|How a Resurrection Really Feels
Author: sakuuya PM
Or: How Halle the cockroach-girl came to join the Justice League. A side story to Nighty999's Young Justice, although it can be read independently.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Crime - Words: 2,934 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 3 - Published: 07-04-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4371456
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
How a Resurrection Really Feels
So. This is basically a side story to Nighty999's Young Justice (Although my character doesn't show up there for a while...), which is why it's here instead of in the Static Shock cat. It does help if you've got a working knowledge of SS, because most of the characters are from that show, but it gets all JL-ish at the end, so don't worry.
Also, for purposes of the Young Justice-verse timeline, this story takes place about a year before the RP (and story, I suppose) starts.
Disclaimer: I own Halle, but nobody else. In fact, I don't even own the title, which is the name of a great Hold Steady song. That is how unoriginal I am. Also, forgive my pathetic lack of knowledge of the criminal justice system.
16-year-old Hallelujah Davis' eyes didn't even flicker upwards at the sound of her Bang Baby alias, her ears covered by oversized headphones attached to a knockoff MP3 player and her attention absorbed by an issue of CosmoGirl. Distracted as she was, she still flinched when an unseen hand ripped her headphones off.
Her first instinct was to bitch out whoever it was, but the sudden passage of a shadow with no apparent source stilled her tongue. Shit, she thought. She had hoped to avoid Ebon for a few days. The leader of the Metabreed had just lost yet another tussle with Static, and though he hadn't been carted off to jail this time (which counted as a win as far as most of the rest of the Breed was concerned), the fight had put him in a foul mood.
"I'm talking to you, Swarm. Pay attention." Halle realized that it was in her best interest to appear as obedient as possible, so she closed her magazine and held Ebon's eyeless gaze for a moment.
"Yeah?" she questioned, a little spark of impertinence rising in her voice despite herself. "What do you need?"
"It's time you started earning your keep around here, girl," the shadow in front of her replied. "You been crashing with us for weeks now, but you've never come on any real jobs." Ebon slid a hand under her chin and made her look up into where his face should be. "Why is that?"
Halle felt a hot blush of shame work its way up through her face, although it was thankfully almost unnoticeable against her dark skin. "You never asked," she replied, which was true. Since she had literally crawled into the Breed's hideout a few weeks back, terrified of her powers, Ebon had never told her to go out on so much as a scouting mission.
In a way, that depressed her. The shadow-master had saved her from the twin terrors of outsiders' disgust and her own self-loathing, and she wanted a chance to prove her worth. She did.
"What do you say we fix that?" he asked surprisingly gently, but clutched her chin harder. One cold, abnormally long finger slid up her cheek to brush a stray cornrow behind her ear. The contact was almost paternal, and she leaned into it.
"Sure. Anything you want me to do, boss."
He leaned in closer, his dark face too close to her ear, and told her. There was no breath against her ear, but it didn't occur to Halle to wonder about her savior's bizarre physiology. He told her, as though sharing a great secret, that he needed her to raid a storage facility where some sort of Q-juice neutralizing shit was being held. He couldn't be bothered to do it himself, he said, and she was the only other Breed member stealthy enough to pull it off.
The thought of being the only one who Ebon could trust the job to made her feel warm inside, surrounded her in a rosy, almost alcoholic glow as she got ready, pulling on the black sports bra and sweatpants that made up her unofficial "costume." As she was dressing, Talon fluttered into the doorway and shook her head.
"I dunno what he said to you," the bird-girl said, "but I bet it was a load of shit. That hijo de puta did the same thing to me when I first came here, made me think that I was his special girl." Talon took a moment to smooth out her ruffled feathers. "Just don't fall for it, 'kay, Swarm?"
Halle just smirked, too sure that she was finally going to become a respected member of the gang to pay heed to any warnings. "Jealous, Tal?" She asked, sticking her tongue out playfully.
"I'm serious, Swarm," Talon answered tersely. "Ebon's a huge asshole. He's just usin' you." Halle nodded absently, looking in her broken shard of mirror to make sure none of her cornrows were trying to escape their ponytail.
"Thanks for the advice, Tal," she said, trying to match the avian's serious mood despite the adrenaline coursing through her. "I swear I won't do anything stupid, okay?"
Talon still looked wary, but nodded and disappeared from Halle's doorway.
Halle left the hideout as soon as it was dark. The dark, early fall air felt good against her skin, and she almost regretted the loss of the sensation when she made the change. To an observer, it would look like she melted right out of her clothes into an expanding brown puddle. Careful ears might have heard the minute scuttlings of thousands of insect feet; watchful eyes might have noticed that the puddle was made out of thousands of hard, tiny bodies.
It didn't matter to Halle as she took flight, a swarm of cockroaches connected by a single consciousness. Her flight through the city was exhilarating, every sense magnified by the sheer amount of sensory input. She felt almost Biblical, a plague on the sleeping city, something terrible out of Bible stories half-remembered from her youth.
The warehouse was nothing special. Decaying (Like everything else in this shitty city, Halle thought) slightly around the edges, better lighted, and with a couple rent-a-cops strolling around the entrance, but nowhere near as threatening as she'd imagined. No wonder Ebon couldn't be bothered with it.
Keeping the mass of her insects just outside the range of the pool of light surrounding the building, a handful of roaches crept in through minute cracks in the warehouse's foundation and the larger openings of windows still too small for any human to fit through. Once inside, they wavered, seeking shadow as the cockroaches' natural instinct to avoid lights overrode Halle's human mind.
Focus, girl, she reminded herself mentally. She'd come too far in the use of her powers to let a little light and two separate ranges of vision get in her way.
With new resolve, and seeing no guards on the inside of the factory, she moved in little by little, until the thousands of roaches that made up her form were all inside, a single teeming mass of insects. Taking to the air almost silently, Halle's myriad bodies searched the warehouse, a maze of crates that were all dizzyingly similar to her insect eyes. Puzzled and disoriented, she flowed back into her human form, thankful that she'd remembered to bring her clothes inside, and began to search on foot.
As she neared a likely-looking crate sitting all by itself in what she guessed was the middle of the warehouse, a brilliant white light suddenly flared behind her. Stumbling as roach instincts flared habitually in her mind, she turned to face the the source of the illumination.
A few feet away, a masked, dreadlocked boy hovered a few feet off the ground on some sort of metal disk, his clenched fists flaring with pink-white electricity. "Now why don't you be a good girl and leave?" the masked figure asked in what seemed to Halle to be an infuriatingly mocking tone.
"Like hell I will, Static," she responded wittily, bringing her fists to the ready. She knew that hand-to-hand combat wasn't the answer with this guy, especially while she still had hands, but she'd never faced the superhero before, and acting like she was getting ready to punch him out bolstered her confidence.
Static sighed theatrically and shook his head. "We'll if that's the way you're gonna be," he replied with mock-sadness, and magnetically levitated various tools and bits of metal around the warehouse. Before he could make them into a suitable restraint system, and just as Halle was poised to dissolve into her roach form, the shadows behind the superhero darkened to the point of impenetrability and seemed to spit out Talon and Shiv.
Taking advantage of his foe's preoccupation with Halle, Shiv jumped up onto Static's disk and held a machete-like energy blade to the hero's throat, giggling insanely the whole time.
The added weight and the sudden pressure at his neck were enough to distract Static, and he dropped everything he had been levitating clattered to the floor. Fortunately for him, though, he was more or less used to such assaults by now, so it was a simple matter for him to create an electric field around himself, knocking Shiv off and giving the villain a nice little shock as a bonus.
Unfortunately, it left him in range for Talon's sonic shriek. Still hovering, Static fell to his knees on his disk, his hands covering his ears.
Throughout all this, Halle just stood there, transfixed, her fists going slack as she stared.
"Don't just stand there, girl!" Ebon hissed as Static hit Talon in the side with what appeared to be a flying keg, knocking the bird girl to the side and snapping Halle out of her reverie. "Open that box and spray this asshole with depower gas!" With that command, Ebon wrapped himself around Static, only to shrink again as the hero blazed with light.
As quietly as she could, Halle crept barefoot over to the crate, picking up an abandoned crowbar and forcing the thing open. Talon, seeing what Halle was doing, let loose another shriek that masked the heavy thud of the crate's side hitting the ground, flitting from side to side in the air to dodge the bolts of electricity Static threw at her.
Inside the crate were several large canisters, each with a pressure valve and attached hose. Grabbing one hastily, Halle twisted the valve and pointed the hose's head at Static, who was currently engaged in melee with Shiv. The purple-haired teen was far to busy trying to slice and dice his foe to notice Halle pointing a gas canister at him, so Talon flew into the fight and grabbed her teammate, over his inarticulate protests.
"What the..." Static mumbled confusedly, turning around to see what his foes were running from. Upon seeing the yellow-green gas spilling out of Halle's canister, he immediately threw up a magnetic shield.
Halle, for her part, could only see vague shapes through the cloud of gas in front of her. This shit is nasty-looking! she thought as she tried to follow the fight. Smells like ass, too, she amended, bringing up a hand to shield her nose from the offensive odor.
A moment later, a fairly gentle shock ran through her hands, causing her to gasp in surprise and drop the canister. A similarly unseen force turned the valve back, so the gas ceased leaking and began to dissipate. Static, still encased in his shielding bubble, smiled. He made some sort of gesture with his hands, and a light flared outside.
On cue, the two rent-a-cops burst into the warehouse, followed by several normal police officers, guns drawn. "Metabreed! Get out of here!" Ebon called, starting to form a shadow portal in the wall. Halle nodded and willed herself to change into her less bullet-vulnerable form.
"Swarm! Come on, girl! Move your ass!" Talon called worriedly, flying as slowly as possible toward Ebon's portal.
"I can't... I think my powers are gone, guys!" Halle shrieked, desperately. Ebon's neck stretched out to examine her, but she shook her head, eyes tearing up. "They're gone, boss."
Ebon retracted his neck and moved into the portal he'd created. "Talon! Shiv! Just leave her!" He instructed. Shiv, grinning maniacally, jumped right in and disappeared into the shadows, but Talon hesitated, reaching out to Halle.
"Swarm! Just get over here and--" was all the avian managed before a night-black hand wrapped itself around her mouth and pulled her bodily into the portal, which then quickly vanished. Robbed of any hope of escape, Halle fell to her knees and concentrated on not crying. She may be caught (and powerless, her mind added nastily), but there was no way she was gonna give these bastards the satisfaction of seeing her in tears.
A few dozen feet away, Static was talking to a policeman. "No, I have no idea who she is. Some new Breed recruit, I guess."
The officer nodded, glancing suspiciously over Static's shoulder at Halle. "All right. We gotta take her in for questioning, anyhow. Thanks for staking out this place tonight." The superhero waved a dismissive hand.
"Don't worry 'bout it. I'm happy to help you guys," he responded, before hopping back on his disk and sailed away into the night.
Two police officers closed in on Halle, guns at the ready but not pointing at the kneeling girl. "Hands behind your back," one commanded brusquely. Not wanting further trouble, she complied. She remained silent as the other officer gave her her Miranda warning, and as she was led into the back of a police car. She wasn't going to give them the satisfaction.
It was the day of Halle's trial, about a week later. The court-appointed lawyer was doing everything she could, but Halle had been caught breaking and entering, and in the company of known gang members. The lawyer had advised her to plead guilty; as she was a minor with no criminal record, there was a good chance she would get a light sentence.
Now, waiting for the judge's verdict, Halle scanned the room nervously and saw that her mother was not among the sparse attendants, although Halle knew she'd been informed. Consciously, she thought, Sweet. Maybe that meddling bitch is outta my life for good, but a knot of something very like homesickness twisted her stomach. On the bright side, though, her powers were slowly returning, and it took all her self control not to let a few roaches run over her arms out of sheer anxiety.
"Miss Davis," the judge said after the room had risen. "As this is your first offense, the normal sentence for a second-degree burglary would be two years in a juvenile detention center. However, given your metahuman status, I am prepared to give you another choice." The judge paused for effect, the courtroom lights glinting off his thick glasses. "The Justice League of America is sponsoring a rehabilitation program for superpowered teenagers. Should you so desire, I'll submit your case for admittance. Which will it be, Ms. Davis?"
After a cursory glance at her lawyer, who was nodding her head encouragingly, Halle replied, "Yeah. I'll go for the one that's not jail."
The judge nodded once, curtly, causing his glasses to slip down the bridge of his nose. "All right. You can pick up more information on the program as you leave. I believe it takes a couple weeks to hear back from the program. You will stay in the detention center until that time. Do you have any questions, Ms. Davis?"
"No." Then, after a sharp look from her lawyer, "No, ma'am."
By the end of the two and a half weeks it took to hear back from the Justice League, Halle was already sick to death of the detention center. About a third of the girls in with her were Bang Babies, but she had by far the "nastiest" superpower, as she was regularly informed.
So it was welcome news when the judge called to tell her that she had been selected for the rehab program, and that she should be ready to leave the next day. Her co-detainees jeered about going off to be Superman's bitch, but Halle was thankful. If she had to stay with these chicks for much longer, she was going to go off the deep end.
The Justice Leaguer who came to pick her up was a tall black man in a black suit and green tie. He introduced himself by saying, "Hallelujah Davis? My name is John Stewart. You can call me John, or, if you prefer, Green Lantern." He held out a hand, which Halle took, wincing at his firm grip and military handshake.
"Halle," she said, cracking her knuckles after he let go.
Green Lantern, who had picked up the larger of her two bags and was walking out with it, turned and said, "Don't do that, Hallelujah."
She rolled her eyes, but quit it, popped a stick of gum into her mouth, and followed Lantern to his vehicle. Maybe she should have stuck with juvie.