A Tale of Two Heroes: After the Split
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy, Justice League, or any other element I might throw in.
Author’s Note: This takes place instead of the last chapter of ‘All good things must come to an end.’ I didn’t really like the ending too much and decided to change it. So please, ignore that last chapter.
Jenny sat motionless in the cell, staring straight ahead with a vacant expression on her face. Outside that same cell stood some of the most recognizable people on the planet, the founding members of the Justice League, and the much more reclusive Dr. Fate.
“Are you sure the cell is secure?”
“As secure as I can make it,” said Dr. Fate. “You have to understand, magic is unique. For every unbreakable rule in one practice of magic, there is another that is considered to be something any apprentice can do. I’ve done the best can with what I know about her style, but no guarantees.”
With a sigh Superman ran his hand a crossed his face, reminded once again precisely why he hated magic. He already had a headache and he hadn’t even started trying to figure out what kind of a mess the League and the world was in now.“It will have to do; John, make sure we get a set of guards down here. And what about the other criminals, the ones that didn’t run, have they been secured as well?”
“Already locked up, we already had the cells we needed for them,” responded Wonder Woman.
Batman finally turned away from the cell to face the others. “Then everyone knows what to do, there’s no time to rest yet. Report to J’onn, he’ll tell you where to go. And be prepared, the fallout from this is just beginning.” Superman knew Batman wasn’t referring to the flames that still burned, or the cries for help that filled his ears. If anyone in the League realized the full scope of the problems they would be facing from the fight against Darkseid, it would be Batman. People would soon be blaming the League for drawing him here, never mind it was the work of super-villains, and others would blame them for not stopping him sooner. And that wasn’t even taking into account the fact that Mrs. Harris had been caught melting Lex Luthor’s face off on live TV. With a sigh he blurred away. There would be no rest for him tonight; there were still people that needed help.
The heroes dispersed, leaving Jenny to sit alone, staring blankly at the wall. Had J’onn been there to do a check on her mind instead of in the Watchtower coordinating the relief effort, he would have been shocked at the thoughts spinning through her head.
As Jenny sat in her cell, knees tucked up under her chin, eschewing the rather uncomfortable bunk, thoughts and emotions whirred through her mind.
Grief at the loss of her husband of less than a year.
Confusion at what exactly had happened with that last, experimental spell, and what it had done to her.
And anger, so much anger, raw and boiling. Anger at Xander’s arrogance for challenging Darkseid. Anger at herself for letting them both get involved in the fight. Anger at the criminals that brought Darkseid to Earth in the first place, and the fact some were still running free. And anger at the League, for offering those criminals who had brought a dark god back to life and released him on the planet a chance to escape.
Suddenly a shadow, a near impossibility in the uniform lighting of the cell, caught her attention as it danced a crossed the wall. Blue flames were flickering above her body, emerging from the widening crevices that ran over her skin.
Lifting her hand she stared at the tongues of fire in wonderment, only feeling a slight tickling feeling as she ran one hand over the other and through the flames. Her anger momentarily forgotten, she began to play with the flames, swirling her hand around and watching blue sparks spit out, even as the fires began to die away. Soon they were gone, and the cracks in her skin eased closed until only a network of blue lines, no thicker than a pencil, ran over her body. The only things that would keep people mistaking them for veins were her darker skin tone and the very dim glow surrounding them.
Distraction gone, Jenny was left alone with her thoughts once again.
Later, a much wearier Justice League met. Batman started the meeting off, getting right down to business. “Mrs. Harris still in her cell?”
John Steward, the Green Lantern, nodded. “The guard said there’s been some unusual activity over the last few days, the cracks on her skin actually going back to how they were when she fried Darkseid, but she’s made no attempt to escape and they always fade again.”
“I’ll ask Dr. Fate to look over the footage and check the wards again.”
“No,” Batman shook his head, shooting down Superman’s suggestion. “I already spoke to him yesterday and asked that he check over the crater and make sure Darkseid is really gone and not just teleported somewhere else. Have Zatanna do it instead.”
“Alright,” Superman conceded, seeing the value making sure Darkseid was gone instead of merely terrorizing some other poor planet or dimension. “Reports time. Flash?”
“Keystone and Central are both good and were left mainly alone. And I did a quick check of the rest of the US, except for Washington, DC and Metropolis, and the country’s still in pretty good condition, same with Canada. South America has some problems, mainly Brazil, but there’s no need for any repair teams. When the machine started, the forest fires wiped out the nearby towns, no survivors.”
Superman nodded, as bad as the news was it was one less problem for the already stretched thin League. “Wonder Woman, anything in your sector?”
“Themyscira was spared any damage, but the Greece and the surrounding area took damage. The engine machine that Darkseid’s forces used created havoc with the weather systems and several places are suffering severe storms, but no immediate danger. Normal weather should reassert itself soon.”
“Good to hear, I’ll have one of the techs keep an eye on the area just in case.”
“China was spared much damage due to my presence in the area where they dropped the drilling machine, but Japan took serious damage due to earthquakes as a result and a direct attack on their capital. I shifted additional League forces to the area and rescue and recovery operations are already underway.”
“That's good to hear J’onn. And it’s good to have you back; you have a knack for logistics. Shayera, what about Paris?
Hawkgirl, now known simply as Shayera, shook her head sadly. “Devastated. When the drill exploded it cracked the catacombs wide open and collapsed major sections of the city while setting fires and taking out the communications and transportation networks. J’onn already took care of sending most of the remaining League forces that already cleaned their areas to help. There’s not much else we can do at this point, but if you want to do a flyover sometime today Superman and maybe a little clean up, it would do a lot to help moral. The loss of so many of their art pieces and monuments on top of the deaths really hit them hard.”
“Alright, I’ll try and stop by after this; it should be mid afternoon there. John, what about Africa?”
“No real damage, the drill was in the middle of nowhere. Actually might have done some good, by the time our people got there it had already started drilling, and it looks like it struck it rich in oil. Vixen’s still in the area, just keeping a watch on things.”
“Good to know something beneficial might have come from all this. And I covered Australia, which is in good shape, they were completely ignored. I’ll turn this over to Batman now.” With that Superman sat down, and already knowing what Batman was planning to talk about, began planning when he could stop by Paris and Japan. The reactor over there was still having problems after all.
“We’re going to be facing a crisis soon, as people look around and want someone to blame. Most of the villains that fled after Mrs. Harris’ attack are still at large as we were busy detaining her and the few immobile injured. The fact she killed the one responsible for bringing Darkseid here on live TV leaves us with a problem. She did murder Luthor, but what people who lost a loved one saw is a grieving widow striking a blow that they all wished they could have done.” Batman hit a control on the conference table and a screen slid down, several legal documents appearing on it. “As you can see the US government, led by Amanda Waller, intends to prosecute her and turn this against super heroes everywhere.”
“I thought we saw the last of her, didn’t they shut down Cadmus? And they don’t have a leg to stand on,” protested the Flash, having rising out of his seat. “Grieving widow remember?”
“Cadmus might be shut down, but its individual members are still active. And it’s not just Luthor she killed; it’s also the other villains. With them having fought to help save the Earth, a good lawyer can paint them as duped by Luthor into causing the problem, and then trying to fix it. By ignoring him and focusing on them, they can make a strong case, especially with so many of those villains dead or missing.”
“So what can we do?” asked Shayera. “We can’t exactly refuse to hand her over.”
“I am technically a diplomat, I might be able to do something, maybe extend political asylum?” ventured Wonder Woman.
“No,” replied Batman as the documents on the screen changed. “It’s too risky for your country. All we can do is wait for now, when I have more information I'll let you all know. I just wanted to warn you for now that you might be called to testify soon. They are pushing for a fast trial while the memories and grief are still fresh.”
“So all we can do is wait?”
“Wait and prepare Flash, wait and prepare.”
Jenny stared at her hands and the blue glow that surrounded them. Her thoughts were calm for now, she felt burned out, like she couldn’t summon the effort to feel angry. And it gave her time to think without the pall of rage clouding everything. That spell, it had changed her, that much was obvious. But the changes were more than skin deep, her Will reserves had changed. Now they seemed endless...and empty. She could feel her power regenerating, even if slower than before, but it was like a faucet trying to fill an ocean. The upper cap on her power had been removed, she felt like she could quaff Will potions and never feel full. Three days since she had passed her previous reserves, and still the power was trickling in, the only sign was the increasing glow of the lines crossing her body.
She could use this.
Xander groaned, the darkness already starting to creep into his vision. It felt like his entire body had been torn apart and stitched back together by a doctor who took the pain meds meant for the patient. Still, the pain meant he was alive, and that was what mattered. Now he just had to focus on staying that way. But after a nap… now if only the screaming would stop, it would make sleeping so much easier...
The thought made him bolt upright, or at least try to; ignoring the fact his vision was still graying out he twitched his hand and began to fumble at his waist for a healing potion. The first loop was empty, and now a strange buzzing sound in his ears was drowning out the screams. Broken glass met his groping fingers, slicing them through the remains of his gloves, but the third one still had a vial. Pulling it lose he brought it up to his lips. His other hand refused to move, so he grasped the cork with his teeth. It sent a bolt of pain screaming through his head and jaw, like a rusty nail driven in with a hammer blow.
The potion sent a cooling wave through his body, easing the pain but not vanishing it. It still lingered, feeling like he had done an intense workout and pushed his body to the limits. His body was still screaming in protest when he moved, but at least now the blackness was fading away.
Xander’s hand dropped to his side again as he briefly considered taking another potion before deciding to conserve his supply. He could move now, if not easily, and it would be simple enough to take another potion later if the situation warranted it.
Sitting up, he looked around. The screams were back full force, the buzzing gone now, but whatever, or more likely whoever, was making them was hidden behind a wall. He appeared to be in a small yard, no bigger than a typical American backyard porch, enclosed by a six foot tall solid stone fence. The wrought iron gate was barely a foot away from his foot, and a dark shape was pressed against it, a hand reaching through and scrambling at his just out of reach toes. The moonlight gleamed wetly off exposed bone and congealing blood.
The fire died out even as it was summoned. It had been almost two weeks since she had been put in the cell and she had yet to find a spell that worked. Fire died out, summons never appeared, and lightning sparked away. Slow Time worked, but what was the point when the door never opened enough for her to get out? Turncoat might work, but she didn’t want to play her hand too soon, and there was no guarantee with the Martian and Dr. Fate about.
She would get her chance; they had to let her out eventually.