"Flash, how are we coming with the evacuation?"
The scarlet speedster may have been miles away but thanks to the small communicator in Superman's ear it was as if he were right beside him. "Getting the last of them out right now. They will be out of blast radius in 2 minutes."
"Make it one, Flash," Batman said over the com.
"I thought we had 5 minutes before the bombs went off!" Flash complained.
"Anarky installed a bypass switch. Our window just got cut in half."
"Someone cut the wrong wire, didn't he?" Hawkgirl said with a slight chuckle.
"No," Batman said simply.
"It's ok to admit you made a mistake, Batman," Hawkgirl goaded. "You're only human, after all."
"Can we focus on the task at hand?" Green Lantern complained. "J'onn, have you managed to locate Anarky?"
Superman glanced to his right, where Wonder Woman and J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter, were floating beside him. The League had received an urgent call from Jump City an hour ago. Anarky, a deranged anti-establishment bomber and domestic terrorist, had highjacked several TV stations' signals to announce that he had moved his war against the government and society to Jump City. He'd boasted that he'd rigged every mailbox in Jump City with enough explosives to level several city blocks, claiming the post office was one of the arms of the militant government. Much of the League was on other assignments so it had fallen to the Original Seven to beam down and take care of the situation.
Anarky hadn't made things easy on them. Attempting to lift the mailboxes up, as John had suggested, would only trigger them to explode instantly. They were also on a relay circuit, meaning that disabling one would start a chain reaction that would blow them all up with seconds. It had taken Batman 10 minutes to find a workaround that was supposed to, in theory, allow him to use that relay against itself and shut down all the bombs just by disabling one. The problem was that Anarky, for how crazy he was, was also cunning and had obviously planned for someone to do just that.
J'onn's eyes glowed red as he sought out Anarky's mind. The evacuation had actually served a second purpose: not only were the innocent citizens moved out of blast range but now J'onn had less 'mental noise' to sift through.
"There," J'onn finally said, staring down at a mechanic's shop. "He is in there."
"Not for long," Wonder Woman said darkly, eyes narrowed.
"Diana," Superman said before she could dart off, "we need to be careful. Anarky has already proven to have plenty of redundancy plans. I doubt he thought he could just hide."
The Amazon princess glowered at that but nodded. "Fine... we go together."
Superman nodded, touching his ear. "Batman, Wonder Woman, J'onn and I are moving to capture Anarky."
"Understood," Batman said simply. "I nearly have the bombs defused. I'll join you once done."
"I'm coming too!" Hawkgirl said quickly. "I was supposed to meet friends for a drink tonight and Anarky ruined everything."
"Friends? What friends?" Flash asked. "I thought we were your friends!"
"You are... I mean friends other than you guys."
"Do I know these friends?" Flash asked. "Are they hot?"
"Flash..." John growled.
Superman shook his head. Even thought Hawkgirl and Green Lantern had managed to work together after her betrayal of the League John was still testy whenever he worked with her. That, in turn, had caused Batman to use them as an example of why one should avoid 'interoffice romance'... which in turn left Wonder Woman testy.
The Man of Steel rolled his eyes. 'I wonder if Captain America has to put up with this.'
The door to the garage crumpled like tissue paper, Diana easily ripping it free and tossing it aside. Anarky, dressed in his golden mask and hood, whipped his hear towards the enraged Amazon, his hand already rising up to show her the detonator in his hands.
"Not another step, Wonder Woman!" Anakry shouted. "Not unless you want to turn Central City into Crater City!"
"Newsflash, Anarky," Flash said as he ran up to join his teammates; Green Lantern and Hawkgirl close behind. "We are in Jump City, not Central City."
"Oh know that, you pawn of the oppressive regime! But I knew the League would attempt to stop me from completing my mission against this corrupt government so I decided to plan ahead." Anarky took a step forward, wiggling the detonator. "While I did rig all the mailboxes to blow in Jump City I also planted quite a bit of C4 in Central City. This long range deadman switch is connected to my beautiful explosives... if you or anyone in the League attempt to either stop me or make a move towards Central City, I'll let go and blow it all to kingdom come!"
"J'onn?" Superman asked.
"He isn't lying," J'onn stated, eyes glowing.
"And don't think about trying to alter my mind!" Anarky said. "I studied up on you and I've created some powerful mental shields. You'll break through them... but not before I let go of this trigger."
"What do you want, Anarky?" Superman asked, doing his best not to let his eyes flick towards Batman, who was sneaking up on the domestic terrorist. He hoped to stall the madman long enough for Bruce to get the drop on him.
"What do I want?" Anarky said with a boisterous laugh. "I want to tear down the infrastructure that has led to corruption and distortion of mankind and let us live as we should... without rules and without laws! I want every man and woman to be able to do what they want, when they want, without a crooked cop or an on-the-take politician or some HERO claiming to be the moral master of the world standing over them, dictating-"
"I like my town... with a little drop of poison... nobody knows… they're lining up to go insane..."
The Justice League and Anarky all turned, watching in surprise as a long-legged man ambled up towards them, his head lowered and his hands in his pockets. He wore a black suit jacket over a half buttoned white shirt, both of which looked quite rumpled. A fedora covered his head, with only a few strands of blondish white hair visible under the brim that was helping to hide his face. He was a long, lanky figure with a strange little walk that seemed half a stroll and a half a dance. Most surprising was the fact that he was barefoot, not even wincing as he stepped on broken glass or pieces of metal.
"I'm all alone," the man sang, his voice rather cultured. "I smoked my friends down to the filters. But I feel much cleaner after it rains..."
Anarky lifted up his left hand, a grenade held tightly. He popped the pin, ready to toss it at the heroes, only to find that he was unable to move. He let out a little startled gasp, his muscles straining as he fought against the mysterious paralysis that had taken him.
"She left in the fall, that's her picture on the wall, she always had that little drop of poison..." The man did a little skip before tilting his head, seemingly, for the first time, noticing he had company.
"Flash, get him out of here," Superman said, concerned that they might have missed the clearly befuddled man during the evacuation of the hospital.
"On it!" Flash said, zipping over to the man. "Ok, buddy, why don't we go sing somewhere else, alright?"
The man pulled one hand from his pocket and flicked his index finger slightly. Flash found himself lifted off the ground, suspending in midair before he was sent flying back towards the rest of the League, John just managing to catch him in time. The man looked up, a feral smile on his features as his eyes shone... one black and one white.
"Did the devil... make the world... while God was sleeping?" The man threw out his arms and looked skyward, as if he expected an answer.
"Magic," Wonder Woman said sternly. "Some sort of sorcerer."
"Oh, so much more than that, Diana," the man said, his song clearly finished. "I'm disappointed... I thought you of all people would recognize me." He casually brought his hands together as if he were about to begin praying, only to flick them apart. The Leaguers let out yelps and cries of surprise as they were shoved aside by some invisible force, parting to allow the man to walk up to the now sweating Anarky. "And what do we have here? Anarky, was it?" The domestic terrorist struggled against the invisible hold, trembling as the man in the black suit moved to stand nose to nose with him. "What a small world... my name is Anarchy too."
"I don't know what you're planning, music man…" Hawkgirl said, lifting up her Nth metal mace. "But in case no one informed you, my little friend here is the worst thing for magic types like you!" She thrust her mace forward, striking the man on the shoulder.
Anarchy merely glanced at her, showing no signs he'd even been hit.
"Magic? My dear little birdie… your imagination is so… small." Extending his index and middle finger, Anarchy lifted Hawkgirl up and held her in pace, tugging on her limbs until she was struggling not to scream in pain. "Would anyone else care to make a guess? Martian? Batman? Please, do puzzle out the answer… I am willing to wait, even if I'm not sure any of you can survive my patience."
"Enough of this!" Diana shouted. "End your games… titan."
Anarchy slowly turned, a smile blossoming on his lips. "Oh… so you do know who I am. I would have thought you'd guess sooner… the bare feet are a bit of a giveaway when it comes to us immortals."
Superman's brow crinkled at that and Diana muttered, "The immortals loathe footwear."
"Don't ask me why, we just do," Anarchy said, removing his hat and giving them all a sweeping bow. "Anarchy, the titan-god of chaos, at your service."
"Hey, if you are 'at our service', does that mean you have to do what we say… like letting us go?" Flash asked.
"Worth a shot," Flash muttered.
Anarchy smirked at that comment before turning his attention towards Anarky. "I will get to our business in a moment, Justice League. I wish to deal with this false being first." Hawkgirl moved to shout something but Anarchy merely waved his hand and she, along with the rest of the League, found themselves unable to open their mouths. "Well then… the man that took my name. The man that claims to be a champion of anarchy… but you don't know what anarchy is. You preach the destruction of order but you don't really want that, do you my little masked friend. What you want is to make the world that you don't understand into something you do. I know the feeling all too well myself but… but that isn't anarchy. Anarchy is to remove the rules and the plans and just… thrive on the impulses and your own sense of right and wrong." The titan smiled. "And my dear little name thief… I gorge myself on impulses. Take right now, for instance… I really don't know what I am going to do with you. I could reduce you to the age of an infant and bless you with the powers of a god, raising you as my own." Anarchy's eyes narrowed and his lips curled back like that of a feral beast. "Or I could slit up your belly and strangle you with your intestines." He shrugged, his smile returning. "I honestly don't know what I'll do until I do it. Let's find out… shall we? It will be so much fun. For me, at the very least; and isn't the most important thing that I have fun?"
Superman bucked and thrashed against the invisible restraints that held him tight, trying to find some fracture point, some weakness that would allow him to escape. He tried to scream at Anarchy, demand the titan leave the supervillain alone, but whatever power flowed through the master of chaos it was stronger than even the man of steel. He could only watch, just like the rest of the team, as Lonnie Machin, the man known as Anarky, rose in the air… before disappearing. There was no puff of smoke or violent explosion… the masked man merely disappeared in the time frame of a blink.
"Hmmm… that was interesting," Anarchy said with a chuckle. He waved his hand idly and the League members pitched forward, freed from his hold. "Now then, let's move on to your business, shall we?"
"What did you do to him," Batman said darkly, his voice like sandpaper on gravel.
Anarchy waved Batman off, not noticing the way Flash flinched at the gesture. "Don't worry; I didn't kill the man so I didn't break your silly little rule."
"Where did you send him then?" J'onn asked gravely.
"Nowhere." Seeing them glare at him Anarchy smirked. "I mere that literally. I sent him nowhere. Quite impossible for me to send him anywhere, now."
"What does that mean?" Superman demanded.
"I erased Mr. Machin from existence." Anarchy walked over to a vending machine in the corner and began to look through his pockets. "Do one of you have a quarter? I'll pay you back."
"What do you mean, you erased him from existence?" Hawkgirl snapped.
"Exactly what it sounds like," Anarchy said with a snort before leaning towards the vending machine. "I demand a soda."
"Uh, that's a candy-" Flash began, only for the vending machine to spit out a Coke can. "…nevermind."
"You killed him," Green Lantern growled.
Anarchy rolled his eyes. "No, I wiped him out of existence. Outside of this garage, no one has any memory of the name thief. He never existed. Was never born, never grew up to become a psychopathic villain, never tried to blow up this town, never stole my name. You can't kill what never existed, simple as that. But please, if you don't believe me, have your Martian check. I'll just sit here… think up humorous ways to play with you." Anarchy promptly sat down… in thin air. He reached down and, tugging his hand, caused his legs to rise up as if he were sitting in a Laz-E-Boy.
"J'onn?" Superman asked, looking at his friend and teammate.
The Martian's eyes glowed red as he reached out across the vast globe, carefully sifting through the storm of thoughts and feelings, searching out for even one memory. Though his face didn't so much as twitch the others sensed that J'onn was becoming strained from exertion. Finally, J'onn slumped slightly, his eyes returning to normal as he did so. "He… he tells the truth. There is no memory of the one known as 'Anarky' in the entire world."
"A mental wipe," Green Lantern theorized. He held his fist to hand face. "Ring, replay log of events of the last 3 hours."
'Log engaged. Green Lantern John Stewart arrived at Watchtower. He found one known as Ted Kord who attempted to convince him to eat bubble bum and bratwurst pizza. For unknown reasons, he, along with the beings known as Clark Kent, Diana, Bruce Wayne, Wally West, Shayera Hol, and J'onn J'onzz arrived in Jump City and went into the building they currently stand in along with the titan-god Anarchy'
John's eyes went wide at that. "Ring… all records and past dealings with 'Anarky, aka Lonnie Machin'."
"Name not found. Do you refer to 'Anarchy, titan-god of chaos'?"
"No, he doesn't," Anarchy called out. Now he was holding out his hands like he was reading a book, even though none of the league could see a thing. "Oh, I see, this large fat orange feline hates the time on your human calendar known as 'Monday'." He chuckled before looking over at the League. "Please, feel free to attempt to plot against me. Diana can explain why you are destined to fail." Anarchy tilted back in his 'chair' and continued to read.
"Uh… team huddle?" Flash said awkwardly. His friends looked at him, glanced at Anarchy one more time… before moving off to the farthest corner of the garage. "Ok, so I know I'm not the brightest knife in the crayon box, but could someone tell me what we're fighting?"
"Diana?" Hawkgirl said simply, looking at the Amazon princess. "You called this guy a titan, right? Like the mythical beings?"
"Yes," Wonder Woman said, taking a deep breath. She kept shifting, it clear that she couldn't decide if she wanted to have her back to Anarchy or to be able to see him.
"Then we should be able to defeat him, right?" Superman pointed out. "My Greek myth is a bit rusty but I remember Zeus and the gods defeating the titans…"
Wonder Woman shook her head, managing a grim smile. "What you call a 'titan' and what Anarchy is are two different things. The beings Lord Zeus and his brothers and sisters defeated were mockeries of the true titans, using the name in an attempt to scare their enemies."
"We don't have time for a history lesson," Batman said gruffly.
Wonder Woman nodded. "Then to the point. A titan is a tenth dimensional being."
Batman, Hawkgirl, Superman and J'onn's eyes went wide at that.
"Ok, Bats is freaked out," Flash said. "And… so are the rest of you. Mind clueing me and John in?"
"I'm sensing that a 10th dimensional being is bad news," Green Lantern stated.
"We are three dimensional, right?" Superman said simply. "Length, width and depth. Scientists, however, believe there are 7 other dimensions. The fourth deals with time… accessing it is what allows for time travel."
"Like Booster Gold, right?" Flash asked.
"Correct," Batman said. "Superman dealt with a being of the 5th Dimension."
"Mister Mxyzptlk," Superman muttered, glancing over his shoulder as if he expected the little imp to appear and start making jokes.
Flash held up a hand. "Ok… so Myzmash or whatever his name is… he's a 5th Dimensional Being. So… Anarchy here is what… 5 times worse than him?"
"Flash," Batman said, his tone brokering no humor or jokes, "a 10th Dimensional Being would have complete control of the universe. Everything in existence… that ever was or ever would be… is his play thing. I'd compare us to an ant challenging Superman but that is giving us too much credit."
"…so we're in trouble, aren't we?" Green Lantern said.
"Oh my yes," Anarchy said. He'd left his 'chair' and was now lazily strolling around the garage, poking and prodding things. "I am so glad someone understands what I am. It gets rather annoying when I deal with you hero types and you fail to recognize my greatness." Anarchy's body instantly began to twist and shift, bones popping and cracking as he transformed. "I hope you aren't offended but… mmmm… you aren't the first heroes I've played with." After a few moments the titan-god had fully transformed into a large, blue, winged cat-like creature. He purred, stretching as he did so. "I took this form when I visited the Middle East and toyed with Mirage and her mortal enemy, the delightful street rat!" His limbs popped as he swelled up to nearly 20 feet tall, each arm and leg resembling a different beasts as his head took on the shape of a snaggletooth dragon with yellow and red eyes. "And this?" he said with a new voice. "I used this form when I visited a world full of colorful little horses. That reminds me, I must send them a post card." The strange beast collapsed onto himself until he reformed into his first form… except this one was wearing a red and black futuristic suit. "Mmm… not quite, Number One," he said with his dragon-voice before rolling his shoulders and returning to his original form he'd started with. "Now then… shall we begin?"
"Begin what, titan?" Wonder Woman asked, taking a step forward.
"If you think we are going to stand down just because you are powerful then you don't know the Justice League!" Green Lantern declared.
Anarchy looked at them in confusion. "I'm sorry, are we going to fight?"
"Uh… yeah," Flash said.
"Why?" Anarchy asked, puzzled.
"Because you want to torture us!" Hawkgirl complained. "…right?"
Anarchy opened his mouth, only for Superman to hold up his hand. "Wait… I've dealt with enough tricksters to know when one is playing with me." He narrowed his eyes and glared at Anarchy. It was the stare that had made gods and the mightiest of mortals tremble with dread. "Why are you here, Anarchy?"
The titan-god smiled. "To meet all of you, of course!" He held his arms out wide, a dopey grin on his face. "I admit it… I should be the last one to be a fan of your League. Fate is always smiling upon you…" His smile became vicious, "and I hate Fate with an all consuming passion. Fate goes against the grain and he cheats at cards." His smile grew silly once more. "But you seven… oh, it is so hard to hate you! You've faced odds greater than any in this world! You've faced death and destruction and you've come out of it the victors! You've looked at defeat, which was the size of galaxies, and somehow snatched the tiniest bit of victory from its jaws and raised it to become a juggernaut! You do it not out of glory or fame or wealth but because you want to! Yes, you tend to be a bit strict with your noble ways and your guiding codes but hey, even the master of chaos can appreciate that! Order makes chaos stand out… and your actions have made some of my littler works all the brighter. I have watched you and laughed and cheered and been delighted… and seeing you all right now, at the moment of your prime, when you are at your strongest and best… is so utterly depressing."
The seven heroes watched as Anarchy's shoulders slumped and his head dropped so that his chin was resting on his breast. His entire posture and demeanor screamed 'utter misery' and as he shuffled along he let out pitiful little sighs. His hat actually rolled off his head and went under a table.
"Ok, I'm missing something there," Flash said, the only one brave enough… or dumb enough… to speak out. "Why would seeing us at our best be a bad thing?"
"Because I've seen what comes after!" Anarchy whined. "I've seen how your lives turn out and it is HORRIBLE!"
J'onn, as stoic as ever, raised an eyebrow. "And what have you seen? Our defeat? Our deaths?"
"Worse," Anarchy moaned. "Marriage… and children… and old age and retirement. Ugh!" He looked at them all in disgust. "Two of you have a kid. Several of you get married. Hawkgirl's boobs begin to sag and Superman actually needs to wear glasses to read the paper. Batman hangs around in a cave with a teenage boy. A bit creepy, I must say, but after seeing how many pounds the Amazon puts on I don't blame him."
Hawkgirl snorted. "Pounds?" she said, despite herself.
Anarchy nodded. "Oh yes… the Amazon gets faaaaaaaaaatttt!" He walked over and, solemnly, placed a hand on Diana's shoulder. "Princess… your greatest enemies will be Ben and Jerry." He leapt back before Wonder Woman could say a word, landing on a tool cabinet and looking down at the League. "But never fear, my dear heroes… your Uncle Anarchy is here to prevent all that horrible boringness! What do you say? To hell with noble goals and your codes… join me and we can have a blast! Come on… what say you?"
Batman let fly one of his batarangs while Superman and J'onn fired blasts of energy from their eyes and Green Lantern shot a pulse of emerald energy at the titan-god. Anarchy flew off his perch, Flash zooming in and punching him several times before flipping over him and letting Diana and Hawkgirl rush in and give him twin haymakers that would have left Doomsday's teeth rattling.
"Oh no!" Anarchy wailed in pain. "Is this the end of the master of chaos? Defeated by the greatest heroes Earth has to offer?" He quickly leapt back to his feet and smiled. "Nope."
"We're boned," Flash muttered as Anarchy trapped them all again.
"Not at all! That team work just proves that you seven deserve what I am about to give you… the gift gods and kings across this universe have hunted for and sought to obtain… in vain."
"And that is?" Batman asked.
"A second chance," Anarchy said before throwing his hands out, the garage exploding out to reveal a swirling chaotic void where Jump City had been. The founders of the Justice League were caught in the temporal winds, fighting to try and right themselves and reach their friends. Anarchy remained in the center of the tempest, his hand reaching out and catching his hat. "But we must do it right! Can't let this be a repeat of what came before, can we? That would be almost as boring as your original destinies! No, we need something fresh… something new." He began to wave his hands about, the maelstrom of chaos magic swirling about his fingers. "The youngsters are what are hip and cool right now! No one wants to see adult heroes anymore… we want to see you struggling to grow up, fighting to become adults while still having a bit of the child you were in your hearts! Oh, to be young again… dealing with friends and dating woes and finals and football practice! Yes… yes, I believe that will be the ticket for some fun, alright!"
Superman's eyes went wide as he watched each of his teammates suddenly pop out of the storm. He grit his teeth, mustering all his strength to fight the winds and fly towards Anarchy, his face a mask of determination as he fought for his very existence.
"And Clark, can I call you Clark?" Anarchy moved towards him, his face inches from Superman's. "I want you to listen very carefully because I am deadly serious here… what I am going to tell you is incredibly important and if you don't pay attention billions will die." Anarchy leaned in close. "Clark… construction on I-75 is causing back-ups all the way to Mound Rd."
"…what?" the last son of Krypton said in confusion right before the world went dark and his body hit something soft.
"This traffic update has been brought McDonalds' new breakfast menu. Make sure to try out their new sausage wrap. I'm loving it."
Blinking his eyes, Superman, aka Clark Kent, realized that he was lying in his bed and the voice he was hearing was his clock radio. He groaned, his body sore and his eyes covered in sleep gunk. Reaching over, Clark turned off his alarm and sighed, rolling onto his back.
'Ok… that was a strange dream,' he thought to himself, mentally rolling his eyes. 'That is the last time I let Ted and Ralph pick out what pizza toppings the cafeteria will serve.' He stuck out his tongue in disgust, wondering how bad the rest of the league must feel without having a stomach made of iron.
"Clark!" his mouth called out. "Hurry up and get dressed!"
"Ok mom!" Clark called out, hating to get up but knowing that if he didn't his mother… would… "Wait… mom? What are you doing here?"
"Cooking breakfast, of course!" Martha Kent called out with a laugh. "What do you think I'd be doing?"
"But…" Clark's eyes went wide. "Wait… what…" He lowered his voice and said, soft enough for only him to hear, "My name is Clark Kent."
It was his voice… except he hadn't sounded like that in years.
"Kara!" a voice called out in annoyance. Clark brow furrowed and he got out of bed, looking about the room he found himself in. He was surprised that, for the most part, it resembled his bedroom back in Smallville. There were some changes, of course; the laptop was new, the posters were of bands that had only recently begun to put out records, and the calendar had the correct year on it… but everything else was just like it had been when he'd been growing up in Smallville. "Clark!"
Blinking, Clark watched as, to his shock, a 10 year old boy with messy black hair stomped into his room, a petulant scowl on his face. Clark vaguely recalled the baby pictures his mother loved bringing out whenever he brought friends over (including Lois… who had delighted in tormenting him after seeing 'baby Clarkie's first bath') and realized that the boy was almost a spitting image of himself when he'd been 10.
'Connor.' The name appeared in his head without warning.
"Tell Kara to hurry up! I want to brush my teeth!"
"I'm done already, you tattletale!" Kara declared with a huff. Clark's eyes went wide as he stared at his cousin; this Kara was, at best, 13 years old! "Seriously, stop bothering Clark, you little dork! Our big brother is too busy dreaming about Lois to list to you complain!" Connor glared at Kara, giving her the stink eye… before superspeeding into the bathroom. "You ok, Clark?" Kara asked right before she did a superspeed spin to dry her hair. Without missing a beat, she asked, "You aren't trying to get out of the first day of school, right? Because you know mom and dad won't fall for it."
Clark blinked and quickly forced a smile on his face. "N-no Kara, not at all."
"Coming mom!" Kara called before superspeeding downstairs.
Gripping his head in his hands, Clark took several calming breaths. "Ok… ok… calm down," he muttered to himself. He dimly realized that the last time he'd had a panic attack… he'd been roughly the same age he was now, after learning the truth about who he was. That thought had Clark bolting from his bed and slamming his door shut so he could look at the full length mirror hanging off the back of it. He tilted his hair, staring at the reflecting of the teen that looked back at him… so much a stranger but also so much like himself.
His short hair was now shaggy and he was suffering from a bad case of bedhead. His once broad shoulders and muscular chest had been much reduced; there was still muscle there but not nearly as much as he once had. A boyish face looked back at him in terror. He was even a foot SHORTER.
"Clark, hurry up if you want some pancakes!" his mother called out.
"C-coming mom," Clark croaked out weakly. "Oh boy."
"By Hera," Diana mumbled, rubbing her face against her pillow. "I swear, Flash, I will send you to Tartarus and back for making me eat that pizza." Diana knew she had no one but herself to blame for that horrid meal. Blue Beetle and Elongating Man had decided to have a 'Strange Topping Pizza Contest' in the Watchtower cafeteria the day before. She had planned to avoid the madness but Flash had begun ribbing her, pointing out that Hawkgirl was brave enough to sample some of their insane creations. Her own stubborn pride had seen Diana pulling up a chair and challenging her friend with a smirk.
Well, Diana wasn't smirking now. Her limbs ached and her mouth felt like she'd gargled with desert sand. Idly she rolled over, grabbing the stuffed bear she'd been cuddling with and used him to shield her eyes from the rays of sunlight that were peaking through her bedroom window.
It took 10 seconds for those facts to filter through her sleep-addled brain.
"What in the world?!" Diana exclaimed, jerking up violently, the fuzzy bear flying off her face and landing next to her vanity. "Oh… sorry Ajax!" Diana exclaimed before catching herself. "Ajax?" She tossed the overly pink covers from her bed and stood up, a determined look on her face. Something had happened… Anarchy had done something to her and she wasn't going to lie around and wait for someone else to figure it out. Her face was set in a grim frown as she took a step forward…
…and promptly fell on her face.
"Ow," Diana mumbled, blowing a strand of hair from her eyes. Pushing herself up she attempted another step and found that she could at least manage that without acting like a total clutz. However, the concern that she had been altered in some way was now chilling her blood and Diana knew she had to get to the bottom of it. The fact that the word 'clutz' was in her vocabulary was proof that something was wrong. She glanced at the vanity in annoyance but finally relented, walking over to it and sitting down.
The reflection of a powerful, mature Amazon princess did not appear before her. Instead, like one of Mirror Master's twisted creations, an altered version of herself looked back at her. Her long hair remained but was such a tangled mess she wondered if even Aphrodite would be able to make it appear beautiful. There was youth to her features though not enough that one could consider her a child. She looked down, frowning as she gazed at the pink little camisole she was wearing, before poking at her bare arm, annoyed at how utterly soft her muscles-
Diana gulped, fear flooding through her as she reached for one of her brushes… and found that she couldn't even bend it, let alone break it. She let the brush fall limp from her hands as she stared at her bare wrists.
'I… I don't have my powers,' she realized. That's why she'd stumbled out of bed; she was so use to having strength and flight that she'd trained her body how to move about with them. After that first battle with the White Martians she'd found that, at first, she had a habit of floating as she walked and thus she'd trained her body to step down just a bit harder to make sure that didn't happen. Now though… she was powerless. No strength, no flight.
Diana looked at her reflection again, horrified as she saw fat tears gathering in the corners of her eyes. She reached up and touched her check, wondering why she would be crying… she didn't cry, she was an Amazon!
"But…" she said, her voice coming out as a pitiful whine, "I don't feel like one… no!" Her voice instantly snapped back to firm and in control. "No… I don't know what sort of bewitchment has placed me in this body or has caused me to have these… strange emotional outbursts…" she sniffed against but forced herself to calm down. 'Hormones' her mind quietly whispered to her, 'Teenagers have raging hormones… emotions flip on a dime…' She scowled at that and stood up. "I will find the rest of the League and we will then find Anarchy and we will force him to return us to normal!" Giving her reflection a curt nod, Diana stomped over to her closet and threw it open….
…and stared at the cheerleading uniform that was hanging there, a happily little sticky note stuck to it which read 'Remember to wear me today! LOL!'
"Hera grant me strength…" Diana muttered as she grabbed the outfit.
"Are you ok, Master Bruce?"
"I'm-" Bruce stopped, shutting his eyes for a moment as he tried his hardest not to focus on the sound of his voice. "I'm fine," he said again.
"Good. Now then, I have prepared your lunch for the day," Alfred held up his hand and smiled, "I know, I know, young men your age do not 'brown bag it' but I refuse to let you eat that swill they call 'food' at that high school. I think you will prefer this much more."
"Thank you, Alfred," Bruce said, stabbing a bit of pancake with his fork and popping the piece in his mouth. Alfred, clearly surprised that Bruce hadn't fought him on the bagged lunch, smiled and returned to the kitchen. 'Ok, I need to remember to fight a bit more with Alfred on some of the choices he's made for me,' Bruce thought to himself. 'That is what… teenagers do.'
He'd known the moment he'd woken up that Anarchy had altered him. Bruce Wayne had spent years transforming his body into the perfect weapon to fight crime. This meant that he not only had strength and speed and motor memory to pull off dozens of combat styles, but that he also understood how his body moved and behaved. One needed to comprehend how their every motion felt if they wished to do what he did; a slight twinge or tightness in a shoulder or a hip could be the difference between life and death. Many times he had startled Alfred by being able to predict exactly what he had broken or damaged in his body. To some it was magic but to him it was a simple understand of himself and how his body worked.
So when he'd opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling…. he'd known. Even though he was in the bedroom he'd always slept in since he was a child and there was no sign anything had changed, he knew was not himself. His arms and legs felt gangly and his first few moments had been awkward. Bruce, however, was a quick study and after a few katas he'd quickly figured out how to get his teenage body to work.
Yes, Bruce had figured out quickly that, somehow, he'd ended up 15 again. Anarchy was the most likely culprit, especially after his 'second chance' comment and Bruce was already mentally figuring out how he would contact the rest of the league. Clark would be the easiest and his best bet. John next, though there would be little he could do without his Power Ring. Wally may or may not have his powers… it all depended if he was their age or younger. Diana would be harder, as he would have to charter a flight to her island and find a way on without getting killed by her sisters. Shayera and J'onn were off the table, as the former was still on her home planet and the later was either on Mars or trapped by the White Martians.
Bruce shifted, the dress shirt he was wearing feeling like a sheet on his slender frame. He'd forgotten how thin he was at this age and mentally made a second note to get Alfred to set up a home gym. The memories of all his moves were still there but without the body to actually perform them they were useless. It wouldn't be as difficult as the first time but Bruce knew that he would require quite a bit of training-
The young man's eyes snapped up towards the doorway and all his plans and schemes instantly flew out the window. As he stared at the woman who'd rolled into the dining room in her wheelchair he knew in that instant that everything he had assumed about himself and this world was dead wrong. He hadn't been thrown back in time and he wasn't being forced to relive his life over.
"M…mom?" Bruce whispered.
Author's Note: Yes yes, I know... the last thing I should be doing is starting another story. Blame my muse. This idea came to me after reading way too many X-Men Evolution fan fics… especially those that are crossovers with Smallville. I was struck with the thought, right as I was getting into bed, that it would be really fun to take the Founding Members of the Justice League and stick them in a world where they all go to high school together. But to make it different from your standard 'AU characters are high schooler' fics… they would remember their past lives and would struggle to try and adjust to the new histories and lives they now have. Also, just like Evolution, our characters will have their powers and will, soon, form the Justice League… though with some twists and such thrown in. Don't worry though, this won't be a simple swap and play with Evolution… that show merely inspired the idea of deaging the characters.
This world Anarchy has created is going to be a fun one. Already we see that Kara and Connor exist as Clark's sister and brother, Diana is in man's world and is, apparently, a cheerleader, and Martha Wayne is alive. As we go on and all of the characters begin to find each other at the high school (and yes, all of them live in the same town… again, another X-Men Evolution homage) they will try and piece together their histories as well as deal with their new bodies… because as we've gotten hints of, being a teenager means that they now have hormones… which means strange emotional reactions and desires.
Anarchy is an original character. His voice actor would be Matt Smith, who I think would best provide the cultured, silly, but also very dangerous titan-god of chaos. The barefoot thing comes from the New52 Wonder Woman Series... all the gods go barefoot and Diana even, at one point she she goes into god mode, sheds her shoes. I like the visual of Anarchy being this strange Baron Sambebi, John Constantine, Tom Watt hybrid with bare feet and rumbled clothing and a killer hat
Next Up: Clark, Diana and Bruce head to Happy Harbor High and begin to try and find the others and sort through the insanity of their new lives. Lois is Clark's best friend? Bruce hangs out with Lex Luthor? Diana's a CHEERLEADER and part of the 'mean clique'? Oh boy.