In the beginning, they were there. The 7 forces that would exist for eternity and beyond. The Endless, as many called them.
7 forces that would exist for as long as time. Death was there to greet the first living beings and destruction was there to see the first structure fall. Dream was there every night as a creature slept.
They have always have been and forever would be. That was just fact.
But Delight changed to Delirium and Dream was captured.
Destruction left his realm to ruin.
Just because they would forever Be doesn’t mean they’d forever be the same.
That’s all Tim can think about now, watching in horrid fascination as Bruce struggles against chains, straining against unforgiving metal like that would make a difference.
There’s a bomb in front of them, large and tied down. Not one of Joker’s or Scarecrow’s or even Riddler’s.
This was much worse.
This was one of the most destructive forces known to man.
Nuclear energy, formed into a shape of destruction itself.
Tim could feel it from here, the destructive capabilities that that single item holds. The power. The sheer magnitude of pure destruction. It’s exactly why he’d left.
His siblings often don’t understand his choice, walking away from everything. Especially after so long.
But this. This was the reason.
Destruction itself is not a bad thing. Things are destroyed to make room for new creation. It’s how it’s always worked. A rotting tree provides nutrients to the soil for saplings and worms. A volcanic eruption creating new land over the course of generations. The flooding of the Nile providing fertile soil for farming.
That is destruction that Tim had always been a part of.
But this wasn’t that. This wasn’t destruction for the sake of creation.
This was destruction for no cause whatsoever.
This is why Tim left.
But here he is, strapped down to a wall, hanging by his wrists in way that would be painful, if not for the pure rage coursing through his veins and numbing the agony in his shoulders.
He isn’t alone though.
Bruce, his brothers, his team. They’re all here.
And they’re all going to die if something doesn’t happen soon.
Tim glances from Bruce, still struggling against his restraints in a way that’s bound to damage his skin, to Clark, pale and shaking from the green Kryptonite handcuffs. Even Wonder Woman is down.
They’re all going to die if Tim doesn’t do anything. All of them. Everyone Tim cares about. And everything Tim had left behind would resurface. All because of this little thing.
Just one thing.
Nobody else is going to step in, Tim realises, glancing between the figures on the walls around him. They’re all down for the count and if Tim doesn’t do something. They’ll all die. Everyone but him.
Tim will survive. He always does. But then, what does that mean if his friends and family are all dead?
Tim takes a breath, letting it slide out from between his teeth with a hiss as he thinks, drawing Kon’s attention from where he’s hanging from glowing green handcuffs.
His eyes are sad, desolate. Like Despair has set in at the thought of his Death.
Tim won’t allow it.
He can’t allow his friends to die at the mercy of the very thing he left to prevent. After all, did he not leave because he didn’t want that blood on his hands? And if he does nothing? They’ll die. Does that mean that they’re blood stains his hands anyway?
Tim doesn’t want to find out.
So he doesn’t.
Tim’s eyes go hard with determination, still locked on Kon’s as the cuffs around his wrists fall away, rusting and melting in the matter of moments. Kon’s eyes widen in shock, watching as Tim steps forward, away from the wall, ignoring the calls from his family and friends.
Instead, Tim turns his attention to the most loathed thing in this room. The thing that embodies Destruction even more than he does.
Taking it in, it isn’t all that scary. It looks just like a normal bomb with the shell casing and fins for rotation.
But Tim knows this is much much worse.
Luckily, this thing may cause Destruction. But it is not Destruction.
His hands make contact with the shell, feeling a sort of humming vibration under his fingers as the thing responds to like with like.
But Tim hasn’t taken the reigns of his realm in decades.
No. Tim had spent years trying to do the opposite of Destroy.
Now, he creates.
Tim had pulled Batman out of his destructive spiral, had helped Jason release some of the toxic waters of the Lazarus pit by beating him, had saved lives instead of taking them.
And yet, he’d stayed true to his roots somewhat. Tim had saved lives by beating criminals, by destroying their health and then their freedom. Which had then allowed other people to live a small bit better.
Destruction and creation.
Exactly what Tim had always wanted.
But now, this Thing was disrupting that system. This explosion wouldn’t leave anything behind to thrive. It wouldn’t leave room for creation. It would keep destroying until there was nothing left and Tim can’t allow that.
So Tim calms his mind, focusing on the humming beneath his fingertips and reaching out further and further.
How do you destroy Destruction?
You turn its attention to something else.
Radiation. Energy. Shockwave. And heat. That’s all this is.
Take each component and break it down to something else. Something that can be used to create rather than destroy.
Radiation half-lives speed up under his touch, turning from lethal to dangerous o benign.
Energy reverts from kinetic to potential, like a battery.
Shockwaves turning inwards, compressing the shell and making it smaller.
Heat. Fire. That isn’t bad. In fact, it would give the Supers a leg up in another form.
Yellow sun radiation bursts out from the casing, bathing the two Kryptonians in the room with light as their Kryptonite handcuffs fall away at Tim’s command.
All components rendered harmless, Tim stands up from a crouch he didn’t even know he’d fallen into, his feet and legs steady underneath him.
“Tim. What the fuck?” Kon asks, appearing in front of Tim with a burst of air, still slower than he usually would be, but recovering faster than he would otherwise.
Tim doesn’t answer him, instead looking over Kon’s shoulder to the now inert bomb and narrowing his eyes. What to do with it now?
But Kon isn’t allowing him to ignore him. No. In fact, Kon just grabs Tim’s shoulders and shakes him, just a tad too hard for most humans to bear.
“Tim! What the Fuck?!” Kon demands this time, eyes wide and pupils blown.
“It’s no longer dangerous. Inert, or at least as inert as I could get it” Tim explains, shouldering his way past Kon without answering his question.
Kon isn’t the only one with questions. But all of this can wait.
Right now, Tim has a problem to deal with.
“Endless” Constantine says from where Tim had almost forgotten he was. His voice strained with something Tim can’t quite identify.
“So you know us, then?” Tim asks hesitantly, slowly.
“I met your brother, Morpheus” Constantine explains, causing Tim to sigh, not turning away from where he’s considering the empty shell in front of him.
What should he do with it.
“He mentioned a brother who had run away from his duties, leaving his realm to ruin” Constantine says and that’s enough.
“Dream is delusional. He thinks just because we embody an ideal, a vital facet of reality, that we have no choice in that matter. I embody Destruction” Tim snarls, turning to face Constantine with eyes narrowed.
“I looked into the future of my realm and saw nothing of purpose. No destruction worth taking part in. I saw blood and death and chaos untold. All for nothing. Destruction for Destruction’s sake. Like this thing” Tim explains, lashing out and kicking the empty shell.
“I destroy to feed something else. Destruction for creation’s sake. But does anyone care about that anymore? No! All they care about is screaming and chaos. Things like these don’t leave creation in their wake. They leave untold amounts of Destruction with no purpose” Tim explains further, meeting Constantine’s eyes.
“I left, yes. I left because I refuse to take part in something like this” Tim says, gesturing around them, at the situation they had been caught up in.
“If I had allowed it, you all would have died. More than that, the people in the surrounding cities would have been vaporised and turned into dust. Nothing would grow here for many many years. And for what? For some megalomaniac to get a kick out of having killed a bunch of Supers
So, yes, I left. Yes, I abandoned my realm. But in doing so, I have saved untold lives and created many opportunities. I have created hope where there was none. I have sowed Destruction and watched as creation bloomed in my wake. And that is something that my brother will never understand” Tim finally concludes, only now noticing that the empty shell under Tim’s foot had crumpled, like nothing but a can of soda beneath his foot.
Tim takes a breath, removing his foot from the casing with a gentle tug “I love my siblings, whether Endless or now. But they need to understand that I have made my choice” Tim finally concludes, turning his eyes away from Constantine’s with a small, fake smile.