Disclaimer: Man, I wish i owned this stuff. Do you realise how much money I would make if I did? But alas, I do not, and am just a lowly fanfiction writer.
Conner Hawke was waiting for Mia Dearden outside the school gates. He picked her up whenever Ollie was too busy doing G.A stuff. This was one of those times. The original Green Arrow was up at the Watchtower, going through some video surveillance of the newest criminal in town. Someone named Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius. Supposedly he had fashioned himself off the Roman Emperor, but reports from his minions had claimed that he WAS the Roman himself. His victims always died. Worse though, they had been fed on. Like Aurelius was a vampire or something.
Conner had seen stranger. Look at Wonder Woman and Queen Hippolyta. Not to mention Diana’s evil half brother Aries. The difference with this one was that it had been a long time after this case had started, and still no clues as to where to find the bastard.
Mia was walking towards him, saying goodbye to her friends, who were glancing Conner’s way and giggling. He blushed, and then started walking to the car with Mia.
“I don’t know why Ollie insists one of you pick me up from school everyday,” Mia said, exhausting an old argument that had been going on for the six months she had been living with the Green Arrows.
“I mean, it must be a bitch to get a park everyday.” She said cheekily.
“Mia,” Conner warned. “If Ollie hears you cussing…”
She smirked at him. “What, you going to tell?”
Conner sighed, shaking his head and hopping into the car.
Oliver Queen was sitting in front of the monitors, staring at them intensely. It showed the same scene over again, but with different people. On one screen a young woman, dressed to the ‘T’, being dragged away by three men with horrible visages. Another was three frat boys, being dragged away by the same deformed men. On a screen further away was a mother walking with a small child, pointing out the city sites in Star City, until the same three things jumped down from a height a normal human couldn’t perform without breaking their legs, and spirited away the two innocents.
All the victims had shown up dead. Including the kid.
And all had been drained of their blood.
Ollie was sick of it. To put it lightly, he was pissed off. Mostly because so far all the victims found had been taken in plain sight, and most had been taken where there were security cameras in place. And every time a body was found, a card was tucked in some part of the victims clothes, with the name Marcus Aurelius printed in neat writing.
It was as if he wanted to get caught.
Ollie knew it was a personal challenge to him. Or at least that was how he was taking it. But he couldn’t explain some things. How the victims ended up bloodless, what the things that did it to them were.
And how to stop them.
“Hey, you still here?” A sensuous and welcome voice sounded right behind him as two delicate arms wrapped around his shoulders, hugging him to a very feminine body.
“You should really take a break.” Black Canary said, wrinkling her nose at the screens. “There’s only so long you can look at all this and not go crazy.” She started massaging his shoulders, the green leather creaking.
“There’s only so long I can look at this and not notice something new.” Arrow countered, spinning his chair around to face her. Standing, he moved closer to her, looking down at her with the classic Oliver Queen charming smile. “Unless a certain Pretty-Bird has something else in mind?”
Whatever smart come back that was on the Canary’s tongue was cut off when wind picked up in the room, like a vacuum had been created, blowing some files Green Arrow had placed precariously on top of a stool towards them, scattering when they hit the crime fighting couple.
A mass of green, purple and white lights started swirling around the middle of the room, close to the ceiling, and the winds increased until Black Canary and Green Arrow, fighting all the way, were force back against the monitors.
Inch by inch Green Arrow brought his hand up to his ear, pressing the button for the League communicator. It was a struggle, but eventually he made it, shouting to be heard over the hurricane like winds.
“J’onn! We’ve got a problem down here!”
“Green Arrow!” the Martian’s voice sounded over the radio, sounding worried. “Watch Tower control is picking up some high energy readings down in your quarter. What’s going on?”
“We don’t know!” Canary screamed into her ear piece, but they both went silent when the energy pulsed rapidly, sending out a wave of power that pressed Green Arrow so powerfully into the wall that his vision blacked out. The last thing he saw was a bright flash of light, the wind dying down, and a young girl, dropping from the blinding light to fall on the ground unconscious.
Dawn stood on the swaying tower, streams of tears rolling down her face as Buffy told her to be strong, and to live, live for her. She had cuts on her stomach where the blood that had dripped down and opened the portal was leaking from.
It was funny, in a way. Buffy thought Dawn was just going to let her sacrifice herself for her.
Dawn was sick of Buffy always thinking she had to look after her. Well it wasn’t going to happen any more.
If the monks that had created her had made one mistake, it was imbuing her with a sense of responsibility, something most girls her age didn’t have, or didn’t use often.
Too bad for Buffy.
Dawn shook her head, grabbing Buffy’s arms. “I’m sorry, Buff. But I can’t let you do this for me. You don’t need to protect me anymore.”
The Slayer was opening her mouth to argue, her hands coming up to grab onto Dawn as all hell broke loose around them.
Dawn grabbed the arms, and using a move that Spike taught her, and Buffy didn’t know she knew, she grabbed the Slayer and threw her towards the other end of the platform, away from the portal. She didn’t wait for her sister to recover, knowing she only had seconds to act and her success so far had been purely because of the element of surprise. Saying a quick prayer to any Goddess’ of Willow’s that might be watching she took a breath and dove towards the portal. Power played over her, making her cry out in pain as she fell.
She was dead before she hit the ground.
Wonder Woman had been rushing through the door with Batman and Green Lantern when the girl dropped from the portal, unconscious. She was wearing an unusual purple robe of some sort, the design looking familiar to Diana. She just couldn’t place where she had seen it before. As Batman and Green Lantern checked on Black Canary and Green Arrow, Diana knelt beside the girl, checking her vitals.
That was when she noticed it. The undeniable aura of power around her, reminding her of an ancient time before the rise of the West.
The girl felt like she was crackling with electricity, and Diana gasped, realising what it was. What she was.
“Diana, what is it?” Batman said when she stood, backing away from the woman. Nay, child, Diana thought with a grimace. She was indeed young. Younger then any of those in the Teen Titans. Younger then anyone should be to carry that power and that responsibility.
The Princess was silent, just staring at the girl. She could tell Bruce was getting worried, and his stance told her he perceived the girl as a threat. Diana had to change that.
“Batman, don’t hurt her!” she hurriedly explaining what she was while he took out some cuffs.
He let them hang by his side, a warning that he was still thinking about restraining the girl, but Diana knew he wouldn’t. When it came to young people Bruce had an unquestionable soft spot. He just never showed it.
Then the girl started to stir, and then Batman was on guard again. Diana remained kneeling next to her, bringing a hand to the girl’s cheek as if to rouse her from her sleep further.
It worked, albeit a little too well. The girl scrambled up and away from her touch, stumbling backwards until she hit Batman’s legs, heedless of the dress she wore. Looking up at the man she screamed when she saw his mask, scuttling a crab walk sideways away from him. She ended up backed against the wall, close to the door.
“Child, we do not mean to harm you,” Diana said, holding a hand out, ‘peace’.
“Uh huh, yeah, heard that before.” The girl said sarcastically, and Diana wondered what she had been through that she replied so cynically.
“What are you?” Batman asked menacingly, taking a step towards her. Diana stopped him with a hand on his arm, worried he might scare her further. The Key had awesome power, and one that Diana didn’t want exerted on the Watch Tower of all places.
“She is the Key, Batman, a great power.” Diana meant it as reassurance, she really did, but at the word ‘Key’ the girl’s eyes had widened, and she had made a dash out the door.
Then Batman was running after her, and Diana followed, flying. She wanted to get to the child before Batman did.
The second Dawn had heard the word ‘Key’ she had been out of there. It was enough that that ‘Batman’ guy had thought she was a threat of some kind, now that Americana girl had known who she was.
She looked behind her, running down the corridor, and there was Batman, following her with a determined look in his eye, and a, what was that? In his hand.
Dawn almost missed it. If she had turned back around a second earlier she would have. But there it was. Diana was in air, flying towards her. Dawn swallowed, turning back to the front, and running with renewed strength. It was pointless though. She was going to get caught. And Buffy wasn’t even there to save her.
A pain shot through her as she tore wider where Doc had cut her on her stomach, and she felt blood start seeping through her dress. Dawn swore. As if this could be any worse.
Up ahead the corridor came to a dead end. The only way to go further was a door up ahead. Dawn had no idea what was going to be behind it. She hoped it was another corridor, but she knew it would be a room. Looking behind her, she slowed to stop in front of it, one hand on the door knob.
The woman who had woken her up had started walking, stepping in front of the angry ‘Batman’, as if to stop him from attacking Dawn. That was heartening at least.
“Why do you run, child?” Diana asked, confused.
“Why the hell do you think?” Dawn bit out before she could stop herself. Not allowing the woman to say anything further, she pulled the door open, slamming it before they could slip through after her. She had no illusions that that would stop them for more then a millisecond, but right then she had to try everything being a Slayer’s sister had taught her.
Of course, that didn’t help when the room she had slipped into was what looked like a conference room. A conference room that had people in it.
She was so dead.
The people in the room were, if possible, even weirder then the ones following her. One had a brilliant blue spandex suit thing on, with a red cape and a yellow ‘S’ emblazoned on his chest. He was tall; broad shouldered, and looked like he could break Dawn’s face without breaking a sweat. A man in a red jumpsuit with yellow lightning bolts sat next to him, and Dawn suddenly wondered if she had walked into one of Xander’s comic books or something. (A/N: lets just say Xander only knows of Marvel comic books, k? cos its not going to be one of those person knows everything about that universe, like you see in LOTR fics so much.)
Across from the table was another man, this one in a long trench coast and one of those hats you might see in Casablanca or something. When he turned and looked at her, though, she saw he had no face, just a blank canvass.
Dawn shrieked, turning to go back out the door when it opened of its own accord, and Batman stepped through it, the woman behind him. The other people that had been in the room where she had woken were behind her, and suddenly Dawn was very aware at how very outnumbered she was.
She started backing her way into the corner, ready for Buffy to come save her already. Wasn’t going to happen, Dawn knew, but she could always hope.
The Batman guy kept advancing on her, making her step back further, until she had cold steel behind her.
“Who are you?” he demanded, hands on either side of her to stop her getting away. “Why are you here?”
Dawn just whimpered, closing her eyes and waiting for the blows she was sure to come.
“Batman, leave her alone.” It was the woman again. “Can’t you see she’s frightened?”
The arms on either side of her disappeared, and Dawn opened her eyes to see the man being pushed away gently.
“I am Diana,” the woman said, smiling gently. “You honour us by appearing here, Great One.”
Dawn just stared at her, unsure of what to make of her. She looked behind at Diana’s counterparts, trying to study them as if to decide whether they were evil or not. One looked like he was an archer. Dawn didn’t think he was a Knight of Byzantium. From what she had seen of them, they didn’t wear green leather. There was a woman in a black leotard and her long blond hair tied behind her in a high pony. The other guy, in green and black spandex, looked like a soldier. He might not want to kill her, Dawn decided. Wasn’t the army meant to protect people?
Then her mind flashed to Ben, who had turned out to be Glory. You couldn’t really judge a book by its cover.
“What is your purpose here?” Diana inquired gently, bringing Dawn back to her as the people at the table joined the people that had been pursuing her, creating a very solid human wall to prevent her running again.
Dawn shook her head, swallowing hard. “No purpose,” she said, panicked. “I don’t really have a purpose.” She began shaking, wishing Buffy was there.
“Wow, Princess, I thought only Batman had that affect on people.” The green archer said wryly.
Diana ignored him and looked like she was saying something else to Dawn, but all Dawn could hear was a buzzing in her ears. She started to get dizzy, and she blinked, sliding down the wall to sit, body curled around her knees.
Her cuts were bleeding more freely now, the blood making its way through her dress and onto the floor. She felt dazed, and everyone was moving so slowly, like they were trapped by honey.
Batman was the first to notice the blood, and he pushed Diana out of the way, kneeling down next to Dawn to assess the wounds.
“They aren’t deep,” he said, looking back at Diana. “But they’ve been bleeding for a long time. She needs stitches.”
Diana frowned, kneeling on Batman’s other side, and looking at Dawn. “Who did this to you, Great One?” she brought her hand up to push Dawn’s long hair from her face.
“Glory did.” Dawn said, her eyes hollow. Haunted. “She hunted me. Because of me those who tried to protect me got hurt. All because of what I am.” She glared at Diana through tears that had started to flow freely. “I’m not this ‘Great One’ you think I am. I’m a monster.”
Everyone was staring at her, Dawn knew, but she really didn’t care. She only wanted to get away, and be safe somewhere. With that thought in mind and her stomach still bleeding freely, she slipped into a faint, body sagging against the wall.
They got Dawn up to the infirmary, and Batman stitched her cuts up himself, the only sign he was concerned about the girl at all.
“She should be fine now.” He said, stepping back from her and replacing the medical gloves he had been wearing with his own. “I gave her a sedative, so she should sleep for a good solid twelve hours.”
He turned to Diana. “You have some explaining to do.”
They met in the conference room. They numbered eight. The only people that had been in contact with Dawn.
Green Arrow, Black Canary, Diana, Batman, Green Lantern, the Question, The Flash, and Superman. They had argued, albeit briefly, about bringing in the other members of the Justice League on this, but they had decided it wouldn’t be right to give away the girls secrets to anyone else that hadn’t already been involved in it. Of course, it probably wasn’t right to tell those that were involved either, but Diana was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Either she let it go and let the girl explain on her own, and have J’onn invade her mind to tell whether she was telling the truth, or have Diana tell what she knew, and then have the rest of them question Dawn by herself to see if the stories lined up.
The latter was probably the least painful.
So as Dawn slept the members of the Justice League convened in a room next to where she lay, and Diana told a story of vivid green power that had the potential to destroy universes.
By the end everyone was staring at the Amazonian like she had been off her crazy pills for too long.
Then she put the lasso around herself and told it over again.
Finally they agreed she was telling the truth, more than one of them getting up to look at the girl through the glass, wondering how much power could be packed into that slim young woman.
Now they just had to decide what to do with her.
Dawn woke to her head pounding and her mouth feeling like she had swallowed cotton balls. She groaned as she lifted herself to sit up, her stomach shooting sharp pains through her. Hands rushed to help her sit, and pillows were placed behind her back to help support her.
“Great One, how do you fare?” It was Diana again. Dawn almost groaned from annoyance right then.
“Look, okay, I’m not this Great One.” She bit out instead, moving away from Diana marginally in the bed, and shifting uncomfortably.
“Well, what would you like me to call you?” Diana asked reasonably, sitting back in her chair. Dawn surveyed the room they were in. it looked like a hospital room, except it smelled worse. It was like antibacterial wash to the power of ten. Dawn didn’t know how Diana stood it.
“My names Dawn Summers.” She said answering her.
Diana smiled at her, “I am also called Wonder Woman.”
Dawn snorted before she could help herself, but quickly covered it up in a cough, wary that the woman sitting by her bedside could fly. Best not to piss off the flying lady.
As soon as Dawn coughed Diana quickly brought up a glass of water, letting Dawn take small sips. She brought the glass away from Dawn and replaced it with a plate of food.
“Are you hungry, Gr- Dawn? The food isn’t great, but it’s all we have up here.” Diana said, but her speech was wasted as Dawn’s stomach rumbled, and she fell on the food, practically inhaling it.
When she had finished nearly half she looked back up at ‘Wonder Woman’. Dawn smiled at the name. It was just too funny.
“Where am I, exactly?” She asked through a mouthful of steak.
“You’re on the Watchtower, a space station of the Justice League.” Diana said, turning to pick up the napkins she had also gotten for the girl.
Dawn couldn’t help it. She accidentally swallowed her mouthful of steak whole, and ended up coughing until tears streamed down her face. Space station?
“Space Station?” she asked when she had calmed down after Diana had given her a few good, solid thumps on the back. “Justice League? Rewind please.”
Diana frowned, not understanding, but a voice at the door sounded before anyone else could.
“You’ll have to forgive Diana,” it was the Green Archer dude. “She hasn’t had that much experience with pop culture and slang.”
“Right…” Dawn said looking him over. “And what’s your name? Robin Hood?”
He looked at her with a dirty look on his face as Diana stifled a laugh. “That reference I get.” She said, looking him over once more before loosing a full laugh.
“Hey,” Robin Hood said angrily, and Dawn was suddenly afraid she had made herself an enemy. “That guy was a total fraud.”
She breathed a sigh of relief as he grinned. “The names Green Arrow, or G.A for short.”
“Ok…” Dawn raised an eyebrow. “Do any of you have normal names?”
It was his turn to laugh, coming further into the room, and Dawn could see his quiver full of arrows. “What, like ‘The Key’s’ any better?”
Dawn went silent, her eyes suddenly showing fear. “Don’t ever say that name again.” She said furiously. She turned to Diana. “You told him?” She asked, betrayed.
She couldn’t believe it. Now everyone here knew, and someone like Glory was probably going to come try and kill her or something. She wished Buffy was there with her.
“Is there a problem?” Diana asked, looking concerned.
Dawn just looked at her like she was crazy. “Yeah, there’s a problem.” She spat. “For I can’t remember how long its been, I’ve been running from this Hell Bitch whose wanted to cut me open and use my blood to take her home to her Hell bitch dimension, and the only way I stayed hidden for half as long as I did was because no one knew who or what the Key was! The only time I ever told anyone, he ended up to be a bad guy and it led to me being caught!” she ranted, enraged. “And now you just go and spill what I am to everyone? People got hurt because of what I am, I told you that! How could you just go and…” she sniffed back the tears that were threatening to overcome her as she ranted, stopping in mid sentence, and she wiped her eyes tiredly. “I killed myself.” She said quietly. “That’s what was meant to happen. I threw myself into that portal so my sister wouldn’t have to.” She looked up at Diana and Green Arrow with tired eyes. “Why can’t I just have died?”
Tears spilled over onto her face as she wept, head aching. She felt Green Arrow sit on her bed, wrapping his arms around her as she cried. She was pulled to a broad chest, clinging to his shoulders as if he was the last lifeboat on a sinking ship.
Finally, all cried out, she fell asleep, still clinging to the green archer.
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