her, but no, it was Cass, and Cass was arranging for them to start dance classes, Raven didn't know how to get the Bats to stop taking over her life.
Especially since Harley and Ivy were encouraging this.
Raven's life had gone from revolving around the Titans to the confusing civilian world and being over run by Bats. Why were there so many Bats!? No matter, thoughts for later.
"That's…" Alice started.
"Honey," Jack whispered.
"The Waynes are my friends, and they are like family," Raven said firmly. She had known Dick since she was twelve, she'd gone to hell and back for Tim, and she'd fought with Damian, and she trusted Jason with EVERYTHING.
"So, Rachel, tell us about yourself, do you have family, how is Angela, what stories do you have to tell?" Alan asked her and Raven found herself sitting on the couch.
"I have two moms, a brother. Angela has been dead, she was murdered by my father, he's doing life in a supermax prison in Gotham. And no, I don't," Raven said. She hadn't lied through her teeth completely which was confounding to her as she sat there looking at Alice and Alan.
She wanted to leave now, she didn't belong. She could already feel that.
Donna bounced Lian on her hip as she looked through the house. She wasn't sure she should move in, it wasn't like she was Raven and welcomed here.
Jason had not warmed up to her since they had met. Jason was polite, he would chat and tease with her, but the moment he could clearly escape he did. Donna had taken a bit to catch on, but she had figured out Jason didn't want to be around her. She was not welcomed in his heart. She saw it, he had accepted Raven, probably not without question, but Raven was someone Jason cared deeply for. He welcomed Lian, the little girl could elicit a real smile from Jason, the ones he reserved for Raven, or the smaller children, the ones he dared to let his guard down around. And he seemed to be reluctantly accepting Roy into his inner circle.
But Donna saw now, she stood with Jason where Jason had put all the other Bats: At Arms Length Away.
Still, Donna was curious to join a home. Not for Jason, though he was handsome. But rather because she was utterly in love with Lian and adored Roy, she wanted to help Roy. She had not expected men to be so intriguing here, but Roy intrigued her. Also, he was handsome.
That was besides the pointe, Aphrodite above she was not so weak to fall for a man!
Donna still wanted to befriend Roy, to help him and his daughter out.
She paused in a large room on the south east corner of the building.
Raven sat quietly at the table and stared at the meal before her, and she flicked to the children. The two elder ones were glaring back at her with daring blue eyes, that screamed 'lie to us, let us down!', and that had her itching to leave.
"So, Rachel, I would like to know more about my eldest granddaughter," Alan said as he sat at the head of the table with Jack beside him. Alice was sitting with the baby.
"And what do you want to know?" Raven asked levelly as she carefully started eating her meal. She was really hoping for a call from Jason or Victor right now, as a reason to leave.
"Have you read Percy Jackson?" Billy demanded.
"I have, for niece and nephews." Raven had immersed herself gleefully in Rick Riordan's works with Melvin, Timmy and Teether. It was sort of their thing, as the four of them despised the movies. Raven was thinking about hooking Jason into it and the Harry Potter series for Lian. She had caught him reading Dumas to her, and she didn't think the baby needed that in her head.
"So your brother, he is married?"
"Then how do you have a niece and nephew?" Mary-Beth asked her.
"They're adopted. By me, they're family, MY family," she growled the warning lowly when Alice opened her mouth.
"And where are they?" Alan asked her in amusement.
"Melvin is going to a boarding school in San Francisco, Timmy and Teether live with their foster parents, in Australia."
"Australia?" Jack sputtered.
"It's a good country, pretty safe, Teether wants a crocodile," Raven said. She didn't say that Barda was against this, as Teether had brought home a crocodile earlier this year, and Barda was less than thrilled with how it ate her house.
"And you're alright with that?" Jack said.
"Why wouldn't I be?" Raven asked as she continued to quietly eat.
"Do you make out with other celebrities or exclusively Jason?" Alice asked her.
"That is not any of your business," Raven repeated.
"Are the Waynes cool?" Billy demanded.
"Dick is charming, Jason's pretty cool, Cass is awesome, Tim's smart, Damian is Damian, Terry and Helena are babies," Raven shrugged.
"How did you meet Jason?" Alan asked her.
"He stole something of mine, I wanted it back, we've been friends ever since," she shrugged and took a tentative sip of her drink and wished desperately for it to turn into some form of alcohol or something equally potent. She would even settle for poison at this point if it got her the hell out of here. No, that wasn't true, she wanted to be here, she just shouldn't be here.
"Sounds like Oolijee and me," Alan chuckled. "She stole my bag, I chased her."
"I wish he stole a bag, that wouldn't have been as damning," Raven muttered into the glass. Alan looked amused.
"Your grandmother, she wasn't a very good theif," Alan started and Raven gave him her undivided attention. "I had just gotten to America, after the War. Saw the Statue of Liberty, and never felt so much hope, I had lost everything in Dachau. Lived in New York until I was driven west, never seen a more beautiful country. I was in New Mexico, camping and Oolijee was trying to get medicine money for a doctor to check on her little sister, she stole my bag in the dead of night. I chased her, fell into a river with her and when we finally pulled ourselves out of the river, I had my Oolijee," Alan smiled.
"That's sweet," Raven said.
"Must have been the same with you and this Jason," Alan chuckled.
"No, he stole it, I kicked his ass to get it back," she replied flatly. Also they had gotten roped into saving the world; again, from her father, again, and walked out of that disaster best friends; probably for life.
"And ended up friends," Alan mused.
"A lot happened between the theft and ass kicking," she shrugged.
"I can imagine," Alan said wisely, and Raven had an eerie feeling of déjà vu here, as if he had lived this before. Alan though, was completely human from what she could sense.
"Tell us about your moms," Alice said.
"They're nuts, terrible house keepers, I practically live in a greenhouse," Raven stated blankly. Ivy's plants were sacred, and Harley's dogs were life.
"Wait, I saw movement," Roy said, the train was now coming in, and there was a flash of something, he didn't know what, but it was enough to have him tensing in his position where he was watching. The tracks, and docks of Gotham, it was creepy, and disgusting, but he figured it was no worse than home.
"I saw it too, what is that?" Jason's voice spoke in the comms.
"Can't tell, but it just went in the warehouse," Roy said.
"Move in, slowly, get eyes on inside," Jason decided.
"What are you going to do?" Roy asked.
"Probably something stupid."
"That clarifies things," Roy muttered as he moved. Jason could do stupid things, Jason could also live with them operating as a team and doing stupid things together. Besides that, Roy could freely admit, that Jason was hands down the best person he had ever worked with, and easily the most dangerous. Far more dangerous than an Amazonian warrior or a Kryptonian, there's something more to Jason than being a Bat that makes him not just dangerous but lethal.
Roy could trust Jason completely too, which had been a bit of a shock for him. Jason, the most anti-social Bat of Bats, the most independent and infuriatingly secretive of Bats, was also the only one Roy felt he could completely trust to have his back.
He moved through the dark and slowed as he neared the warehouse. The thing that had caught his attention had been a lithe form, now he was turning on his optics to find it again.
Rachel, Alan mused had looked no different than when he had last seen her. Those dark eyes were filled with mystery and knowing. Not that his darling granddaughter was aware of this.
He supposed that was the nature of things. But he was pleased, very pleased hat he had had this opportunity to meet her, again.
Oh she looked like Angela, those eyes, that mouth, her chin, the stubborn set of her face. She had the same black hair as Angela had had, and the same elegant way about her. The woman before him wasn't just an elegant woman though, he could see this. She held herself like a Queen, a warrior that had traveled through Hell and battled demons and monsters far greater than any he could imagine.
But that was something he supposed he expected from Trigon's daughter.
The Raven stared at him with an apathetic appearance, feigning on indifference and boredom, but he could see the intelligence and curiosity that whirl in the depths. Carefully hidden and controlled. Carefully guarded. She had not changed in the years since he had last seen her.
It was good though, to see her again, to see her alive, and whole, and here again. It had been too long since he had seen her, in person, and he had resigned himself to dying without seeing his granddaughter again.
She was so beautiful, just like her mother.
She slipped soundlessly off of the container, her feet were light when she landed and she materialized Mistress to her hand as she drew herself up to her full height. The men were talking amongst themselves as she slipped soundlessly through the warehouse. Now she just needed to find the Bow of Ra and then she would take it to that sorceress and destroy her.
Movement topside caught her attention and she mis-stepped into where she was seen.
"Intruder!" a guard shouted and then thunder rang out, she swung her axe through a man and then there was glass raining down on her as someone came crashing downwards. A flash of dark gray and brown with red caught her eye. But she hefted her bloody axe as she fought through the horde of men then. The screams were pathetic.
Someone hit the back of her head, and the turned to glare at the offender. The man squeaked as she smashed her elbow into his head and sent him reeling before she kicked him away from her. She twisted around when she felt someone grab her hair and knocked him off his feet before she swung Mistress through the man, cleaving him in two. There was a blur of gray, and soon found herself face to face with another man, before she punched him and sent him flying out of her way. She would find what she was after!
There was a flash of red as another descended into the battle, and arrow whizzed by her impaling a man behind her to the wall.
Alice watched as Rachel uneasily as Rachel talked with Alan after dinner. She was nervous, worried that Rachel would just walk away as Angela had. She didn't understand it at all! How could her sister's daughter be so much like Angela and yet, so different.
"What are you worrying about?" Jack asked her as she stood in the kitchen apprehensively and stared at the dining room.
"I'm worried she's going to leave and never come back," Alice admitted.
"The choice is hers', she's an adult," Jack started.
"The Hell It Is!" Alice spun on her husband who held up his hands then. "She's a child, she's Angela's child, that makes her my niece, she belongs here! With us! We're her family!"
"It sounds like she's found a pretty great family of her own," Jack started.
"She's a child Jack, and she belongs here."
"She's twenty Alice, yes, twenty, I paid attention. She's got two moms, a brother, a niece and two nephews she clearly adores. She's got a best friend, and is going to Gotham Community College, she's no child Alice."
"She's not Angela, you need to see that," Jack said tiredly.
"I just… that's the last bit of my sister," Alice whimpered as she leaned on Jack.
"I know," he promised.
"I don't want to lose her too," Alice said mutely against his shirt. She couldn't bear the thought of losing that last connection to her sister.
Jason stood in the carnage aftermath of the assault. He hadn't broken the Gotham rules, however, there were a lot of dead guys, and a lot of kneeless guys moaning in agony.
He turned and looked up at a woman; clearly a fucking Amazon from the way she was holding herself. That proud set of her jaw, and the way those green eyes were bright with defiance as she held an axe easily as large as he was. She was taller than him, which was a bit baffling, but he wasn't intimidated as he held the guns in hand.
"Who's the chick?" Roy asked beside him, and Jason assessed her carefully.
"An Amazon I'm guessing," he deduced.
"Correct little one, now move or I will remove you," she said, her voice riddled with icy authority that would have had him paying attention to her if he didn't happen to know the Queen of Hell. The Amazon though was impressive, her gold, blue and red armor looked Egyptian, so he didn't know who she was. But still, she had said he was correct in assuming she was an Amazon.
"Was that a threat? Arsenal, I think she just threatened us," Jason said to Roy.
"Indeed she did Hood," Roy agreed humorlessly.
"I am not here for you, but I will cut you down if you do not get out of my way," she warned.
"Pass, been there, done that," he and Roy said.
"This is between me and the Mask."
"Funny, that's why we're here too," Roy said.
"Why don't we stop trying to kill each other and work together," Jason reluctantly offered. The Amazon's eyes narrowed on him, and he kept himself ready for a fight.
"Very well, allies, for the moment," she decided.
"That was too easy," Roy hissed at him.
"You appear to be heroes of man's world," she deduced.
Jason glowered at her, and didn't say anything. It wasn't like he and Roy were openly wore the sigils of the Hero families they hailed from. He'd sooner die again than wear a Bat on his gear.
"Fine, partners," Jason said and reluctantly holstered his weapons. Her axe disappeared and he moved away from Roy as he leapt over the railing and stealthily. His eyes were scanning the readings he was getting from his helmet and he gave it five minutes before he was in real trouble, as he was already picking up the radio waves of the coming mercs that Black Mask had no doubt hired for this job. But that wasn't what had Jason's attention as he stared in the center of the warehouse.
There, in a huge glass cloning chamber was Superman.
"Arsenal, I need you down here," Jason spoke into the comms as he walked to what appeared to be a control panel, and he looked at the readings. It was alive! Well fuck!?
So that was the game changer for Black Mask, a Bizarro.
"Hey Hood, so the Amazon's looking for a powerful mystical weapon… and what the hell is Black Mask doing with a Bizarro?" Roy said as he came up to his side.
"I don't know," Jason said. "Think you can get him out of that?"
"That would be a very poor idea," the Amazon appeared then and Jason ignored her.
"Look, you help us get him out of here, and I'll give you all the intel I have on Black Mask and his shipments," Jason offered her.
"You want to do what?"
"Simple, you help us, we help you," he replied, grinning behind his mask. He could see the way her jade eyes assessed him and knew he had her then.
"Very well," she said.
"Hood, Red Hood, at your service!" he held out his hand and shook hers then. She said nothing, but the disgust and contempt on her face was obvious as she glowered at him. He didn't care though. There was no way that he was letting Black Mask have a Bizarro. Nope, he wasn't THAT stupid.
"Arsenal, work on this, the backups are coming!" he pulled his weapon then as he took to the higher ground and waited. The Amazon just huffed and pulled her axe from thin air as she stood ready for battle.
This was going to be fun! He was betting that he was going to regret this.
He checked his ammo again and then clicked the magazine in place as he waited. He heard them coming and fired as he caught the first one's weapon and threw him over the railing.
Raven was relaxing slightly as she finished dinner. She wanted out of here, they were too nice, too normal. She didn't belong among them. She felt like a tiger surrounded by houscats, who were blissfully unaware of just what she was and how dangerous she was. And despite relaxing she nearly leapt out of her skin when her phone rang.
"Excuse me," she said as she stood up, Alan nodded to her, Jack and Alice seemed reluctant, Mary-Beth and Billy though looked like they wanted to follow her.
"Hello?" she answered.
"HELP!" Roy's shout filled her ear.
"What the!? Roy!?" she sputtered.
"We are in WAY OVER OUR HEADS! HELP!"
"You Imbecile!" a woman's voice shouted in the background.
There was a bunch of explosions and what sounded like a building breaking before the call dropped and she looked over at Alice, Jack and Alan.
"I have to go!" she managed as she walked out, then she was running down the stairs of the farm house as she used her empathy to find Jason's Lazarus Pit.
If he died on her she swore to Azar she would resurrect him and strangle his dumbass! And if anything happened to Roy she would kick both the men's asses to Hell and Back! She tore open a portal as she reached the road, ignoring the headlights and blaring horn that should have hit her as she raced to get to Jason and Roy.
Rolling out of the way, he surged up to his feet firing as he ran for cover. The Amazon dove behind some crates as some goon fired an RPG, and Jason gasped for breath behind the crate. He was bleeding; again.
"Anymore bright ideas!?" she snapped.
"Yeah, one," he admitted.
"No! I have had enough of you and your Ideas!" she hissed.
"Then you'll love this one," he countered, leaping over his cover he fired for heads. The men scattered, but it wasn't fast enough as he landed in their group. The putz with the RPG was suddenly sailing and the Amazon stood there with her axe. Jason slammed his foot into the schmuck's chest sending the guy smashing into a crate before whirling around. He had a knife in hand. The second goon; followed closely by the third tried to come over his bad shoulder. Not slowing he slashed the arm as the mand came over, and then he stabbed the other goon before knocking the second into the fourth and changing his clip.
There was a scream.
"Arsenal!" he shouted.
"Working on it!" Roy roared before there was a thud.
"Leave it, it is not worth our lives!" the Amazon announced.
"It's a person and I'm not leaving him," Jason countered. "You want Black Mask's intel, we do this my way."
He leapt up a guy, catching his opponent's shoulders as he landed on them and used his victim as a spring board. There was a roar of pure frustration behind him but Jason wasn't an idiot. Giving the Amazon the intel would lose his leverage and expose Roy to the cross fire which in turn might have the already dangerous situation they found themselves in more dangerous.
Catching the rail of the second deck he swung up, slamming his full weight into the man as he kicked the MP-5 into his hands. Operating the weapon quickly he moved as he cleared the deck, sweeping it carefully.
Finally, it was silent which had him alert as he looked down at where Roy was working, and the Amazon was standing tall and pissed.
"Arsenal?" he shouted.
"Working!" Roy shouted back. Jason didn't relax as he went back down.
"Work faster," he ordered.
"You're asking me to stabilize a Kryptonian clone! In a pod not designed to keep him sleeping!" Roy hissed.
"They'll be back," the redheaded woman snapped. "The intel, now."
"Hey, would it help if I called her?" Jason ignored the Amazon who had leveled her axe at him. His concern was on the clone, who was still in his pod.
"Think she could fix genetics?" Roy asked.
"Never know until we call her."
"You do realize that means we have to let him out of the pod?" Roy whispered.
"You Will Do No Such Thing!" the Amazon snapped as she caught Jason by the throat and knocked Roy away from the concell. Jason gasped when his back hit the wall.
"Look lady!" he gasped, gripping her wrist. He didn't know if he had charged it or not but there was no harm in taking one last try at it before he was royally fucked. There was no fucking way he could take an Amazon, he was good but he wasn't that good.
"Do Not Unleash That On The World!" she snarled, her eyes were bright with rage.
"Sorry," Jason gasped and he managed to have his tazer go then as she dropped him, tossed back by a bolt of electricity knocked her right into the glass of the pod.
There was a deafening crack, Jason scrambled to the pod as it shattered, the liquid preserving the clone splashed into the ground as the clone hit the ground with a heavy thud.
"Hood get away!" Roy shouted. But it was too late as the disoriented, growing, paling clone grew in bulk. Those eyes landed on Jason and Jason slowed his motions.
"Hey big guy," he said softly. "Just here to help," he started.
There was a roar of discontentment from the clone before Jason was again smashed into a wall.
"I'M CALLING HER!" Roy shouted, there was a moan.
"Ow!" Jason gasped.
"You Imbecile!" the Amazon shouted, there was an axe swung, then everything seeing to be encloaked in black as it froze. The weight pinning him to the wall disappeared, he gasped as he slumped to the ground. Just seeing her walk through the portal, then he shouted as the clone charged her.
Raven yelped as she was hoisted up.
"Let her go!" Jason and Roy shouted.
"You've doomed us!" the Amazon shouted, but Jason saw her charging the clone too.
Then everything froze in black, a wave of calm hit them as he stumbled back recognizing the whiplash of Raven's empathy.
"Put. Me Down. Now." Raven's monotone was firm.
"Friend of yours?" the Amazon hissed.
"Sort of," Jason admitted, he watched as the clone put her down carefully. Raven stepped back, straightening her dress then.
"What the hell is going on!?" Raven spun on him, he took three steps back as she stalked towards him.
"Shit just went a wee bit sideways!" Jason started, holding up his hands. He heard a snort from the Amazon who was now leaning on her axe.
"You Have A Bizarro! Explain! Now! Or So Help Me I Will Kick Your Ass To Hell And Back!" Raven snarled.
"You'd never do that to your favorite advisor," he cheekily countered.
"Wanna bet your life on it?" she threatened coldly.
"Any time, any place, any day Queen," he smiled behind his hood. Raven jabbed her finger at him but before she could start in on tearing him a new one she was hoisted up again, yelping as she grabbed his arms.
"The little bird is pretty," he agreed unhelpfully.
"I Am Not Little!" Raven shouted.
"She is," the Amazon said dusting herself off as the Bizarro smiled at Raven.
"Who is this?"
"Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, and I will have what is mine, Red Hood," Artemis announced coldly heaving her axe up.
"Do you ever not piss off the new people you meet?" Raven hissed.
"It's a talent," he shrugged innocently.
"You're a pain in the ass!" she snapped struggling in Bizarro's grip.
"I knew you loved me!" Jason decided, Raven glowered dangerously at him.
"Will You two Stop Flirting!?" Roy shouted.
"Enough chatter," Artemis came at him then.
Chapter 8: Don't Go Cryin' No Crocodile Tears
Raven shoved Jason as she flew back into the Bizarro as they crashed into the wall. And she watched the Amazon miss Jason's head with her axe. The woman landed, her gold, blue, and red armor shimmered. Egyptian, she noted, it looked like Fate's armor. She wrapped the shadows around her as she floated above them.
"Give me what I want Hood!" the Amazon shouted.
"I will I will! Goddamn it woman stop trying to kill me!" Jason yelped as he leapt over her.
"Why can't you, for five minutes stay out of trouble!?" Raven demanded as she threw a portal where Jason was landing. Roy dove away from the axe wielder, and Raven caught him as she yanked him up onto a shadow platform beside her.
"I ask myself that question often," Roy muttered.
"You are no better Arsenal," Raven grounded out.
"I will take it now, Hood, or I will have your head," the Amazon shouted.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Jason shouted as he slammed onto the disk.
Raven cried out when she felt something slam into her before she was slammed into the ground, hitting the concrete.
"I met a sorceress, she destroyed my home, I will destroy you as well," Artemis stated, her flowing red hair a fiery mane and murderess emerald eyes. The shadows quivered in her control as she tried to back away from the axe.
"Lot of mortals have tried, doesn't work out so well for them," Raven warned as she felt her powers pulse.
"Back. Away. From. The. Little. Bird." A soft click at the Amazon's head where Raven saw the gun in Jason's hand. She saw Roy's arrow notched, and the Amazon seemed to assess this, as the Bizarro roared and charged the Amazon.
"You care about this sorceress," the Amazon said.
"That's no sorceress, so back away," Roy warned and Raven let out a pulse of empathy to freeze them all, stilling everyone around her as she released a wave of darkness, stilling everyone as she flew into the air, pinning everyone to the walls, as she kept heavy shadows around the Amazon and clone.
"That. Is. Enough." Raven snarled as she stood there. There was a dangerous pulse of the Lazarus Pit which had her turning to Jason. "Control, or I Drain You."
Jason said nothing but she could feel his stress and agitation beneath the surface of his aggression.
"Now, everyone calm down," Raven ordered as she released the shadows and turned on the Amazon. "I'm not a sorceress, that would imply that I had to learn about my magic abilities and that it is my only or main source of power. It's not.
"So why, are you trying to kill the Hood?" Raven asked walking over to the taller woman who was laying down. Raven stared hard at the woman as she mentally sifted through the emotions of the Amazon. Aggression, pain, fury, grief, sadness, loss, it was all familiar to Raven, but there was an underlaying betrayal to the woman's emotions which was what Raven wrapped her psyche around as she brought it to the woman's surface. Manipulating emotions was not her preferred method for getting the truth but the woman seemed intent on killing Jason and Roy and Raven would not allow that.
"I am an Amazon of Bana-Mighdall, and I am the last one, all my sisters were destroyed by the Shim'Tar, she wields the Bow of Ra, and she is under the control of a sorceress," Artemis said with reluctance. "What sorcery do you use!? Witch!"
"Demon, and that wasn't magic, that was empathy," Raven replied.
Suddenly there was a shout behind her which had her spinning around to see Jason being slammed into the wall by Bizarro.
"I got this!" he shouted.
"HOOD!" Raven groaned as she pinched the bridge of her nose. Great Azar give her strength not to kill the Bat!
"Everything's under control!" Jason lied.
"Arsenal, help him!" Raven shouted.
"He's got this!" Roy laughed.
"Men," Raven muttered.
"Useless," Artemis snorted. Raven turned around and offered the larger woman a hand. The Amazon took it and Raven helped her to her feet, only then to notice how much taller the Amazon was. Seriously!? She wanted to balk about this. It wasn't fair! Why did EVERYONE get to be taller than her!?
"Pup-pup!" Bizarro was chanting and Raven folded her arms as she walked over to Jason who was laying on the ground panting, with Lian's Superman plushy in hand.
"Pup-pup thinks its nap time," Jason gasped.
"Pup-pup friend," Bizarro said as he laid there.
"You know she's going to hate you when she finds out you have given away her Superman plushy," Raven said as she nudged her friend's ribs.
"Hey sunshine," she could feel him grinning behind his hood as he lay there.
"Do you ever NOT get into trouble!?" she demanded.
"Seems to know where I am all the time," he remarked.
"Why do you have Speedy's Superman!?" Roy demanded leaping down from his perch.
"She gave me Supes," Jason shrugged. "Turns out to be a lucky charm," he said.
"She gave me Green Arrow," Roy muttered sourly. Raven glared at the men.
"The information Hood," Artemis said again.
"Relax Princess, a deals a deal, I got a safe house," Jason said.
"Is this the holey one or the rickety one?" Raven asked.
"It's the bunker."
"Oh, Arsenal, where's the bunker?"
"Beneath the Gotham precinct, down town," Roy answered.
Raven sighed. "I should call the Bats," she muttered.
"Don't You Dare!" Jason and Roy both shouted as she wrapped the shadows around all of them when she heard the coming footsteps and walked into the old World War II bunker then. Bizarro looked confused and Artemis held her axe poised for a fight.
"What is…?" Artemis said as she turned.
"I'm not a witch," Raven repeated as she slumped into Jason's chair in front of his computers.
"I'm starved," Roy said.
"Great, you're on the Big Belly run," Jason said as he pulled off his hood.
"I want a double with a strawberry shake and fries!" Raven shouted.
"Didn't you just have a dinner with your family?"
"Do you know how much energy it takes to come save your stupid ass?" she asked blandly. Artemis stared dumbly at them.
"Touché," Jason said. "Princess, this is Raven, I'm Jason, that's Roy."
"Pretty little bird," Bizarro hummed as he hugged his Superman plushy.
"I am not little!"
"You are tiny, Raven," Roy said as he pulled off his domino mask.
"I am not!"
"I hate you all."
"Double with a milkshake and fries will win your love again," Roy decided.
"Maybe, don't forget the shake!" she shouted.
"Such a demanding Queen," Jason shoved the rolling chair aside and she stuck her tongue out at him, feeling childish and relaxed again.
"The usual for everyone!?" Roy shouted as he pulled on a purple t-shirt.
"Yeah, extra onions!" Jason shouted.
"Whatever," Roy waved off.
"I want extra onions too!" she shouted. "Grilled!"
"Of course my queen, I'd be an ever faithful minion," Roy mocked as he gave her a joke bow. "Thanks for coming to save our asses Rae!" he walked out of the bunker and Raven turned to Jason who was pulling his gear off.
"At least that minion knows he's my minion," she decided.
"I'm the advisor not your minion, love, now get out of my chair. And princess, we're working together," Jason said as he finished pulling on a large green t-shirt. Artemis seemed baffled by these changes but Raven wasn't disturbed at all as she was floating and Jason grabbed the chair. She turned and stared at the clone who was resting peacefully before she sensed the pain which had her hopping onto the ground as she carefully approached him.
"Rae…" Jason's tone was warning caution.
"He's in pain," Raven said.
"I bet, rapid growth would do that," Jason reminded her.
"No, not just that."
"Help him if you can," he shrugged.
"What are you doing!?" the Amazon demanded.
"I'm going to fix the pain."
"Leave her be, darling," Jason warned and Raven gingerly put her hand on the Bizarro's shoulder. The giant opened his eyes to peer at her, she softened a bit as she knelt down to his level. Her fingers ghosted his face and he smiled a bit at her.
"Lil bird," he grinned.
"Raven," she corrected as she touched his skin. Her empathy was afire from his pain, this burning, microscopic pain which had her slowly delving after it. She chased the pain as she closed her eyes and focused on it, she could feel it unraveling and the deteriorating pain of that.
She couldn't figure out what was unraveling though as she rapidly started grasping for it, taking it and replacing it with strength to forge what was unraveling together again. she hissed as she took that into herself, feeling as if her cells were being torn apart as her demon nature emerged to heal her.
Artemis was befuddled, baffled, shocked, startled, out of her depth and the moment they had landed in a bunker it was as if there'd been a complete turnabout. The men had discarded their masks and then were acting like there was no threat.
The girl's skin pulsed red as she sat with Bizarro, her eyes were glowing white.
"What is she…?"
"Leave the Queen be, now tell me about the weapon Roman had," the Hood said. She found herself staring at a young man, he did not look old enough to be a warrior, more like a pouty child. His face was set in hard lines, and he looked old, and young. His eyes had a bright glowing ring of green and his hair was a shaggy mess with a single white streak standing out amongst the black.
"I do not require your assistance, just the information!" she snapped.
"Too bad, you got both," the Hood shrugged.
"You are a foolish man," she snapped.
"Thanks, people call me Jason," he smiled a roguish trouble maker's smile and Artemis was slightly amused. She was also aware that the man was trouble. He had that gleam in his eye that Akila would get before Artemis found herself neck deep in the middle of some unforeseen trouble.
"You would hand your name to your enemy?"
"I've done a lot stupider things, trust me," he said.
"That is easy to believe," she remarked dryly. And he turned to the technology, something she learned in her short time in man's world to mean more to these people than a battle. So she sat cautiously in the chair beside him.
Her eyes slid over to the smaller woman though, who was red with glowing white eyes.
"She said she is no witch," Artemis sneered.
"Raven isn't a witch," Jason said. Suddenly the screen was filled with numbers and letters as he seemed to be reading it. To her it meant nothing, she merely looked for something familiar, however she was seeing the problem of being here now. She would need assistance with the language, she was seeing none of the hieroglyphics she was familiar with. She wanted to growl in frustration, but to this Jason man this seemed to mean something.
"Okay, well, there's a secondary shipment going to Quarc," Jason said then he looked at her.
"It'd be a lot more useful if I knew what I was looking for princess," he said suddenly.
"Call me princess again and I will remove your tongue from your head," she growled.
"Would you prefer Arty!?" he smiled.
"Artemis," she grounded out.
"Arty it is, so what am I looking for Arty?" he asked cheekily. She felt like throttling him, but she couldn't read that gibberish, she would need his assistance for now.
"The Bow of Ra," she answered.
"Okay, so it's a bow, and magic, that'll help narrow it down. Not a whole hell of a lot of buyers for shit like that," Jason muttered to himself then he was over the keys and she watched his fingers fly over them.
Roy was on the street, he had his favorite ball cap on and his shaggy hair drawn back in a half tail; he should get it cut. He was taking a short cut through the alley when there was a small blur of red and yellow before the kid was before him.
"Robin," Roy mused.
"Harper," Damian said with great disdain.
"What's up?" Roy asked as he neatly sidestepped the kid and zipped up his red hoodie. He noted then that it had spit up from Lian and decided he'd have to do laundry, again.
"Where is he?"
"He blew up the docks! Where is he!?" Damian demanded, and Roy looked down at Dick's younger pain in the ass brother. Right, the kid was actually fond of Jason, he kind of forgot that with how much of a royal little prick this kid could be. But looking at the eleven year old he sighed.
"He's fine, Rae got us," he shrugged.
"Father wishes to speak with him," Damian said.
"Bats probably knows where to find us, now I'm going to Big Belly Burger," Roy said and lightly ruffled the kid's hair as he walked by. He did it to irk Damian, knowing the kid would growl.
"Father will not tolerate this!" Damian shouted.
"Yeah, yeah, tell him to call his kid!" Roy dismissed as he pulled out his phone and walked into the Gotham night crowd. The phone rang once before there was an answer.
"Are you returning so quickly?" she asked, her tone gorgeous and calm.
"Uh… no, I think we're extending our trip," he admitted. Jason was still looking for a distraction, obviously and this had presented the perfect distraction for him.
"You mind hanging around for a bit longer?" he asked.
"No, Ace and Lian are perfect!" she smiled.
"I think we're abducting Rae too," he said.
"I thought she was having dinner with her family," Donna said.
"Well, was is a good description there," he said dryly.
There was a heavy sigh on the other end of the line.
"I'm sure she'll rant all about it when we get back. She's probably chewing Jaybird out right now," he said. Though to be honest he wasn't sure what she'd be doing, it was Raven and she was not predictable at times.
"Just stay safe, Lian will help me set up my room," Donna said.
"So you picked a room?" he chuckled.
"Southeast corner, farthest from Jason as I can get."
"He'll appreciate that," Roy said softly.
"I know, Raven said the same thing. Take care we'll see you when you return," Donna said and hung up. Roy stuffed the phone in his pocket and walked to the nearest Big Belly Burger, he was eternally grateful for the goodness that was consistently Big Belly Burger.
Jason swore that it's legendary awesomeness remained throughout the multiverse, aside from a few worlds with something called In-N-Out, which sounded wholly unappealing.
Bruce was more than aware of his son's base of operations beneath the Gotham PD's precinct, down town. He had been vastly amused with Jason's audacity to have his base there. So Bruce was exceedingly amused seeing Damian across the street scoping out the precinct, with his night vision binoculars. Soundlessly Bruce perched himself beside Damian and waited. He was not Dick, but slowly he was connecting more with Damian.
Things with Damian were tentative, and better with Selina's and Dick's help.
"Father," Damian stated.
"Robin," he answered.
"I am going to go live with the Red Hood," Damian stated.
Bruce lifted a brow at his son from behind the mask and waited for an elaboration that was no doubt coming.
"You have acquired yet another child, you no longer require me," Damian stated painfully.
And there it was.
"You Are Not Being Replaced." He stated this with care. "But he is a young man in need of a home, and training, in need of a family. Families do not replace members."
"You replaced Nightwing when he quit being Robin, and Hood when he ceased to be," Damian started.
"That s not how it works," Bruce said and he forced his son to look at him. "The family grew, no one was replaced. And you too will outgrow Robin, in time. Families grow though, you have not been replaced. And you still have a home, just as Hood does."
"You… you mean that?" Damian looked up at him then and Bruce nodded.
Besides, Bruce would bet that Jason's own home was expanding with a family. Jason, despite all his protests, was probably a second father to Lian, and a friend of Roy's, and slowly his son was forming bonds with his siblings; again. Jason was the one to always babysit Terry, Helena and Mar'i when the rest of the family couldn't. Jason was slowly forming ties with Tim and had already gotten to being a main person in Damian's checklist. Jason was coming into the family again, at a slower pace, but slowly he was returning.
"I… I do not want to be replaced," Damian stated slowly.
"No one is replacing anyone," he assured.
Besides, Selina would definitely skin him alive if she thought he was replacing any of the kids. She had nearly killed him when Tim had picked up being Robin after Jason had died. No one was replaceable. Now they just needed to enforce this fact to Damian.
"But you replaced Hood…" Damian muttered.
"I never replaced him," Bruce repeated. He had lost his son, and another had come into his life. He had never, nor could he ever replace Jason. No one could replace Jason.
"Then why did you brng another kid home?" Damian demanded.
"He needs a home," Bruce replied. Damian sighed and slumped where he was. Bruce took this as his victory before he ushered Robin with him for the patrol of the night.
Jason didn't look at the Amazon, she was already an imposing woman. He kept an eye on Raven though, she was pulsing red, and he didn't know how to take that. He knew she was gray. Her demon's armor made her look like a fucking harpy or something, and she'd have talons for nails. When her emotions got the better of her all her clothes, regardless of color, went white. And she had four eyes that varied in color depending on which of her natures was more dominant at the time of the eyes showing. But he had never seen her red, and right now she was as red as they got.
His eyes landed on a large shipment, but he couldn't make out fully what it meant which had him pulling his mouse over that as his fingers started typing and hesitantly he started hacking the file.
Artemis didn't move from where she was, and she seemed to be impatiently assessing the screen beside him. Raven finally stood and walked over to him, rubbing her temples.
"You okay?" he asked looking up at her.
"No, my head hurts," she muttered.
"Okay, you want to go lay down?" he offered.
"Not particularly," she sighed and she sat in the chair beside him.
"Okay, you're not going to go all rabid demon are you?" Jason asked.
"I don't think so…?" she looked down then and frowned. "Oh, I'm red."
"Yup, you are red."
"That's a first," she muttered.
"Should we be worried?"
"I think it's just my father's residual power lingering in my system, I stole his powers. My hair isn't white or I have horns growing out my head do I?"
"Do I have four eyes right now?"
"No, but they are yellow."
"Hm… I will be back," she was off and Jason sighed as he looked back at the screen then.
"What is she?" Artemis asked.
"That's Raven, she's a demon."
There was a yelp from the bathroom and he was up as he ran for it, he tore the door open, and Raven was grey again with bright orange, slitted eyes.
"What the hell!?"
"I don't know!"
"Is this because you're hungry?" Jason asked her.
"I don't think so, what's wrong with my eyes!?" she demanded in panic, her powers shattered the mirror and a few things were rattling.
"Well they don't look that bad," he offered.
"My eyes are orange crocodile eyes!"
"Well you're the one who doesn't care about her looks," he offered.
Raven glowered at him.
"We'll fix this," he said.
"There's no fixing this, what is wrong with my eyes!?" she demanded.
"One thing at a time Rae," he offered.
"Oh Azar, this is bad," she breathed staring at herself in the broken mirror. "This is really bad!"
"Perhaps calm down and they'll go back to normal?"
"Normal!?" she looked panic.
"I don't know how to help with the magic-demon shit Queen," he defended.
"I have crocodile eyes!" she said and Jason watched as she covered them before stomping past him. Jason just tried to think of what the hell he was supposed to say and safely came to the solution that there was no right thing to say. Which had him picking up a discarded pair of sunglasses he had from his time in Afghanistan and handing them to her. She slid them on as she frowned.
"What is going on?" Artemis hissed furiously.
"We're having a demon crisis moment," he answered.
"I hate you," Raven muttered and he could feel her glaring at him before he went to sit down. He was not going to dig his second grave with the Queen of Hell being mad about her eyes. Raven wasn't a girl overly concerned about her appearance, but he could see the problem she might have about having those eyes. They were a bit creepy.
"Looks like there was a large shipment to Quarc, to the Odyssey Corporation, but I'm not reading anything about them. I'm guessing that it's a shell company," Jason said.
"That is stupid," Artemis muttered.
"You said you were attacked by a sorceress," Jason said.
"She destroyed my sisters," Artemis seethed, glaring at Raven who had reappeared dressed in yoga pants, and a hoodie, her feet had socks on.
"You touch her and I'll kill you," Jason warned.
"Protective of your lover?" Artemis mused.
"We're not lovers," he and Raven answered in unison.
The Amazon gave a snort, and he said nothing to continue refuting her claim. Raven and he weren't lovers, and they knew it, which was all that mattered to him at times.
"If you saw her picture would you recognize her?" he asked as he started hacking into the JL files. The magic community was small, but the files that Fate and Zatanna had complied were accessible and minimal, but they might prove to be useful.
"I could never forget that witch," Artemis growled.
"Then we'll start there."
"It couldn't have been the Enchantress," Raven said.
"You're sure about that?"
"Yes, she's still in my room, on the bookshelf," Raven answered.
"The one at home."
"You left the Enchantress with Harley and Ivy!?" he sputterd.
"It's the safest place to leave her! And it's not like I could leave her near the dragon, Malchoir couldn't have done this either, so you can eliminate him."
"You have got to stop leaving magical beings just laying around."
"The dragon is secure! He's in in Azarath, he can't get here," she answered.
"So you let him out of the book?"
"Well I don't have to worry about stealing that now," Jason muttered.
"Don't steal my things!"
"I am not touching your things ever again!"
"You two are infuriating," Artemis stated harshly. Jason rolled his eyes though. He looked through JL files as he hunted for what he needed.
"That one," Raven pointed, and he clicked it as suddenly there was a flow of sorcerers he didn't even know about flooding his screen.
"You can eliminate Faust, no profit in taking a Bow of Ra, or magical weapon. Merlin too, he's dead I think. Etrigan shouldn't even be on this list, Swamp thing is out, wait, no, he's dead," she said.
"How do you know all this?" Jason demanded.
"Small community, and take Constantine's file out of there, if Zatanna and Fate aren't going to have files here neither should Constantine," Raven sighed.
"Well then, O Mighty Queen of Hell, whom should I be looking for?" Jason asked as he did as told.
"There's few sorceresses of power to handle magical Amazonian weapons," Raven said.
"Noted. So who would you advise looking for?" Jason asked, he was now genuinely curious about this.
"Obviously a woman, but look for someone about Zatanna level of power," Raven suggested.
"She's powerful," Raven defended.
"She hates your guts," he pointed out.
"Okay, let me put it to you this way, you're not looking for an Angel, or a demon, no offense, but there's not many of us on the plane that I'm aware of. Half breeds of that sort are also rare and a disturbance any being of darkness or light would feel. Fate wouldn't do it, and last I sensed Klarion or any other being of Chaos weren't here. That'd require forming a familiar, which is not easy to do, and takes years of meditation and planning, it is not done overnight, and any being of any magic level would feel the familiar being formed. And I'm not talking a witch's familiar, I'm talking a full anchor in this realm of existence, it takes a lot of power.
"Most witches and wiccans aren't powerful enough to yield a familiar of that strength, and the artifacts they use aren't of the power of an Amazon's weapon.
"We can also eliminate people from other Earths, like the Earth-616, and the Sorcerous Supreme, that's a power ripple I'd have felt, cosmic stuff, and Constantine would have felt it. An Endless is also out, not that they'll be in the files. Also, Endless are rumored to be bound by ancient rules, I don't know the particulars, but I would bet yielding an artifact is out for them. Ancient artifacts are a lot of power, like your All-Blades, takes willful yielders to utilize the real power. Artifacts also select their users, not the other way around.
"Which also eliminates dabblers and would-be's in the magic field, which eliminates a lot of monsters. So, I'd focus on Sorceresses about Zatanna's level of power, lower than mine though. It's doubtful that they'd be something like me. But that would provide the yielder with enough power to enforce their will, and also have enough magic to not die on contact or be driven mad by the Gods of Old's voices," Raven shrugged.
"And you got all that because the Amazon said the sorceress took the Bow of Ra?" Jason asked her.
"The Bow of Ra is a well-known LOST artifact in the magic community," Raven said.
"She didn't… the sorceress never touched the weapon," Artemis said.
Now Jason looked at Raven who just looked indifferent. "And what did the sorceress do?"
"She manipulated someone into using the weapon, the Shim'Tar," Artemis stated icily.
"Still not easy to do, look for the power I supplied, maybe more powerful than Zatanna, now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go try to fix my damn eyes," Raven muttered.
Jason sniggered as she stalked off.
The Amazon glowered for a moment then looked helplessly at the screen and Jason looked the woman over. She was gorgeous, long red hair, bronze skin, emerald eyes, she looked like a freaking Amazon. Built, tall, and trouble. But more than that, the woman looked… lost.
"This isn't just revenge," he deduced, and the Amazon glowered at him. "Helping you out either way, I got business to take over. But I need to know if this is personal other than losing your home."
"Because the people I work with are my home and if you endanger that I will not hesitate to eliminate you," Jason stated icily.
The Amazon glared at him balefully before she answered. "She has control of my best friend."
Jason nodded slowly and looked to where Raven had disappeared, and then back to the clone before he looked at the Amazon.
"We do this my way," he warned her.
"I want the sorceress's head on a platter."
"I can get that, but if you threaten Raven or Roy again I will end you," he warned.
She felt that power again which had her tilting her head up as she closed her eyes and stretched her mind. She reached and reached then grabbed as her spirit wrapped around the power before she opened her eyes to find herself standing in a bathroom.
The woman was inspecting her eyes before they flicked to her.
She gasped at the glowing orange eyes.
The woman turned to her, she was slight, small, but those eyes, and that power emanating from her were terrifying.
"Enough of this child," the woman spoke in a smoky monotone before slashing the connection and Lilith was sent reeling as she snapped back to her reality in Greece, gasping for air.
That power… that was a lot of power! She wanted to use the woman's aid.
"Lilith, child, are you not resting enough," the sorceress asked which had Lilith's eyes snapping up to Circe.
"I'm just tired," she muttered.
"Mmm, well, rest up my child, we shall reach my home soon and then we shall begin preparing for the assault."
Lilith said nothing as she looked over at the trapped Amazon who stood listlessly at the edge of the ship. She could feel the dying psyche of the Amazon and the pain. It had her shivering as she looked back out at the sea.
She needed help.
She would get help.
Chapter 9: A Little Lost, and Going On a Quest
Jason looked up when Roy walked into the bunker.
"We Have A Bat Infestation," Roy announced.
"WHAT!?" Jason roared.
"I could have told you that, B and Robin are on the roof across from us," Raven shrugged. He glowered at her, and she merely shrugged. Her nonchalance about the matter was more maddening with the shades aiding her in her look of indifference.
"The Bow of Ra," Artemis snapped irritably.
"Will not likely move in the next twenty minutes as we introduce you to the delights of Big Belly Burger!" Roy decided as he dropped a bag before Jason.
"Mine better have the grilled onions," Raven grumbled.
"Do you take me as foolish enough to fuck up the Queen of Hell's order?" Roy mocked.
"I don't know, you were building a bomb with your baby in the room," Raven pointed out blandly.
"You told her!?"
"Yes," he answered and continued sifting through the data for the big magical shipments. There were a lot of shipments leaving Gotham, but more than that, there were dealing abroad, Jason was betting this was Penguin's doing. Penguin had the international operation in smuggling goods, also loan sharking, prostitution, drugs, underground gambling. But a bigger bulk of Penguin's operation was actually involving smuggling, and his operations were international. He was good too, but Jason was better so he didn't hesitate as he started tearing through it for information.
"Here, eat," Raven ordered shoving the bag at him.
"It looks like there was a large shipment of rare artifacts through the Gotham Natural History Museum, the listings here are Egyptian, and it's being shipped to London," Jason said as he leaned back, accepting the burger.
"The Museum, really?" Roy sputtered.
"It's an old Gotham cover, usually used by Cobblepot to get things out of the country. Most artifacts can't be x-rayed, or otherwise inspected, making it good for smuggling. Also, a lot of mooks are too uneducated to know the difference between museum pieces and stolen; outside of the actually trained," Jason shrugged. "Don't they do this in Starling?"
"No, and if Merlin had figured it out there'd be a hell of a lot more difficulty in stopping his organization."
"Problem is drugs, Merlin's organization with the Count is mostly drugs, and those would be detected by dogs, making the operation moot," Jason decided.
"You have found my bow?" Artemis demanded.
"Not yet gorgeous, but we will," Jason shrugged.
"Great," Raven said.
"So, our Queen, how is the burger?" Roy asked.
"It has ketchup on it."
"What!? No it doesn't! I ordered it exactly how you like it!" Roy shouted as he leapt for Raven's burger.
"Is he always this sensitive?" Raven asked Jason as she flew over them.
"Yeah, he is," Jason sniggered. He knew Raven was toying with Roy, she pulled shit like that frequently because Roy overreacted.
"This is delicious and unusual," Artemis declared.
"Biz like!" Bizarro decided as he greedily munched in the corner.
"Raven come down here!" Roy shouted.
"I can't hear you minion!"
Raven settled in the corner with Roy now and she munched on the burger, which was warm and melting in her mouth as she savored every moment of it, and she stared at where Jason was working with Artemis and Bizarro sleeping now in the corner. Jason was focused and she could feel his anticipation about the situation as he hunted down the Bow of Ra.
The pain of Zed's death was still there, but Jason had decided to do as his father and family did and shoved the pain away from his mind. Raven was concerned but it wasn't like she could express this concern for him.
"How's he doing?"
"He's still grieving, hiding it though as he focuses on the task at hand rather than the pain," Raven answered.
"What should we do?"
"Nothing, as far as I know this is the normal for all Bats, and they all get it from their father."
"Well, if it were you, what would you be doing?"
"I was trapped in Hell and trying to survive, grief was not a focus of mine," she answered primly. Raven knew her way of grieving was not the one for Jason, for it required deep, focused meditation and dedication on the meditation, it involved controlling emotions, and reigning in her pain. It was about surviving and coping. Jason's method was bottling his pain up, until he had something to unleash that pain on, which was probably why he was so intently focused on tracking down the Bow of Ra at this moment because Jason had nothing better to focus his pain on. Raven almost pitied the fool at the other end of this when Jason was done.
"And the Amazon?"
"Well, her emotions are more complicated at the moment, which is concerning. There isn't just grief there which has me a bit concerned. There's this pain of betrayal. I don't know how the massacre happened but there's little doubt in my mind that there was a form of betrayal in the loss of her people.
"Also, the Bow of Ra, that isn't just any artifact Roy, and if she is the one to yield it, I am concerned of what it could mean with her in this much pain at the moment."
"How do you mean?" Roy asked earnestly which had her sighing.
"I mean that is an artifact that chooses the yielder, and if she has this much pain and betrayal in her heart I am genuinely worried about how she'll use this weapon."
"So what do we do?"
"For now, I do not trust her. But we should aid her because the Bow of Ra needs to be put somewhere safe."
"So you don't think we should hand it over to the grumpy Amazon?"
"I don't know, for now we will merely watch how this plays out and protect Jason," Raven shrugged.
"Okay, and stop eating all my damn curly fries!" he shouted.
"Why can't you be like a normal girl and be concerned about her figure and leave my damn food alone!?"
"I am the Queen of Hell, minion," Raven snapped.
Roy stuck his tongue out at her as he snatched the fries, she used the shadows to snag a few. "That's cheating Queen."
"It's only cheating if Jason catches me," she smiled as she stole a few from Jason.
"Damn it Raven!"
He walked into the cave with Damian, clasped his son on his shoulder before he let Damian go for Damian to walk to whee the family had set up lockers.
"Jay!" Terry squealed.
"No, McGinnis," Damian snapped irritably before he picked up the toddler and continued to the lockers. Bruce softened a little seeing his sons like this before he sat at his computer and pondered this insecurity of Damian's being replaced.
Yes, with Helena there had been time to talk to Damian that Helena was not replacing him. Luckily the discovery of Terry had coincided with Helena's birth, so they had been able to work on that with Damian then. And now there was Duke.
Bruce was not comfortable enough leaving Duke on the streets or entrusting that bright young man to his uncertain fate in the Child Protective Services custody. As with Jason CPS had proven to have a dismal success rate and Duke, like Jason, wasn't going to them. He would sooner be on the streets. Unlike Jason though, Bruce had no doubts that Duke wouldn't survive a week there. Duke was not a street kid.
"Mar'i stop floating!" Tim shouted as he leapt for the giggling baby.
Bruce stared at the sight for a moment before he watched his teen grapple up, grab Mar'i then neatly land on the cliff.
Getting up Bruce walked to the lockers, then changed into a set of sweats and a wife beater shirt before he made his way up to the main home and found Selina sitting in the kitchen with Helena.
"I am sorry about Duke," he said as he walked up behind her. Selina glowered at him. "It is not that I do not think that you would take in a boy in need, Selina. It is that I am used to taking them in alone," he said carefully.
He had adopted Dick, Jason, Tim, and Cass when he had been single, he had received Damian when they had barely started rekindling the flame after losing Jason. And then there'd been Helena and Terry, and before he knew it he was married and there was a granddaughter in the picture and while life was no longer about being a loner, he had always made choices regarding his family alone. Talia hadn't ever expressed interest in his other sons, and she was more likely to kill them than to be their mother. He knew this. Then there was Selina.
After Jason's death…
Tim had brought them back together, but it was like a divorced couple, tenuous, and fragile. Bruce had never expected for their relationship to strengthen or for them to get here. Selina and he had been on again, off again since he was twelve years old. She'd been his first, and she was going to probably be his last, and he loved her, he did, but their relationship, it wasn't the best it could be at all times. And yes, she had a good relationship with all his children, but he knew that after Jason she hadn't wanted to get close to the kids again.
"You are not the only one here, there is me, and I won't let you get away with thinking that it is just you. I wouldn't have ever turned the kid away, but Bruce, you do have to ask now, because there is someone else here, supporting your family. And I just don't want you to be the lone gunman thing again, you're not a single father anymore. You have me, and we are a team."
"I will… work on it," he said tightly. He hadn't ever really been a single parent; he didn't always see himself as a parent. Mostly because while his boys were his, and they were his children, they weren't always his. They had other father figures in their lives to aspire to be like. And that was why he had refrained from being called dad or papa or father.
"Good," Selina decided.
"Are you not mad at me anymore?" he asked uncertainly.
"You are such a dork!" she groaned. "I was never mad at you! I was mad that you didn't even think me your equal or that I should hear about you taking another kid into our home."
"Don't oh me Bat! Just start using that big brain of yours for something other than being a detective."
He frowned at her but let it be as he would have to focus on fixing things with Damian. Families weren't replacable, and he was going to have to work on explaining that to Damian. It had to have something to do with how Talia had raised Damian. Of that he was certain. The League of Assassins did view everyone as disposable if they did not do their job or purpose, so it was probable that Damian had received those views on how families worked.
Then again, there was Ra's and how he operated his own family.
For now he would just focus on showing his son that he was loved and wanted and not being replaced which meant that he'd have to work doubly hard to prove this with Damian. He wasn't sure where to start though.
He was never sure where to start with Damian or any of his other children.
Why Did Parenting Have To Be So Damn Hard!?
Bruce just sighed as he walked away for his room to catch a few hours sleep before he started the next day over. He had Oracle on hand if Jason did something troublesome brewing. He hoped to be kept up to speed about his wayward son.
Jason looked up just as a fry was encased in black and went flying over his shoulder. He spun around just as Raven caught it and stared at him oh-so-innocently-apathetic before she took a deliberate bite out of it.
"Damn It Raven!" Jason snapped.
"You weren't eating it," she said levelly.
"You will pay for that Queen," he warned her seriously.
"I take my payments in waffles," she shrugged daintily before she continued munching on the fries. He wanted to go over there and steal her fries, but that seemed too straightforward as she was likely to have a trap laid for that plan of attack. He'd have to be sneaky and get back at her for this later. He would make her something she despised; tofu, he'd make tofu one of these days.
"We shall see," he warned as his eyes narrowed on her.
She smiled before she continued munching on her burger. Roy just laughed, and Jason turned back to what he was doing. He didn't miss her stealing his fries now. If anything, he was vastly amused with what she was doing because he hadn't ever had someone brave enough to steal his food from him. Food was precious to him and he would break bones to keep it. Still he ignored Raven for now and would leave revenge for later.
"There's a cluster of the artifacts that look like they'll be heading to Paris or Venice," Jason finally said as he hacked into Penguin's organization and noticed the smaller shipments. These were likely to be the artifact, he just wasn't certain where Penguin would send it which concerned him because he didn't want to be stuck with collecting it.
"Where would it likely go?" he turned to Raven.
"Neither place," she answered as she stood and walked over to him. "I'd leave it in London, there's a large underground magic community there, and from there I'd move it to either Greec or Egypt again for auction. Very few people will want it, so it will not be a very profitable item to a crime lord," she answered.
"Oh you'd be surprised sunshine at what is and is not profitable to us crime lords," he chuckled.
"Really?" she asked blandly.
"Do you forget little bird, I Am A Crime Lord. And not just any Crime Lord, I'm the Red Hood," he smiled at her.
"Either way, even you could not get rid of the Bow of Ra so quickly."
"Never know until I try," he shrugged.
"No, I know," Raven stated.
"Seriously, you underestimate me little bird," he sighed.
"No, I just know that an artifact like that will have a very minimal, exclusive market, it'd be like trying to auction off my Chakra Gem," she said.
"Really? You think that'd be difficult? It's red, and shiny, and looking at it, I'm guessing it's a real ruby. Only problem is that it's attached to your forehead."
Well… it was a real ruby. But:
1. It was her father's prison.
2. It was genetically a part of her (Victor had run tests on her after father's first attempt at the Apocalypse).
3. It was a part of her, actually infused in her skull, and attached to her nerves and brain; it really, really, REALLY Sucked when it was removed. Rather like chopping off an arm or a leg. The only time it's absence didn't hurt was when she was human, and the number of times she'd been solely human she could count on one hand.
"Well, good luck with trying to steal it because it'll hurt you more than me in this case," she admitted. Jason smiled that nefarious smile before turning back to his work and she stretched out by Roy.
"You are a good friend to him," Roy observed.
"No, I'm a pain in his ass," she said sweetly, and Roy snickered.
"I think my daughter likes him more than she likes me," he sighed.
"Doubtful, Lian loves you a lot, I feel it every time I'm around, it's rather adorable," she admitted. She liked that about Lian, Mar'i, Terry, and Helena, there was this pure love that radiated from them. But Raven had always found children to be naturally empathetic for the most part, and they loved the person they felt needed it the most. Terry, Helena, Mar'i and Lian all adored Jason and seemed to seek him out, though they loved their other parents and family members just as much. Raven was sure that if she was to explore their psyches they were trying to fix Jason with their love.
It was rather endearing.
"Hm…?" she hummed.
"Nothing," Roy decided and she lifted her brow at him then. "I just… is it hard, feeling everything from everyone all the time?"
"No," she answered softly. "It's invigorating at times, and painful at others, but it is never hard to feel everything from everyone. The only hard thing about it is being unable to take the pain away. Because what is the point of being an empath if I cannot help them in some way?"
"Do you ever regret not helping?"
"All the time, but it is not always my place."
"You're really too good for us, you know that right? Demon or not, I still think you are way too good for Jay and me," he said softly.
"I think you look at it wrong, Roy," she countered. She was lucky that they were willing to look past what she was to see who she was, and for that she was eternally grateful to these humans.
"Hey, if this works and we don't die, want to go to the movies are something?" he asked.
"Well, if we live, I have school that I am blowing off to make sure you two idiots don't die," she answered. "I hate math!"
"Ask Jay, he loves math," Roy snickered.
"I have secured his help; provided we don't die."
Artemis looked between the clone and Jason, then at the arrow man and demon who were talking at their table. Jason was ignoring them. Artemis looked at the young man, his face was etched in hard lines, and he was working as he munched on the 'burger'.
She would admit that the 'burger' was delicious.
But she was still wanting to destroy him. He was standing in her way, and she wanted to cut him down. But she couldn't at the same time because she was realistic about getting the Bow of Ra back. She didn't think she could decipher man's tongue to find it, the characters on the screen were foreign and she didn't like it.
"Oi, Rae!" Jason shouted.
"Yes?" the girl said.
"Where in London would you hide and artifact?"
"Not St. Paul's," she answered.
"Well, that's a good elimination," he muttered.
"Honestly, I wouldn't keep a magic artifact in London, it's Egyptian though so if they do, and they don't want the wrath of old gods they'll keep it on the east side of the river. Something that powerful they'd actually have to follow the traditions to keep from annihilating themselves," she said.
"Well, fan-fucking-tastic, where would you put it?" Jason said. Artemis watched the woman as she walked over, and looked at the map.
Artemis took this moment to assess the woman, for she could be the main problem in Artemis's attack. She was sure she could kill the clone, and the men were no problem, but the girl. That was a different matter.
The girl was powerful, even Artemis could see that, and versed in magic. The girl was not like anything else she had ever witnessed which was infuriating. However, Artemis would bide her time, she would watch, learn, get what she needed and if they stood in her way, then she'd cut them down.
"Here," she pointed.
"There's a big underground auction here," Jason said and Artemis looked at the map.
"Then let us get there and get the bow!" she surged to her feet, impatient to retrieve her property. Then she would eviscerate the sorceress that had dared to destroy her home. This would not be unpunished, and she would get it back.
"Slow down princess," Jason said and she clenched her fist as she resisted punching this fool in his bruised face. He stared levelly at her with pulsing green eyes and she really wanted to tear him apart right now.
"Why?" she snarled.
"Because we don't know what we'd be walking into, and while I'm sure the Queen wouldn't mind walking us right in the middle of it, we need time to slow down, collect information and formulate a plan of attack, we're not charging into that," he stated.
"Besides, I got some tech that'll help us out, and Rae here probably has magic contact that could save our asses," the arrow man said.
"Roy's right, so we're not going to just go charging right into that mess without knowing what we're walking into," Jason stated.
"It'd be irresponsible of me to go charging into a fight," Raven said.
"Bow. Of. Ra. Ra! God of the Sun!" Raven shoved Jason's head as she walked away and Jason shrugged.
"If you won't help me, I will do it myself," Artemis decided.
"No need, I said we'd help you, but you need to keep your head." Jason stated.
She glowered at the man. But she knew that tone, having heard it from the Shim-Tar and knew that she would have a hell of a fight to keep what little control she had here. Which she didn't want to deal with it right now, because she couldn't lose this lead.
"Okay, Roy, what do we need?"
"How about you compile the list, I'll get us there."
"Wait? Do you have a plane?"
The young man shrugged then as he stood and Artemis growled.
She didn't like this and she stared at the map, which had her wanting to scream. She wanted that purple haired vixen's head on a platter. That's all she wanted.
Suddenly there was a presence beside her and she looked up at the redheaded man.
"You know, they're the best at this, they can help you out, you just got to trust them."
"And you are biased," she growled.
"Not really, as I didn't trust Jason at all until nine months ago, when he decided to be the bigger person and help us out," he shrugged.
Lilith sat on the ground and she focused intently on the dangerous mind she had felt earlier this week and she focused.
She could feel it's swirling energy, and she reached for it.
Lilith felt the nose rolling down to her lip as she bit her lip harder.
Then she was there, she felt the mind and she grabbed onto it.
"HELP!" she screamed then as she stood there in the black of the mind.
"You Do Not Belong Here Child," a voice rumbled in the darkness.
"I need help," she gasped and then there was an opening of four large, glowing red eyes which had gasping as she stumbled back. There was a surge of blackness which had her standing before a young woman.
The woman was her height, long black hair that swirled dangerously around her, and the eyes were brilliantly red as they stared at her. The features of the woman were sharp, proud and etched in indifference.
"Yes, I need help," she whispered as she stared at the woman.
"From what?" the woman asked, she was so slight and lithe that Lilith was startled seeing the woman.
"From…" Lilith screamed when a hand touched her and her concentration broke and she found herself staring at the brilliant eyes of Circe and she trembled as she shrunk from the woman.
"What were you doing?" Circe growled and she trembled as she shrunk away from the woman.
Jason had opted for his quarters in the bunker and he sat on the cot as he stared at the photo he had of Zed and him; something he kept tucked safely in his wallet.
There'd been another photo in this wallet, but he; for the life of him, couldn't find it and that tore him up. Now he stared at the photo he had of Zed and he closed his eyes as his hands trembled and he leaned his head back.
Maybe he was a fucking coffin magnet. That had to be it, because every girl he let in died.
Maybe he should have Lian and Roy go back to the Queens, and kick Raven to the curb. People he let in died. There was a knock on his door which had him dragging his head up and he saw Raven there.
"You can leave me alone, sunshine," he said as he opened his eyes to stare at her.
"Perhaps you shouldn't be alone," she said monotonously as she walked forward. He couldn't move the photo from his fingers before she plucked it up and looked at it.
"When was this?" she asked softly as she sat on the cot and folded her legs.
He didn't answer as he stared at the ceiling.
"You don't have to tell me Jason," Raven reminded him and he closed his eyes. He actually wanted to tell her something, he was pretty sure Raven and Zed would have gotten along. Zed's wild Latina temper though would probably have driven them all mad.
"I was eighteen, it was after… you know," he shrugged. She didn't know, but Raven would get the implications. "And it was her and me in the House, and she decided to take me out. I was their prisoner, I think but… I don't know." he rubbed his neck a bit at the memories. "Anyways, we got out, went to the park and a photographer wanted to take our photo, she said yes before I could protest. That was a good day."
"She always seemed amazing."
"She was, you'd have liked her," he said softly.
"Clairvoyant, I'm sure she'd have known before I would if we'd get along or like each other," Raven said.
"Zed made the future she wanted come," Jason admitted. "It was frustrating."
"You're going to be okay, Jason," Roy's voice said which had his eyes flicking sardonically at the redhead. "Trust me, it's… you're going to be okay."
"i…" he started.
Raven's eyes suddenly lit up red as the entire air cooled, and light's flickered, he looked to her and saw her second eyes open as she levitated.
"Rae?" Jason said cautiously.
There was a gust of power from her which had things in the bunker ratting before everything blew out of the old filing cabinets and he ducked under the flying filing cabinet as he slammed into Roy.
"What the Fuck!?" he and Roy sputtered, and he looked at her.
"I've never seen this!" Roy managed.
Raven felt the intrusion of her mind and everything in her screamed attack as she suddenly withdrew into her mindscape, blacking it out as she let her true power radiate.
Glowering down at the small form she stretched her power larger as she closed off her mind, hid her emotions and herself in the depths of the darkness, sealed her father's prison.
"You do Not Belong Here Child," Raven warned, for she found herself staring at the girl.
The redheaded girl who had been intruding in her dreams. Was she an omen? A sign for something?
The girl was small, lean, gangly, young, about Damian's age. She had strawberry blonde hair, green eyes, and a small set eyes staring up at her.
"I need help," she gasped, now Raven morphed her mindscape to have the girl and herself standing on an asteroid as she formed, her eyes were open and she stared at the girl as she let her power keep some of her identity hidden, not revealing her mind as her emotions all screamed about attacking the intrusion.
Courage and Rage were in agreement to attack the girl, but Raven kept her fury about the invasion at bay.
"Help?" Raven's voices chuckled as she stared at the child. Did the child not realize WHAT she was? Helping was not naturally in her nature, and this child had invaded her mind to ask for her help. Raven should tear the girl apart. Leave her mind in fractions, but she wouldn't.
"Yes," the girl gasped, this was taking a lot of her power. Raven could feel it, the girl's energy was draining and her concentration wavering; this was paining the girl. "I need help."
"From what?" Raven rasped.
"From…" the girl screamed as she was torn from Raven's mindscape, which had Raven's soul surging forward as she caught the girl's essence and let herself travel with the psyche and found herself looking through the girl's eyes at a purple haired vixen glaring menacingly at her.
"What. Were. You. Doing?" the sorceress growled Raven snarled at the woman before that seemed to get the woman's attention.
"You… begone Demon!" the woman put a hand on her brow, and Raven finally felt her hold on the psyche knocked loose as she tumbled back to her body, slamming into it and hitting the bed, as she felt her head hit something hard, and stars dance before her eyes as she slumped on the bed.
"Fuck, Rae, little bird, look here, come on, look up," a voice ordered as the sunglasses she'd been wearing were pulled off her face and a light shone in then.
"Pupil reactions are good," Roy said.
"No crocodile eyes, back to normal too," Jason said.
"Okay, Rae, hey, can you look at me, how many fingers am I holding up?" Roy ordered.
"Three," she mumbled.
"Close enough," he shrugged, and Raven groaned as she rolled away from the guys rubbing her head.
"What happened little bird?"
"Nothing," she muttered sourly.
"Nothing, Jason, nothing," she reiterated. She couldn't explain what had happened because she'd never done that.
Had she really just possessed someone?
Chapter 10: London or Bust! Again...
Raven rubbed her head as she stared at the bunker wall and tried to figure out just what the hell was going on with her. She did not possess people. She didn't, she never had, she had a body, and a soul, she didn't need to possess someone and she never had. That was fact, it wasn't some prettied up statement she used to comfort herself about being a demon and Trigon's daughter.
No, Raven had once tried to possess someone to save them, it hadn't worked.
And as for summoning her, that took god level magic, she knew because she had blatantly rejected all summoning's she had ever heard or felt. Which had her concerned now, not just for the girl who seemed to have both summoned and made her possess someone, but for herself.
She rolled onto her back to stare at the ceiling as she thought about this precarious situation she now found herself in and she wondered what to do about it.
Raven knew she should leave this plane, get as far away as she could, and look at the problem logically, but she'd been roped into Jason's latest mission with Roy, an Amazon, and the clone. And yes, Raven was very aware of the deep sense of loyalty and adoration the clone had for Jason and Roy at the moment, he even liked her and Artemis. Which was beyond Raven at the moment, as she didn't trust the Amazon farther than she could throw the woman. Which given the fact the Amazon had like four feet of height on her, that wasn't all that far.
A sigh escaped her lips as she closed her eyes and started thinking about her problem logically.
She didn't have to worry about things other demons had to worry about, she had a soul and a body of her own, so that eliminated a lot of worries. What was worrying her was the idea of being summoned in the middle of a battle.
There was now someone powerful enough to do that, and Raven didn't like that knowledge.
From her time in Hell she had learned that those with greater power were a threat. And she didn't mean battle prowess or magic ability, she meant power. Raven had always had more power than the demons she would fight, she knew she was more powerful than her father, and her father's power had exceeded that of angels. She didn't know how her father would fair against Archangels, but she would bet that that fight would be a hell of a fight.
Getting up Raven rubbed her temples as she thought about what she could do, and the best she could think to do was make a blood seal on her and bind her soul to her body to prevent another summoning. She didn't like that idea though, not at all. Binding her soul felt like an unnatural idea because she had a body for it to return to. There should be no reason for her to bind herself to herself; it not only sounded ludicrous but infuriating.
No, she would have to about finding a different solution to her problem.
Perhaps she should just track down the girl, discover what this was about. It wasn't like she couldn't, and though it would not be easy, Raven was sure that it'd be safer than the girl summoning her again, or worse… summoning the wrong aspect of her and had her creating genocide unintentionally. After all it was a child from what she could tell, about Damian's age attempting to summon her and break into her mind.
Grumbling she rubbed her temples as she walked out of the bunker and noticed Roy looking over his equipment as Jason sat at the kitchen table rapidly typing something into the tablet in his hands. Raven touched Roy's shoulder as she passed him, the other nodded and Raven sat in the chair besides Jason.
"Are you going to say what the nothing was about two hours ago?" he asked her.
Raven's eyes flicked to the corner where Artemis was sharpening her axe then to the clone who was reading a picture book, before she looked at Jason.
"Just a little demon problem," she answered tightly.
"Rae…" Jason drawled in a warning tone.
"Jay…" she parroted and he glared at her.
"You had crocodile eyes, which you were bitching about, red skin, an ungodly shade of gray and then in the middle of a sentence you disappeared, and being around you so much, both Roy and I noticed when that happened. So what happened? Or I sic Ace on you."
"Ace loves me, and would never follow that order," Raven retorted automatically.
"I have been having problems these last few days. An external, unknown party keeps attempting to break into my mind or summon me. They succeeded in summoning me, though that felt… unintentional," Raven said swiftly.
Jason arched a brow as he leaned back, picking up the beer he had as he gave her his undivided attention then.
"It was after… after Zed," Raven said tightly and felt the stab of pain in Jason's emotions at the mention of Zed. But she also felt him stuff it all away somewhere in the depths of his psyche.
"What happened?" he asked calmly.
"I don't rightly know," Raven admitted. "I've never had someone attempt to break into my mind."
"The Nevermore…" he started.
"It's still on Azarath, and it's guarded by a dragon who is very attatched to his new found freedom outside of a book," she clarified. No doubt any fool who wet to Azarath would be greeted by a furious dragon, so she felt comfortable hiding the Nevermore there.
"Then what is going on?"
"As best as I can guess, this is a girl, I've gathered that she's about Damian's age, raw power, not a lot of control, and she's a telepath. She's been slipping through my defenses when I'm distracted, or focused on," her eyes flicked up to the prison on her brow.
"I thought he wasn't a problem after Christmas," Jason said.
"He's not, but it is my mind he now resides in and he does occasionally attempt to break free to take his power back. Though I don't know how it would work, but it's safe to assume if I can take his power then he can take it back. Anyways, she's been slipping in and around my defenses."
"Neither M'gann nor J'onn could enter my head unless invited, and even then, they don't want to."
"Fair enough," Jason shrugged taking a sip of his beer.
"When I… I disappeared, she was in my mind," she murmured.
"Yes, she had had come to ask for help, and I… I don't know, something broke her focus, and I reached out and the next thing I knew I was in her body, seeing through her eyes before I was exorcised from that body," Raven said uncertainly.
"I thought you couldn't be exorcised," he pointed out then.
"No, I can, but the amount of power required to do that… it's immense, and I don't know if it was because that was my first time possessing someone or what but she managed to push me out of the body before my soul slammed back into my body," Raven said.
"Huh…" Jason managed and he sipped his beer again then he looked at her. His eyes pulsed dangerously green and she just stared levelly back. "It's concerning Rae, but even you said you don't know what happened and you're back now. If the girl decides to appear in your head again, find out what she wants, then tell me or Roy and we'll go from there."
"So you still trust the demon," she mused humorlessly.
"Always little bird," he smiled then.
"This could prove to be problematic if she really can summon me then there will be problems, I don't know what they'll entail," she admitted.
"We cross that bridge when we get there, and we'll guard your body and track you down no matter what, kay sunshine?"
"Thanks Jason," she sighed in relief. "And I'm… I'm sorry for bringing up Zed," Raven said softly, and he said nothing as he stared at his beer for a moment.
"Shit happens, best to accept it and move on. Everyone dies at some point, and she was ready to go, can't fight that. And I never could win a fight against Zed, she saw everything. Every fucking path there was to take, she knew moves before we knew moves. Knew everything. It was infuriating, she was always right," Jason said with a small smile.
"You know, she loved you, right?"
"No, it's important."
"And it's okay to grieve Jason," she whispered as she stood up to go home, pick up a few things and come back.
"I know, queen," he said humorlessly. Raven squeezed his shoulder before she walked through a portal to go get her things.
"Raven! Oh my god I saw the explosion on the news, I swear if it was Mista J had anything to do with it I'll kill him!" Harley growled as Raven found herself trapped against the blonde in a death grip hug.
"Harley, you're suffocating our meat sack," Ivy dryly pointed out.
"Are you okay, Rae!" Harley demanded and Raven took a deep breath as she let her new mom hold onto her arms.
"I'm fine," she promised.
"So what trouble did Jason get you into this time?" Ivy asked in amusement.
"We have been coerced into helping a homicidal maniac Amazon, who isn't a normal Amazon with the aid of Roy and a fractured clone of Superman's, who I'm pretty sure I just saved because I healed him, turned red and had crocodile eyes until I hit my head," Raven surmised. She'd leave the possession and mind breaking in for later when she understood what the fuck was happening there.
"So just the normal trouble for Jason and you," Ivy surmised with a smile.
"This isn't normal! A homicidal Amazon!" Harley started.
"How did this get to be the normal for me?" Raven asked absently and both her moms stared at her and then at each other.
"That is a good question," Harley decided releasing her.
"Anyways, I'm packing up a few things, I'll be back after this," she promised.
"You have class on Monday!" Ivy called the reminder after her.
"You better be back by then young lady or you'll be grounded!" Ivy shouted.
Raven waved it off as she used her powers to pull all the books into her bottomless bag, also pulling clothes from her dresser. She didn't pause to think about how this was her first real home outside the Tower completed with a room of her own and moms who cared about her school. Raven quickly texted Victor that she'd be out on a mission before there was a knock on her window which had her yelping as she found herself looking at not one Bat, but four.
"What the hell!?" she sputtered as she yanked open the window before they broke it.
Cass, Tim, Stephanie and Damian all came in through the window, dressed as civilians with domino masks on.
"I have to pack and go, so what's this about?" she asked hurriedly as she resumed her packing and looked at the Bats.
"Cass and I were just coming to tell you that you're joining our ballet classes," Stephanie smiled.
"Don't we hang out enough with study groups and school?" Raven asked dryly.
"No." Cass answered.
"Where are you and Jason going?" Damian cut off before Raven could point out she saw more of Cass and Stephanie than she did Jason or her own friends.
"Out, where's Dick, he usually joins you on these little gangups," Raven said as she finished her packing.
"He's proposing to Kori," Tim answered.
"That's wonderful," Raven smiled. "Tell me how that goes when I get back," she said as she walked out the portal and back to Jason's bunker.
Dick smiled as he and Kori were in the car, on the road that morning, and Kori was nervously toying with her image ring as she glanced behind them.
"Babe, don't worry, she's in the most secure house on the planet!" Dick reassured her. It was more secure than Buckingham Palace or the White House. Face it, no one was getting through the army of Batfamily members to the youngest members of the famly. If anything there'd be a lot of hell, pain, and possibly even deaths if there was ever a real threat on Terry, Helena, or Mar'i; hell, even Lian, because Lian was kind of an honorary Bat because of Jason.
"I just…" Kori started. He took her hand as he threaded his fingers with hers' and kept his eyes on the road.
"Relax, babe, Mar'i is perfectly safe with B, and B would never let anything happen to his granddaughter.
"You are certain of this Richard, he does not like aliens!?" she hissed.
"Positive," Dick assured her. And B's best friend was Clark since Dick had been adopted! Superman was an alien. B's only problem was having Dick and his siblings involved with aliens and that was more of a fear of him or one of his siblings being killed accidentally if the alien didn't realize their own strength against a human.
Though Dick supposed there was the alternative of B worrying about something like M'gann and Conner happening with them, but he doubted it. M'gann and Conner were a mess, and Clark and J'onn were both furious with the teens.
"I worry, Dick," Kori said softly.
"I know, and I love you babe, but that's kind of my dad, which makes him Mar'i's grandfather, and he'd never let anything happen to her," he promised.
"Very well," Kori sighed. He brought their linked hands to his lips as he kissed her in reassurance. He was so happy with her, so very happy, it was like flying. And the weight of his mother's ring in his pocket was anchoring him to reality at the moment.
"Where are we going?" she asked with a smile.
"Some place special, and in the country," he promised. He wanted this to be special, so he had gotten B's permission to go to Vermont to the ski cabin; since he knew he couldn't get Kori to leave the US without Mar'i he was pushing it to Vermont. And they'd have B's ski cabin all to themselves, which was going to be awesome. He'd already arranged the staff there to be prepared to cook, but other than that, it would just be him and Kori. No maids, no butlers, just the cooks there to cook things that could be reheated easily.
Dick Did Not Want This In The Tabloids. Yet.
For now, he just wanted it to be him and Kori and to make it special for her.
Karras looked over the dowry he had to offer Koriand'r and he wondered if it was not enough. The princess had run off before anything could really be known about her. But she was selfless, she had nearly married that blob to save their planet, though that threat had been from her own sister than anyone else.
He dismissed the servants who had carried the dowry to the ship and motioned for the crew that it was time to leave, it would take a bit of time to get to the planet called Earth. He would have time to learn about his future bride until then and know how to woo her. This would save Tamaran from the rule of that weakling Ryand'r.
It was time for his planet to be strong again, for his people to be strong, and if the Princess was anything like her reputation then she would be a good leader of their people. And with him at her side they could bring Tamaran to the greatness it truly deserved.
He placed his hand on a panel as he brushed his flames back and felt the ship hum to life soundlessly.
"Set a course for the planet known as Earth," he ordered the navigator as he took a seat and watched as they rose. He stared at the forestry of Tamaran and knew that this was for the good of his people. May X'hal bless him and his mission be successful.
Tamaran needed this to work.
Artemis stared as the girl walked into the shadows and vanished. She could prove to be the truly challenging opponent if she had to cut them down. And that was something she filed away for later thoughts as she looked up when the archer walked to stand before her.
She looked up from sharpening Mistress as she stared at the man, his red hair and green eyes were a sharp contrast to his pale complexion and freckles. Also, there were two hideous tats on his arms, both a terrible shade of green mimicking his eyes.
"I don't trust you," he stated.
She said nothing.
"So I'm going to say this once, you hurt my friends or my family, I don't care how, or even if I die doing it, I will take you out. Understood?" he asked.
"I do not trust you either," she replied icily.
"Good." The archer spat as he walked away and she looked at Mistress.
She remembered when it was like that for her, to have someone watching her back. But she couldn't dwell on such thoughts as she shoved them to the side and focused again on Mistress. She would stop the sorceress and save Akila. Failure wasn't an option. She would not allow these people to distract her from her mission, no, she wouldn't allow it. Which is why she was prepared to cut them down if they got in her way.
Being sentimental or getting attached to them would only be foolish.
Jason looked up from his flight planning when Roy walked over to occupy the seat that Raven had been sitting in and looking wistfully at the beer. Jason wisely picked it up before Roy could do something stupid.
He might not be an alcoholic, but Roy sure as fuck was. And while Jason didn't really drink all that much, he did like his beer when he had it, and Roy wasn't losing his sobriety because of Jason's rare drinking habit.
"You know she's going to betray us if we get in her way, right?" Roy asked, he dragged his hands through his hair and pulled it into a man bun then.
"Don't they all betray us?" Jason asked dryly.
"I don't know, I have terrible tastes in women," Roy dismissed.
Jason snorted, he had worse tastes. Just comparing Rose and Jade though could prove their points and they both weren't going there. No, Jason refused to go there. He and Rose were purely hormones and they both knew it, also the sex was pretty fucking good. Roy and Jade though, that had feeling tangled up in it, and yes, Jason had listened when Roy would reminiscing about things, though he was usually cringing and wondering if he could shove a sock down Roy's throat.
"Look, we help her, complete the mission, that's it, then we part ways. If she tries to stab us in the back then we take her out," Jason shrugged.
"That's rather cold."
"And you threatening her was for what? Kicks?" Jason asked dryly.
"You noticed that?"
"Yes, though it seemed stupid to me," he shrugged.
"Jay, you're like my best friend, and I say that sincerely, because Dick is a great friend, so is Wally, and Garth, but you are hands down the best friend I've ever had. Because they didn't trust me after the first time I went through the drugs and alcohol, and thy got me clean, they don't trust me now either."
"I don't trust you," Jason lied. He had kind of found in the months of living with Roy; who was like living with an over emotional chick at times, and a giant pain in the ass, that he did kind of trust Roy. Also, he fucking adored Lian.
Roy snorted. "You are my best friend," Roy repeated.
"Well great," Jason grumbled taking a sip of his beer then and wondered if there was a way that didn't come back to bite him in the ass.
"You know, no one has ever done what you've done for me," Roy said. "Not even Olli, and he's… he's family," Roy sighed.
"You know you can just call him your dad," Jason bitterly pointed out. B had been the only dad to him that had mattered, and Willis was shit before that. And after his death, despite everything he had done, could do, or would do, Jason still hated himself for thinking of B as his dad. It was rather frustrating. It also didn't help that B had repeatedly called him 'my son' and handed him the adoption papers from before he had died, it was rather difficult. He had a hard time wrapping his head around it, and he was trying to wrap his head around it.
"He's not, he's somewhere between my dad and big brother," Roy said bitterly.
"You fucked up, my advice, move on," Jason shrugged as he took another sip of his beer and started looking over the international flight plan he was making. He had a private jet; a real one, he'd bought it earlier this year as a gift to himself after Dick had blown his Arkansas safe house, and all the goodies that was tied to it. True he still had his plane in New Orleans, which he was going to have to move, but he had decided to indulge in buying a real jet, for his international business so he could stop flying commercially. The security was a bit of a bitch, and he was tired of it. Also, it wasn't like he didn't have ways around the weapons thing the TSA had in place.
Also, Jason liked flying, he liked piloting planes. It was something of a hobby, and a sense of peace for him. He was damn good at it too, been the top of his class in flight school that Talia had shoved him in.
"Well, if she betrays us I'm taking her out," Roy decided.
"Donna will not like that, and think of the program man, do you really want the added hassle of another relationship in your life?" Jason mocked.
"You're an asshole," Roy decided.
He snickered at that and continued his flight planning before he filed it.
"You know we could just ask Raven to teleport us to where we need to go," Roy said in a hushed tone.
"Not wise," he decided.
Jason liked Raven conscious, and breathing, and after the road trip he'd been forced to endure with the demon brat and her last year he wasn't chancing it. Besides a flight as long as one over the Atlantic would give him a better read on the Bana-Mighdall Amazon who was glaring at him from the corner where she sat sharpening her axe. Jason wanted a firm read on her, and a threat assessment on her to his team.
He was actually kind of fond of Roy and liked him breathing, also Raven was his best friend. Jason didn't even mind the clone, knowing he had a Kryptonite bullet on hand, just in case. But the Amazon was his problem and he wanted a proper reading on her. testing her patience in a flight was the perfect time to do that, and with Raven on the plane he didn't even have to worry about if the plane blew up or not.
Though he kind of hoped it wouldn't because he liked his plane. It was so gorgeous, and sleek, and all his, B's horde didn't know about it so it was all his. He was a greedy bastard where his things were concerned and unlike the Bats, he took care of his shit because it was his.
"Hey Queen," Roy greeted as Raven walked into the bunker again.
"Your family is impossible and why does Cass keep pushing me into hers' and Stephanie's dance classes?" Raven demanded as she flopped into a chair beside him.
"The demon spawn demanded I let him into this glorious little hide out," Roy pointed out to her. Jason just took a long sip of his beer and then closed his eyes as he prayed for patience not to do something disastrously stupid.
"Thirty minutes, load up, I'm getting our plane arranged," Jason said as he stood and left the group at the table.
Raven gave him a look and he shrugged as he walked to his small quarters and threw a few things in a bag. He made sure they had things for Bizarro; though he didn't know of a size that would fit the clone, so for now he hoped Bizarro liked his super suit for now.
Not that it mattered, no Jason had other worries on his mind right now; other worries than clothes.
He sat down on the cot, rubbed his hands over his face. Fuck him, fuck!
Jason trembled as he sat there, which had him wrapping his arms around himself as he bit his lip and squeezed his eyes shut. He fucking hurt, he felt like he was dying, dying. It just hurt so fucking bad, and now that he didn't have something to occupy his mind from the pain and loss of Zed he could feel it all crashing down into him then. the tremors intensified as he tried to breath, focusing on something in his control.
Breathing, breathing was in his control.
In, two, three four. Out, two, three, four, five, six. In… he mentally started and slowly the trembles started subsiding and he could breath again on his own without conscious thought as he focused.
There was a steady rhythm of his own heart and his blood was pumping on it's own. Jason focused on that, focused on that, ignoring the crashing pain of his emotions and psyche at the moment. He'd lived through this kind of pain before, he could survive it again. All he'd have to do was breath and move forward rather than letting it drown him.
But fuck did Zed's death ever hurt; it hurt far more than he'd been expecting it to.
Slowly he pulled himself to his feet, swaying a bit before he steadied himself and he picked up his bag. Pulling it over his shoulder he focused on breathing and moving. Raven's hand pressed on his chest and he found himself staring at her, she just cocked her head to the side and he shook his head and she nodded before she turned away from him and walked to Roy and the clone.
"Are we to leave now?" the Amazon asked icily as she pulled herself to her full height. She was taller than him, he noted finally, though just barely, and she was a warrior.
"Lemme be clear here Arty, you fuck us over and I will personally see to it that it is the last thing you ever do. Raven, Roy, or Bizarro gets hurt by you, and I will come for you. And there is no measure to how fast and hard I will come at you, and if you think you can escape me then know there is no where on the planet or multiverse you can hide I will not find you. Understood?" he demanded sharply.
"You think you can best me."
"Lady, I've torn empires down single handedly, brick, by brick. Body, by body. You really want to test me?" he challenged.
She didn't waver as she smirked condescendingly down at him, and he smiled icy cold back.
"We have an accord little one," she offered her hand out, and he took it. Her grip was strong, and firm and he knew he had her trust for the moment.
"Let's load up," he called out, and watched as Raven levitated the gear into the trailer he had. Bizarro ambled up to it, as did Artemis and Raven shut the door before she walked around to the passenger's side. Jason slid in the driver's side, and Roy slid in beside Raven. He started the heavy engine, hearing it rumble to live before he shifted it into gear and they rolled out onto the Gotham streets and he started for Gotham International, Red Bird Avionics hanger. One of his more legal businesses.
"So, London or Bust!" Roy declared.
Jason and Raven groaned.
"Let's not blow up St. Paul's this time," Jason decided grimly.
"You blew up St. Paul's without me!?" Roy gasped in mock horror.
"I'd rather not have His wrath come crashing down on me, please, as the only demon present I ask we not incur the wrath of Him or hunters, or worse, exorcist."
"We know an exorcist." Jason thought of Constantine then and looked over at Raven who was glaring dangerously at him.
"He doesn't count, and is a bastard," she grumbled.
"Just pointing out he's an exorcist," Jason said.
"I should smite you."
"But you won't," he smiled at her and she glared, Roy sniggered in his corner and she sighed as they merged onto the interstate.
"This is going to be fun!" Roy decided. "And good for us."
"Why are you wearing your bun in a purple scrunchy?" Raven asked.
"You see nothing!" Roy declared.
"It really brings out your eyes man," Jason commented.
"Makes you look like a ballerina," Jason decided.
"Now you're just being a dick," Roy pulled a face and Raven chuckled as she sat there.
"He's not as much of a dick as Dick."
"This is true, queen," Roy chuckled.
"Why are you stealing my nicknames for the queen?" Jason asked.
"Because I've accepted the job of chief minion, call me Kevin!" Roy declared. Now they were all laughing.
Chapter 11: And I'm Back, Baby!
Touching down in London he had all the gear unloaded and they were pulling up to his London flat now.
"Hey," Raven started when they pulled up to it.
"Yeah, I know," he shoved her shoulder a bit as he unloaded the gear.
"We were here last year," Raven supplied.
"Yup, and I do own it." He handed several bags to Roy who huffed but accepted them as they walked into the flat, he got the door as the Amazon, clone and Raven walked by. He got everything unloaded and hauled up, Roy just set all the stuff up and Jason continued the trips collecting the gear. Once set up he straddled a stool and opened one of his laptops as he started looking over the information.
"We should attack them, they are not expecting us," Artemis stated.
"That's a bad idea, darling," Jason said as he started up his network.
"Why is that? This is our opportunity to complete the mission and part ways" she stated.
"Because, attacking what we don't know is never wise, and Jay and I like breathing, we aren't invulnerable like you, Rae or Biz," Roy filled in as he started pulling his arrows out for sharpening.
"I'm not invincible," Raven stated.
"Queen of Hell," Roy and Jay called out, Raven narrowed her eyes on them and he smiled. He was trying not to remember Christmas when she was covered in blood and dying, while Tim and Roy were trying to save her. He knew full well she wasn't truly invincible, still he smiled.
"Little bird!" Biz smiled.
"Fine, I'm temporarily, unless I leave my body again, invincible," she supplied as she walked away.
Jason looked up the intel of the auction and he started working his way into the mainframe as he contemplated what they were selling. Worse he could probably call Selina for an invite to this, everyone would want Cat there. She was the world class burglar, he was probably only outclassed by her. Or…
"Rae…" he called out.
"No," Roy and Raven groaned. "I thought I annihilated that reputation."
"No, I mean, kind of, but I worked with you as Hood, not X, maybe I could go in. X would get an invite, and I have items that could be auctioned off for this." He offered, Roy glared at him, but Jason couldn't see a better alternative. Red X was right up there with Cat in terms of being a thief for hire, and X was known to drop off the grid from time to time, he didn't see it being that far of a stretch to return to the field as Red X.
"You can't be serious, I thought you were done with that!" Raven snapped as she glowered at him.
"Not entirely," he admitted. "I don't play on the good side all the time sunshine," he pointed out. Jason rarely felt like he had to defend himself to Raven or Roy at this point, but the way they were glaring at him had him needing to defend himself.
"Fine, if it gets us into this auction. And what are you selling?" Raven asked.
"It will, and do you honestly want to know little bird?" Jason asked.
"Yes," Roy answered.
"Well…" he started.
"I'm going to go prepare magic for the Bow, I don't want to hear what treasures you're selling Jason!" Raven snapped as she stalked off and he smiled broadly, then he looked at Roy.
"I'm up for it, just tell me the plan, I'm game," Roy promised.
"What exactly have you done?" Artemis muttered.
"More than I'd ever tell you, Arty," he stated and turned back to his computer as he resumed work. He looked through the inventory of his stashes as he stood and dialed the number for the auction house. Picking up a tablet and his voice modulator he walked to the roof and waited a few before there was an answer.
"Hello," the stiff British voice answered.
"What would it cost to get a few pieces into the auction?" he asked, the modulator changed his voice, and he chuckled a bit as he tried his best to be flippant.
"Mr. X, I had heard you retired."
"Wrong answer chuckles," he cackled.
"For you, half the fee, and double the commission, will you be attending this auction or why bother asking?"
"I got a date!" he answered.
"I see, we'll arrange for you and your plus one," the auctioneer started.
"Two," he corrected thinking to take Artemis in. Raven he knew would be good in this kind of pressure, Raven was so indifferent and apathetic. She'd be good eye candy, but the Amazon, that'd be a hell of a distraction.
"I see, we'll arrange for you to have three seats, up top or in the crowd?"
"Up top," he answered.
"Very well, and when can we expect your items?"
"Sending them now, should be there in two hours," he answered.
"Auction is this evening at ten o'clock do not be late," the auctioneer ordered and hung up before Jason could retort. Rolling his eyes and standing up to walk below. If he had a 'box' seat, then he'd have the high ground. Of course the patrons would be scanned for weapons, but Jason didn't need a weapon to do what he was about to do. Getting the Amazon to leave her weapon behind would be difficult, but he felt he could do it, and he felt that in the long run, the promis of that Bow being in her hot little hand would be enticing enough to have her cooperation.
Overall, he did not think Artemis of Bana-Mighdall to be all that woefully impressive. Yeah, she had the regal act of Amazon warrior, able to wipe the floor with all them, down pat, but he wasn't getting a great read from her. She reminded him of him in a way, this painful sorrow that seemed to have dampened her down, he was sure that if Artemis wasn't preoccupied with this Bow she'd a vibrant individual and disciplined. Probably more terrifying than the Essence, but that was a different matter, Jason remained confident he could take her. It was going to hurt, but he could take her.
Walking back to the flat he dropped the phone on the table and looked at Roy.
"Kay, we're in."
"What!?" Roy spun on him.
"You are overwatch, with the clone, I'll take the queen and the amazon with me as my dates," he said.
"No fun," Roy pouted.
"You're too noticeable, and everyone would recognize you as Roy Harper or Arsenal, best you play overwatch this time. Also, arrows, your carbon fiber ones, they'd be good for long distance attacks, and you're a hell of a sharpshooter." Jason's reasons were valid, also, he trusted Roy to have his back with threats he couldn't necessarily see.
"You have valid points."
"Of course I do, Kevin."
"Right, right, chief minion is on the job!" Roy gave a raspberry and Jason resisted snickering. "You know if I'm Kevin, then you're Stuart."
"No!" he grimaced.
"I can't wait for Lian to start actually talking and being a bigger little person, she'll agree you're Stuart."
"I'm Deadpool," Jason decided as he walked to his laptop.
"Really dude, really?" Roy groaned.
"It's him or Bucky and I like Wade better."
"We should dress you up as Bucky this Halloween! I can make a metal arm for you! And put a rocket launcher in it or something cool! Oh there's this awesome Nth metal I've got a stast of with some of the Atlantean armor I think it'd be impenetrable, also light weight, and If I did a spider silk wrap around it it could be the best best body armor ever, I think it wouldn't restrict movement either, though I'd need to think about the design. Maybe I should look into substituting the Nth metal for something else… but it's magic resistant. Not a good conductor though, Oh, maybe I should look into the magic angle of this…"
"K-metal," Bizarro said and Jason spun around to see the clone smiling and hugging 'Pup-Pup'.
"Oh that's an interesting angle!" Roy grinned and the clone and he started talking. Jason just left them be because most of that was way over his head. He might not have been an idiot but he wasn't the engineering genius Roy was.
Jason walked to the room where Raven and Artemis were, he was a bit miffed seeing the girls together, both apparently meditating. Raven was floating, Artemis was not. But the fiery Amazon's red hair hung in a long braid and was currently wrapped in a perfect circle around her. Jason briefly wondered why there were so many redheads in his life when it was a recessive gene from what he had red, but dismissed the thought.
"How did the call go?" Raven asked, her eyes never opening.
"Well, we're in," he answered leaning on the door.
"And the Bow?' Artemis demanded, nearly surging to her feet.
"Easy there, red, you two are my dates tonight, if the Bow is there, we'll retrieve it and part ways."
"And what else is going on auction?"
"I don't know, most these items are too popular or well known to move through traditional channels, but then there's the other factor of if the police stumbled onto the auctions, and how having a list of the actual goods would look. Plausible deniability flies out the window. I can tell you that this isn't an arms auction, I read no weapons manifestoes on the auction mainframe, leads me to be inclined to think museum quality items, I sent a few pieces over, they'll be easy enough to blend in either way, and are wanted," he shrugged.
"You are a dishonorable thief!" Artemis snapped.
"Yeah, I am, and it's about to come in handy," he retorted.
"Enough!" Raven snapped. "Thank you Jason for getting us closer to the Bow, Artemis and I will be ready for the auction."
"It's formal, little bird."
"Really!?" she whined.
"Before you I never did formal, Red," she huffed.
"Sure ya did, but before Constantine trapped us in that house, neither of us cared about formal, now I'm prepping, no weapons, I got ceramic stuff though," he offered and walked away. He could hear Artemis grumbling behind him but ignored it. Jason didn't mind being a thief.
He got to unpacking his gear and paused a moment before sighing and picking up his phone. Slowly he sat on his cot and pressed the number as he waited a long moment with a baited breath.
"Hey Jason," Donna greeted him.
"I'm not thrilled, but you can move in, just please stay away from my area," he said.
"Raven told me."
"Why are you calling Jason?"
"You called to tell me, I could move in but to stay away from you?"
"If you want to see Lian, just say so."
"That's not why I call! And I'm not her dad!"
"Her dad face timed fifteen minutes ago to see her, her other dad hasn't, just give me a moment," Donna chuckled.
A moment later found a facetime call coming in and he answered it.
"Say hi to your daddy!" Donna smiled as she held Lian to the camera. He softened a bit seeing the kid, her black hair and green eyes were bright as she squaled.
"Heyya kid," he answered and just took a moment to stare at her as Donna filled him in on all the fun things that her little Amazon was doing. Lian just made a toothy smile and tapped the screen, he snorted and resisted tracing her face. This was the first time, he realized, that he'd been away away from the kid. And the daunting feeling of missing her.
Lian's smile made the world seem less horrible, even without Zed in the world.
"Talk to you later Donna," he said and hung up before getting ready.
Of course the soothsayer had thought to put it there, it was all rather trivial in her mind. Where else would one put the Ankh of Death? The only think that had set pause to her plans was the rumors of it being here for an auction, so she walked with Lilith beside her.
"Why are we here?" the little girl asked.
"It is not everyday an item like this comes to the market, child, and it will help in eliminating those Amazons once and for all," Circe promised.
A flash of brilliant, dark, loosely curling red hair had her snapping her fingers as she cloaked her assest and walked up to the other woman.
"My, my, it has been a very long time," she purred. "Last I heard, you were dead."
Dark eyes flicked up to her and a sultry smile curled the other witch's lips. "Tasteless as always I see," her deep brogue was charming in a way.
"What are you doing here?"
"Death was borin'," the other dismissed. "Besides, I heartale there's a certain item coming onto auction, I want it."
"I'm warning you now," Circe started.
"Oh, you want the Ankh, you'll have to bid for it, dearie, the item I'm after is far more dangerous," the other witch chuckled.
"And you know about the Ankh."
"I would hope I'd know my own property, especially after stealing it from Death," the redhead smirked.
"And what exactly do you want for it?"
"You'll have to bid on it just like everyone else."
"Then what are you after?"
"The item I am after is not something you can steal, I'm making inquiries," she shrugged daintily as she moved away and Circe scowled.
"I'm warning you now, mortal," she started.
"Oh, deary me, mortal? Really Circe?" the witch demanded with a bit of a pout. Then there was an abnoxious ringing and the redhead sighed. "That'll be the boys, if you'll excuse me," she turned in a swirl of black skirts and walked off. "'Ello Bois, and what have we gotten ourselves into this time?"
Circe scowled at the red head of the witch before walking back to her demigod, she would acquire the Ankh, it would be far more powerful in the spell she needed it for.
"Who was that?" Lilith asked her innocently.
"Rowena MacLeod," Circe scowled.
She would have Death's Ankh, and the Bow of Ra, then from there she would call upon Set and unleash his power on the Amazons, and Hippolyta would fall. Then there'd be nothing stopping Circe from eliminating the disease of man from the world.
But the Ankh of Death would prove more powerful for her plans than the Ankh she had acquired from Klarion all those eons ago. She wanted this spell to stick.
"She's a witch, never trust a witch," Circe said.
"Bu aren't you a witch?"
"My dear child, no, I'm a sorceress, which is an entirely different form of magic," Circe smiled.
Lilith was concerned about this alteration in whatever plan Circe had. This teleportation to London was out of nowhere, just as Circe had started prepping things was scary. And it was also unsettling to Lilith because she had been vaguely aware of every step Circe was going to take, now they were here. It was impulsive, and she knew that the sorceress never did anything impulsively.
Now she stared at the disappearing figure of Rowena MacLeod, and wondered what was going on to have Circe here.
"I thought we were ridding the world of men," Lilith said uncertainly as she walked with Circe; who's hand was clasped firmly on her arm.
"We are child, but we are ensuring no one can undo the enchantment I'll be weaving," she clarified.
"Why what? Be specific Lilith, I have taught you better."
"Why do you hate men so much?" Lilith whispered.
"Because they are mindless brutes who take pleasure in taking perceived power from the weaker sex, child. Women are superior to them, but to make themselves essential to society, past the purpose of breeding, they force themselves everywhere like an invasive cancer, and I hate them all. They shall all need to go," Circe stated.
"But!" Lilith started.
"You are too young and sheltered to understand, but men are the vile, evil, cancer on this Earth, and I will free us of it. But to ensure there would be no undoing of the spell I must first eliminate the traitors, then the men. After that, with your divinity, we shall cleanse and save the world," she smiled.
"Women can be just as cruel," Lilith whispered thinking of Circe.
"No, women are pure, and good, and strong and just. It is man who is corrupt, foisting themselves upon us, destroying our world, reducing us to nothing but incubators, it is time for a change."
"Oh," she mumbled. Lilith didn't know boys so she couldn't say if men were good or bad, but she felt people were a combination.
"Just look at your birth father, Lilith, he was no more fit to love a Titan than he was to father you, or your half-brother, they are swine, no more worth than the mud on the street. But you, you are a goddess, and we will right the wrongs of this world, with I at your side."
Lilith sighed and then her head snapped up as she felt that power again and she turned to look around the streets of the city for that power, she had felt it. The woman, and all that power. It was unnerving, it was close, and it wasn't here at all, it was almost like the woman was hiding her powers somehow. Lilith would find it, and she would reach out again as she stumbled after Circe and deeply regretted leaving Kentucky.
She didn't want to change the world.
She just wanted to go home.
Raven decided that it was probably for the best she had worn a dress to the Williams family dinner, because she had one that she didn't have to magically summon, and she just changed a few key pieces of the outfit to make it seem like something that Red X's date would wear. She didn't know what exactly that would be like. But she supposed that Kitten's look was enough to try to copy for Red X.
Walking out of her little ready room she found Artemis in a suit, one of Jason's she guessed because it was too wide in the shoulders.
"I feel ridiculous." The Amazon looked upset and uncomfortable.
"It'll be easier to just go with it rather than fuss about it," Raven offered.
"And what am I supposed to do?" Artemis sneered.
"I'm not going to suggest a smile," Raven answered blandly and saw the other woman blink balefully at her. "Look, I don't know what you've been through, but I do know what it feels like to lose your best friend. If it gets to be too much… try talking to Jason, he's in the same boat as you are at this moment."
"I do not need to talk about feelings," Artemis hissed.
"No, but it was just a suggestion, I'll be out in the living room when you're ready." Raven walked to the living area and found Roy and Bizarro snickering in the corner, Jason was typing and she leaned on the counter beside him.
"Do we need to worry about Kevin and Biz's snickering?" she asked.
"Nope, until it's world domination, and then I'll give them references," he offered.
"Mmm," she hummed. "So what's the plan?" Raven asked as she stared out the window at the rain.
"Well, X and I go way back, so he'll have no problems taking you as a date with Arty as the Queen's Guard," Jason smiled.
"I don't need a guard."
"Don't I know it, but it'll look better if it is a guard, Arty is very intimidating. We're going, going to snoop, see if there's a Bow, if there isn't then we'll scare a few answers from the auctioneer and go from there. I am nothing if not a man of my word," Jason mused dryly.
"Isn't that how you keep landing in these messes?"
"Probably," he agreed.
"Jay, I know you don't want to talk about Zed, but… you do know I am here when you're ready, right?" she asked him softer tone which had Jason's fingers halting in their typing as he turned and looked at her. His eyes pulsed green and he looked conflicted for a long moment then he nodded.
"Yeah Rae, I know, and it… it's scary."
"It shouldn't be, it's just me."
"I know it shouldn't be, but it is, because…"
"Because I could leave?"
He didn't answer.
"I'm not going anywhere any time soon Jay, promise, besides, I'm Queen of Hell, I have no where better to be," she offeed with a smile.
"Rae! Rae! Rae! Check this!" Roy shouted, and Raven stood, turning to see Roy and Bizarro give each other fist bumps, and the guy's secret handshakes.
"That was… complicated," she chuckled.
"Rae, I know the last few Bizarros have been… well, bizarre and dumb, but I swear, he's smart," Roy whispered conspiratorially to her.
"He's a Kryptonian clone, Roy, they are said to be smart," Raven pointed out and walked up to Bizarro. The clone was smiling, and Raven reached out to touch his shoulder gingerly.
"Biz smart, little bird," he hummed appreciatively.
"Of course you are," Jason announced. "And you got our backs," Jason supplied.
"Biz do anything for Red Him and friends?" Bizarro bobbed.
"He makes me think of a kid with Down syndrome. He's smart, and there, all there, but he's almost impaired somehow," Roy murmured to her.
"I almost agree with you," Raven said. "But he's a Bizarro, and I don't know how long he has," Raven murmured.
"You did that thing, it turned you red," Roy pointed out.
"Yeah, but I don't know what it did, best guess I stalled something. We'll need to run tests, Cal might have the tests, or S.T.A.R. Labs, but I don't know what I did Roy."
"How can you not know what you did?"
"Just because I act like I know everything doesn't mean I actually do."
"Typical Queens," Jason groused.
"Go get ready, we have an auction to crash," Raven waved him off.
Roy waited until Jason was out of the room and Raven hopped into the air. Finally Roy sighed as he looked up at her.
"You holding up?" she asked.
Roy let out a sigh. "Um… the stress, the want, it's a lot, but, ya know, I've been ignoring it. If it gets real bad I'll call my sponsor," he promised.
"I'm here Roy," she promised.
"Rae, I adore you, but you don't get this, and that empathy of yours might be an awesome equalizer in understanding what's going on but trust me you don't fully comprehend this until you know what addiction is like," he promised.
"I'm sure, but I want you to be alright Roy," Raven promised.
"And I adore you for it, we are truly not worthy of having a friend like you, queen," he smiled.
"I like my minions in working condition," she pointed out.
"So glad to know I'm loved," Roy chuckled.
"Just trying to keep it honest," she waved off as she hopped down and walked away from him.
Jason put on his disguise, the vest, rolled up the sleeves, pulled on his creased pangs, then checked his pointer shoes, shoes he loathed, but needed, then he pulled his red tie on before buttoning up the fest and tucking his shirt in. Pulling on his belt he picked up his red sunglasses and slid them on before walking out.
"That's a terrible disguise," Roy stated.
"Shut up, this is Red X," Jason shoved Roy's shoulder then.
"What!? A tacky mustache and wannabe mobster look," the redhead snickered. "And what's the name? Rason Rodd!?"
"Sorry, I don't do porn, maybe you should look in the 70s for Rason Rodd."
"I don't know man, this get up is for the 80s."
"I don't date guys with mustaches," Raven stated promptly.
"And Red X dates vivacious, sexy, curvy fiery redheads," Jason smirked. "Arty is way more my tastes," he decided sidling up to the Amazon when she entered the room.
"Touch me and I will send you straight Osiris for judgement," the regal Amazon warned.
"I must protest, I'll have to go get that asshole back," Raven stated.
"Why would you save him!?" Artemis demanded.
"Because I'm rather attached to this adviser and if he goes to Hell, I do have to go and get him back," Raven stated.
"You're attached to me," he mocked flattery.
"I'm rethinking that attachment, Roy, how'd you like to be promoted to my adviser?"
"I think we're over my thinking levels, Rae, but Biz might be up for it!"
"Bizarro like little bird," the clone hummed.
"I'm irreplaceable and you know it," he grumbled sourly.
"I know," Raven smiled as she sauntered out the door with Artemis on her tail. Jason just groaned then looked at Roy.
"Women are trouble," he decided.
"The best kind of trouble," Roy grinned as he clasped Jay's shoulder and walked out the door with Bizarro.
Jason just sighed as he walked after the girls, shoving his hands in his pockets as he went down the stairs. This was either going to be a hell of a story for him to remember or he was going to end up dead at the bottom of Hell, he wasn't entirely sure where this was going to go. He didn't mind though, it was something to do.
He paused at his car seeing Raven in the passenger's seat and Artemis in the back, pouting, it was going to be a long night. He got in the driver's seat and started the car, Raven was muttering an incantation and suddenly she had blonde hair with blue eye.
"What? Since Christmas I actually need to worry about these things!" she protested.
"I am not to blame for Christmas, talk to the troglodyte."
"I know, but I'm just saying Rachel is always associated with Jason Todd," she shrugged.
"Then it's a very good thing we aren't dating and hopefully those rumors will die."
"They haven't yet. I think your brother is feeding rumors to the reporters."
"Wait! Which one?" Jason sputtered.
"Which one do you think?"
"Kay, fine, I'll see what I can do about getting that to stop," Jason replied as he pulled onto the street.
"That would be appreciated," Raven decided. "And if you call me toots or sweetcheeks or anything, I'll send you to hell personally."
"Well, Rae, you know something?"
"I'm back baby!" he smiled.
"I should smite you."
"But ya won't, cause ya love me!" he teased, she glowered at him as they merged with traffic.
Artemis scowled as Jason got Raven out of the car, he pushed his ridiculous glasses up and walked with Raven.
"This is ridiculous," Artemis muttered.
"Yeah, but I'm not running in guns blazing, creating casualties in bystanders, or cutting ties with my organization just to get your Bow, princess."
"I Am Not A Princess!" Artemis snapped indignantly at the man. He was infuriating, and she disliked him. But he had a valid point of the casualties, she didn't want to harm the innocent but she wanted to get that Bow back. She wanted that sorceress dead at her feet and the head on a platter, and she would take both. But not yet, she would see what this strange man was doing, she didn't quiet understand his method of madness.
"Then stop acting like a spoiled, pouty princess and get with the program and help us help you. I just wanted to get rid of a cancer, you want a Bow. Learn to work with us or go it alone," he snapped.
"I was doing fine before your witch teleported me around," she countered.
"And would have had the entire JL come crashing onto your head," Raven said as she looked over her shoulder.
"I was not speaking to you."
"No, but you are here now, and I am a member of this team, so you will have to accept I listen," Raven answered.
"Now shut it ladies, I have to do some fast talking," Jason ordered.
Artemis glared at Raven as she walked ahead. She looked over the crowd as they walked into a warehouse. She paused momentarily as she was assaulted by the scents of perfume, cigars, smoke, and grime, as it all foggy and disgusting.
She glared over the room, and Jason shook hands with several people as he walked around the room. Her eyes landed on several items as she walked around the area. These items were odd, paintings, relics, and machines. It was all very odd.
There was a shove against her shoulder which had her turning as she saw a curvy Mediterranean brunette saunter past her. Her eyes looked over the woman, and the woman looked over her shoulder, her purple lips curled dangerously as she disappeared into the crowd.
"So, Red, ya see anything that might help us out here? A cat, goddess or something Egyptian?" Jason hissed at her.
"No," she answered angrily. "Where is Raven?"
"Sweetness is looking around for magic, she said something about there being a lot of magic here, and going to find it," Jason shrugged.
"You seem unconcerned for your protective comrade."
"Sunshine is more than capable of defending herself, and she's also a Queen of Hell so I'd worry more about who crosses her than her," Jason shrugged. Artemis snorted, there was nothing that physically suggested that the sorceress was truly dangerous.
"X," the girl reappeared.
"I don't sense the Bow of Ra, but there's something much worse here," Raven murmured and then Artemis saw it, her eyes widened a bit.
Chapter 12: Well, That's Sexist, and I'm Offended
Raven had felt the powerful magic before they arrived, it was like a siren's song, she couldn't resist. Her demon's blood had resonated with the craving to take some sort of power to herself, which had her walking away from Jason when they entered. Slipping in and out of the crowd she had hunted the thing which had captured her attention, which had her pausing before the exhibit before her heart dropped and her eyes widened.
There was silver ankh there, and she recoiled at the sight of the seemingly innocent piece of jewelry.
It was simple. Looking as if it were junk jewelry, something someone could buy in a thrift shop. It wasn't even interesting but staring at it she felt a shiver down her spine as she stepped away from it.
That… that was way worse than the Bow of Ra.
"Beautiful," a woman murmured, and Raven glanced beside her as she felt the power radiating from the woman.
"Dangerous," Raven countered.
"So you can see it too, the power," the woman's full lips curled into a dangerous smile.
"Yes," Raven answered cautiously as she stood straighter. There was something about this woman's presence which unsettled her greatly. It was sort of like the Enchantress, powerful, radiating malice though and almost intoxicating. But Raven resisted that power as she looked at the item before her.
"It's the only one in the entire multiverse, it's spectacular," she smiled.
"Were you here for it in the auction?"
"No, that is a power no one can touch without Death coming," Raven said softly.
"Ah, but it is a power that will solve many problems," the woman sighed blissfully. "Like the problem of men ruling this world with their pricks, and their brute strength and violent ways. Ridding the world of them would solve so many problems."
"It would create more trouble than it is worth," Raven countered.
"So you do not think that death is the solution for the tyranny that this world faces under the hold of men?" the woman demanded. The way she spoke was like men were the equivalent of death to all, which disgusted Raven greatly.
"Who says that men are the only problem? that would be generalizing the problem? It is like claiming all problems are one sex's fault, and they aren't. The issues we face are human made issues, which disregard sex, race, or economic status. Generalizing the problems to be a single sex's fault is generalizing the true issue and only casting needless blame, rather than teaching problem solving and tolerance. Generalizing the issues though are more of a convenience for the ignorant and keeps the problems in place rather than seeking out solutions." Raven snapped irritably, she didn't like this woman, but now she was sensing a dangerous problem with the woman. And Raven finally recognized those emerald eyes.
"Men are the root of all problems though, their brash arrogance and belief in their superiority has driven this toxic world to the brink. It will perish under their control."
"Again, generalizing the problem is not acknowledging the problem. Men and Women have mad choices and we have come here, slowly we are righting the world, but it is a process. To generalize the problem creates more problems than it solves. Which leads to the issues that we're dealing with now as the world rights itself."
"You seem to have a lot of faith in man."
"No, I have faith in life and humanity. Complicated as the world is, we are not to generalize a problem, it only creates more problem. Do I believe that the world would be better with equal power, yes, but I also know that that is not reality and reality is working for change. There is no over night solution for this problem, only time and teachings, to guide the younger generation to be strong enough to make the changes, and wise enough to embrace them. The problem is not one sex. The problem is a system of thinking and a lack of tolerance, also the older generations' refusal to believe that the young might be worthy of saving the world, or having something intelligent to contribute. Age does create wisedom, but do not think the young ignorant.
"And your ignorance has generalized an entire set of global conflicts to suit your diluted view of the world. Death of man is not the solution," Raven stated firmly as she stood tall before the woman.
"You are a very forward speaker," Circe mused.
"Because I have an idea of what you are thinking Circe, do not think to do it."
"That is direct," she sneered.
"I do not play games Circe, I will be unlike any other opponent you have ever fought," Raven warned.
"You speak as if we have met," Circe mused.
"No, we haven't, but we will if you move to take the Ankh, and the Bow. I'm not the League, Circe, I will destroy you," Raven warned.
"Then may the best sorceress win," Circe smiled as she sauntered off. Raven watched the woman go before she slid into the crowd again, her empathy latched onto Jason as she navigated to him. He looked ridiculous with the mustache and red shades as he talked to an equally ridiculous looking Amazon who wore a suit and shades.
"What?" Jason turned his attention to her then.
"I don't sense the Bow of Ra," she stated looking at the Amazon. "But there's something much worse here."
The Amazon took a moment to scan the room, Raven envied the woman's height, but then she recoiled.
"No…" Artemis whispered.
"What?" Jason asked.
"They have Death's Ankh," Raven stated.
"The Endless, Death, she was said wear this ankh, something about the ancient rules the Endless are bound by. The Endless, according to myth are heavily influenced by Egyptian runes, and magic, it's some of the oldest, on this planet and in this plane of existence. That Ankh, it's her's Jason, only an Endless can wear it, but a wielder could utilize Death's power to their control, temporarily, before it'd kill them," Raven stated.
"Kay, and the problem?"
"Circe wants it," Raven answered which stopped Jason then.
"What?" the Amazon growled.
"She's here for it."
"Fuck," Jason muttered.
"I will have her head!" Artemis started for the crowd when Raven used telekenises to halt her.
"She's not alone fool, and there are civilians around," Jason hissed.
"I don't sense another power with her," Raven informed him quickly. "But the girl…"
"I see, keep eyes peeled, try to take her quiet," Jason said softly.
"I want her head."
"You'll get it, but quietly," Jason soothed the Amazon. Raven twisted around when there was a voice on a mic, it was almost time for the auction, and Raven grabbed Jason's and Artemis' hands as she yanked them along.
"I copy, civilians in jeopardy. Overwatch prepared for action," he replied.
"Enhanced powered, sorceress," he stated.
"On it," Roy responded in the coms, and Raven nodded as she walked away with Jay and Artemis, she dragged the Amazon with the power of her shadows until they were at their box.
"Raven, what do you know about the sorceress?"
"She's ruthless, and will not hesitate to kill men, or anyone who is in her way," Raven stated.
"Yes, she's not fond of men."
"Get over it, I'm sure my mom would rid the world of men too, if only to ensure the Joker died," Raven stated as she thought of Ivy. Ivy really hated people as a whole, but still, the sentiments were about the same.
"I just feel all warm and fuzzy."
"Well, that's what generalizing a problem does," Raven replied sharply.
"Sunshine we will have ethical, philosophical, hell even moral debates on this shit later, but right now, we're here to save the world, and to stop a homicidal crazed woman," Jason countered as he scanned the crowd.
"Women, always fucking batshit crazy."
"And men are the idiots that make us crazy," Raven dryly pointed out.
"Point, Queen, point," he resigned and they started scanning the crowd. But wherever Circe was Raven couldn't sense her which concerned her, and no violet heads stood out in the crowd. This meant two things to Raven, neither of which she was liking at this moment.
The auction started and people clambored to their seats, Raven stretched her mind to still it to seek out the familiar peace she could typically feel. Her dark eyes did not move from the crowd, and she watched over the strange auction. As the auction droned on she felt her eyes flutter shut as she slipped into a meditative state as her body settled to listen to the almost monotoned fast paced speeches of the auctioneer.
Her eyes snapped open when she felt a flux in pressure which had her tensing as she sat up a bit looking around the area. Leaning forward she started up when she felt everything still in her heart.
The lights flickered.
"X," Raven hissed, jabbing her elbow into his side he didn't move. "Jason?" Raven waved her hand in front of his face as she stood. The Amazon was still as a statue which had Raven tensing as she pressed the talk on her comms and heard static. Slowly she walked away from the group, placing wards as she went to guard them.
She paused when there was a shadow of a redheaded girl stood before her.
"Help me," the girl whispered. Blood slid from her nose as the girl trembled.
Raven said nothing as she walked through the shimmering projection to the main floor, just as Circe walked in. Turning to the woman she stared balefully at the woman.
"You must be very strong of mind to resist the charm," Circe chuckled, a darker woman walked in, dressed in an atrocious tux like Artemis was wearing. Her braided hair held blue, red, and gold beads, her face was severe, round and gentle, but looking at the eyes Raven saw nothing there.
"Join me, or move aside, child," Circe smiled.
"How about I stop you?" Raven asked.
"You are beneath me, Akila, dispose of her," Circe ordered. The woman walked mindlessly towards her and Raven took a steadying breath then the woman was running at her. Raven warped the shadows to slam into the mindless slave as she turned and slashed out runes while she released her power removing the people.
"You are powerful," Circe moved now they stood in the empty warehouse. There was a glint of movement to her left which had Raven leaping out of the way as she twisted around slashing the shadows at the crater the Amazon had created. "But how do you fair against an Amazon?"
Raven's illusion spell failed when something electricity hit her, she cried out as she dropped to the ground. There was a moment to move as she rolled out of the way, narrowly evading just being crushed as she twisted up to her feet and stared at the woman. Her soul… it was not there, she was a drone, or a soul repressed or literally locked away.
Getting to her feet she fell into the stance Selina had been teaching her as she floated. The Amazon came at her, Raven blocked as she tried to get on the inside. Lashing out a leg, she gasped when she was caught and thrown into a wall, she lashed out her shadows to toss the Amazon away.
"You are no match for an Amazon child, give it up, you are alone," Circe cooed as Raven flew out of the way of an impending foot to the face. She slammed her own fist into the woman's lower ribs, smashing her foot on her instep then twisting the weight over her shoulder as she flew out of reach to lash out her shadows.
"I am not alone!" Raven snarled as she ripped the Ankh from it's stand and flew it to her.
"No!" Circe snarled, Raven levitated it overhead not wanting to touch it as she unleashed a flurry of spells, only for a body to slam into her as she was tackled into the ground with a hard thud and roll. Kicking her knee up she gasped as her shoulder and arm were knocked out of place and then there was a slash over her stomach. Enveloping into shadows she dropped as she landed in her box, summoning the ankh to her as she ran away.
Using full power seemed unwise, but if she kept using minimal she'd have her ass kicked, and the ankh taken.
She caught the ankh in her hand as her second eyes emerged and she dropped the world into darkness that they couldn't see as she let the runes flitter from her fingers.
"Mmmm, so your true power, the darkness," Circe chuckled. "Come and get me in the light," Circe snarled before there was a blast of light and Raven dropped the ankh around her neck.
The runes Raven had forged blasted towards them and she fused her focus into the point of the ankh. This was a bad idea, but she smiled coldly. "I will take you up on that challenge, later."
She let her powers roil and fester then the ankh unleashed it's own wave of darkness focused at Circe. The sorceress screamed as the darkness came at her, Raven dropped into the shadows before walking out, grabbing the ankh, dropping it on the safehouse table. Her companions were still frozen, mindless, Raven grabbed Jason's temples, as she fused her soul into his mind through his emotions as she tracked her way through his head into his mind as she stood in Jason's mindscape.
Raven stood in Gotham once more, and she looked at Jason's frozen consciousness as she walked forward then. Reaching towards him hand was pushed away by a pulse of green energy that was rather spring like in it's emotions.
"Sorry," the small voice whimpered and Raven turned towards the girl.
"I should have expected this. A powerful little telepath to walk the mind of a Bat," Raven said. "Or mine."
"I… I need your help," the girl whimpered. There was more blood from her nose.
"You don't have control of your power," Raven surmised walking around the girl.
"Please!" the girl whispered.
"Release Red, then we will talk," she stated.
"I…" Raven grabbed the girl and they stood in her mind as the power warped and the midscape changed to stand on an asteroid in the voice of the Azarathian stars.
"You wanted my attention, you have it. Speak girl," she ordered the child as she hopped into the air, folding her legs as she stared at her.
"I can't hold…" the girl started.
"We have as long as I allow, you can release the outside hold." Raven informed the child, and she watched as the fading form of the girl strengthened, she gasped and fell to her knees on the asteroid.
Jason gasped as he felt himself slam from this void into the world again and stumbled back as he hit the ground. There was a stab of pain as he felt the back of his head slam onto the floor and colors explode in his sight.
"What happened?" Roy gasped.
"Where…?" he heard Artemis.
"Lil' bird!" Bizarro whined and Jason groaned as he pushed himself up and his eyes settled on Raven who was sitting at the counter, her eyes wide and white, open, the light emanating from them was pulsing dangerously, her hair floated a bit around her as she sat there almost frozen like a statue.
"Rae?" Roy said.
"No, don't, don't touch her," Jason groaned as he got up to his feet. Her hand was resting over a silver ankh, her fingers were loose and there were dangerous talons where her nails should be, they were stained red, which had him frowning.
"I've never seen this before," Roy said.
"What is wrong with her?" Artemis asked.
"Lil bird?" Biz whined.
"Raven's part demon, so in general she's a mystery, but some of her baser instincts are known, when in genuine danger she goes to be a demon, she'll have armor that'll wrap around her, makes her look like a harpy, and she'll have talons. Her powers can be magic or other, she's got a lot of abilities that react on baser natures, This though, I've never seen this from her."
"Those are talons," Artemis said as she looked at the woman.
"Yeah, and they are sharp," Jason said.
"They tore through Lobo like he was paper," Roy said.
Jason cringed at that information as he came around to look her in the eyes. They pulsed, and there was a small display of light pulsing to her eyes, through her veins and he walked a bit away from her as he looked around her.
"How do we get that, and not die?" Roy gestured to the ankh in Raven's talons.
"Leave it," Jason warned.
"We should kill her," Artemis stated.
"No one is touching the little bird, we're going to leave her be, to watch over, and let her do whatever she's doing. And if you so much as attempt to touch her, Arty, I'll kill you before you can blink," Jason warned her. the Bizarro's eyes were red and glaring at the Amazon.
"Biz, watch the little bird," Jason ordered. "Roy, look as to where the auction participators went, now. See if we can figure out just what the hell sunshine here did. Arty, come on, we're going to the scene," Jason said as he motioned for the Amazon to follow. He glanced again at Raven before he walked out with Artemis.
"What did she do?" Artemis asked.
"I don't know, last thing I remember was the auction," Jason admitted. Then it felt like there was a cloud, this haze in his mind, as he was forced to be somewhere else, and do something else, which had startled him. It was nothing but white noise to him, and that unsettled him greatly. His missing memories from his time as a mindless coma patient, a walking zombie, were this vague blob of blurs, shapes, colors and pains of emotions he couldn't reason feeling. The Lazarus memories were tinted with this acid green that felt like nothing but hatred and fury of a fire he couldn't quench or tame, and it only burned him alive and he could only stand in it's fire.
This though, this was just a haze of white noise he couldn't peek into the veil of, it bothered him greatly as he stood there.
"Does this happen often to you or are you just a beacon for trouble?" Artemis asked as they walked out of his flat.
"Honestly, been asking meself the same thing for years, love," Jason dramatically informed her.
The Amazon scowled at his answer and he smiled as they walked onto the street. "Men are good for nothing but trouble," she muttered.
"Oh, Arty, we're the best kind of trouble. We're stupid!" he laughed.
"I hate you," she decided.
"Just wait, I'll grow on you."
"Like a parasite."
"Ouch. But did you know that some hosts and parasites for friendly relationships in life? Like there's this fish in the deep sea, and they mate for life! The male infuses with the female, providing her with the sperm for her eggs and she feeds and hunts for him! It's awesome really," Jason announced.
Artemis looked revolted and Jason decided that watching all those nature shows with Roy were finally going to pay off.
"You are proving men ae lazy and useless."
"We are not, take lions for example, they need a big strong lion to have sex with them, knock them up, and in return they feed him!" he countered.
"Lions fight to the death, and prides are comprised of females who will turn on the male if he is a threat," she countered.
"You just can't admit you need guys in your life."
"About as much as I need a dildo."
"So that's how Amazons do it, I always wondered."
"You are useless," she shoved him away as she jogged across the street. He trotted after her, and flipped off a blaring horn as he shoved his hands into his pockets.
"Truthfully, we're only in this mess to help you out, if I had it my way I'd be tearing apart Black Mask's organization rather than trapezing around world for you and your mystical bow, and for my best friend to be wrapped up in demon drama."
"Then why are you helping!?" she snapped.
"Because, Arty, it's the right thing to do, and I only ever try to do the right thing. Even when it's going to bite me on the ass, very painfully. So, you can try to grow up, just a little and cooperate with a man, who will freely admit, you are better than him; probably at everything. Else, this will be a very difficult job to do," Jason sighed tiredly.
"You mean it?"
"Yeah, I'm here to help. Unwillingly, but I'm here," Jason groused out.
"I am superior to you," she stated smugly.
"Yeah, yeah, drop the smug act, I'm not stupid enough to think I'm better than an Amazon, I practically live with one already," he muttered thinking of Donna. Donna Troy was a Royal Pain in the Ass, but she was an Amazonian Princess lost in man's world. He could help another Amazon stuck in man's world out. "So, do we have an accord?"
Jason thrusted his hand out to her and waited.
Those green eyes assessed him. What was it with the people around him always being redheads? Wasn't red a recessive gene or something? And seriously, why was he thinking this now!? It was not important as he watched her verdant eyes before he saw something click behind them and a resolve light her eyes.
"We do, Red Hood of the Outlaws," she decided before she grasped his forearm strongly and they shook on it.
"Good, so we're equals in this regard, now drop the prissy act and lets pick up the pace!" he snapped, releasing her arm as he walked past her and heard her huff before she kept stride with his longer strides. They covered the ground quickly getting to the auction house, or what remained of it, and Jason frowned at the sight of it's ruins.
"It was not like this," Artemis muttered.
"No shit Sherlock, come on," he snapped as he walked into the ruins, it wasn't like the building had caught fire or something, but rather like it had imploded. Jason crouched down at the sight of something which had him tracing the breaks in the ground before he stood and mentally he remembered what it was.
The scene was rather simple, he could imagine that Raven had gone in search for whatever it was that had stopped his memories, tangled with a threat, did what she did when she was not unleashing her power, which was remove the civilians and attempt to flee without injuring herself or others. But he didn't get it, if it was that simple she shouldn't be in that state back in the flat.
No, something had happened, she had encountered something.
That sorceress Circe probably. He could see that, but if it was just Circe then why didn't Raven just finish it?
Probably because Circe had had help. There was a gasp, and he looked over as Artemis lifted up a light blue and gold bead.
And now the fleeing on Raven's part made more sense, she wasn't as combat adapted as an Amazon was.
"What can you tell me about Akila?" Jason asked as he looked at her.
"She was… my… my everything," Artemis whispered, and Jason stared at the woman before she crumbled to the ground, tears flowing.
Lilith stared at the woman across from her, the long black hair with purple undertones danced around the woman, disappearing into the starry sky, making the woman seem almost ethereal. Though Lilith supposed that she was ethereal, she had never seen someone so commanding and striking standing before her and doubted she would ever see someone like this again. A proud indifferent, apathetic face stared at her, and Lilith couldn't read this woman.
"I… I saw you fight the monster," Lilith whispered. "I can feel your power, you're… you're stronger than her, but…"
"I'm more dangerous," the woman surmised.
"At least you are aware of that, my mind was not made for the mortals to connect with, you though, are not mortal, not entirely." The woman walked towards her, and Lilith only stared at the dark eyes.
"Help me, please," she whimpered, she could feel her hold slipping on this bond, the woman reached out and clasped her. All wavering shattered as she felt something slip between them and she stood firm in the mind of another for the first time in her memory. She stared into the dark eyes of the woman, only to watch them turn pure white as the inky greys and blacks formed shadows around them, the runes lit up white though.
"I Am Raven," the woman introduced herself with a kind smile before releasing her.
"A pleasure to meet you, Lilith, now, what is it you have continuously attempted to summon me for?"
"I need help, Circe… she's… she's making me hurt people," Lilith felt the tears forming and she felt the blood rolling over her lips now. She tried to grab Raven again, but the dark woman was out of her reach.
"Trust me, we're coming for her, we'll save you," Raven said and Lilith felt a pulse of calm, reassurance and confidence around her as she stared at the woman. "Just be patient, we're coming."
"I don't want to go!" Lilith whimper.
"You're not, I'll see you soon," Raven said and then the woman touched her brow which sent Lilith's connection shattering as she was plummeted through the bond into her own body with a gasp as she fell back on the bed hyperventilating.
Trying to catch her breath she closed her eyes and bit her lip as she focused on her breathing and her heart. She just wanted to go home! Now! She just wanted… home.
Lilith slowly opened her eyes, and her mind settled in her body again as she whimpered in pain at the throb of her body before pushing herself up. Her strawberry blonde curls fell limply around her as she let out a shuddering breath, then she felt it, this comforting, protective pull, it was a bond, in the back of her mind. She looked up, sitting up as she got on shaky legs and limped towards the mirror. Pulling herself up, she stared at her reflection for a moment.
Raven was still here, she could feel it.
Roy was humming Colors of the Wind; as he worked on looking for the auction guests, and wherever Raven had hidden them. It was a bit disconcerting to be working with Raven sitting right there, emminating this power as she sat still as a statue without moving a single talon or hair.
But he ignored it as he worked, humming Color of the Wind before he got some feed back on the reports of disoriented people having been found in St. Paul's Cathedrial, over the police back channels. Everyone insisted they'd been at an auction party before BAM they were there, and no memory as to what happened. Turning off his radios he turned to look at Raven who hadn't moved. Bizarro was staring adoringly at her, and she hadn't moved a muscle.
Okay, what he knew, the ankh was Death's, Raven wasn't moving, and she was somewhere between Demon and White Raven, he didn't think that was a good combination.
Suddenly she gasped as her hand broke, her fingers shrinking and her eyes lost their glow as all her hair dropped and she started falling backwards, Roy lunged forward as he caught her before she slammed onto the floor.
"Easy, easy, Rae, I got you!" Roy promised as he hauled her against him and she clawed at his arm as she looked around wildly before sagging against him.
"Oh thank Azar," she breathed.
"Mind telling me what happened?" Roy asked as he scooped her up and deposited her on the couch. He wasn't Jay, he wasn't going to cuddle the demon.
"Circe came for the ankh, I kept it away without destroy London." Raven answered as she lay on the couch, her hands rubbing her temples, Roy dropped a blanket on her.
"You okay though?" he asked, frowning as he assessed her carefully before she looked balefully at him.
"Yes. I am fine, Roy Harper," she stated coldly.
"You look gray."
"I am gray."
"Grayer than normal."
"You are a pain in the ass, where's Jason? He's usually here to be a bigger pain in the ass."
"All pain in the ass duties befall me as he took the Amazon out and left me and Biz here," Roy stated smugly.
"I don't need a babysitter."
"I know, Queen, but we worry about you," he promised.
"The girl's name is Lilith, she's a prisoner of Circe's I forged an empathy link with her when she was invading Jason's mind," Raven sighed.
"You still do that!?" he sputtered.
"Shut up, it's a headache," she groaned.
"I will, but I want details." He decided grabbing the Tylenol he had packed to deal with Jason's moods, and got a few pills for Raven. She took them as she sat up.
"Lil bird!" Bizarro announced as he roughly patted Raven's head.
"I'm alright Biz, now both of you stop fussing, tell me what was happening," she knocked the meds back and stood.
"Well…" he started as he pulled up the information.
Chapter 13: Can We Say Tragic Touch Of Death?
Can We Say Tragic Touch of Death?
He watched a strong woman crack as she stared at the bead and he walked to stand before her slumped form. There was a moment, he could keep it to himself, he could leave it where it lay and he crouched to her level pulling out the wallet.
"Her name was Isobel; with an 'o', she had bleach blonde hair, a California tan, bright green eyes, and a smile I swear was made of sunshine. She was athletic, and happy, and pure and so fucking innocent it was as maddening as it was endearing. She was from San Diego, California. She could kick my ass at tennis, loved the beach, hated reading, and wanted to be a humanitarian lawyer to work at the Hague. She wanted to change the world, and she couldn't even stand a good slice of pizza.
"She was nineteen, I met her at Princeton, freshman orientation," he stated, and Artemis looked up with tear filled eyes.
"She was nineteen and she was everything," he stated calmly. "My everything. And she died because I failed her. I get it Artemis, I really do, but you need to stop being a childish brat and part of you knows it. I'm not the enemy here, I'm here to help. Let me help you."
"How did she die?" Artemis whispered.
"She died, on our winter vacation, December twentieth, in Nice, when a group of radical terrorists decided to tear into a crowd with nothing but a van and weapons, killing eight-six people, and injuring over four hundred. She died because I ignored everything I was, and insisted I was normal, rather than me following my every instinct telling me something was wrong that day. I took five bullets that day. She took four bullets, the one through her heart though killed her in less than five seconds, and I watched as her life left her eyes. And I could do nothing, but watch.
"Let me help you Artemis, I can't promise we'll save Akila, and I can't promise that this ends well, but… we're going to do our damnedest to try. But you have to trust us."
"She's highly trained, she's better than I, she's our Shim-Tar. We stand no chance against her," Artemis murmured.
"Try us, you got the most powerful demon on your side, along with me, and the best archer, and a Kryptonian; I think our odds aren't helpless," he chuckled.
"How could you dare to help a stranger?"
"It's kind of what we do."
"And if we fail, Circe will destroy our world as we know it," she whispered.
"Then failure isn't an option, and I wasn't trained to fail."
"Circe is the enemy, she will use Akila as a guard, I do not know what else she is planning."
"Tell me about Akila," he decided as he stood.
"She is better, endowed with gifts of gods, she is the best, she will not fial, and she will destroy us. She is trained in over thirty forms of hand to hand combat, she speaks thirty languages, and she is trained in the arts of disappearing.
"Akila has no magic abilities, her superior strength and speed makes the use of magic useless on her. And the gods favored her."
"So normal Amazon anatomy and abilities," he deduced.
"She's the Shim-Tar, Jason," she stated again.
"And I will take care of it," he stated as they stood, and he looked around the ruins.
"You stand no chance against the Shim-Tar!"
"Don't count me out princess, I'm far worse than you give me credit for," he smiled as he walked ahead of her to stew about that.
Jason wasn't like what he presented, he wasn't just a killer or chaos, he was so much worse, and he'd rarely encountered an opponent that had required him to use all his acquired skills. Jason wasn't like the other Bats, and he wasn't like the Assassins or anyone else really in his skillsets. So he could use that to his advantage here. He'd never ignore his instincts again or let his guards down.
Failure just wasn't an option anymore.
"What do you think had Circe here?"
"Understandable, but what is she planning, if it is that powerful why would she even think she could handle it? Raven mentioned that no one but an Endless could touch it then why would Circe want it?" Artemis asked.
"Well... that's a damn good question," he admitted. "There must be something Circe can do with it."
"Circe is powerful but I do not believe her capable of messing with gods' magic."
"We'll ask Rae."
"You trust her?" Artemis stated, and he spun around to growl at her only to see curiosity there.
"Yeah, Raven's always played it straight with me so I trust her," he stated. "She's a demon, Arty, but she's not bad, or evil. She's probably our only hope against Circe," he admitted.
"Very well, then you should know that Circe hates the Amazons of Themyscira, she will likely attempt to attack their home. She has a grudge against Hippolyta for something no one knows about," she admitted.
"Then we start there, Arty, I got a first class ticket to Paradise Island!" he smiled as he walked out of the ruins with Artemis. The Amazon merely looked annoyed with him as she stalked past him and he pulled out his phone.
He didn't hesitate as he dialed the number.
"Everything is fine, Lian is happy, Ace is fed, and the warehouse is standing," was the immediate response, sounding flustered and annoyed in her prm voice.
"Uh… no, how'd you like to drop the baby off with B and join us in London? We need to head to Themyscira, and I'd love not to be blasted out of the sky when I head that way," he said.
"What are you up to Jason?"
"Long story, princess, so ya coming or not?"
"Give me a day and I'll get the first flight to London," she sighed and hung up.
Raven was vastly relieved hearing everything from Roy.
So she had gotten everyone out of the warehouse, that was a relief for her, and she was also pleased to hear that no one was dead.
"So, what did you have here," Roy reached for her, she caught his wrist with a bruising grip.
"Don't. Touch." She whispered hoarsely.
"Okay… got the memo," he said and she slowly released him as he pulled his hand away. "But what is it?"
"It's Death's Ankh," she stated as she used the shadows to lift it up and she spun it slowly. There were hieroglyphics carved in it, but that wasn't surprising as she circled it slowly. The magic radiating from it was older than the universe and time.
"So what can you tell me about this?" he asked.
"This," she murmured. "Is the totem of Death."
"Totem?" he sputtered.
"Long ago, before time or creation, there was said to be Nothing, and the Nothing sired the Endless," she stated. "The Endless are Destiny, Despair, Desire, Delirium, Dream, Destruction, Delight, Sandman, and finally Death. The most powerful beings in the birth of the universe as we know it, magic sired from Nothing, life from Nothing, Nothing, even before God and His sisters, there was the Endless.
"Then the universe was birthed, by God, and His sisters."
"God has sisters?"
"Yes, He does, He has two. Darkness and Light, God was a being of both. However, his predecessors were the Endless, before life, and creation. The first Sentient beings, they started it all. God created His worlds, and life, He created what He wanted, and the Endless brought us magic, and imagination."
"You're telling me that Death is alive?"
"Death is present two times in life, at creation and at death. Death is in charge of Reapers, and such, so it's all complicated, they've been complicated, and dangerous, but the magic they yield, it can't be touched by anyone or anything other than the Endless that it belongs to. This, this is Death's Totem," she nodded as she looked it over.
"What happens when you touch it?" Roy asked.
"It's said that to touch a Totem of the original Endless is to incur the power, no being is capable of taking that power so usually it'll break the mind. It was said that God Himself couldn't touch these artifacts, nor could the Archangels, and that's some of the largest magic power."
"You said usually," Roy pointed out.
"Because I touched it Roy," Raven stated.
"Oh fuck," he reached for her and she pulsed a shield as she side stepped him.
"I'm fine, I just can't figure out what this means," she admitted as she looked at her hand. It wasn't stained in black, it wasn't falling apart, she couldn't feel bad health, nor death seeping into her bones, and she couldn't feel the end near. She felt like herself, and fine, which was what concerned her. She didn't understand what this meant, she frowned and she stared at the Ankh more carefully.
"What does that mean?" Roy asked.
"It means," Raven said as she turned to him. "That I don't know what this means as I'm neither dead nor am I insane. It's a mystery, and one I will be figuring out, but until then, I'm removing this from this plane and putting it somewhere safe," she admitted as she opened a portal and dropped it into the abyss.
"Rae…" Roy started.
"Just don't touch me until I figure out what's going on. I don't know what it means."
"Jay probably won't like that."
"And he is the last person who should touch me. I already know his soul was resting, and I already know that the Endless Death left it be, and he has died and come back to life, whatever just happened; and I don't know what that is, then best that NO ONE touch me.
"And I don't care if I'm on fire, no touch," she snapped as she walked away from him.
"I already touched you though," Roy said, and she spun on him.
"What?" then she reeled remembering when she grabbed Jason's temples; Oh fuck!
"I'm not dead," he stated carefully.
"You tell me if anything, and I mean anything feels off Roy, until we have this sorted out. Understood?" she demanded. She'd have to talk to Jason; alone.
"Yes ma'am!" he nodded.
Raven curtly nodded before she walked to her area and slowly pulled the zipper of her gown's zipper's as she stepped out of is, dropping a spell on it as it lit afire and she walked away from it and to her room. Pulling her bag out she didn't touch anything as she summoned the needed clothes and started murmuring the spells that would have the runes wrapping around herself to keep everyone away around herself. She picked up her large silver belt and slowly pulled it around her waist then. Once dressed she pulled the cloak around her shoulders and frowned as she thought this over.
She looked at her hands, her hands were fine, but she could still feel it, that power, pulsing in her clutch.
For that moment, that split moment she had grabbed it to keep t away from Circe. That power, it had pulsed in her hand, she could feel it, that all consuming drowning power, the sorrow, the end, the pain, the suffering, the peace, the agony and the life. It was a cycle, like the Multiverse, it wasn't ending and she could feel it.
Raven had always felt tuned to the multiverse, but not… not like that which was what had her shivering. That power, that icy power had gripped her spine, and it hadn't felt like anything she had felt, and it had felt like… like hers. Lit it was hers' to claim, to possess, to own to use, but it wasn't. Raven didn't know what to make of that as she stood at the bed staring at her bag.
She'd find a center and she'd work from there.
Leaping back she hopped onto the air as she closed her eyes as she focused on breathing.
She listened to her heart beating, slow, steady, hers'. It was there, pulsing and her life was there. She could feel her magic, the other universes, the lives of millions, her empathy started filtering them as she felt life around her.
Dick got out of the car, leaping over the car as he caught the door and opened before offering Kori a hand.
"This is beautiful Dick!" she gasped, her black braids swung low.
He yanked her down for a kiss and smiled against her lips. "I like the flames better," he murmured.
"Tonight we'll burn the bed down," she whispered.
"First, dinner," he promised. Then he grabbed her hand as he pulled her after him towards the hotel that they had arrived at. The ring in his pocket felt like it was a thousand pounds and was burning a hole in his pocket but he was excited. He wanted this, he wanted to do this, Kori was his life.
"You know I love you," he said as they walked through the hotel.
"Yes," she giggled, and he saw her struggling not to fly or float.
"Good, so dinner and fun tonight," he smiled.
"I wish to call Mar'i," Kori decided.
"B has her, trust me, nothing will happen to Mar'i while she's in B's care."
"He does not like metas or aliens," she pointed out dryly.
"Kori, has he ever raised a hand or harmed Mar'i or you?" he demanded sharply.
"Then trust me, Mar'i is safe with B, and no where is safer for her," he promised as he pulled her along to the counter to check in. He got her fear of B, but B adored Mar'i, so Mar'i was safe. He smiled as he chatted up the check in receptionist and he fingered the ring in his pocket.
They made it to the room before he spun her around and shoved her up against the door as he brought her down for a hard kiss.
"Dinner, then a night of fun," he promised.
"What did you bring?" she smiled deviously.
"Several goodies Miss Anders, and you'll only get to enjoy them if you shower and get ready for dinner," he playfully kissed her then pulled away as he watched her walk away. Their bag arrived, he smiled as he took it from the attendant and then proceeded to unpack their things himself. A habit long instilled to him by B and Alfred to keep unwanted help from prying into his affairs.
Dick paused at opening a few things and then pulled out the ring.
It was his mom's, and he wanted to give it to Kori, it was definitely going to need to be resized though, he could admit that as he put it away in his pocket. His mom had been Raven or Cass tiny compared to Kori in all her fiery glory.
"Are you going to join me, Mr. Grayson?" Kori asked as she let the dress she'd been wearing fall, and stood before him in all her true form. He felt his mouth water at the sight of her.
"We got a little time before dinner," he smiled as he pulled off his pants and ran after her as she giggled and flew for the bathroom.
"What can you tell me about this Earth?" Karras asked as he stood at the bow of his ship, piloting, his attendant looked up at him; Taryia.
"It is a primitive world, under the light of the yellow sun. The inhabitants refer to themselves as humans, and are rather hapless, no particular abilities beyond living.
"They have been noted to be in more external conflicts, very few outsiders inhabit the planet. Also, the planet is protected by the Justice League, a League of Heroes, whom have been in intergalactic conflicts, and the mediators for much of the Galaxy, rather like the Core," she sneered at that.
Karras just pondered what this meant as he tapped his chin and thought about Earth and how best to approach it.
He would need to woo Princess Koriand'r to his favor, and if that meant he had to go to war for her then he would. He felt that it was the best strategy to winning her. All females loved it when males fought for them, it showed dedication and commitment and he would need both to win the throne of Tamaran. The voyage to Earth would be long, but by the time he got there he was certain he would know how to woo her to his favor.
First though, he would learn about this Earth, as he would likely need the information to win Koriand'r over.
He was liking his odds, he knew that Koriand'r was a weak, naïve, simpering fool at times, who's heart was easily obtained. There'd been rumors when she was a child that one merely had to state they loved her and she'd give her affections, whole heartedly and wouldn't think twice about it. She was not likely to have grown from that, most did not.
He would woo Koriand'r.
He would save their people, bring a true peace and dynasty, and save their planet from the plight of the Northern's follies.
They would be a great people, they would be a great people under his command and with Koriand'r's aid. It would save Tamaran, the joint rule of the Ras family and the And'r family, and her weakling brother could be brought to heel.
X'hal as his witness he would save Tamaran from itself and bring his people greatness again.
Taryia bowed her a bit and he felt a twinge of sarrow and regret at this folly, but it was for the greater good, so she would come to understand. She'd need to learn that he put their people first. He didn't see how her hand flitted over her midsection.
Bruce looked up when Selina walked into the Cave, no children on her heels, and she came over him. He barely blinked before she was straddling him and she lightly kissed him, he caught her hips and stared at those green eyes which watched him balefully.
"Am I forgiven?"
"Only if we start working like a team at home, B," she answered.
He frowned a bit in confusion.
"I… I have had a lot of time to think about it, B. But… I'm your wife, and yeah, as BatCat we raise hell, I am still a thief and you're still the damn hero, and I get it, there we don't change. There we're adversaries and comrades of wit and will, but here, here we have to learn to be a team.
"I'm your wife, you're my husband, and we have Dick, Jay, Cass, Tim, Damian, Terry, and Helena, and now Duke, to parent and look out for; and we can even add Mar'i and Kori to the list. Here, you and I, we have to be a team," she said.
"And you have come to this conclusion."
"Yeah, after thinking about it… a lot," she smiled weakly. He traced her cheek and she caught his hand as she nuzzled his palm. He loved her, he really did and he saw what she meant. They'd never been a unit, never had to be, their partnership when it happened as Bat and Cat, was always temporary and to catch their common interests, he guessed they'd brought that to their marriage.
"We still need to be independent of each other," he dryly pointed out.
"Of course, but we also need to be a unit," she said softly.
"We'll work on it."
"No more doing things like adopting without telling me."
"Please don't leave me," was all he could ask.
"Never, if I recall correctly you're the one always leaving me," she snapped. He smiled, and he remembered why he always loved Selina, and why he and Talia would never work. "Also, if you could refrain from leaving blood samples of yourself for cloning purposes behind, that would be great," she smiled.
"I think we don't have to worry about us having more children popping up."
"Unless we're talking about the strays that you love to adopt."
"I have enough," he sighed. "More than enough. Too many, they're a hand full," he admitted.
"They get it from their father."
"I'll remind you of that when we're losing our minds at Helena dating," he said dryly.
"Mmm…" she hummed then there was a ring of their doorbell which had him sitting up a bit with Selina as they looked at the monitor.
It was Donna holding Lian on her hip, which had Selina groaning as her head fell forward and he sighed as she got up and he did too.
In less than four minutes he was opening the door, Alfred was off for the night with a dinner with Julia planned so Bruce opened the door. The young Amazon stood there with Lian propped on her hip.
"I am sorry about this." Donna started as he welcomed her in.
"It is alright," he admitted. He was growing fond of Lian as he accepted her from Donna. Terry, Helena, Lian and Mar'i all under the same roof, he was going to make a mental note not to underestimate Selina ever again because he had patrol tonight with Tim and Cass.
"Jay called from London, something about needing to go to Themyscira," she shook her head in exasperation.
"Is he alright?"
"According to Rae, he's just hurting after losing Zed, but I don't think he's hurt or anything," Donna said as she shrugged off the shoulder bag of Lian's things. "I agreed to fly out with them, and see what's going on."
"Zed is dead?" Bruce stuttered dumbly. He didn't know much about Zed, only meeting her the one time nearly a year and a half ago when he and the Titans had discovered Jason was alive and in the House of Mystery. She had seemed… kind, strong, and he knew that she was important to Jason with how Raven and Constantine would threaten him with Zed.
Selina paled at Donna's words.
"Yeah, she passed away, earlier this week. You… you didn't know?" Donna deduced looking up.
"I'll see if I can get a hold of Constantine," Bruce said stiffly as he bounced Lian on his hip and walked away with the baby and bag. He didn't hear what Selina said to Donna.
He was a terrible father for Jason, but this was proving it all the more because he hadn't even known about this. He'd call Raven or Jason and try, vainly try, to be a father for Jason and learn what he needed to do for Jason. He would get better at this. He had to. He needed to for Jason and the others.
Bruce made it to the nursery where Mar'i was napping and Terry was holding a sleeping Helena as Mar'i floated upwards. Bruce set Lian down in the crib and then leapt up the walls to catch his granddaughter before bringing her down and putting her in the crib, while tethering her to the bars in the little harness he and Dick had designed for Mar'i so she didn't harm herself.
Selina was behind him, she caught his shoulders as she pressed her lips to his back.
"He'll come home when he's ready."
"You mean never," he grounded out. "I failed him, Selina."
"He's not lost to us, Bruce, he's just hurting, and he's withdrawing; another trait he gets from his father," she whispered as she mused his hair.
"I failed him."
"You, lover, have only two children almost exactly like you. Cass, who you have a phenomenal relationship with, and Jason, who you had a remarkable relationship with, and is hurting so much he's acting like his father. He'll come home," she promised.
"I hope, you're right," he whispered.
"I'm always right Bat."
Jason walked back into the flat, and saw Roy sitting there looking uncomfortable as Raven levitated in the corner. It was Roy's panicky, worried look though which had him arching a brow.
"What happened?" he asked Roy.
"She touched Death's Ankh," he said.
"You could just ask me," Raven's smoky monotone had him looking over at her as her eyes snapped open and she stood.
"You looked lost in thought," he retorted.
"Roy touched me, and I touched Death's Ankh, I don't know what that means," Raven stated levelly.
"What's supposed to happen?" he asked reaching her only to touch a shield.
"Technically I should be dead," she answered, "but I don't know what this means. I don't know what's going on," she admitted.
"Rae…" he started lowly.
"Until I know what's going on, no touch. And you're going to tell me what you found out at the warehouse." Raven pulled her cloak tighter around herself as she sidestepped him.
"Circe has Akila under her control. Akila is the Shim-Tar of the Bana-Mighdall Amazons and Circe's mostly likely target is Themyscira, also she's a sexist, but I think that was established," Jason dryly pointed out.
"Did you…?" she started.
"We already called Donna, she was heading to us," Jason said.
"She is!?" Roy squeaked which had him and Raven both arching their brows at his poorly concealed infatuation with Donna.
"She is, she was heading to Murphy's when I last talked to her," he said.
"Alright, Circe is also in control of a child of enhanced Telepathic abilities," Raven said.
"What exactly does that mean?" Jason asked.
"She's not a meta, she's something more, and what that is, I don't know, but I will be finding out when I find her." Raven knew that the girl was power, she just didn't know what kind of power that meant.
"Anything else?" Jason growled at the ceiling.
"Please don't issue a challenge for Him to come smite us, that's the last thing we need," she sighed.
"I'm just tired."
"I understand but we have another problem," she admitted.
"What else could possibly be a problem at this point."
"I touched you."
"Uh… I don't remember us being on the petting stage of this relationship, or even mentioning petting or touching…" he started.
"No Jason. I. Touched. You. After I touched that Ankh, so, if you or Roy feel off, at all, you're to tell me and I will attempt to stop whatever this is," she stated. "Until then, no touch."
"Okay," he held up his hands as he stepped away from her. He was going to have to call Constantine, he knew it, he wasn't sure how he liked that thought or idea, given the fact that he wanted to punch Constantine in the face for letting Zed die. But there was no way he was letting Raven die.
"Good, now as for Circe, I don't know what she'd want Death's Ankh for but it's a lot bigger than destroying Amazons, because that's power to destroy the universe as we know it."
"At least it's not those damn Infinity Stones or that Thanos guy from the Marvel movies." Roy sighed.
"That's a different universe, and what we're dealing with is a lot more powerful than a simple Infinity Stone," Raven dismissed.
"The Marvel universe is real?" Jason asked skeptically.
"Yes, it's Earth 616, so a ways away from us, and you should know the multiverse is infinite and boundless, you did travel a good portion of it," Raven pointed out.
"I just thought it was alternate, more miserable versions of here."
"The multiverse, Jason, is endless, and you and I are going to have a long talk about the complexities of it if you dare to think to simplify it ever again."
"Sure, we'll add it to our moral and ethics debates, pencil it in for Saturday?" he grinned.
"Sure," she shrugged as she sauntered off and he shook his head at her then pulled out his phone as he flicked through to Constantine's number. He paused a moment then he tapped to type.
He WAS NOT Losing Raven.
No. Not after Zed. No.
-S.O.S. Bastard. You Owe Me.
Jason pocketed his phone and he folded his arms as he stared at his people and wondered just when the hell he had started to think of anyone past Raven as a friend.
"So what's the plan?" Roy asked sidling up to him.
"Hunt Circe down, cut down anyone who gets in our way, and kill her," he answered.
"Simple. Effective. I like it."
"And here I thought you'd be on the moral high ground of reforming criminals, like our dear mentors."
"Dude, I literally shoot people with sharp point projectiles, with the accuracy of Robin Hood himself, and am not afraid of killing. You Bats are the ones with moral high ground issues, the Arrows are the ones that get shit done," Roy countered.
"I'm not a Bat."
"And I'm not an Arrow, see how this works."
"I'm stuck with idiots," Jason sighed.
"You got Rae."
"You're right, and the Queen of Hell is way too good for the bastards we are," he chuckled.
"That she is." Roy nodded. "What do you think of this Death's Ankh business."
"I think something has her spooked," Jason admitted. "First her red demon form, with the crocodile eyes, now touching Death's Ankh, something's up."
"Think she knows?"
"She's Raven, she knows everything, I don't think she's figured out whatever it is that's happening."
"Are we calling magic back up?"
"I texted Constantine."
"I thought you wouldn't want to talk to him."
"I'm not losing Raven after Zed, not happening."
"Understandable." Roy folded his arms and stared at Rae as she talked with Artemis and Bizarro. "So in regards to her?"
"We watch her, closely."
"Alright, you the boss."
"I am not!"
"Our employees would say differently."
"Keep your weird gay rumors and sub fetishes to yourself!"
"You love me and you know it!"
"I should pitch you under a fucking train."
Chapter 14: Olive Branches, Not for Martinis
Bruce walked into his kitchen, after Terry, who was very stubbornly walking on his own, Mar'i against his shoulder and Helena crawling after Terry. Selina was still sleeping, and no one else was awake right now. Setting Mar'i down in the carseat they had started leaving on the counter for the kids he started pulling out the premade breakfasts Alfred prepped for the kids; all labeled.
Once the children were eating Bruce pulled out his cell and sat at the dining room table.
For a long moment he contemplated what he wanted to say.
It wasn't like he was talking about Dick or Tim; both of whom dragged him into their lives, or Damian who was tentatively letting him in. This wasn't like he was calling for information either. He was going to call his child, through Raven. Damn that felt odd as he stared at the phone.
Selina insisted Jason was exactly like him, but he didn't see it. Jason had always been brash, confident, determined, loud, and wildly reckless. Jason was so full of life, Bruce had loved watching Jason as a boy, and the man was no different. Only difference was that Jason snapped and snarled at anyone who so much as reached to touch him, anyone who he didn't like or want was treated hostilely or screamed at. Jason was always quick to temper as a defense, it was probably understandable somewhere deep in that psyche of his.
"Jay!" Terry demanded.
Bruce stared at his toddler who was munching on a banana and sighed before dialing the number for Raven.
"Hello," a smoky monotone greeted him.
"Raven," he acknowledged.
"He's fine Bruce," she said levelly.
"I just… I found out… about Zed," he said haltingly, he didn't know exactly what he wanted to say to her and he waited for the empath's response.
"I see," she sounded resign, monotoned but still resigned.
"How… how is he?" he murmured rubbing a hand over his face. Bruce was cursing himself for this difficulty just attempting to speak to his son's friend to find out how he was. Worse, he even spoke to Raven regularly about Jason, weekly calls to the empath.
"It was Zed's time," Raven said softly. "I think that's the hard thing for Jason to accept, Jason and Constantine," Raven admitted. Bruce frowned. "She had a brain tumor, she'd had it for years from an angel, so I guess she was tired of the fight, and saw the grandeur of things without her. That's the problem with clairvoyants though, they see everything."
"I was not even aware she was ill," Bruce admitted.
"She hid it, she hid it well, because only Constantine seemed aware; he and Chas," Raven replied.
"What should I do?"
"We're in London for now, we'll be moving soon as Donna joins us, but there's not much you can do for us," Raven admitted. "When Jason comes home though, I would suggest a father son night of no questions, maybe books or a movie; he likes tea and Deadpool."
With that Raven hung up and Bruce sat in his kitchen and chuckled a bit at her order. The demoness was about as subtle as a rock to the head on what to do, and for that he was thankful for her. Suddenly his JL communicator signaled and he stood to get it. He answered.
"What?" he growled.
"B, it's me, I've gotten a signal from my mother about trouble."
"Alert the League," he started.
"B, it's… it's Themyscira," Diana murmured. "She said she'd only allow my two commrades on the island, and it's bad."
"Very well," he sighed.
"Thank you," she responded. "I'll be there in fifteen to get you, Superman will rendezvous with us over the Atlantic," she said.
"Hn," he grunted as he ended the communication and scooped up Terry who was trying to walk out of the kitchen before walking to the intercom.
"Selina," he called. "Cat," he repeated after no answer.
"I'm up!" his wife roared. "Taking a shower in peace died when I married you!" she snarled.
"Diana will be here in fifteen, I need you to take the kids."
"You. Owe. Me."
"I will," he promised.
"Fine, I'll be there in five," she grounded out. she appeared exactly five minutes later, in one of his shirts, mini shorts, and her wet hair flopping in her eyes as it curled a bit. Her green eyes were bright and he softened seeing her, as she stalked in. Getting up he kissed her lips lightly as he handed off Terry to her.
"You Owe Me Big Batboy," she warned.
"I'll be back soon as I can be," he promised as he touched her cheek and left her with the kids and headed for the short cut to the Cave. He had barely gotten his armor on when Diana's invisible jet was sensed to be coming in for landing. It was a few moments later when the jet landed, materializing in his hanger, before Diana got out of it and walked down towards him.
"What is the problem?" he asked her as he finished pulling on his boots.
"Mother received contact from one of my sisters that our sister Tribe was massacred, the bodies were all burned on a funeral pyre, but there's been no trace of the survivors, and it was clearly the work of Circe," Diana said as he sat up.
"Let's go," he said as he walked after her.
"Is Selina alright with this?"
"Selina will be robbing three museum and her idiot husband can try to figure out which ones!" Selina's voice shouted on the intercom.
Bruce groaned then as he walked after Diana and contemplated if he could possibly get a pain killer for the oncoming migraine he'd get from trying to thwart Selina.
"She's a perfect match for you," Diana chuckled.
"Oh, and Diana call next time, we have to go to lunch!" Selina decided.
Bruce was hoping Selina didn't recruit Harley and Ivy while he was gone to burn Gotham to the ground.
Donna landed in London, exactly seven hours and thirty-one minutes after she had taken off, and now stood in baggage claim. Her long black hair was curling dangerously in the humidity and she frowned picking up her bag. She was about to walk out of the airport when she saw him.
Her heart did that weird thing it'd been doing when he caught her unaware, and she took a moment to stare at him.
His ginger hair was maddeningly straight, pulled in a tail, his blue, worn ball cap was on his head, and he wore the shirt she had gotten him as a joke when she and Raven had gone on a shopping expedition for the guys when they were sick; E=MC2 | Energy = Milk · Coffee2; which had been nothing but appropriate at the time. Jason had several odd shirts Raven would accumulate for him, and he wore them all shamelessly; even the more cringe worthy ones.
Roy looked over at her, his green eyes were bright, and she felt her lips twitch to smile.
"Heyya princess," he smiled.
"What's going on?" she yawned as he took her bag, but moved out of her touching range.
"Well, Raven's trying to figure out why she's not getting Death's touch, Jason's unusually focused, and we've accumulated two new members of the Outlaws, one who'd like our heads on spikes, and the other who is adoring Rae," Roy said.
"Do you ever stay out of trouble?" Donna sighed.
"No?" he questioned.
"What would Thea have done with you?" she demanded, he faltered a bit.
"Honestly? She'd be the one dragging me into trouble," he admitted softly which had her turning to him. "Hey, don't get me wrong, I was trouble, but damn, Thea Queen, if there was trouble in fifty miles of her, then it was like she was a lightning rod for the trouble, and she'd smile sweetly as I followed her into the trouble."
"Touch of death?" she asked reverting the topic before he got depressed again.
"Yeah, apparently Raven's now in possession of Death's Ankh, so no touching her, just in case, she's worried about it," he admitted.
"I leave you three alone for a few days and you fall apart," Donna huffed indignantly.
"It could be argued that Raven saved our asses from trouble, we're calling you for backup though," he admitted.
"Raven is always saving your asses," Donna pointed out. Raven was always saving Jason as far as she knew, since she'd met the pair they'd been nothing but trouble, in trouble, or creating trouble.
"She is the Queen for a reason," Roy shrugged.
"You do realize I will actually be a queen, right?"
"Well, until you are you're a princess, princess," he chuckled.
"You are as vexing as Jason," Donna grounded out.
"Thanks, I try," Roy stated unabashedly as he got into the driver's seat. She rolled her eyes as she got in the car and she sighed.
Jason looked at Raven when she walked back into the kitchen, she was ungodly pale, and gray, which had him arching a brow at her. She didn't look like she had slept a wink, at all.
"You look like hell," he stated as he stood in his kitchen cooking up some eggs and bacon.
"Thank you for noticing," she groaned rubbing her brow.
"Feeling like death?"
"No. Just nightmares about death," she admitted.
"So what exactly does this mean, for you?" he asked. He hadn't heard from Constantine just yet, but he was going to call the fucker once Donna got here and he could escape for a minute.
"Well, I don't know," Raven admitted. "There is no context for things like this, and it's not like on Supernatural where Jared and Jensen just talk to Death whenever they damn well please. Summoning Death is impossible, and speaking to reapers is more riddles than answers, so I'm not sure if that's the route to go. But no one should be able to touch that damn Ankh, and I'd love to have a reason for being able to touch it," Raven groaned as her head fell to the counter on her arms.
"Lil' Bird sad," Bizarro hummed.
"The little bird is sad," Jason agreed.
"Lil' Bird smile, not alone, have Red Him, Bizarro, Red Her, Red!" Bizarro declared and Raven lifted her head tiredly.
"And I thank you Bizarro," Raven smiled slightly.
"Bizarro love Lil' Bird," he gave a toothy smile and Raven chuckled.
"I'm fond of you too," she promised.
"Rae, we're going to sort this out," Jason promised her. Even if he had to beat Death to death to get her to be alright he would work hard to ensure that she was alright. Raven was his best friend, nothing would be happening to her. Nothing.
"I know, I'm just… I'm more confused about the fact that the power feels like it should belong to me. Which is what is maddening, because there is no reason for it to belong to me. Trigon is a demon of death and destruction, yes, and yes I'm capable of creating mass genocide, but I should not feel like that power is mine. Death is a natural order to life, I understand that, but I also know that only Death has any true power over Death," Raven said.
"Well that just sounded like a nonsensical riddle delivered from Riddler himself," he grumbled.
"Sorry, Death is merely a paradoxical subject in magic," Raven admitted.
"Love, we're going to sort you and this Death nonsense out, and when we're through with sorting it out then we'll know exactly where to go from there; kay?" he asked.
"I'm just… I'm confused," she admitted.
"Lil' Bird have friends," Bizarro reminded her.
"I know," she smiled a bit at the clone and he nodded.
"Good," Jason nodded. He would figure this out, no one else was dying, no one he cared about was dying. He wasn't going to allow it.
Artemis walked out of her room, her long hair braided and her pajamas were revealing even though she was merely borrowing some of his clothes.
"What are we doing?" Artemis demanded taking a seat beside Raven.
"First, dumbass needs to get back from the airport with the princess, and then we're going to track Circe down, save Akila and the kid, kill Circe and walk away dramatically from some explosion for cinametic affect," he summed up.
"We're not in a movie," Raven stated.
"Never know darling, someone else could be deriving entertainment from our misery," he smiled.
"That's just wrong," Artemis stated. "But annoyingly very possible."
"I hate you sometimes, and what would they possibly getting entertainment from us for? All we have is a homicidal maniac with daddy issues, a drunk-sober archer, a princess of Amazons, the clone, and the less angry version of the angry chick in Deadpool one, and me," Raven huffed out.
"You know, I wonder about this myself at times, but I'm sure it'll have to do with that fourth wall nonsense from Deadpool," he chuckled.
"If you say cue the music when we confront Circe I'll send you to hell myself," Raven warned.
"You love me too much to do that to your favored cook and adviser," he smiled.
"Watch me Red," she warned.
"Do you two ever cease this prattle?" Artemis groaned.
"You are free to take up position in the Queen's envoy as Captain of the Guard," Jason offered.
"Bizarro want job!" he shouted.
"Easy buddy, I'm sure the Queen would love to add you to her court," Jason grinned.
"Don't you think you're taking my court a bit far?" Raven asked.
"Never! I, as the advisor, must insist we get a proper court," he insisted.
"Victor's still the Vice President," she stated blandly.
"Damnit!" he grumbled.
"Very well, I will join the Court, you seem in dire need of female influence in this court," Artemis stated.
"Very well, you're Captain of the Guard, Victor is still Vice President, Jason's the Cook and Advisor, Roy's my Minion, Bizarro can be the…" Raven frowned.
"He's obviously the Prime Minister, Rae," Jason decided.
"Very well, Bizarro is my Prime Minister."
"Why are you the Queen?" Artemis asked suddenly.
"Because, she's got this shit handled," Jason stated, she preened a bit at his praise. Then remembered the fact he had said it when he had a damn sword sticking out of his chest.
"You were the one who continuously drags me into this shit so of course I have to have it handled," Raven grumbled.
"You adore me and you know it."
"I adore your waffles and demand they be served," Raven decided.
"You are utterly ridiculous, the both of you," Artemis decided.
"Thanks, we have a stand up comedy act every Tuesday and Thursday on BBC America," Jason chuckled.
"Jason, your bacon is burning."
"FUCK!" he spun on his stove to save breakfast.
The girls were snickering behind his back at this, he just fought to save breakfast.
It might have taken her a bit to place that power, and the owner of the power if her now adversary. The Only Gem of Scath. The Titan, and the dangerous woman and growing demoness. It was dangerous.
She fell into the seat with a scowl on her face as she toyed with the snake she had. The Ankh of Death was in the hands of the Gem of Scath, it was a drastic change of her plans. But it was something she could work around.
It wasn't an unavoidable fix; she saw that, but she was frustrated.
The girl stood before her.
"Lilith… Lilith, my dear sweet child," she sighed. "You are a disappointment," she decided.
The child shuffled a bit before her, her strawberry curls were gold in this light, and her green eyes were uncertain. "I…" the child started.
"I instructed you to freeze ALL the people there," Circe growled as she stood, her snake slithered into the portal she opened.
"I did," she whimpered.
"And yet, the Gem of Scath is in possession of Death's Ankh," Circe snarled as she caught Lilith's jaw and forced the girl to look at her.
"That was a mind you should have had control of!" she snarled as she backhanded the girl and sent her sprawling on the ground. "You are greater than the demon, your own power should have over come hers! And yet… and yet, she was aware, and able to fight us!"
"She was too powerful," the girl whimpered.
"She is a mere demon, you are of greater power," Circe growled.
"I couldn't fight her," Lilith whimpered as she rubbed her face.
"I did not ask you to fight her, I asked you to seize control of her mind! Freeze her! Put her in a vegetative state!" she roared.
"She was aware of me!" Lilith whimpered.
"You. Are. A. DemiGod. Act. Like. It!" she roared.
Circe growled as she walked away from the girl. This did not alter her intentions, merely her plans, and she would figure out the best way to get rid of men. Men were the problem, and she would eliminate them all.
Men were the root of problems, so the problems would be solved, she would see to it. She knew how to save this world.
Lilith pushed herself up on her knees and shivered. She was a demigod. She was not this weak.
But gods above she was terrified! She whimpered a bit as she hugged herself and forced herself to stand.
"Please, Raven, please," Lilith whispered and she felt it in the back of her mind. This strength, unyielding, this power, unwavering, and this overwhelming, all consuming feeling of icy confidence. That was Raven, she realized.
The strength of Raven was astonishing, and Lilith could feel it right now.
And oddly, that was the most reassuring feeling she could sense since she'd been in that mind.
She turned to look at the listless guard and strong. Raven was coming, she promised the enslaved Amazon.
Artemis looked between Jason and Raven as they bantered; it wasn't like they were bickering, no, they were bantering, teasing, tormenting, and joking. It was endearing. She smiled a bit as she sipped her coffee.
"You just want my waffles," Jason groaned.
"Do you take me for a fool? Hand them over Minion!" Raven ordered.
"Last I checked I wasn't Kevin."
"You could be Stuart, Roy's Kevin, obviously."
"I'm taller than stupid!"
"Not by much."
"By a lot darling," Jason waggled his eyebrows.
"Now you're just being weird, waffles," Raven ordered.
"Fine," he rolled his eyes.
"Bizarro like Red Him food," the clone declared.
"See, he's useful," Raven agreed.
"You're being a brat."
"And you're always a pain in the ass, I think we're about even."
"How can you two do that, it's barely morning?" a new voice demanded which had Artemis twisting around to stare as Roy walked in with a lopsided grin.
"He started it."
"You're hardly innocent, sunshine!"
"You can prove nothing, Red," she countered.
"Gods you two should just be married and be done with it!" the new woman huffed.
Jason and Raven pulled faces as they grimaced and looked away from one another. Artemis found it amusing; and refreshing this time Since speaking to Jason she had come to three conclusions:
He was unlike any man she'd ever met, he was clearly passionate, and determined, and he didn't seem to make promises he had no intentions to keep.
He was protective of his people.
Raven was Jason's person, whether they were merely friends or something more was not something she had not deciphered, yet; but it was clear, Raven was Jason's person as much as he was hers'.
Her eyes slid to the woman who entered now and she felt her fingers twitch. The woman had long curly black hair, elegant features, a rounded nose, full lips, and dark eyes. She was beautiful, and an Amazon which had Artemis getting to her feet.
"Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, Donna Troy," Jason said smoothly.
"I am well aware of who she is," Artemis sneered. The other glowered at her.
"Well, you're both pretty, now get over whatever the fuck happened between your tribes, pull your heads out of your asses and start working with each other or I'll just take Roy, Biz, and Rae with me, and say mar sin leat to the two of you and finish this with them," Jason snapped.
She turned to stare levelly at the brat, and saw his face was hard and serious, his eyes pulsing green.
"You are an insolate brat," she snapped.
"Get over it darling, we either work together or sink together, and I'd rather not sink," Jason warned her lowly.
"Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, my I extend the hand of sisterhood to a fellow Amazon? I seek vengeance and justice for my sister tribe," Donna offered primly as she extended her hand.
Raven looked between Artemis and Donna and watched the women size each other up. It was unsettling. But more unnerving was how Jason had somehow, when she was not paying attention, maneuvered himself between her and the Amazons.
Reaching out she almost touched his shoulder before withdrawing her hand. Instead she made a soft noise, which had Jason's eyes flicking to her and she softened a bit as she radiated her calm and stood to slip around him. Jason reached for her, she narrowed her eyes on him which had his hand retracting and she walked to the two women.
"Donna Troy, you are accepted," Artemis heaved a snarl as she accepted the hand.
"Good, now to business," Raven stated.
"You are unusually calm about this," Donna grumbled.
"Make one wrong move I don't like and I drain you both dry, and drop you like the dead," Raven warned.
"And that sounds more appropriate," Donna sighed.
"The little bird has teeth."
"I can and will make your lives hell, so you will work together or know I'll drop you both without hesitation, and if either of you threaten my boys I'll drop kick you both into hell. I don't care about the Amazon feuds, we have a problem."
"You're being a bitch Rae," Donna stated.
"I'm always a bitch, now to work," Raven ordered as she waved them to the counter where breakfast was waiting for everyone.
"Remind me to never get on your bad side," Roy chuckled.
"You aren't on it, yet," Raven assured him as she hopped into the air and used her powers to summon her waffles to her.
"You, Queen, are a queen," Jason decided.
"No shit, dude, she's the Queen of Hell," Roy chuckled as he punched Jay's shoulder before going into the kitchen. Raven closed her eyes as she savored this moment and she traced her soul over her psyche as she sought out unrest.
There was a pulse of power, deep within her mind since touching the Ankh, which was unsettling her, now that there was bickering in the kitchen she could focus on it. Slowly she reached into her mind and watched as she formed a mindscape of the endless stars of Azarath. She stood in the ruins she knew so well, and looked for the power which was pulling her deeper into her own mind.
Slowly she unraveled the feeling as she focused on it, she could feel the slow steady beat of her heart, smell the waffles, bacon, and eggs, she could tasted the maple syrup from her waffles, and she could feel the coming storm of the night. She could feel her skin as it prickled and tensed in the could, and she could feel the residuel power of her father in the gem where he resided still. There was this pull though, like a string was hooked in her belly button and pulling her towards something she didn't want to go to, but needed to. It was an almost magnet pull of her psyche and soul as she reached deeper into the recesses of her mind for this power only for her to snap back to reality at the sound of a crash.
"You okay, sunshine?" Jason asked, and she looked down at the broken plate that held her waffle and frowned.
"Yeah," Jason admitted.
"We'll talk about it after this," she admitted, her feet hitting the smooth wood as she picked up the pieces of the plate. She hissed a bit when something sliced her finger and sat on her knees to see her hand turn from ivory pale, to midnight black. Jason's attention was on Bizarro and Raven stuffed her hand in her pocket before he could see it.
"I said no, now knock it off Roy!"
"You always say no," Roy grumbled.
"Jesus Christ! What are you? Two!? Lian behaves better!" Jason swore.
"I'll take another waffle," Raven said as she put her plate's remains in the rubbish bin.
"Sure." Jason nodded walking to the kitchen. Raven pulled her hand out, and stared at her now ivory hand again, not a drop of crimson where she'd sliced herself, and she frowned.
There was this deep nagging feeling in the back of her mind that wouldn't let up, but worse she didn't know what this was. It concerned her as she frowned and flexed her fingers, watching the ivory white and translucent grey of her skin.
Things were weird for her since the Ankh, she could feel the reminents of her father stirring, and worse, she could feel this pull, in her mind that was insesent and wouldn't cease to leave her be. This was all weird and concerning to her as she turned back to Jason and Roy who were arguing about cooking bacon.
"You alright Rae?" Donna asked.
"I'm fine," she promised the Amazon.
"Roy mentioned the no touch thing."
"Just until I have an idea of what's going on," Raven shrugged. Honestly, she didn't feel like she was a threat, but she knew there was something not right with her right now. The pull was strong, and she was tempted to pull out the Ankh for answers.
"Are you certain you're alright?"
"I don't know, I don't feel anything's wrong," Raven replied.
"Alright, you can talk to me Rae. I'm not Kori but I'm here for you," Donna promised.
"Thanks, and I know you're here."
"You do realize that you've stolen one of Jason's hoodies, right?" Donna mused.
"You do realize the man is a giant and his clothes are the warmest most comfortable things ever?" Raven challenged. She liked Jason's hoodies; they were comfy and warm; best of all, they were huge.
"I noticed you steal a lot of them."
"I will take your word on that."
"Waffles, Queen," Jason said as he served her up a plate, Raven walked up and took them as she sat in the air and took a large bite, savoring the flavors.
Constantine groaned as he shoved his bedmate off him, the bloke was huge and groaned in protest. Groping for his buzzing phone he picked it up and blearily peered at the message.
Since the death of Zed, Constantine would admit to being on a bender, because it just hurt so fucking bad to be in the House when she wasn't there! Everything in the damn place made him think about her, from teaching her, to working with her, to the hundreds of sketchbooks she had filled for him with jobs for him to do. The problem was he didn't want to do the jobs; someone else could.
Goddamn It! He wanted peace! PEACE! Just some fucking peace! It wasn't like he was the only one capable of doing the bloody job. There were Hunters, Magicians, Exrocists, and Sorcerors alike who could all do what he did and not lose anyone in the process. Because people who dared to trust him usually dropped like flies. And he was going to tell the wanker who dared to interrupt his bender to fuck off!
-S.O.S Bastard. You Owe Me.
Constantine frowned at Jason's name and sighed as he buried his head in the pillow that smelled of the unknown guy he'd just fucked.
"Fuck," he muttered.
'Don't you dare John! That boy needs us!' Zed roared as she stood between him and the unconscious lad they'd just dragged out of the multiverse.
'Zed he's nothing but trouble!'
'If you even think to take his choice away from him Constantine I'll leave!'
'And what the bloody hell are we going to do with a Bat!?'
Did she know? Did Zed just know everything? Was Jason her way to haunt him and assure that he kept the fight going? Because damn that kid could inspire a fighting spirit if anyone ever had it. Groaning, he tried to hide away from the screen.
Kid was a bloody pain in the arse!
"Your phone," his partner groaned.
"Fuck it!" Constantine grumbled as he got up, grabbed his clothes, got dressed, lit a cigarette and cursed the fates for making him fight for an eternity despite being damned to hell already. There was no salvation for the wicked he guessed.
He wouldn't let the lad down, he would do it for Zed.
Somewhere up there he knew the physic was laughing in amusement at him giving into whatever it was that she saw.
"You're a pain in the bloody arse, Zed," he swore as he walked down the hotel hallway for the elevators.
He swore to God he could hear her laughing behind him which had him turning slightly and seeing nothing.
This had better be worth it, he decided as he pressed the button to head for the lobby.
Where the hell was he? He wondered now that he tried to think back on the night. Last thing he remembered was the whiskey, and a bloke hitting on him…
He sighed; he'd have to track the kid down once he knew where the bloody hell he was!
Chapter 15: Collision Courses Arising
Circe read over the incantations she needed for breaking the seal. If she could not have Death's Ankh, to make this all easier, then braving the Underworld would be needed and she would take it from Hades' library. There was a way to kill all of man's plague off this world, and she would eradicate this world's disease of men.
She looked up when there was a small noise and she found herself staring at the Amazon who was fighting her control, the Bow was in her hands.
"Enough," Circe stated coldly, the Bow clattered to the ground as the young woman collapsed onto her knees gasping for air and trembling, the tears slid down her cheeks and Circe left her book momentarily to take care of this. The dark eyes.
"I… No… My… Sisters, I couldn't… Artemis," the girl whispered, and Circe caught Akila's chin yanking the Shim'Tar's face up to hers'.
"You did, you slaughtered your sisters, betrayed your Tribe, destroyed your home, and now, you will help me cure the plague ravaging our planet. Sleep," she spoke in a soft voice as she let her magic weave around the young woman.
Akila gasped before her eyes grew heavy and she collapsed, her gold and blue beads clattering noisily at the end of her breaids as she slumped on the marble floors.
Circe winced at the exertion of her power as she stood. The power was not too great for her to handle, but rather it was difficult to maintain it for long periods of time and she could feel her power waning as her concentration became about her spells for her attack. But the Shim'Tar would remain in her control, because the wielder of the Bow would be needed to break the Gates of Tartarus.
Losing Death's Ankh was a blow to her plans, but she could survive around that blow.
Circe had underestimated the Gem's power, but that was not a miscalculation she'd be making again. She paused at her entrance way at the sight of the demigod sleeping on her bed. Those strawberry curls were gentle and soft, and Circe sighed. The girl would never know the pain of man.
Men would never harm another woman again, she would eradicate the plague. And she'd prove to Hippolyta that she was right all those centuries ago.
Men were a disease, they were a plague, they were the problem. Women were pure and perfection and women should have rule over a manless world. Of this, Circe was certain. Turning back to her books she snapped her fingers as she sent the Shim'Tar to a bed and then she flicked her book's page.
The Fates would align with her, and the world would no peace under her reign.
Men would burn in Hell for all their crimes against women, children, and the world. Circe would bring a true peace to this world. First she had to get to the power to inflict her spell on the world.
Roy opened the door and blinked at the sight of a rumpled looking blond, who had a cigarette in his mouth and bags under his eyes.
"Oi! Jay, you bastard," the Welsh in his voice was so thick as he walked into the apartment.
"You owe me Constantine!" Jason snapped, and Roy looked past the trench coat at Jay who shrugged and waved him off. Roy frowned as he shut the door. "Roy, John Constantine, Constantine, Roy Harper."
"Hello Mate," Constantine offered him a sly smile and a hand.
"And you're here, why?" Roy asked, he was finally meeting the nefarious John Constantine he just didn't know what to say. Honestly, Roy didn't know what he was expecting from Constantine. From what Oliver had said, Constantine was sort of a walking train wreck, but meeting the man he wasn't sure. Constantine looked a bit like a madman with a dangerous edge and sleep deprivation.
"I called him," Jason said folding his arms. The lithe form of Constantine was dwarfed by Jason, but Roy wasn't fooled, this man was as tall as Dick was and with a dangerous edge, not someone Roy wanted to tangle with.
"Right, so why am I here?" Constantine asked shoving his hands in his pockets and turning on Jason.
"The little bird needs help," Jason answered and Roy sighed, the men looked ready to kill each other as Constantine and Jason glared at one another. This probably had something to do with Jason's mysterious Zed.
"I'll take you to Rae," Roy said stepping between Jay and Constantine before gesturing for Constantine to follow him.
"So how'd you two meet?" Roy asked as the blond followed him.
"I met the lad chasing a nasty yōkai in Japan, it was a bloody mess," Constantine smirked mischievously and Roy nodded. They got to the door and he knocked lightly.
"Rae," Roy called out. "Constantine's here, he's coming in."
The door opened, and Roy blinked staring at Raven who stared balefully at Constantine. "Jay called you?" she sighed.
"Texted actually," Constantine stated.
"You're not going anywhere until you've done whatever it is he's asked of you," she sighed.
"We'll go with that, darling, now come on," Constantine said as he walked into her room. Raven bit her lip before walking in and shutting the door in Roy's face. Roy turned to look at Jay who sighed and slumped against the wall.
"Mind telling me what the fuck is going on?" Roy drawled as he glared at his best friend.
"Rae's got some demon shit going on, I called Constantine," Jason shrugged.
"Uh-huh, you do know the Queen of Hell will be alright, right?" Roy asked tentatively. Here was the one certainty of Jason that he knew, knew it like the air he breathed, like a damning fact of life; it was the only certainty sometimes where Jason Peter Todd was concerned:
Jason Cared A Hell Of A Lot More Than He Let On. And Rae Was Jason's Person.
It was a damning fact Roy usually found amusing until this moment as his best friend looked utterly terrified.
Raven shut the door and turned as she stared levelly at Constantine. The emotions radiating from the man were erratic, and everywhere, from grief, to worry, to annoyance, to concern, and as she stared at him she could only feel the whiplash of it all. This was like with Jason, but there was something twisted, unhealthy with these emotions and she walked to Constantine slowly, folding her arms. Constantine idly picked up a feather that had fallen from her and spun it in his hand before his eyes flicked to her.
For a long moment neither of them breathed, nor did they move, and then his eyes flicked to the feather again.
"Something you want to tell me, love?" he asked pulling the cigarette from his lips and stubbing it out.
"I don't know," she whispered as she hugged herself and the few items in the room rattled. She took a shaky breath and stood there staring at him.
"Then darling, what's this about?" Constantine asked, sitting on the bed. His body was utterly relaxed, his emotions in turmoil, but she felt it, the snap of emotions from pain to attention as his eyes wandered over her.
"I… I don't know," she whispered out and felt the tears welling up as her emotions got the better of her finally and the trembling started. She flicked her wrist and Death's ankh was revealed where she let it float. Constantine looked at it with resign and genuine fear. Raven knew the stories, she should be dead, and she reached out to touch it.
"Don't!" he shouted, she grabbed it and he leapt for her.
The black inkily moved over her skin and up her arm, her nails sharpened and turned to talons as a few feathers formed and her armor started forming, she gasped and released it as the ankh dropped heavily on the floor. She stepped away from it, narrowly evading Constantine as he stopped and stared at her. The black slowly slid over her skin, harmlessly, back to her fingertips, through them, leaving her skin it's usual pale gray and then her talons returned to nails as a few small feathers fluttered off her to the ground. Raven stared at him, and he looked up at her, they said nothing as they stared at one another.
"What the fuck?" Constantine managed.
"I don't know what's wrong with me," she whispered.
"That's Death's Ankh," he gestured to it on the floor where the floor was being stained black. Raven flicked her wrist, dragging it to the air and pulling it between them. It floated harmlessly as Constantine walked up, shoving his hands in his pockets to study the totem.
"It's the Ankh," she admitted.
"Bloody Hell," Constantine muttered.
"There's something else," she whispered. Constantine looked at her as she dropped the ankh in a safe dimension for later studies. "I'm being summoned."
"Bloody hell," he muttered. dragging his hand through his hair he started to pace and seemed to be thinking this over carefully. Raven bit her lip and watched him. She was terrified, she had kept that to herself, but for the first time since all of this had begun she felt it overwhelming her senses and drowning her mind. "It's okay kid," he spun on her. "I'm going to fix this."
"I don't know," he sighed. "But Zed might," he said softly and she stared at him for a long moment. "Zed saw a lot of things before her death, sketched them all out for me, she left it… for me, and the kid, for, you know, help us not fuck up and make this world any worse," he winced.
"I'm scared," she finally whispered the sordid truth. There was a tremble along her spine.
"You tell Jay?"
She shook her head.
"Alright, love, I'm getting the bastard and the three of us are going to have a wee chat about all this bloody nonsense, and come to a solution," he decided coming over. She flinched when he reached to touch her but there was a warning look in his eyes which had her staying very still. He touched her shoulder, she fought the urge to flee his grasp range and he looked at her.
"So this isn't making you Death, but why are you alive?" he muttered to himself. "I'm not sensing the residual power, you're still you, but there's got to be a reason."
"I don't know what's going on," Raven admitted.
"Tell me about the summonings darling," he ordered as he circled her, his hands lit up the runes on her skin and she dropped her cloak so he could examine them more closely; perhaps there was a hint in them that she was unaware of.
Raven slowly started talking to him, informing him of the strange things that had been happening. She told him about the girl who was invading her mind, the Bow of Ra, Circe, and everything. Watching him as she spoke she could almost see his gears turning, and he lit some of the runes to life, reading them carefully.
"Well, love, you lot have been busy. But this is pressing. We'll solve this, and go for the Bow of Ra," he said.
"Thank you," she murmured. Raven felt her tension being relieved a bit as she looked up at Constantine.
"None of the runes are ruined, darling, so we'll sort it all out." Constantine promised her softly and she was forced to look at the exorcist. "I'm not letting you down, I'll figure this out."
"You actually want to help a demon."
"Zed… Look, Gem, I don't want to help you, you're a demon as you pointed out, but Zed saw something about you that she believed is worth saving. I will do my damnedest to save you, because Zed was never wrong kid," he smiled weakly.
"Thank you," she murmured again.
"We'll sort this out and have you right as rain, love."
Donna walked out of her room where she had prepped her armor and she looked at Artemis of Bana-Mighdall. The other Amazon towered over her.
"I truly am sorry for what happened to your sisters, I could not survive losing mine," Donna offered.
Artemis seemed to assess her carefully and Donna sighed. "I will not offer to replace your tribe," she said softly. "Your sisters are irreplaceable, but if you will allow us, we can offer you another home, and friends. It will not be what you had, but it will be something new."
"You think I am here for sentiments of family and tribe, or friends?" Artemis sneered.
"No, I do not. But when revenge tastes bitter and cold, and leaves you with nothing, I offer you sanctuary," Donna clarified. Fixing her shield she felt it's comforting weight on her arm. Her sword was at her side and it felt reassuring.
"You assume to know too much. But know this, you know nothing about me child," she snarled.
"I think you will find, I know farm more about you than you would appreciate." Donna warned walking away from her to Roy and Jason. Jason was fixing his armor up, and Roy was looking over his arrows.
"Heyya Princess," Jason smiled his rogue smile. She was coming to learn that that smile was his shield, but Roy cave her a genuine smile then.
"You boys just cannot stay out of trouble," she mused.
"Well, you know us, we love adventure," Roy and Jay smiled, and she chuckled at their cavaliere attitude.
"Too True," she agreed. "So either of you want to explain why you've called Constantine?"
"That would be Jay," Roy said.
"Jason, we need to talk," Constantine called out before he could answer. Jason's face went blank and serious before he walked away.
"Roy?" she started.
"Honestly princess, I don't know. Something's up with Rae, it's got Jay concerned enough to call for Constantine," he answered.
"Is Raven alright?" Donna asked. Raven was becoming one of her best friends outside her tribe. The demoness was quirky, honest, and unafraid. A worthy adversary, a trustworthy comrade, and a dangerous demoness, whom Donna was finding to be so much more than what the world perceived.
"Honestly, I don't know, it's freaking Rae out though."
"That is not good," Donna said softly.
"No, it isn't. Jay isn't taking whatever it is as well as he wants us to believe. I think losing Zed freaked him out enough that he's getting overly paranoid," Roy said starting to fill his quiver.
"We will solve this," Donna decided. It was that simple, they would solve it. Raven was strong. Jason was a force. They would solve this.
"Of course," Roy said softly.
"You do not believe that this can be solved," she deduced as her eyes narrowed on him.
"Donna, it's a hell of a lot more complicated than fixing a boo-boo for Lian. I hope we'll solve it, but the reality is that this will not be easy."
Bruce was staring out at the sky thinking over Raven's words for handling Jason. He was trying desperately not to dwell on the fact his son was working so hard to evade and avoid him that if Raven hadn't found him out then Bruce would likely think Jason was still dead. Not a pleasant sensation, knowing Jason was willing to go that far to hide from the family. Bruce supposed it was fitting though, he had epically fucked up about handling Jason's resurrection, and then the Red Hood fall out, and trying to save Jason from himself when Jason had forced him to pick between the Joker and himself.
"You and Selina appear to be mastering this marriage," Diana observed, rousing him from his morbid thoughts about Jason and looking over at her. Once, he supposed, he'd have pursued her had she not been interested in Clark and a bunch of other reasons. Now he was very grateful for their friendship.
"We are working at it," he admitted. "It is difficult."
A sad smile graced her lips as she flew, and he remembered that photo he had found of her and those men from World War I. "It sounds delightful," she mused softly.
"It's work." That's all he had come to conclude from marriage, it was work, work to keep the flame, the family, and to balance with Selina. They would work on it.
"Steve said he had no idea why people got married," Diana admitted in a soft, wistful amusement.
"Steve, he was in that photo?" he asked her.
"Yes, he died to end the war," she admitted softly.
"It was a long time ago," she shrugged it off. Bruce said nothing more about Steve then.
"What is going on with Themyscira?" he asked.
"There have been stirrings of ancient seals which should not be tampered with," Diana said.
"What sort of seals?" he asked; already feeling the dread welling up in his gut.
"Magic. Our sister tribe was annihilated, and their artifacts are missing, the magic is stirring and there are somethings to be sealed away, but the seals are breaking."
"I hate magic."
"I am aware, but you and Clark are the only two who I trust to help with matters of this importance," she decided.
"Magic is not an area I or Clark will be much assistance," he pointed out.
"If the seals break, your assistance will be needed for battle."
"Against what?" he demanded.
"Against whatever is sealed away by the Amazons of Bana-Mighdall."
"That's ominous," he muttered. Bruce didn't like this at all, and he hated magic with a fiery passion. It wasn't logical, and it was unreliable, it was dangerous and unpredictable. It was a force, an unknown variable, something he didn't like to try to calculate because usually, in his experience, one couldn't prepare for it.
"I know you hate magic, but we are in need of help," Diana reminded him.
He said nothing to the contrary.
Jason walked into the room and saw Constantine and Raven waiting for him. Raven's skin was lit up with various runes that seemed to pulse with light, whilst looking like hena and moving over her skin. Her long hair was drawn up, and he could feel the uncertainty and desperation pulsing off her as Constantine came to stand by her.
"What's going on?" he asked levelly.
"We have no idea," Constantine said. "It appears as if the Gem here has the power to hold, retain, and possibly; with further studies to confirm, control Death's power, which is unheard of. Endless do not share their powers outside of the family. But her powers are stable, and she's not killing whatever she touches, so her touching the Ankh is not the problem."
"And the other thing?" Jason asked.
"That is why I'll be coming along on this endeavor."
"What?" Jason asked as he cocked a brow at the disaster blond.
"Been a while since we worked together, mate, it'll be fine."
"That wasn't why I called you."
"No, you called me, because your darling Gem is in trouble. She has informed me you've tangled with Circe, who's a bloody menace to all living males, and that Circe is in possession of a demigod of some sort with enough power to summon the Gem. And Jay, the power required to summon the Gem, that is god level power which is problematic. Do you have a plan to contain an untrained, dangerous, scared demigod who's power could easily destroy a continent?"
Jason opened his mouth to retort then sighed.
"I thought not, now, I will go through Zed's sketches, you can go about tracking Circe down, and we'll meet in the middle."
"And Raven?" Jason demanded.
"I'm fine, I'll be staying with you, and Constantine placed a few tracking runes on me to monitor my powers and how they fluctuate to keep a tab on how I'm doing. But other than that there isn't much we can do, so I'll stay with you and help you find Circe."
"Rae…" he started.
"This is my choice Jason, and she got me in this mess. Also, none of you are powerful enough to take her on, on your own or as a team, and with her magic she'll just obliterate you, so I'll come with and keep you alive."
"It's for the best, lad. And the Gem here is the Queen of Hell, she'll be right as rain in a fight against Circe," Constantine promised.
"Fine," he surrendered.
"And she's not with the touch of Death, so don't worry about that," Constantine winked at him as he walked by and Jason rolled his eyes before it was just him and Raven. Raven stared levelly at him, he could see her tremble though and he didn't think as he walked over and pulled her into him.
"Anything feels off to you," he started as he tightened his hold around her.
"I promise," she whispered and he felt her cling to him. "I'm scared Jason."
"We're going to sort this out," he promised desperately.
"Don't make promises you can't keep."
"We're going to sort this out," he repeated firmly as he pulled away so they were eye to eye. Raven just stared indifferently back, but he could see it, the trembles, the slight fear, the way her brow was slightly furrowed and her mouth tilted a bit in a frown.
"You are my best friend, we are going to sort this out, and in the mean time, we'll kick Circe's ass, get the Bow of Ra back and we'll figure this out from there. You are going to be alright, Rae, you're going to be alright."
"I hope so," she murmured.
"No. You are. It's that simple."
"Jason it's not simple."
"It is, and we're not going to complicate it, because I'm not losing my best friend," he stated firmly. "Now, if you're ready, grab your things, we're moving out. Donna has an idea of where the fuck Circe is and we're going to go kick her ass," he said.
Raven said nothing and he smiled tightly. Jason kind of needed his best friend, he needed to keep her safe, he liked having her around in his life, and that freaked him out. Needing people was scary, he liked having Raven in his life, and he kind of founded he needed her.
"Alright," she softly agreed as she flicked her wrist for her cloak to come flying around her shoulders.
"You do know you're my best friend, right?" he asked her.
"Yes, and you're mine."
"We'll sort this out."
"I hope so."
"No. We're going to sort this out Rae, no hope involved. Problems have solutions, we're going to find the solution and answers, kay?"
"Good." He followed her into the main room and Donna turned to them.
"You are after Circe?" she questioned.
"Yeah, and the only thing we know about her is that she hates the Amazons and men," Jason said folding his arms as he leaned on the wall. He looked over the members of his team and was almost shocked at how many people were here.
"You are not wrong. If Circe is interested in Death's Ankh, then she has a plan to use it. Typically, she is hiding out in Greece, it's her homeland, but her home island was destroyed a millennium ago," Donna said. "If she has the Bow of Ra the most likely place of attack would be Themyscira, and if she wishes to yield Death's power then she'll go for the Gates of Tartarus, which are located on the island."
"Then we stop her," Artemis decided standing.
"No one can breach the seals for the Gates of Tartarus," Donna said firmly. "And the Gates are guarded by our strongest warrior, Nubia."
"That's not entirely true," Raven spoke up softly. "The Gates of Tartarus are mine to control, too."
Dick looked at his girlfriend who was standing, naked, in her fiery glory on the balcony of the ski lodge. Getting up he walked up behind her, pressing his lips to her shoulder as his arms slid around her waist.
"It's so peaceful here," she whispered.
"Gotham's never peaceful," he reminded her as they'd been living in that chaos since Mar'i's powers had started manifesting.
"I almost wish we stayed here," she murmured.
"Gotham is growing on me," she giggled, and he chuckled.
"How about you spend the day at the in house spa, and we'll meet up for dinner," he said.
"This is a together trip," she whined.
"Yes, yes it is, but I need to do a few things without you, and I'm sure you need the rest and relaxation," he smiled as his hands slid down her smooth skin. Her breath hitched when his hand slid between her legs. "You and I have had an acrobatic night full of fun," he murmured. "There's more coming," he promised.
"Dick," she whined as his fingers toyed with her, and he felt her knees give as she floated and sunk a bit.
"Just for today, tonight we'll have all the time in the world," he promised.
"Don't stop," she ordered, and he felt his own desires coming to the surface.
"After we finish this," he agreed as her ass rubbed over his growing errection. Oh Fuck! He was never going to propose if they didn't get out of bed!
Karras looked over the gathered information on this Earth and he frowned. There was nothing appealing about this planet, he did not like it already, and he was uncertain as to the appeal it held for Princess Koriand'r.
"Ah, Taryia," he smiled as his lover appeared in the entrance of his quarters. Her flaming hair tumbled loosely around her, and her uniform was off so she stood in only her sleep robes.
"Karras, my sun," she smiled as she caught his hand when he reached for her.
"What is it?" he smiled. He had a fondness for his second in command, she was a strong warrior.
"We, are to have a child," she murmured as she walked into his quarters and he froze.
"What?" he sputtered.
"I intended to speak with you before the voyage to retrieve Princess Koriand'r, but there was no time. I will no be a problem, and renounce the child's claims, I will live out my days peacefully, and you will never have to see me or the child again. We will not threaten your claim nor your rule, X'hal as my witness," she started.
He ceased her babbling as he kissed her. "This is good," he promised her.
"The Princesses Komand'r and Koriand'r are known to be infertile, I will have no heirs from Koriand'r," he said and smiled looking at Taryia. "This is good," he said.
"And if Koriand'r should bear a true heir."
"Then we will deal with it," he promised.
Constantine walked through a portal straight into the Egyptian desert and he sighed as the sweltering, searing heat hit him at full force. But he merely pulled another cigarette out and lit it as he stared out and took a sharp breath.
There had been but one civilization in the beginning which had worshipped Death for the god that she was, and that was the Egyptians. They had birthed the mystic arts, perfected it, they had never failed in magic battles until God had intervened. But there was never a culture more magically adept or as carefully built than the Egyptians. The answers for the Gem's problems would be here. He would just have to find them.
He dragged a hand through his hair before muttering a summoning spell of Zed's sketch books and he felt the familiar weight in his hand.
Slowly he opened the pages, it was filled with sketches he knew too well but had no context and carefully he flipped to the page with the answers. The drawing was of ruins, which now made sense, no bodies filled it, but looking at the armor he recognized it from that tall, curvy redheaded warrior in the apartment.
The writing was all hieroglyphs, and he looked up at the starry skies to locate where the Northern Star would rest on a pyramid's tip, he looked around and he felt it. Snapping his fingers he felt the world shifting around him as he traveled the desert and then he was standing in a courtyard staring at the pyramid. Constantine winced as he stopped moving, his hangover persisting to make itself known and he sighed as he rubbed his temple, shut Zed's book and walked forward.
The stones were all alabaster, the incents weren't burning until he snapped his fingers and the fires were lit. He saw the ruins for the sad beauty they were and saw the dark blood stains from the fallen who had lived here.
It did not take a rocket scientist to guess what Circe had done here.
He paused hearing a clattering and turned slowly until he found himself faced with a young looter.
Her hair was short, black, messy, her eyes were green and her wiry frame was almost animalistic in how she moved as she glared at him.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he said levelly; she could have been a survivor of the attack.
"Taya, tapi Kaula bade menyakiti anjeun!" she smiled coldly as she shoved whatever she had grabbed into her bag, and then lunged for him. Constantine threw up a shield as he narrowly avoided being stabbed in the heart, throwing the tiny girl off.
"زه به زما پلار ناکام نه کړم، تاسو به مړ شئ.," she said.
"What the bloody hell," he muttered, hearing her fluent shift in languages. He watched her green eyes pulse red, the girl's lips tipped up dangerously and then she pulled a mask of a red faced monster out of her bag and put it over her face.
Chapter 16: I Hate Magic
Constantine threw up a few other shields, deflecting the little brat as she came at him in a whirlwind of knives and slashes. He dropped her through a portal over the Mediterranean before he stared around at the bloody ruins. The flies were incessant, even in the dying light he could hear the infernal buzzing. Slowly he started walking through the ruins, pulling his cigarette from his lips as he continued toward the alabaster temple where he could feel the ancient magic pulsing with life. It's power was so ancient it was concerning, but he paid it no heed.
Walking into the temple he looked at the hieroglyphics which littered the walls. The story etched into it was the story of the Amazons of Bana Mighdall no doubt.
He stared at the depiction of the darker women, and the fiery single woman who stood in their midst. Dark eyes, tanned skin, dark hair, it was a regular depiction of the women. The images changed, showing the history no doubt.
The foreigners, a woman of golden hair and blue eyes stood with the leader of the Bana Mighdall, he saw the women, each holding a baby, the parties were gathered. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see that there was a deal made here. A dark haired, dark skin baby to the blonde, the red head to the dark woman.
He picked up a torch blew a bit of fire into it and looked around as he continued down the corridors. The alabaster was cool, he could feel that as he walked down the darkness. It was a pitch black never ceasing darkness.
The magic pulsed, the air was stale, and the buzzing of flies and beetles was getting louder. He paused when the hieroglyphs changed to Greek. Now the magic was waning, broken, he could see the cracks in the magic and the pulsing of a new wound of ancient magic. He stood straighter and stared at the carnage of broken weapons, and the damage wrought here. It was painful.
He paused at the broken stones of a massive seal. Blowing a bit of fire to see he saw old magic ignite. He blinked twice as the runes, all Greek and hieroglyphs glowed pale red, and he winced hearing stone shattering.
"No! No! No!" he whispered as he jogged after the magic that seemed to have awoken. Then there was a tumbling shatter as something gave way. The heavy falling of stones resounded as the stink of fire and brimstone with death filled the stale air.
"Bloody hell?" he muttered when there was pure silence.
White eyes snapped open and a foul stench filled the stale air. The power which pulsed then slammed him back into the wall.
The air was knocked from his lungs and he scrambled up as a massive bulking force stepped from the shadows. His red skin was like that of his brethren, standing ten feet tall, horns produced from his head, hair like black smoke and with giant kopis in hand. The bulking demon smiled, rearing it's fangs.
"Shim-Tar," he smiled as the fires erupted around him and the demon vanished, all his powers disappearing.
Constantine pulled himself up as he pulled a key for travelling out and slammed it on the ground before running into it. He didn't know what the hell it was, but Circe had broken into something even she couldn't handle.
He stumbled into the darkness of the unknown then.
Constantine coming and going in search of the other artifacts in the Bana-Mighdall Amazons possession had been… reassuring. Yes, reassuring was the word Jason was trying to think of. Constantine, for colossal disaster and fucking dumpster fire he could be, was the only person Jason dared to entrust a magic problem to. The Englishman had a way of getting through trouble, hell and disasters, so he was the best bet at solving Raven's problem. Also for giving them an edge on Circe and the Bow of Ra nonsense. He was sure of it.
Which was the only reason he had removed his thoughts from his worries and to thinking about attacking Circe. They needed to get the bow, and the girl, and then they could go from there. Jason didn't like these thoughts so he focused on tactical needs, and running through his usual check list for his armory. It was the routine of this which soothed his mind and nerves, it was the familiarity of this which he savored.
Jason finished assembling his armor, a bit more relaxed now that Constantine had come here, there was the magic aspect of everything covered. Raven would be alright with Constantine here to fix the magic angle. Constantine might be a colossal fuck up, but Jason knew that there was no way Constantine would mess this up and he'd be the best man for the solution to be found.
Walking out into the living quarters, pulling his jacket on. Roy nodded to him, and Jason tilted his head as he pulled on the domino mask.
Raven appeared, pulling on her hood, letting the shadows cloak her.
The Amazons finished prepping their armor, Donna swung her sword before sheathing it as Artemis stood there without her axe in hand.
"So what is the plan?" Donna asked folding her arms.
"I formed an empathetic link with the demigod in Circe's control, I will be taking us to them," Raven said.
"Long story, but our residential demon here has been summoned," Jason filled in for Roy. Roy nodded as he put his shades in place.
"Is that even possible?" Donna looked to Raven.
"It's not my normal," Raven clarified.
"So how are we getting to Circe?" Artemis asked.
"I'm taking you," Raven said.
"So, plan of attack?" Roy asked as he finished his quiver adjustments.
"It's going to be blind and fast, we'll take her by surprise, subdue Akila and the Bow, Rae will take care of Circe, Donna, I want you to get to the kid," Jason supplied. After the run down of everything he felt this was the best plan of attack, and likely to be the only successful way to get everyone in and out alive. "Roy, Biz, you're our overwatch, Rae will drop you where she thinks is best, move to adjust accordingly. When this is over, Circe will either have nothing for her plan or she will be dead."
"And what are we to do with this demigod?" Donna asked.
"I think that will have to be discussed after we have the kid, until then, we focus on taking Circe down," Jason said as he looked over the people in the room.
"Red Him right," Biz nodded.
"You do know that once Circe is aware of us there she will do everything in her power to kill us, right?" Artemis asked.
"It'll have to be a calculated risk, but we're there to take the Bow and the kid," Jason said.
"Alright, we're set," Roy smiled.
"Raven," Jason turned to her, her eyes blinked white as she lifted her hand.
"Hold still," she ordered as the inky black of her shadows drew around them and Jason felt that airless void wrap around him as it felt like the world was torn from his senses. The black was unsettling, even as he felt the world moving, and could feel the air and cold.
It was also comforting and familiar, and damn he didn't like this anymore than he had last time!
They landed on a cobble stones of a road, and the sun was setting. Jason looked around and then he looked at Raven who dropped her hand. Her eyes were glowing still, even as Jason assessed their alleyway.
"Where are we?" Artemis asked as they took to the shadows.
"Give Rae a minute," Jason motioned for them to stay still as he saw a small little bird flying overhead. It was Raven's soul, he could see the white of it's eyes as she flew through the city.
"What if Circe isn't here?" Artemis hissed.
"She will be here," Donna stated.
"I don't like this," Artemis whispered.
"Rae's never wrong, so just have a bit of patience," Roy said softly. Jason said nothing as he waited, he could wait a moment for Raven. She was too good of an asset and friend to be wrong.
Suddenly the bird came back, landing in her body Raven's eyes snapped open as the light left them. She slowly sat up and got to her feet.
"Circe is near the sea, the best vantage point is here, I'll take you guys to the villa, and we can go from there," Raven said.
Jason nodded and then he saw the shadows spring to life, enveloping the world around them before he found himself standing before a huge, heavy pale blue door of some old villa.
Artemis pulled her axe as she swung at the door only for it to hit an invisible shield, which glowed like fire as the energy ran up and over it.
"What is that?" Artemis snarled.
"Allow me," Raven's monotone was soft as she leapt back and Jason saw the energy and power flow black and white as Raven leapt over them and slashed out a power which blasted the door out of the way.
"Knock, knock," Jason mused darkly as he pulled his weapons and saw the jaguars in the entrance.
A dark woman stood with bow in hand.
Themyscira, it was always beautiful, ancient and somehow serine. Bruce kept his cowl on despite the Mediterainean heat, and slowly he walked after Diana off the jet. The women there were all dressed in loose garbs, and armed. He recognized Hippolyta as he walked after Diana. Suddenly there was a breeze and Bruce glanced over at Clark.
"Sorry, there was a volcano in South America," Clark shrugged.
"I'm not the one late," he said pointedly.
"What's this about?" Clark asked.
"Welcome to Themyscira," the queen greeted them which had Bruce's attention snapping to the taller woman.
"Mother," Diana bowed slightly, and Bruce followed her lead with Clark. Men were still unwelcomed on Paradise Island, despite their recent slight opening up for trade with the world. It was rather secluded; like Atlantis was, in this regard.
"Diana," Hippolyta smiled slightly, and Bruce looked around again. The reunion between mother and daughter should be private, at least he felt it should be. If it was him and his child he'd want some privacy; not that that was ever likely to happen with the amount of children he had. "Come."
Following the escorts, he walked with Clark through the city and found its life to be the same as a slow village in the country side of Europe. It was a nice change of pace, but it was also devoid of children and laughter as the women went about. Rather sad.
"There's been a stirring in ancient seals," Hippolyta said walking through the city.
"And what are we to do about it?" Diana asked.
Bruce actually wanted to know what there was for them to be done because until there was an actual fight it wasn't like they could be of use. Magic was not their specialty. Nor was it an area that he found worth studying, it was illogical.
Eventually they arrived in the center of the city, and in the capital building. He stood on the marble floors and stared at the Amazonian senate.
"Welcome back Diana," a woman spoke, many others gave hush greetings and smiled as they walked through to the center of the room.
"What do we need the men here for?" someone demanded in a sharp tone.
"I brought them," Diana spoke as they stood in the center of the house now.
"Our sisters of Bana-Mighdall have been slaughtered," Hippolyta spoke. "The men are here to help, because we are all in trouble, the Egyptian Seals are at stake, we will not dwell on what assistance is needed, nor from whom we get the aid from."
"What are the Egyptian Seals?" Clark spoke before he could.
"The Seals of the Gods," Hippolyta spoke.
"We have the Greek Seals, they were in charge of the Egyptian Gods. It is our sacred duty to care for these, and to protect them from being broken," Diana said softly for them.
Bruce said nothing as he felt that he was still useless in this matter, and he'd rather be home with his wife and children.
When the hell had he become domesticated!?
Circe paused at her bedroom window when she saw a black bird with pure white eyes fly right by. The arch was graceful, and the bird was a raven. Not a single feather was visible, and the power that the beast radiated was not of a normal bird. She snarled when the bird turned it's head revealing four glowing white eyes.
Snapping her fingers she fortified her defenses and smirked as she felt her magic rush through the house and brought her familiars to life again.
Let the magic come.
The bird made no noise as it's wings flapped and the bird flew away from her. It streaked over the dying sky and she scowled losing sight of it.
No matter, she was ready.
A moment later she felt a ripple on her shields as she let them give way.
Stalking out of her room she growled as she threw open Lilith's room and grabbed the girl by her hair as she dragged her out.
Lilith screamed, and Circe yanked the demigod up as she pressed the dagger to her throat.
"Silence," she growled. "You lead them here."
Jason didn't hesitate he rushed forward, he fired wide as he dove out the archers way. He twisted around, narrowly evading a jaguar as it leapt at him.
"ARTEMIS!" he shouted as Akila leveled her bow and released her arrow. Donna slammed into the other Amazon as Raven landed. The arrow was released and Raven lifted her hand. Jason fired a bullet into the head of a cat and it fell lifelessly across the floor. No blood spilled from it. Holstering his weapons he felt the familiar weight of the All-Blades form as he pulled on them and slammed them up as the Amazon aimed her bow at him.
"Top of the evening to you!" he cackled as he smiled maliciously.
The woman's face was devoid of expression, and life, eyes pure white stared at him. There was a pulse of purple in them and he felt the Lazarus Pit quickly burning through his veins and blood as he spun and slashed his weapon out, the Amazon leapt from his range as Raven slammed a shadow on her. Artemis stood there in horror, unmoving, then Donna charged the Amazon. Jason rolled as Donna used his back as a spring board and she had her sword drawn as she came for the woman. Raven materialized beside him as Donna slammed the other Amazon into the wall.
"Get the kid," Jason ordered.
"Hood, Arsenal here, I got the cats, you're in the clear," Roy's voice filled his ear.
"Bizarro is overhead," Raven said as she ran past him, Jason swung his blade around and he lashed out at the Amazon. Akila's bow clattered from her hands as she stumbled back. Donna spun around before him as Akila pulled a dagger and she leveled her shield to intercept it.
"You take Artemis, clear the house, I'll keep her distracted!" Donna said.
"I'm an Amazon Jason," she snarled.
"No names in field!" he shouted as he ran for Artemis, grabbing the Amazon and dragging her out of the way of a jaguar which snarled.
He felt the claws on his arm as they rolled, Artemis was up and heaved her axe, cleaving the bloodless beast in two as they stood there.
"Come on, Donna's got Akila, we're getting Circe!" Jason as he ran a different route into the house. An arrow shattered the window as a vulture was pinned to the wall, bloodless again and it hung there lifelessly.
"I…" Artemis started.
"Just shut up and focus!" he ordered. They ran through the house and Jason found the heavy wooden doors. If this house was like Constantine's then it had taken him where he wanted to go, and that was both good and bad as they skidded to a halt before the door and slammed into it.
Artemis had her axe out and swung, as he narrowly evaded being cleaved in half. The doors broke under the axe's weight and Jason stood slowly.
Circe stood there in the center of the room, and a dagger was on a young girl's throat.
Raven was already in the room and her powers were pulsing around them dangerously.
"Well, well, the back up is here," Circe smirked and her teal eyes light up dangerously.
"Release Akila, and the Bow," Artemis ordered.
"Unhand the kid, Circe," Jason warned.
"The Pit's perfection and disgraced Amazon," the witch mused. "But the four of us know the only real threat in this room is the Gem right there, put down your weapons and maybe you'll survive my wrath."
"I've heard you're a sexist bitch with genocide plans for anything male so that means that I won't be surviving your wrath which means I'm not going anywhere," Jason growled.
"Get down," Artemis ordered and threw her axe as Jason slammed into Raven and sent them sprawling, Raven threw up the shadows as she yanked the girl from Circe. Rolling to his feet he drew his knife as he evaded something like a puppet brought to life. Blocking a blow, he spun low, kicking it off it's feet before Raven's powers enveloped it and it disappeared.
Artemis screamed as she attacked Circe.
"Red," Raven spoke beside him.
"You take the sorceress, I'll get the kid, we'll get out of here," Jason decided as he ran after Artemis. He slipped between her and the sorceress as he lashed his weapon out, blocked a blow and kicked the woman back. Circe gasped as she stumbled back there was a glare in her eyes which had him smiling in challenge.
Donna winced as she was thrown into the wall and shattered through the wall, the rubble and dust settled just in time for her to catch Akila and throw the woman away. Gaining her feet she coughed, spitting out the blood and wiping her lip as she grabbed her discarded shield.
She spun around and smashed her shield into the charging woman. The other was knocked back and rolled a few times when she stood there.
Akila's body, it was rather like puppet, the strings were pulled, the woman wasn't there. It was strange seeing it that way, the magic to sedate an Amazon, it wouldn't be weak. Akila lifted her hand and the bow materialized. Drawing her arrow back, Donna narrowly dove out of the way as she slammed onto the ground, and rolled to her feet. The arrows were rapidly forming, rapidly fired, and Donna good a hit.
Suddenly a red arrow sailed through Akila's bow, startling the lifeless woman. Bizarro smashed into the woman as Roy appeared.
"You okay?" he demanded.
"Fine, but she's not there! At all," Donna grunted as she stood again. Her ribs were singing painfully as she stared at Bizarro who was tossing Akila around like a rag doll. The Amazon fought though, drawing the clone's blood.
"Then what the hell is this!?"
"I don't know," she gasped, rolling her shoulder she threw her shield at Akila just as she was about to stab Bizarro's head. Akila was knocked from the clone's hand and Donna leapt for her, pulling her kopis, twisting around as she slashed for the woman's thighs. The woman leapt out of her way, an arrow stabbed Akila's chest, knocking her off her feet again. The Bow was resting in the ruins and it shimmered out of sight.
This was not good.
It rematerialized in Akila's hand as she aimed it again.
Lilith stared at the sight of the demoness as she circled Circe, her companion was menacing there too. The blade pressed harder in her throat and she winced.
"Let the kid go," the man snarled again.
"You're a disease," Circe growled.
"I was summoned to save the girl Circe, release her and I will spare you," the demoness spoke walking past the massive man.
"You think you can match me Gem?"
"I know I can," the demoness smiled, her four eyes glowed in the shadows and the room started chilling, Lilith could see her breath.
Raven moved slowly, deliberate, her own powers were pulsing as the shadows trembled in her grasp, and the magic was flowing so freely here. It was an impossible feeling as she felt it pulsing through her blood and veins. Raven let her power be felt for the first time as she walked around the woman. Ignoring Jason she kept her eyes trained on Circe.
The witch smiled now.
"Then let us see who's stronger, the Gem of Scath, or the Titan of magic."
"Titan is a generous title for a half breed sorceress," Raven mused as she felt the shadows form, solidify and come crashing down as Raven's own magic lashed out and Circe was forced to react, releasing te girl.
Jason was fast, propelling himself off the shadows as he slammed into the little girl, Raven opened a portal and dropped him to Donna and Roy. Artemis stood there, her chest heaving and Raven looked at the Amazon.
"Trust me," she whispered as she held out her hand to the Amazon. Artemis looked to her for a moment before she took it and Raven spoke Azarathian sealing a protection on the redhead. The empathy bond was tied and Raven looked at Circe who recovered her wits.
"You child, a parlor trick won't save you!" Circe snarled before her.
"Then why don't you teach me something I don't know?" Raven challenged.
"Brat," the sorceress snarled. Raven moved fast as she threw the shadows and tore her soul to slam into Circe. Artemis was a step behind her, cleaving her axe as Circe threw purple flames. The magic flowed from Raven as she hurled her own spells, Artemis kept on the offensive to keep Circe off balance. Then there was a rumble on the ground which had Raven yanking Artemis up to her level and black markings glowed from Circe's feet. Necromancy.
"You fight for men," Circe snarled. "Only fitting they kill you child," Circe cackled. Raven landed as the bodies tore from the earth as her own powers arched and flowed slashing through the dead. Her empathy felt the dead's righteous fury at this situation and Raven drew on it, funneling it through her before slashed it out through the reanimated bodies. Circe was fast upon her, her dagger aimed for her face, Raven felt it slice her cheek as she blocked the blow to slam her knee into the woman's thigh then grabbing her arm as she tore her talons through flesh.
"What's the matter? Scared?" Raven mocked.
Artemis screamed, and hurled her axe, Raven narrowly evaded as Circe threw open a portal and the axe disappeared. Artemis was on the ground, her red hair flowed and the fury and grief on her face spoke the volumes for the pain she felt.
"No!" Raven shouted, Circe snapped her fingers altering the reality on which they stood. It was now the desert, Artemis screamed, and a dark woman stood there.
"Let us try this on for size," Circe blasted a spell through Raven which knocked her back, gasping for air Raven grunted connecting with the dust the illusion portrayed.
"You failed, Amazon. Your own hubris killed your Tribe, slaughtered your sisters, enslaved your Shim'Tar to me, and broke the seals Duat!" Circe smiled as she walked to the Amazon who was screaming in agony at the illusion as she collapsed holding her head.
"That's not true," Raven hissed.
Artemis' watery eyes looked to her, and Raven struggled to roll over. Circe threw a demon seal on her knocking her back onto a wall. Raven grunted at that impact and her demon roared in rage at the trap.
"I failed, I failed, I couldn't," Artemis sobbed. And Raven's felt the Amazon unravelling as Circe grabbed the woman's hair and forced the Amazon to look at her.
"No!" Raven hissed, her soul with great pain tore from her body as she slammed into Artemis, knocking her from Circe's grasp, and forcing her soul into the woman's body.
"What are you doing?" Circe arched her brow in distaste as her own magic formed, blue and purple, Raven forced the body to her control locking Artemis's soul away then.
"My turn," she rasped. She felt Artemis' own power as her own and felt Artemis' pain breaking her psyche apart. Raven locked it away though as she forced the Amazon's body to stand, and felt the heavy familiar weight of her axe in hand. No, this was not hers, not her body, not her axe, but she'd use it.
Throwing her strength into the blow she swung the axe connecting with a magic shield that rippled from Circe's hands. The witch smiled and threw more spells, twisting and twirling out of reach, and Raven felt her tenuous control on Artemis unraveling as her soul burned.
A little more, a little longer, she would not let this witch destroy them all.
The illusion spell around them broke as Circe's concentration broke.
Raven screamed feeling a fire as her hold broke and her soul slammed into her body. Circe spun around and threw a dagger at her pinned form. The dagger hit her lower chest, she grunted as she threw her last bit of magic at Circe, Artemis's axe broke the marble ground as she slammed her fist into Circe's jaw.
Dropping to the ground Raven panted feeling the magic break, and she gasped rolling onto her back to stare at the small dagger there. Artemis was over her then.
"Don't touch it," Artemis ordered sharply.
"Demon," Raven grunted as she did grab it and yank it out. She gasped at the pain and then Artemis' hands were hard on her lower chest.
"Thank you," Artemis whispered as Raven collapsed bonelessly on the tiles. She didn't wave off Artemis, instead she bit her lip and tried not to scream.
"I… Thank you," Artemis whispered again.
"I don't ever want to do that again," Raven mumbled.
"It hurts," Raven grunted. There was a pulse of smoke and where Circe lay she vanished.
"What just happened?" Artemis gasped.
"Fuck," Raven groaned.
Bruce frowned as a rumpled blonde came crashing into the ground, and Clark jumped. Diana and Hippolyta drew their weapons on the man.
"Constantine," Bruce grounded out. He still had mix feelings about the Englishman.
"The seals, the seals of the multiverse, are breaking," he gasped, Bruce helped hoist the other man to his feet only for Constantine to sag against him.
"Egypt's seal, it shattered," Constantine mumbled before he was unconscious.
Hippolyta paled drastically then, and Diana frowned.
"What is he talking about mother?"
"Do you think the Amazons were merely charged with protecting the world or man from Ares?" Hippolyta asked softly.
"Uh… what seals?" Clark asked. Bruce wanted to know that as well, and he looked between Diana and Hippolyta waiting as he pulled Constantine's arm around his shoulders. The lean man felt underweight now, and an uneasy feeling settled in Bruce's gut about the impact of Zed's death that was plaguing Constantine and Jason.
"The Amazons were charged with two of the Dark Multiverse seals, to seal away the pits of Hell," Hippolyta spoke.
"Two of them?" He asked.
"There are Five Seals total," Hippolyta said.
"Where are the other three, and what would Circe's interests be in these Seals?" Bruce demanded.
"I do not know," Hippolyta said. "The Seals were created by a Nephilim."
"What?" Clark asked.
"A Nephilim, the offspring of an angel and a human. She came to the Tribes of the Amazons seeking to hide two Seals to the Dark Multiverse, as she called it, with us, she never spoke to us about the other three."
"And who was this Nephilim?" Bruce asked.
"You would know her as the Queen of Sheeba." Hippolyta spoke.
"And Circe's interest in these Seals?" Diana demanded before he could.
"They would give her whatever dark magic she'd need to eradicate the earth of men, she's already powerful, with dark influences though, she'd be unstoppable," Hippolyta said.
Bruce said nothing.
"I hate magic," he finally muttered as he followed Hippolyta with an unconscious Constantine downwards, into a stifling, dark, mercilessly dry heat of nothingness. The torches started illuminating the way when they reached a massive door. Black as night, carved with Egyptian Hieroglyphics.
"What did the first seal have?"
"It was our seal to Hades, with the Prince of Hades trapped in it, the most ruthless and dangerous prince, Dalkriig-Hath," Hippolyta said softly. "He was obsessed with the true Shim'Tar, and the Bana-Mighdall Tribe sealed him when we could not. We, in turn, sealed Set in these doors, and brokered a treaty, an exchange of daughters.
"The child we named Artemis as a reminder to the goddess who had brought the babe to our shores, for the Shim'Tar's only daughter, Nu'bia. It was out treaty the girls be raised as our own," Hippolyta spoke softly. "If Circe broke Dalkriig-Hath's seal, then we will need to prepare for war. And summon the guards for Set's tomb."
"Did Circe know what was in that seal?" Diana asked.
"Doubtful, there are no records of this." Hippolyta admitted.
"I hate magic." Bruce repeated.
Chapter 17: Mind Over Magic Over Matter?
Artemis carefully pulled Raven to her feet, the young woman grimaced painfully as she stumbled a bit. Gripping the wounded area as she gasped for breath. Reaching out to grab her she paused when Raven held up a hand.
"I'm fine," she grunted out standing up straighter.
"Where did Circe go?" Artemis asked looking at the destroyed room as the illusion broke.
"I don't think she was ever here," Raven managed as she walked a away for a few steps. The demoness seemed pained, but Artemis started examining the room. There were shelves of tomes and scrolls, an open book on the floor, it's glowing characters were red. This seemed to not interest the magician though as she limped by.
"This was a complex spell," Raven murmured at the bowl.
"How do you know?" Artemis asked walking up to Raven's side.
"Only one family supplies items like this," Raven grunted gripping the table then. Artemis frowned at the young woman's denial for pain. "This, this is a griffin's feather, they're extinct, this is the fang of a dragon, again, extinct; at least on this realm. And this, this is a vial of venom from chimera. Only one family supplies."
"The Adams family," Raven grimace.
"You need to rest," Artemis reached for the demon just as Raven's knees gave out.
"That's… That's dark magic," Raven gasped. She felt the sticky warmth of blood which had her running from the room for where Roy and Jason were. They would help her! Raven groaned a bit in what she assumed was pain.
Jason crashed into the ground, his arms firmly around a tiny form and he grunted at the impact which had him slowly releasing the body in his arms. The tiny red head sat on his chest and he stared at the broken ceiling.
"Ow," he grunted out.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Red!" a figure leapt over the rubble and Jason's vision was filled with that stupid face of Roy. "You okay buddy?"
"I got hit by a fucking bus, take the kid," he grumbled.
"Come on little one," Donna's said as she picked up the kid. Jason could breath easier now as he removed his helmet and rolled over as he rubbed his face as he rolled to the side and focused on breathing. He got to his elbows just as Artemis appeared with a dark bundle in her arms.
"Ow," he grunted.
"Akila!" Artemis gasped, and Jason found Rae beside him, her chest was heaving, her eyes were red, and her hood had fallen as she pulled herself over him, examining his head.
"I'm fine, go check the Amazon," he groaned as he shoved weakly at her shoulder before she gasped and fell onto his chest. "Fuck."
"Sorry, Hard to move," Raven panted. His arm dropped over her back as he just focused on breathing.
"S'okay," he managed. They were just going to stay here until he could feel his shoulder again.
"She's breathing," Donna said.
"Shit, she's in a bad way, guys!" Roy's voice called out.
"I'm up," Jason groaned. Raven wasn't, she appeared to have passed out as he slowly pulled himself up, he gingerly put her down and then limped over to the group. Bizarro hunkered over Raven as he left. He paused at the twisted dark body of the fallen Amazon, her face was void of an emotion and her eyes seemed to be set on Artemis who had her lover's hand grasped and was sobbing desperately. Jason limped past to where Donna was, her hand on the woman's pulse.
"Fuck," he muttered crouching down. His mask gave him the down load of injuries it was reading, and Jason carefully moved her a bit. Nothing seemed to register on her face, whatever was going on, she was locked away mentally; he'd seen that look on his own face frequently enough to know when nothing was registering anymore.
"I don't know anything about Amazon physiology to help her," he admitted softly.
"We must get her to Themyscira," Donna whispered.
"No!" Artemis gasped.
"Do you want her to die!?" Donna spat out venomously.
"Arsenal?" Jason looked over to his partner.
"Shit, look, I can scavenge us up a ride, but I have no idea where Themyscira even is, and also, we can't call the JL, I don't have clearance and you're wanted," Roy filled in.
"Themyscira it is," he managed as he got up.
"I can fly," Donna said.
"Biz fly!" Bizarro bellowed.
"Great, Donna you co-pilot. Arsenal, we need a van," Jason said as he hugged his ribs. Fuck that hurt. The mysterious girl was standing over Raven as Bizarro moved Raven's hair. Jason noticed the dark stain on Raven's navy colored garb and he hobbled over, a knife slid into his hands as he sliced the armor away. Raven's eyes fluttered a bit, her hands twitched as she shadows flexed a bit, the girl flinched.
"Shush, I got you, little bird, I got you," he promised slicing off her armor and peeling back the cloth to hear that sickly peal of blood-stained cloth on skin. The wound was deep, but it didn't look fatal, the problem was the orange and green that seemed to be seeping into her veins, pulsing from the black bruise that marred her ivory skin.
"Oh Hera," Donna gasped, but Jason looked up at her face as he saw her struggling to breath.
"It's okay, angel, it's not that bad, we'll get you patched up," he promised taking her hand in his. She weakly squeezed it as she smiled.
"No blasphemy," she murmured as her eyes closed fully.
"You rest, I got you," he promised.
"Lil' Bird!" Bizarro whined.
"She's resting big fella," Jason promised and smiled weakly at the clone. "Help Arsenal get us a car, hurry," Jason whispered. The clone was gone in super speed and Jason collapsed on his ass as he dragged Raven into his arms, dragging her out of the bloodied uniform.
"She came," the young voice whispered. Jason, who was balling up the bloodied cloak against Raven's slow bleeding wound, looked up. The girl was Dami's age, or younger, her strawberry curls were bloody, and her green eyes were fixed on Raven.
"It's what she does kid," he murmured ignoring the throbbing pain of his lower side and looked at Raven's indifferent face. "She saves our asses."
"Careful, Biz, Careful," Artemis's voice whispered.
"Biz did good, he got us a big van," Arsenal was over him then. "I'll take her Red," Roy offered.
"Get the kid, I got her," Jason said as he carefully maneuvered Raven up against his chest. Getting to his feet wasn't easy, but he got there as Bizarro carefully deposited Akila in the van.
"No offense, but how do we know she's not going to wake and go all psycho killer on us?" Roy asked.
"We don't, get in the damn van," Jason ordered as he slid in. He carefully arranged Raven so she was laying prone and he started examining the wound.
"Shit," Roy muttered as the doors slid shut.
"That's poison," Donna said from her perch in the driver's seat.
"Princess, eyes on the clouds, you're our navigation."
"That's venom of Apep," Artemis said. "The black, that's not a bruise, and these spiderweb veins, that's the blood network. Don't touch her blood to yours, it'd kill a mortal in a matter of seconds.
"How do we cure it?" Jason demanded.
"She should be dead already," Artemis whispered. "This is my fault."
"No, she's not dead yet, so she's not dying," Jason snapped.
Donna didn't say a single word as she flew by Bizaro guiding the clone to the sacred island. Broken Bana-Mighdall Amazon, injured demon, pissed of Red Hood and Arsenal, also a homicidal Bana-Mighdall Amazon; and there was a demigod in the mix… She was sure her queen was not going to appreciate this, but what choice did they have? They were in dire need of help!
The shocking thing was, Donna felt the deep need to demand the safety of her little rag tag team, just as fiercely as if they were her own sisters.
"Lil Bird bad shape," Bizarro hummed out.
"Then we will fly faster," she decided, pushing herself harder, Bizarro kept up with easy and she stared at the clouds.
She did not wish for this to be their end, an end to the adventures, and the life, she liked the life that she was finding in Man's World.
"Bizaro scared. Bizarro do not wish to lose friends," Bizarro hummed.
"No one's dying, Biz, I will ensure that even if I must challenge Hades," Donna muttered.
"Pretty lady mean it?"
"I swear it to all the gods, no one will be taking my friends," Donna avowed. They were her Tribe, her people, she'd defend them from everything.
"Bizarro believe pretty lady," the clone decided.
"Good, this way," Donna dove low to the water feeling it mist under the speed she flew. Bizarro was right beside her. Dawn was peeking up.
Kori giggled a bit, staring out at the beautiful sky. Dinner had been lovely, she had enjoyed every minute of it, and now she smiled as the cool night's air kissed her skin and she closed her eyes.
"Kori," Dick's voice roused her as she turned her undivided attention onto her lover. He smiled at her, and she felt her smile broaden on it's own accord. "I've been thinking."
"About what?" she asked giving him her undivided attention. She stared at that handsome face, those bright blue eyes, and his hair.
"I should change my name," he blurted out.
"To what!?" she sputtered.
"I don't know, how about Rick?"
"Richard!" she snapped.
"I'm just saying, we got a kid now, I mean all the dick jokes are bound to make her cringe when she's older, and it'll be embarrassing!" he argued.
"I refuse to date a man named Rick, I will date a Dick or a Richard, but not a Rick," she warned in a huff as she glared at him.
He smiled sheepishly then as he dragged a hand through his hair. "Okay, you raise a fair point. Rick and Kori don't have the same ring as Dick and Kori."
"It does not." She agreed.
"But seriously Kori," he smiled relaxed and at ease then. "I just…I love you." He said softly.
"I love you as well Dick," she smiled at him now.
"I just… I've been thinking," he started.
"You said that," she chimed.
"Yeah, I did," he laughed a bit nervously then sighed. "We're good?"
"Very good," she promised.
"And we have an amazing daughter," he mused.
"She's the world," Kori sighed.
"But this isn't about her," he said.
"No, it's about you and me, Kori."
"I'm very confused Dick."
"Okay, let me clear it up," he said as he stood.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Koriand'r, Princess of Tamaran, Starfire, love of my life, mother of my child, Queen of the Universe, will you please marry me?" he asked getting down on one knee, her heart dropped and everything fluttered within her as she stared at him. the ring was out, and she stared between him and the ring.
Dick Grayson was the only man she could say she loved, fully, truly, and without reservation. He had changed her life, saved her life, he had loved her for her, and never thought her broken. He had given her a gift so precious she didn't even know how to tell him that Mar'i simply shouldn't be. And he had saved her soul. She loved him. Kori would destroy worlds for Dick Grayson, she'd annihilate any threat against him, and she blow his brains out with mind numbing sex. The best sex of her life! He was it for her, he had rewritten the stars for her, and now as she stared at him she could only feel her lips turning up in a smile.
"By X'hal! Yes!" she gasped as she flew into him, her lips crashing onto his as her fingers clung to his hair and she wrapped herself around him as best as her dress allowed.
"Kori!" he gasped.
"I love you Dick Grayson," she smiled over him and he pulled her down again for a light kiss.
"I love you Kori, I…" he traced her cheek and she smiled.
"You saved my soul," she whispered to him.
"You saved mine too," he smiled as he kissed her nose tip.
"I must see the ring! It is Earth custom to have the ring, I wish to see it!" she giggled in delight as she floated up. Her fiancé caught her hand and slid it on.
"I had it sized for you," he murmured shyly.
Kori smiled at the ring on her finger, it was simple, gold, it was not flashy or showy, the diamond was clear, neat and she loved it! It was simply and utterly beautiful, and she could only stare in awe at it resting on her finger as if it belonged there all her life.
All the pain, all the suffering, all the adventures, it had lead her to this. She spun down and grabbed Dick's shirt as she kissed him with all the passion she had. It set her blood afire and it ignited everything in her heart as she felt him drag her down, and hike up her dress desperately. She gasped when he shoved her into a wall.
"Kori," he murmured kissing his way down her pulse, her eyes fluttered shut and she clawed at his shirt, feeling the material give under her strength as she hitched her legs around his hips. Dick grunted a bit, she gasped when he nipped that spot which had her head falling apart.
"Oh X'Hal! Dick!" she gasped desperately as she felt trapped and heated. This was the best night of her life! Almost as good as the morning she had had Mar'i! Dick's hands were strong as he grapped her thighs.
"Bedroom," he grumbled.
"Here," she countered.
"I want to see you," he whispered against her skin.
"Then see me, I have nothing to hide," she whimpered as his chest pressed firmly against her overly sensitive breasts. Great X'Hal! The human would kill her at this rate as he ground against her.
"No, I want to see all of you," he grumbled. It clicked in her mind what he wanted to see, and he wouldn't while they had the staff around. She stood and dragged her human after her as she marched straight for their bedroom. There was no way her human was getting off this easily, no, she was going to blow his fucking mind. And if he wanted to see all of her then she'd let him have that.
They made it to their room when she felt her dress drop off her, the image ring was off and she groaned as he kissed her hard again.
Lilith stared at the man who was leaned over the demon. The wound was bad, she looked up at the men.
"How's her breathing?" the red headed man asked as he crouched over Akila.
"Airways are clear, any vital organs for her here?" the big man asked.
"I don't know."
"Kay, well she's not bleeding all that much. How's the Amazon?"
"She's breathing, but I'm not getting pupil response."
"This is all my fault," she whispered.
"No, no, you are child," the large redheaded Amazon said.
Lilith didn't agree or disagree as she gingerly looked at Raven's mind. It was serine and she looked around this very well-formed mindscape. It was so… different.
Then there was a pulse of shadows as four red eyes lit up and then Raven stepped from the shadows.
"I'm sorry," Lilith whispered.
"There's nothing to apologize for," Raven promised. "But I do need you to get out of my head," Raven said softly and Lilith felt herself being pushed out of the mind as the gates shut on her and she stared out at the sea as they flew. This was all because she wasn't strong enough to stop this. She wasn't strong enough to fight Circe or stop her.
Lilith frowned as she stared out the window. She needed to be stronger, she needed to stop Circe. How had Raven stood there with all that pain, and still stood against Circe. She wished she could be strong like that.
Bruce looked up from the scrolls he was reading when Diana walked in. Clark had been reading as well, and now she sighed.
"How is he?"
Bruce looked at Constantine's lean frame. "He's lost weight, but he's physically fine, the problem is that of magic so we don't know."
"He's got steady vitals," Clark said.
"I was unaware of these Seals, if you do not wish to aid…" Diana started.
"We're here, work the problem," Bruce snapped. He was away from his kids, he was here, and there was an impending threat on the world. And his wife would kill him if he thought about checking out now. Selina and Alfred were far more terrifying than whatever this threat was.
"B's right," Clark smiled.
B scowled. "The Seals are for the Dark Multiverse."
"What is that?" Clark asked.
"The universe has different vibrations," Bruce said; best way to describe this was how Barry had. "So there are different Earths, all occupying the same space of the universe, vibrating at different frequencies. Only one family breaks the barrier, with physics. The rest of use, it requires magic." Bruce said as he stood.
"And this Dark Multiverse."
"It's not Earth, it's Hell, another realm of our world," Diana answered.
"So someone is trying to unlock Hell." Clark grouched.
"Not exactly," a new voice groaned then. Bruce turned to see the Englishman slowly sitting up as he rubbed his face over. "Last bloody bender I do," he groaned.
"What do you mean?" Bruce demanded.
Constantine's haggard face was tired. "I mean just that. There are three many versions of the multiverse, and there are many other types of energy used to create them. Most the ones in the mortal realm are variations of this Earth and the other various planets occupying the mortal plane of existence in the universe. There are other versions of the various realms connected to life on the planet.
"We create these various realms, with the magic and powers of divine powers morphing to match the mortal beliefs, we both create and are influenced by the magic surrounding us.
"The Dark Multiverse is the mortal realm directly influenced by the darker aspects of Hell," Constantine said.
"So it's Hell."
"No. Hell was sealed away, with a lot of the darker aspects of magic, under the reign of King Solomon. Solomon and his wife, the Queen of Sheeba, created the base of most magic, light and dark, Seals of Solomon are the most ancient human magic on Earth. The forty-five seals are a big base. Only people of actual, almost god like power, or heavy connections with light or dark elements can undo the seals. Few years back, two brothers with a lot of help undid most those. But that has no ties to the multiverse.
"These are Seals created by a human and a Nephilim, two of the most powerful magic forces. But the seals on the multiverse, those were Seals created by Sheeba herself, it's a different seal, not something so easily undone. It was rumored that the final seal lay in a realm no human could go."
"No one knows, Sheeba did this AFTER the death of her husband, before she disappeared though. That is a short span of history though."
"What happened to Sheeba?" Diana asked.
"Disappeared," Constantine groaned rubbing his face over.
Bruce said nothing as he thought this over. The Magic didn't make sense to him. But the human mind, that… That was something he could work with. Circe's radical views were like that of Ivy's, or a fanatic Jokerz, it was something that had too much power behind her and spread. She blamed men for the problems of the world, for women's suffering, for war, famine, drought, and even the sky being blue. Circe hated men.
She also hated the Amazons just as much, they were usually the ones to stop her.
Then there was the matter of the Seals she was breaking. Blokes to a different part of the multiverse. Something darker, more dangerous.
Circe had a plan. She would have to have a plan.
The massacre was not random, the attacks were planned. She was going after artifacts of power. She had a plan, which meant…
"Circe will be coming here," Bruce stated.
"We knew that."
"No, she has a plan, she'll have a way onto the island, one that we're not seeing, and she'll have a way to break that Seal," Bruce said. "This is a planned attack. She's coming, and she's ready with a plan, a well thought out plan. She could already be here," he admitted.
"She can't get onto this island," Diana stated.
"Magic can be hacked, like computers," Constantine said. "It'd take a lot of power for someone to get here uninvited, it drained my reserves, damn near killed me just getting here uninvited."
"Circe would have the power, but there's no way she could come here," Hippolyta said as she walked into the room. "It isn't possible."
"Obviously it is," Bruce gestured to Constantine.
"There's a blood ward against her."
"Trickier, but if one is patient there's a way around even those, it's not easy," Constantine mumbled.
"What would one need to do it?"
"Time, patience, rare, extinct items, only one way to get them," Constantine sighed.
"How do you get them?"
"The Adams Family," he answered. "It's not an easy feat, even a being of Chaos or Order, and it's not even easy to get around. Trust me here, it's possible, but not easy, and will require a part of the soul being condemned to Hell for a premature death. It's not an easy feat. Doubtful Circe would do it."
"Then how could she get around it?"
"Only by being invited on the island."
"Then she will not be here, but I have a guard on the Seal," Hippolyta stated.
"I hate magic," Bruce grumbled again, he was so sick of magic and its problems.
"You said that already.'
Circe purred in delight, the plan was working perfectly. She felt her own power dormant, but she would be welcomed onto the island. She would get to the island. And then she would break the seals. They would never know, and her spells would be unleashed. She'd cleanse this world.
Duke looked around his new foster family's kitchen, he was still weirded out by this world change, even as he opened a fridge for a breakfast.
"Master Duke, is there something I can assist you with?" a prim voice asked.
Duke yelped as he spun around to see the family butler standing there.
"Uh… no, just… getting breakfast," he admitted.
"No one is stopping you, merely offering assistance," Alfred said.
"Mr. Pennyworth, sir, I was… I was wondering, is this normal?"
"To what are you referring, Master Duke?"
"Being invited to live with the King of Gotham and trained by the Bat himself?" Duke clarified as he watched the older man start preparing breakfast.
"It is a selective choice, you are only welcomed because Master Bruce has seen something within you that he sees as worth his time and family," Alfred said.
"And what is that?"
"I believe that you will have to wait and discover that yourself. In time. Bu no one in this family is here because they do not belong."
Duke smiled a bit at that thought. Maybe, maybe this could work. He didn't know if it would or wouldn't, not yet, but now he didn't feel misplaced.
Raven focused on breathing as she cast aside all her mind's distractions and her mindscape cleared on it's own. In… Out… she thought as she kept her breathing steady, feeling the burn of the poison in her chest and in her skin. Her mind's eyes snapped open as she sat in the familiar star map of Azarath's ruins and she focused as she felt her mind shift, build it's defenses, clear itself.
"I can feel you there," she breathed. "Reveal," she ordered, there was a push from her mind as all distractions disappeared and she found herself staring at Circe.
"Bravo," the older woman clapped as she walked forward.
"This is my mind, what are you doing here?" Raven asked as she stood to find a firm footing on her mind as she felt her magic pulse for a battle. Her father's gates were doubly sealed against this impending threat.
"I really must say I am impressed, Gem," Circe said walking forward. "Most do not detect me until it is too late."
"You do not belong here."
"On the contrary I am exactly where I want to be," Circe smiled and Raven gasped as the elder rushed her and then there were bars around her as she was thrown into a seal of her own mind.
"Though I must inform you, you are of the most impressive of your kind I have ever met, and I could never have done this if it weren't for your stunt against me with that Amazon's body. Though even then, it was still difficult," Circe smiled.
"What did you do?" Raven gasped as she stared at the woman.
"When you decided to attack, with your soul, you left your body, a bold and stupid move, but as none have probably ever possessed the power to really harm you, I doubt you saw the move as foolish. However, in those moments, mere seconds, it was enough time for me to transform and connect myself to you, so I thank you, Gem. You will have me invited to Themyscira and you will be the key to unsealing the Seals to Set's prison, and Death's Ankh."
"I don't have the Ankh."
"I know. But I know who does, and I know where he is, right at this moment."
"Then you know, that this is my mind, and it is mine to control."
"And you should know, that no amount of self-control you possess will stop me as your body dies. And I'm not even really here Gem, I am merely here to thank you for this opportunity. Perhaps in a proper dual you would have made a truly worthy adversary. But for now, I thank you for you assistance," Circe purred and then she vanished from Raven's mind.
Raven struggled against the seals as she screamed with fury, and felt her mind locked away and the pain of her body boil as she seethed in fury. She needed to warn them!
When she got her hands on that Bitch the Witch was Dead!