Large PrintHandheldAudioRating
using
 paypal
Twisting The Hellmouth Crossing Over Awards - Results
Is your email address still valid?

Heroes Heir

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking
Story

Summary: Two of the world's greatest heroes have a son. Too bad they have no idea. Xander's life just got a whole lot more complicated.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Justice LeagueMidknightJFR15516,014109233,2281 Apr 0918 May 09No

Chapter 3: Safer Places

Disclaimer: I'm poor. I own nothing.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Chapter 3: Safer Places

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-


The steady beeping was starting to get on his nerves. At first Xander tried to pretend it didn’t exist and curled himself deeper into the bed. That only lasted a few minutes before the beep suddenly seemed to spike in volume and he tried to will the noise away. When that didn’t work he gave a sleepy snort and swung out with his right hand, hitting nothing but air.

Ok, that was odd. He usually kept his alarm to his right.

Still half asleep, Xander wasn’t going to give up that easily. He just did the next logical thing. He threw out his left arm and grinned in triumph at the metallic crunch.

Then it him: his alarm clock was small, cheap, and plastic.

Xander’s eye flew open. Shoulder: good start. Elbow: nothing to worry about. Wrist: so far so good. Hand: firmly embedded in a heart monitor. That can’t be right.

“Good morning sunshine,” came an amused voice and Xander followed it to see an equally amused looking Red Arrow smirking at him.

“Err, I’ll pay for that.”

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

He was standing by an observation window in the Watchtower satellite when Bruce found him. Clark ignored him and continued to stare forward. He had known Bruce was up here since he came through the Slideways, a literal doorway that connected the Watchtower with the Hall of Justice back on Earth. It was a rare occasion where Bruce didn’t even try to conceal his presence, so Clark would just wait for him to say what he came to say.

In the meantime he would stare out at the stars and think. Clark was sure that the fact he was staring out in the direction Krypton used to be wasn’t lost on Bruce.

Neither man looked at the other as Bruce came to stand beside him. Each simply watched the stars, seemingly lost in thought.

“You should rest,” Bruce said after a long silence.

“I did,” Clark shot back. “You’re the one who brought Jefferson in to replace Diana and I, remember? Right now Roy is in there with him.”

“I meant at home.”

“There’s been a lot to do. With the escapees from Checkmate’s off-world prison that shouldn’t have existed in the first place and J’onn’s disappearance we’ve all been busy. Not to mention that Luthor has been far too quiet not to be up to something.”

“And you’re avoiding it,” Bruce said, turning to look at him.

Clark nodded his agreement. “And I’m avoiding it.”

“She’ll find out eventually. Best if you tell her.”

Yes, tell his wife that they found a boy who shared his DNA and that of the woman she feels the most threatened by. That would go over well. Still, Bruce was right.

“Don’t suppose you’d like to be there. I could probably use a witness. Just in case.”

“Not for all the first editions in your collection.”

They shared a little smile, or at least as much of a smile as Bruce would allow himself and Clark was grateful for the slight break in the tension that had been building in him over the last few days. It wasn’t all that long ago that Bruce wouldn’t have made the effort to find him, let alone cheer him up, but the fallout of the Crisis and their respective sabbaticals from costumed life went a long way to repairing their friendship. In truth, it probably hadn’t been this strong since the early days of the League.

“What does Diana think of all this,” Bruce asked.

“You haven’t talked to her?”

“Next.”

Clark shook his head. “We never really talked about it. I think we’re both still trying to sort everything out in our own heads right now.” He sighed and turned back to the window thoughtfully. “Still, you should see her with him Bruce. For hours she would sit there still as a statue, then she would suddenly reach over and brush his hair from his face or hold his hand, and the gestures seemed so… maternal.”

“And you?”

“Me?” Clark gave a little laugh. “I’m confused, I’m not sure what to believe or feel, and it’s still taking all my willpower not to run back in that room just to make sure he’s still there.”

Bruce didn’t comment on that, but Clark wasn’t surprised. You don’t have a deep conversation about your feelings with Batman. Instead he changed the subject somewhat. “I called his parents.”

Clark didn’t have to strain to hear the tone in his voice at the end there. “That bad?”

“They vaguely remembered a son in their drunken stupor.”

Clark’s eyes narrowed as the implications set in, even as Bruce pressed on.

“The woman who ran the orphanage in Sunndale twenty three years ago was more helpful. It seems Alexander was a strange case. One day he wasn’t there and the next he was.

“As much as I hate to admit it, a person abandoning their child isn’t unheard of.”

“It is when the child appears in one of their bedrooms, crib and all.”

Clark looked at him blinking confusedly. “That’s, curious.”

Bruce nodded. “Mystery aside for the moment, from what I have gathered so far it looks like he did grow up in Sunnydale. Given the technology available at the time, we can reasonably rule out cloning.”

“Not to mention there wasn’t a Superman or Wonder Woman flying around yet. At least not in the public eye. And Diana and I hadn’t met yet either.”

“I’ll see what else I can dig up,” Bruce told him as he looked back outside. “But we may have to wait for Zatanna and her circles for any real answers.”

“Bruce?” There was no answer, just a slight incline of his head. “Thanks.”

Bruce nodded once and turned back to the window. Clark did the same. Many minutes passed as both men stared at the stars in companionable silence. Then their comm. units both beeped followed shortly by a voice.

“He’s awake,” they heard Red Arrow say.

Clark was gone before Bruce had turned around.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

This time she was the one standing in front of the door by the time Clark arrived. There was a whoosh of displaced air and he was beside her. They stood together for several minutes, but neither reached for the door. Eventually though, somebody had to be the one to give that little push.

Clark turned to her and spoke slowly, unsure. “So, ready?”

Diana gave humourless chuckle. “Does it matter?”

“I guess not.”

“You know, when I heard he was awake I was running down the hall before I realized my feet were moving.” Diana told him and saw Clark nod that he had done the same. “But when I got here I realized I had no idea what to say.”

“I don’t either.”

“For now, don’t tell him anything.” They both turned to see Bruce coming towards them. He held up a hand and went on before they could say anything. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t tell him, just wait and see what he knows, how he acts.”

“I don’t think-” Clark started but Bruce cut him off.

“If there is one thing you’ve never been clear-headed about it’s family. I’m not interested in having the same arguments we did with Kara over again. All I’m asking is for you to wait a day.”

Reluctantly Diana and Clark nodded. They may not like it, but they could see the logic in Bruce’s argument.

“Let’s go to the briefing room then. Zatanna told us he should wake up a little hungry, but otherwise unharmed. Red Arrow is bringing him there as soon as he’s cleared.”

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Xander had changed from the drawstring sleep pants and undershirt he had woken up in to a pair of dark jeans, t-shirt, and combat boots he got from the bag tucked off to the side of the room. His pack, minus the weaponry.

As they neared the door to the briefing room Xander looked at the man walking beside him. Despite the initial akwardness when he first woke up, Xander found he like the red clad archer. He had an easygoing nature and sense of humour that made it hard not too. Plus he was one of the Leaguers that saved his life; that buys a guy some points.

“Ready?” Red Arrow asked with a hand on the door.

Xander cracked a lopsided grin. “Does it matter?”

“Want some advice?”

“Definitely.”

“Don’t let Batman intimidate you,” Red Arrow told him cracking a grin of his own. “He’s like that with everyone.” Then he opened the door and let Xander go in first.

Xander walked into the room with a confident stride. His usual way of dealing with authority was to crack wise, but he had learnt, over the last couple years in particular, that sometimes the best way to handle it or take on the unknown was to act more confident and in control than you really were.

As he sat down Xander realized he wasn’t as awed as he thought he would be. He supposed it made some sense that fighting beside his own personal hero for nearly eight years and helping save the world on a seemingly seasonal basis jaded him a little bit. Still, that only meant he had just enough sense left to talk in complete sentences and not ogle Hawkgirl. That mace looked like it would hurt.

“Good to see you up and about Alexander,” Black Canary greeted him as Red Arrow took the empty seat beside her.

“Xander,” he corrected automatically. “I go by Xander. And thanks. A three day nap is a little long, even for my lazy butt.”

Black Canary nodded, a slight smile on her face before she grew serious again. “We wanted to talk to you about what happened.”

“You mean Crazy Cloak Lady making with the painful ritual?

“Yes, that.”

“Well, I never got a look at her face and everything was kinda vague and out of body like after the pain started,” Xander said, absently scratching by his eye patch. “She did mention something about making me the permanent host for something called Eclipso.”

“Permanent?” Batman asked. “You’re sure?”

“Yeah, that’s what she said anyway. Why?”

The League shared a look but it was Zatanna who turned to Xander. “Eclipso is said to have been God’s Spirit of Wrath before it was basically fired. It has been a threat for a long while now. It can possess or corrupt many people at a time, but tends to have a main host. It has no qualms about using normal humans, but tends to also seek out powerful hosts for its own ends. I’ve never heard of Eclipso planning on a permanent bond though.”

“Huh.” Xander shook his head. “So why would he want me then?”

Black Lightning levelled a glance at him and raised a questioning eyebrow. “Could it have anything to do with your powers?”

“Powers?” Xander asked confused.

“You did do a good job of murdering that defenceless heart monitor,” Red Arrow reminded him.

Xander looked sheepishly at him. “Oh, right. That. I don’t know. Maybe.”

“You don’t sound convinced,” Vixen pointed out.

“They’re kind of a new development. I didn’t even really know about them.”

Superman leaned forward, resting crossed arms on the table. “What do you mean?”

“It started about six months ago, I think,” Xander told them as he unconsciously adjusted his eye patch again as he thought. “I was getting a bit stronger, but it was barely noticeable and I’d been working out more so I just figure that was why. That changed about a week ago. I woke up and I was like twice as strong as the day before and getting stronger.”

Several of the League members shared a look that seemed to communicate as much as he could with the gang. He may have wondered more about it but was too busy trying not to be unnerved by the assessing looks some of the other Leaguers were giving him.

“Any idea where they came from?” Wonder Woman asked him. As Xander met her eyes something clawed at the edges of his mind, a feeling of warmth and safety he couldn’t quite place. His eyes moved over to Superman almost of their own accord and the same feeling flooded through him. He quickly put it out of his mind. It was Superman and Wonder Woman after all. If you couldn’t feel safe with them who could you feel safe with?

Xander shook his head clear. “Ah, no, I don’t. I was in the middle of nowhere, but I was going to try and figure things out when I got home.”

“You don’t seem all that disturbed by this,” Batman noted.

A chuckle escaped his lips before Xander could stop it. “Oh, I am. Very disturbed even. I’m just used to the weird that’s all.”

“Yes, Zatanna said Sunnydale was some sort of supernatural hotspot and that she thought you were a demon hunter.”

Xander stared blankly at Batman. He had thought the Justice League would have figured that out, it wasn’t exactly a secret he was keeping in Africa and the weapons and books in his camp would have been a big hint, but he hadn’t expected it to be thrown out there so bluntly.

“Yeah,” Xander confirmed, regaining his composure quickly. “Going on eight years now.”

Batman continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “The non-profit organization you work for, The Anya Jenkins Foundation, is actually a front company for the Watchers Council.”

“It’s both actually,” Xander corrected curtly as he locked a hard gaze with Batman. He wasn’t going to let anyone, not even Batman, demean the good Anya’s namesake had done. The rest of the League watched as this strange young man stared down the Dark Knight for a solid minute before they seemed to come to some sort of silent agreement. They nodded at each other and turned away at the same time.

Xander hadn’t missed the look on Zatanna’s face when Batman had mentioned the Watchers and turned to her. “By the grimace I take it you know the Council?”

“By… reputation.”

“Ahh,” Xander said knowingly. He really shouldn’t be surprised that Zatanna knew about the Council, and most likely the Slayers too. After all, even he knew her by reputation. “The Old Watchers Council. Yeah, they were pretty much scum in my book too. It’s under new management now.”

“New management?”

“The Old Watchers and their potential Slayers were mostly killed off about a year ago by a being called The First.”

Zatanna eyes widened. “As in The First Evil?” At Xander’s nod she whistled and clarified for the others’ benefit. “That’s big league evil. We’re talking, the very concept of evil given form, according to the old legends.”

“The First opened the Hellmouth,” Xander told her. “To make a long story short: The First was beaten, The Hellmouth was closed, the town sunk, and the world was saved. That last one is the one I like to focus on.”

“Wow, I’m impressed.”

“Ah this may be a dumb question,” Firestorm put in. “But what’s a Slayer.”

“All right, I’m not going to do the full Slayer spiel ‘cause I m not British and it sounds better coming from the British,” Xander told him seriously. “A Slayer is a mystically enhanced teenage girl with the strength, speed, and stuff to fight the vampires and demons of the world since pretty much forever. When one dies another is called.”

Xander saw the looks on some of their faces and spoke quickly to cut them off. “And don’t go on a moral tangent about teenagers being drafted to fight demons from the pits of hell. I don’t like it either, but Slayers have been around a lot longer than superheroes and the world is still spinning. Besides, how many of you have teenaged sidekicks?”

“And, from what I hear, there’s a whole lot more than one these days,” Zatanna added when it didn’t look like Xander would say more.

Reluctantly Xander nodded. He hadn’t really wanted to get too much into the Slayers, but it looked like he was being put on the spot. He wouldn’t have even mentioned Slayers at all if not for Zatanna being there. “In the final battle with The First we had a bunch of Potential Slayers with us. We did a spell that made them all actual Slayers, but it was farther reaching than we thought. As in worldwide far.”

Seeing he had their undivided attention he went on. “Slayers are literally built on a spiritual level to fight demons. It’s instinct. They’re drawn to the fight, whether they concously admit it or not, and demons are drawn to them. If only for the prestige that comes with killing a Slayer.

“We did this to these girls. We put them in this life. It wasn’t our intention, but it still happened.” Xander closed his eye and took a deep breath. When he looked at them again there was only resolve left in his single eye. “It’s our responsibility to find these girls and make sure they can survive. We have facilities to train them, or even go to them if we need to. Even the ones that have a strong enough will to suppress their instincts and continue with a normal life we help cope with the changes and make sure they know how and where to get help if they need it.”

Xander closed his eye again and let out another deep breath. “Look, we’re getting off track here.”

Black Canary nodded. “You’re right. This is something for another time. Right now the important thing is protecting you from Eclipso.”

“You think he’ll come after me again?”

“It’s possible,” she told him. “Until we know for sure, the safest place for you to be is here.”

“Watchers HQ should be pretty safe,” Xander pointed out with a grin. “We have a little experience with the supernatural after all.”

Wonder Woman reached over and placed a hand on his forearm in a comforting gesture and spoke calmly. “But not with Eclipso. We do.”

“Three days,” Xander conceded a little, surprised at how at ease the gesture had made him as she removed her hand. “I’ll give it three day before I go. I have responsibilities back home I can’t ignore just because I might be in danger. I’m always in danger. If it’s not coming after me I’m usually throwing myself recklessly at it.”

“I don’t think-” Black Lightning started only to be cut off by Batman.

“That’s acceptable.”

Reluctantly Black Canary nodded. “Now that that’s settled, if you could excuse ups Xander? We have some other things to go over and I’m sure you’d enjoy a full tour of The Hall.” She finished with a look over at Red Arrow, who stood from his seat.

“I still need to call my friends,” Xander said as he got up too. “There probably worried about me by now.”

“Here, use my cell,” Red Arrow tossed him a phone, red of course, as the two headed for the door.

Xander caught it deftly, even as his stomach gave a loud growl.

Red Arrow laughed. “Hungry?”

“I could eat,” Xander replied with a sheepish grin.

“C’mon, I’ll show you the kitchen first.”

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Kennedy was bored. She should be out hunting with the other girls, but instead she was stuck at the Scotland headquarters’ communication desk trying to scratch under her cast with a pencil. It was bad enough she’d been read the riot act for going after a demon clan half cocked and without backup, but the last minute save by Andrew and a pack of summoned Hellhounds was just embarrassing. Now with her stupid broken leg she was benched for the near future. Even Slayer healing can only mend broken bones so fast.

The phone broke through her mental ranting at the injustice of the world and she checked the display. Kennedy cursed when the number came up blocked. With a resigned sigh she hit answer and spoke the well-rehearsed line into her headset. “Anya Jenkins Foundation. How may I direct your call?”

“Boy Kennedy, if you sounded any deader we’d have to slay you,” the voice on the other end said and she could practically see the grin in her mind’s eye.

“Xander!” That drew more than a few looks her way as everything else in the room seemed to come to a stop. Not really surprising given that the circumstances. Xander was someone everybody around here was talking about these days.

“That’s my name.” Smartass.

“Where’ve you been?” It was only after the looks she got that Kennedy realized how accusing her voice sounded. Much more calmly she added, “You were supposed to call days ago.”

“Kennedy?” Xander said pointedly. “Giles please.”

“Hang on,” she told him and handed her headset to the older man already hovering over her shoulder.

“Xander?” he questioned.

Kennedy could almost see the tension roll off Giles’ face as he heard the voice on the other end of the line for himself. He had a slight smile on his face when he answered whatever question Xander had apparently asked. “Other than being about to have a locator spell done?”

No kidding. They better send someone to tell Willow they didn’t need one anymore.

She watched as Giles rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You dropped off the face of the Earth Xander. Things come up, especially with you, so after you didn’t call I put it out of mind. After three days, however, I-we began to worry.”

No one in the room missed the slip. No one would say anything either.

“What’s going on Xander?” After a moment Giles let out an impatient breath. “Xander,” he spoke pointedly.

By now most of the room had gotten back down to business, but Giles’ exclaimed of “The Justice League?!” drew everyone’s attention back to the call, and one Slayer to hand several bills to another.

Kennedy, along with the rest of the room, watched as Giles took his glasses out of his pocket. Lately he had taken to wearing contacts but still kept his glasses handy just in case. Right now it seemed like he was trying to polish through the glass. “Eclipso? As in the ‘Wrath of God’ Eclipso?”

A few of the more research oriented people looked at each other uneasily and Kennedy couldn’t help but feel like the other shoe just dropped. It wasn’t doing much for anybody else either.

“It’s never easy is it,” Giles said into the headset but he didn’t wait for an answer. It wasn’t a question anyway. “Is that why you were trying to get a hold of me?”

He listened for moment before he just shook his head and gave a humourless laugh. “Something else? Why do I have the suspicion that this will at least match ‘attacked by the Wrath of God’?”

Whatever Xander said brought a slight grin to Giles’ face. “Well, what is it then?”

The same thought was running through everyone else’s minds. A moment later Giles nodded to the air. “Alright,” he said, all traces of humour gone. “I’ll get started on researching Eclipso and see you when you get home.”

Giles brought a hand up to hit the disconnect button on the headset only to suddenly stop just as his finger brushed it. “Ramsey Carlington is already on his way,” Kennedy heard him say and she realized what must have happened. Xander must have been worried about the Slayer he had been training. Nobody had told him that someone had already been on their way to Africa. “I had sent him out to relieve you. He should meet up with her today, tomorrow at the latest.”

She watched as Giles nodded again. “Yes, I’ve wanted to talk with you about something for a while now, but was willing to wait until your six month stint in Africa was done.

Giles gave a small laugh, this time with humour in it. “Exactly.”

The conversation seemed to be winding down, so again people started to return to their work. When Giles spoke next it was only a short and simple “I trust him.” Obviously Xander had wanted to know about Ramsey.

Whatever Xander responded with brought a full smile to Giles’ face. “I’ll speak with you when you arrive Xander.”

Almost as if a switch was flicked off, the smile dropped from Giles’ lips and he cut off the call. He placed the headset on the desk and turned to leave the room, most likely for the library. As he walked away Kennedy could have sworn she heard him mutter something along the lines of ‘still a bloody teenager’.

That just made her curious as to what Xander’s parting shot had been.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Red Arrow was stunned. He knew Zatanna said the guy was going to be hungry, but he hadn’t been prepared for just how much he could pack away. Xander had already been through three sandwiches and several packs of Twinkies he had been way too happy to find in the short time they had been there.

There had been plenty options for Xander to select from, the Justice League’s kitchen was stock with the most tasteless of health food to the most heart attack inducing junk food and everything in between. Silently everyone agreed not to touch the Chocos. Those were for when they found J’onn.

Xander, for his part, was happy with some cold cuts on bread. Quick to make and devoured with fervour. Fortunately he was going through sandwich number four at a much more normal pace.

The cell phone glued to his ear probably helped with that though. Apparently he had enough manners not to eat and talk.

So far Roy had gleaned a fair bit from the side of the conversation he could hear. It didn’t take a particularly observant person to see that Xander wasn’t all that fond of this Kennedy person. On the flips side, he could tell right away that whoever this Giles was Xander trusted and respected him. His demeanour had completely changed from one person to the next, from slight annoyance to companionable ease.

“No, the ‘Wrath of God’ thing happened after,” Xander said, somehow managing to make the offhand comment sound anything but as he stared longing at the last Twinkie. “I actually called for something else before.”

Roy watched as Xander took his eyes away from the snack cake and grinned. “I’d like to say keen perception, but you just know me too well.”

Xander paused as he listened to what Roy figured the obvious question would be. “I’d rather talk about it in person. I’ll be back in Scotland as soon as I can.”

Relief flashed over his features. It was brief, but Roy knew it had been there. He would bet that Xander had expected an argument, or at least some insistence, instead of the acceptance he got.

“Oh, Giles?” Xander said a bit louder than was strictly necessary. “Can you send someone to check on Alba? I sort of disappeared on her and want to make sure she’s ok.”

A moment later Xander had his brow creased in confusion. “You sent somebody to relieve me?”

Roy was curious what the other man said after that. Xander got a sheepish look as understanding dawned in his eyes. “Then I went off to train another Slayer.”

The sheepish look didn’t stay long and Roy saw him grow more serious than he thought the one-eyed man had in him. “I haven’t met Ramsey, he a good guy?” There was something in Xander’s face that told Roy he would be on the next flight to Africa if he didn’t like the answer. Some tension left his shoulders and Xander gave a firm nod. “Good enough for me.”

Suddenly Xander got a positively evil grin and his eyes lit with mischief. “Oh, Giles? One more thing. How’d your date go, you get lucky?”

Xander flipped the phone shut and met Roy’s eyes still grinning. “He hung up on me! Can you believe that?!”

Roy grinned back. He couldn’t help but like the guy. Maybe it was because he could see a lot of Dick in him. A decent, fun guy with an edge to him. If everything turned out well, maybe he’d introduce them. They’d probably get along famously, or end up being too alike to stand each other. Either way it was bound to be fun.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

“So,” Dinah said moments after the door slid shut. “What do you think?”

Think? Clark still didn’t know what to think. Throughout their talk with Xander he had made an effort to take in information and process it later. He had tried not to talk much and when he did he considered what he said very carefully. Clark knew that if he thought on it too hard or spoke too much he would break his promise to Bruce.

Still, from what little he’d seen so far, Clark found he liked Xander. That much he was sure of, even if he didn’t know what to make of the situation as a whole.

“He was holding back,” Jefferson was the first to speak up, getting straight to the point. “Or, at least he would have if Zatanna hadn’t called him on it.”

Zatanna shifted uncomfortably even as Bruce gave Jeff a pointed look. “Nothing relevant. Simply protecting his own.”


“From the Justice League?”

“From anyone.”

It was all Clark could do to keep his eyebrows from shooting up. Most wouldn’t notice it but he knew Bruce long enough and well enough to pick it up on it. It would appear that despite, or perhaps because of, their stare down, Xander Harris had made a good first impression on the Dark Knight.

From the way Diana straightened beside him, Clark could tell she noticed too.

“Besides,” Bruce continued and turned his gaze to Zatanna. “He wasn’t the only one holding back. You know more than you let on before.”

It wasn’t a question and Zatanna, for her part, didn’t seem the least bit cowed or guilty as she stared right back. “I do know a fair bit more about Sunnydale. The end of the world was a regular threat there. Anyone in the magical community worth their talent kept an eye out for any information coming out of there. The people protecting that place were doing good work. I have no intention of giving out their names unless absolutely necessary. It isn’t.”

Zatanna sent them all a pointed look but Clark noticed the look she gave Bruce was particularly loaded. “After all, I wouldn’t give anyone else’s identities away.”

Bruce nodded his acquiesce to her point, but Zatanna had already moved on.

“I will tell you this since you already know anyway, Xander was one of the protectors I’m talking about. Do the math though. Eight years would put him at fifteen when he started fighting vampires and demons from hell on a nightly basis. From what I’ve heard, in all those years he was the only one of his group who never faltered. It was the guy who, at the time, had no powers or apparent training that never strayed.”

Zatanna paused to let that sink in. Clark couldn’t keep his chest from swelling with pride as she described a little of what she knew about Xander. Then it hit him just what he had been fighting all these years and the risks he must have taken and his stomach dropped instead.

“Heck,” Zatanna continued. “If what I heard is true, that guy has even saved the world on his own without throwing so much as a single punch.

“How did he do it then?”

“I know this coven over in Devon,” she told them. “A while back they were treating a witch from Sunnydale for magic addiction. Her lover had been killed and she wet off the deep end. After killing the shooter she went on to steal a great deal of knowledge and power and raised a temple to use as a catalyst to destroy the world.”

Jefferson shook his head. “She sounds like a real piece of work.”

Zatanna glared at him. “She was an angry, hurt and grieving young woman who just wanted the pain to stop.”

“There are better ways.”

“I’m not defending her. I’m just pointing out that none of us, including me, know the whole story. We shouldn’t judge.” She rolled her eyes. “Besides, it’s not like a grieving superhuman has never taken things to extremes before.”

Clark noticed that Hal shifted uncomfortably at that. He knew that despite Parallax being revealed as a separate entity there were still days that Hal wondered just how much of what he had done was it and how much was all him. As far as Clark was concerned Hal Jordan had more than proven he was on the side of angels since returning from the dead.

“Anyway,” Zatanna said bringing his attention back to her. “Xander went up to the temple and confronted her. He didn’t fight her; he just stood between her and the temple. This guy saved the world just by telling someone that, no matter what they did, he still cared. That he loved her.”

“Wow,” Firestorm summed up what was going through their heads. “That’s, well, that’s something.”

Dinah nodded. “I know what I think, and I think it’s safe it’s the general consensus as well. Whatever is happening to Mr. Harris, I doubt he knows anymore that we do. If that much.”

Clark could sense Diana’s stare and turned to meet her eyes. He didn’t need to ask what she was thinking; they knew each other too well and too long for that. Besides, he was thinking the same thing. He still nodded though.

“We’re going to talk to him,” Diana told them and no one had to ask who the ‘we’ was. There it was. Decision made. If nothing else, this involved him and he deserved to know what was going on. Not to mention who was involved. Maybe they would get lucky and Xander’s group would be able to find some answers.

“After John’s procedure, of course,” Diana finished.

“Speaking of.” Dinah turned to Batman. “Is everything ready?”

“The final adjustments are being made as we speak. After that it will be up to Zatanna to transfer his soul.”

Dinah turned to the holographic Red Tornado with a smile. “So Reddy, are you ready to have body again.”

Whatever he was going to say was cut off as Bruce stood. “Dr. Irons just contacted me. He needs assistance in the auxiliary robotics lab.”

He left without another word.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

When Batman got to the lab he found John Henry Irons examining Red Tornado’s previous android body. A body that seemed to be completely repaired. That was odd since it was supposed to have been damaged beyond the abilities of its self-repair function.

“Looks like Reddy’s got a choice of bodies,” John said but didn’t seem surprised when he saw Batman shake his head.

“No, something else is going on here,” Batman told him as he leaned in closer. A device in his hands fed data to the nearby computers at an astonishing rate. “Red Tornado complained about a ‘secondary program’ running in his body.”

John looked over at him curiously. “You think that’s what kick-started his self-repair function?”

“It’s a reasonable working hypothesis. It gives us a place to st-” He never got a chance to finish as Red Tornado’s hand shot up and took a vice grip around his throat.

“Situation: discovery imminent,” a mechanical voice echoed through the room. “Solution: pre-emptive attack.”

Even as he struggled in the android’s hold and oxygen began to become an issue Bruce’s mind was putting the pieces together. Amazo went berserk in Red Tornado’s body. Red Tornado had been complaining about a ‘secondary program’. Amazo was still in Red Tornado’s body.

“Let him go,” John demanded as he hefted a large laser cannon and took aim. It wouldn’t do much, if any, damage to the android, but Bruce didn’t think that was his plan.

Amazo didn’t even look at him. “Threat assessment: minimal.”

John fired, hitting just below the wrist joint. It didn’t so much as scratch the android but it did loosen its grip enough for Batman to slip out and fall to the floor.

“Reassessing threat: moderate. Solution: neutralize.”

As Amazo used Flash’s speed to throw John into a wall before he could get another shot off, Bruce thought through what he knew about it. It could use the powers and skills of Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and even himself and could duplicate the powers of any other superhuman it came across.

With Irons down Amazo was coming back for him, but Batman didn’t move. Amazo had taken apart the entire League more than once. He knew he couldn’t take the android on alone. Just as Amazo was within arms reach Batman let a batarang fly towards the alarm.

“Strategy: call for aid,” he heard Amazo say as it hit him with a viscous roundhouse and blasted the batarang out of the air. “Solution: prevent.”

His world went dark before he hit the floor.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Xander enjoyed the tour of the Hall of Justice, the Justice League’s DC Headquarters. The full tour, not the one the rest of the public got. He was sure a lot of that was thanks to his tour guide since he had never really gotten in that sort of thing before.

Red Arrow had a sense of humour that put him at ease despite the unsettling situation he had found himself in. The archer had plenty of stories to tell, edited he was sure, and Xander found himself having a lot more fun than he had expected. He came to one undeniable conclusion: he really needed some more guy friends. At least, ones around his own age.

After the tour they collected Xander’s things from the med bay and Red Arrow showed him to a more comfortable room that he could stay in. Before the archer left Xander convinced him to pull up the League’s file on Eclipso on the room’s computer.

His eyes haven’t left the screen since.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Dr. Niles Caulder and Dr. Will Magnus, two of the world’s foremost experts in robotics. If they were still conscious they would be horrified to see Amazo standing over the android body they had just finished perfecting. Cosmetically it was a black and red version of the red and yellow Red Tornado design. Internally it was far more advanced.

Amazo placed its hands on either side of the android’s head and was pleased to find that it was advanced enough not to need an Amazo chip. That would expedient things considerable. Now it would be a simple process to transfer to the superior body.

“Downloading Amazo Matrix to new receptacle.” Without warning the standing android crumbled to the floor and the black and red android stood up. “Download complete.”

It only took a brief moment for Amazo to reconfigure the androids systems to better suit its matrix. The process had only just finished when the first of the League arrived.

The Kryptonian flew into the android with enough force to take even it through a half dozen concrete and reinforced steel walls before it was able to push back.

“Threat assessment: significant,” Amazo said as it righted itself. “Solution: Firestorm.”

All of the League had come into contact with Red Tornado’s inert body. Amazo hadn’t been idle in that time. After all, it had not duplicated the powers of all the members of this latest league.

With the speed of the Flash, Amazo let loose a stream of radiation at Superman. The Man of Steel crumbled to the ground as the red solar energy ate at his powers.

But Superman wasn’t the only Leaguer with speed at his disposal. Amazo saw Flash coming his way at mach-9 holding the pointed end of a uranium rod like a lance. With the hero’s own speed Amazo sidestepped, turning a potential kill shot into a graze that knitted itself moments later.

Still at super speed, the android struck out with a thousand martial arts blows in less than a second. Most didn’t connect, but more than enough made it through to leave Flash bruised and bloodied. The sonic scream that followed nearly burst his eardrums and the lightning left him writhing in agony.

Amazo held the hero up with one hand inspecting the damage it had just caused. This body was performing better than projected. Two of the League were already down and it hadn’t yet used half of its capabilities.

Suddenly it was grasping air and Amazo turned. Flash and Superman were standing at the door with the rest of the League, minus Batman. Each and every one looked ready to fight.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

The walls and floors of the room vibrated and loud bangs echoed in the distance. Xander had been in enough battles to recognize the sounds of one. Someone who had known him from Sunnydale may have thought the first thing he’d do would be run right towards the source. He didn’t.

Xander sat in the desk chair debating on what he should do. He had been trying his best to grow from his ‘rush in headlong’ days. This was the Justice League after all. Anything they came up against they could handle. Right? Their type of battle wasn’t exactly something the same as the ones he was used to. Would he be a help if he went out there, or a hinderance?

He glanced out the window as the power went out and was surprised to see the staff from the public areas and the tourists suddenly appear in the parking lot. Magic. Xander had seen that trick enough times to know it was done with magic and not technology. Zatanna’s work presumably.

The people looked confused, justifiably, and many of them looked scared. More than a few young children clung to their parents in tears.

That did it.

Xander was out of his chair and running down the hall at top speeds. He didn’t notice that he was moving faster than any normal human being had a right to.

It was easy enough to follow the sounds to their source, at least until they suddenly cut out. He hoped that meant the battle was over and there would be nothing to do when he got there. Who was he kidding, when had he ever been that lucky?

Even without the sounds Xander still found his way. By then he was close enough to follow the debris. When he stepped through a large hole in a wall Xander’s heart nearly stopped at what he saw.

Most of the League lay strewn across the floor and a rather scary looking thing had Vixen by the throat. Xander didn’t think he just acted. He’d work on that whole ‘don’t rush in’ thing later. Hopefully.

Xander fist hit the thing’s head with all the force he could muster. Its head had snapped back but it otherwise seemed unbothered. Xander, on the other hand, screamed in pain and unconsciously cradled his throbbing hand close to his chest.

The thing turned its glowing green gaze to him. “Assessing threat: unable to analyze. Solution: immediate termination.”

“Oh crap,” Xander muttered as it let Vixen drop and turned on him.

The thing moved fast, faster than Xander had ever seen anything move. Then he was the one being held off the ground by their throat.

An arrow with a strange tip exploded on the thing’s arm but its grip didn’t loosen in the slightest. “Let him go, Amazo!” Red Arrow yelled and let a trio of arrows fly.

A shield of emerald energy appeared between the archer and this Amazo and the explosive arrows detonated harmlessly on it. It didn’t matter. That was just the distraction anyway.

Hawkgirl and Black Canary had made it to their feet and charged in. Xander’s oxygen deprived mind admired the wicked looking axe the former held. Amazo simply tossed him aside in the face of the greater threat.

Or, it had seemed like a simple gesture anyway. To Xander it felt like he was doing the Indy 500 without the benefit of the racecar. He was going backwards, so he couldn’t see the wall he knew was coming, but he sure as hell felt it.

His back exploded in pain as he went through the strong wall that a month ago would have left him a red smear against it. The sudden brightness of sunlight burned his eyes and his body twisted in midair as he sailed a fair distance from the building. The parking lot was still full of people and cars and Xander found himself heading straight for a blue Chevy Cavalier near the back.

As he covered his face with his hands he though that at least he wasn’t going to take a nice car with him when he died.

It was a full minute before Xander realized there was no impact. Slowly he lowered his arms and opened his eyes to find himself hovering a few inches above the car’s windshield staring into the wide eyes of the pretty redhead behind the wheel.

Then he fell the last three inches and dented the hood with his face.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

The first thing John Irons had done when he had woken up was to try and rouse Batman. He got a shock from the Dark Knight’s booby-trapped costume for his trouble. Still the shock had been enough to get Batman up and on his feet, so he at least got the job done.

Batman had led him to the Slideways almost as soon as he was back on his feet. They had spent the time since reprogramming the teleporting gateway. He knew the plan, and it was a good plan, but the more he heard the sounds of the fight going on at the other side of the building the harder he found it to concentrate.

“Let’s go,” John growled when he finally had enough.

Batman left the keyboard his fingers had been flying on to intercept him. “There’s nothing we can do against Amazo they can’t.”

“Bull! We can help!”

“Down here, we can help. Up there, we’re in the way.”

“Batman-” John started but never got to voice his argument.

“Their the best in the world. Let them do their job.” Batman held a screwdriver out to him. “Let’s do ours.”

And damn if John could argue with that. He knew the other man was right. Maybe if he had his Steel armour he could make the difference up there. The fact was he didn’t have it and it wasn’t his hammer they were relying on now, it was his mind.

He went back to the open panel on the side of the Slideways without another word.

-{SM}--{WW}--{AH}-

Diana fought with everything she had and more. She was the only one left standing now. It was up to her to stop Amazo.

After the League had gotten their second wind they had hit Amazo with everything they had. Dinah even blew its head apart with her canary cry at point blank range.

It just grew a new one.

That’s when Amazo had started dishing out the real punishment to the League. Clark had tried to use his own body to shield them from the brunt of it. It probably saved more than a few of their lives. Unfortunately, even Clark could only take so much, especially when up against someone who can easily exploit his weaknesses.

She didn’t know what Amazo had done exactly when it saw that Clark stood up to the blast of heat vision it sent at them. Diana just heard it say something about shifting frequencies before Clark cried out in pain.

That was far from her mind right now though.

As she fought Diana didn’t think about Clark and her teammates as they fell. She didn’t wonder whether they would get back up. The only thing on her mind as she dodged a blast of emerald energy was Xander.

When the Cloaked Woman had caused him so much pain she had only vague intuition to go on and that had been strong enough to nearly break her control. When she saw this monstrosity choking the life out of him before throwing him carelessly through a wall she knew they were connected in some way. She felt it.

A rage had flown through her the likes of which she had never experienced before. Nothing was going to stop her from tearing this thing apart.

She dodged emerald constructs like they weren’t there. She deflected heat vision, arrows and batarangs off her bracelets with speed and proficiency that would make any Amazon cheer. She rocked the android with blows that tore the flesh from her hands and ignored the pain of the attacks she couldn’t block or dodge.

In the back of her mind Diana processed Bruce’s voice over the comm. telling her to get Amazo to the Slideways. She rose into the air and made a show of dodging the arrows from the construct bow Amazo had made. When she had built up enough speed Diana dropped the act and charged.

Before Amazo could react Diana slammed into it and her momentum carried them down through twelve floors of reinforced steel and concrete straight into the room that housed the Slideways. Three feet, that’s all there was between Amazo and the active portal.

It may as well have been three miles.

Amazo had righted itself and dug in. Diana pushed on their locked hands with all her might but it wasn’t enough. The android was stronger that both her and Clark put together and easily pushed her wrists back and sent her to her knees.

Then Amazo’s hand locked around her throat. It apparently had a thing with choking the life out of people. Even as oxygen became an issue Diana glare up defiantly.

In her peripheral vision she saw Batman and John try to free her only to be batted aside. She paid them no mind. Her gaze never faulted. If she died today she was damn well going to win the battle of wills!

She heard Zatanna arrive, but it really didn’t register until Diana heard her say, “Paer eht dniwlrihw.”

An impossible wind filled the room and a tornado like funnel of air, tinged red, positioned itself between her and Amazo. The grip was suddenly gone from her throat and Diana sucked in a breath of air.

“Situation: unable to counteract force being applied to this unit,” Amazo said as it blown off its feet. As it disappeared through the Slideways it finished. “Threat: dire.”

As the Slideways shut down Diana stared at the red tornado still whirling off to the side of the room. Then realization hit her. It wasn’t a red tornado it was Red Tornado. Zatanna had taken his soul out of the computer after all; she just hadn’t put it back in anything yet.

Zatanna just confirmed things as she helped Batman back to his feet. “Welcome back. Reddy pushed Amazo through the teleporter.”

Diana nodded. At least it gave them time. “We can regroup and prepare ourselves before he gets back.”

“He ain’t coming back,” Irons told her with a grin.

“Our satellite’s only a few thousand miles away,” Diana pointed out. “With Superman’s powers he could be back in a matter of minutes.”

Bruce shook his head. “Dr. Irons and I made a few adjustments to the Slideways. It doesn’t lead to the Watchtower anymore.”

Zatanna smacked him on the shoulder when he stopped there. “Okay, enough suspense. Tell us where you sent him.”

“600 light-years away, deep in the gravity well of Antares.”

“The star?” Zatanna asked. “Is that enough to kill him?”

Diana shook her head. “It wouldn’t kill Superman.”

John still smiled. “Yeah it would. Antares is a red supergiant. Amazo isn’t coming back from this one.”

She allowed herself a satisfied smirk at that thought before Diana forced herself back to business. “We should see to the others.”

“And get this guy back into a body,” John added jerking a thumb back at the whirlwind behind him.

Zatanna smiled. “I think there’s still a good one around here somewhere…”

Diana didn’t hear what they had said though. She may have said others, but the first one she was looking for was Xander.

The End?

You have reached the end of "Heroes Heir" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 18 May 09.

StoryReviewsStatisticsRelated StoriesTracking