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Marked, Stacked, and Falsely Shuffled

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This story is No. 6 in the series "An Ode to a City". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Being the Third Part of our Heroine's Adventures in a Wicked Place

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Drusilla-CenteredbatzulgerFR131613,66663315,5117 Feb 1015 Feb 10Yes

The Melding of Aberration.

The Dark One retreated, leaving me to fare alone against our involuntary host's tender ministrations. I had switched to purely defensive stratagems, and as my Champion was no longer a visible target, I could focus exclusively on seeing my possibilities. Creatures began appearing out of thin air. Some vaguely humanoid in appearance, some most assuredly not.

They attacked with tooth, claw, and every variety of weapon one could almost visualize in an opium dream. I was struck multiple times, never very seriously for each attack, but the accumulation of pain began inspiring my beast to its full potential and my madness at last broke free.

Throwing myself bodily through the blocking wall of apparitions, I arrived standing in front of the Old One, locked eyes and declared, "Be in me..."

The sensation of its oh so long existence flooded my mind. It pounded me with torrents of imagery of unimaginable sights and incomprehensible memories. I saw scenes of awe inspiring wonder and agony and my madness laughed.

"Alteria, " I howled its name as it continued the bombardment of my mind, "Now you may feel my pain!' and I gave it freely.

All my memories of torture under Angelus's hand and the fragments of my past life, the knowledge of the evil I had done I channeled back into it, in fair exchange. It had never felt pain or torment, guilt or loss, and its shell had retained less effect from those than even I, a soul less demon. The tumult of conflicting emotion caused it to stutter and freeze as it attempted to process this madness called humanity and compassion. I could barely feel the presence of the outside world as I was using all the energies I possessed to hold against the inexorable tide, and returning it fused with my human-tinged perception. My beast was being battered and beaten back, but was still granting me its rage as a matter of simple self-preservation

Then suddenly I saw in the deluge the remaining spark of the shell's original possessor being sent out with the rest. I grasped on to it and held it just outside both our minds. Now as Alteria had no trace of human essence to help process the sensations it was receiving from its own memories now tainted with a mortal's perception.

Then a voice slid into my perception, "You're looking pretty beaten up. Need some help?" It was all I could do to give some sign of agreement without being carried away and then a foreign presence moved into my body. "Nice to meet you Drusilla, Etrigan said you'd need some help, my name's Boston Brand."

The spirit possessing me began guiding my limbs, striking at Alteria as I maintained the mental assault. The Old One was unable to resist the combined battering and began to stumble as my blows, guided by the power of a ghost's will, struck true and hard. The Dark One then spoke up, "Drusilla, Harley's here!"

I gasped out something on the order of "Get her next to me, close enough to touch" as my mind, even braced by Mister Brand's, was starting to fade under the waterfall of an Old One's memories and then I felt her hand on my shoulder and I willed with my last fragments of strength, "Harley, Be in me..."

Her mind was scarred and tormented as strongly as mine or the Dark One's, but she possessed the final item in the urn, she possessed hope. I grabbed onto her love for her Puddin' and used it as a bulwark against the fell thing that he had become. I saw her dreams and her innate sweetness and used my beast to forge them into a lance. A weapon that could be cast deep into the mind of our enemy. Unfortunately as I saw what she was, she saw my beast at its worst.

Mister Brand continued the physical assault as I prepared to strike at the source, my mind was almost spent, even my preternatural endurance failing me. This battle had only lasted moments but it had felt like eons of agony and rage. I felt my something start crumbling inside me and told the ghost possessing me to flee, else it would be trapped in my destruction.

"Not a chance Drusilla, I never quit, and never turn away from risk. If I'm destroyed, at least you'll have company."

Readying myself for the last moment of my existence, I prepared the lance, then felt Harley's mind knocking me out of the wave.

"Mistah J, I gotta say goodbye to you. I'm so sorry. I always loved you and I'll always miss you..." Her fresh mind grabbed the lance from my weakened one and sent it flying deep into the maelstrom.

There was a bloodcurdling scream, both physically and mentally, then the pressure was gone, and I felt nothing more.
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