A bit of an Endbabies crackverse. Going for amusement over making the timeline match up, so yeah.
"To become a father is not hard. To be a father is, however." Wilhelm Busch
Not true for mothers, of course. If only there was an equivalent 'you must be this badass or you will die making the attempt' minimum requirement for fatherhood.
"You didn't have to let him hit you," Doctor-Mother says, holding out an ice pack.
"Yes, I did," Contessa replies. Not because it was part of the Path to Victory, but because there were things you really shouldn't do. Yes, human experimentation was also on the list of things you really shouldn't do, and she was party to them when it was necessary, but that didn't mean it was okay. And now that it wasn't necessary anymore, she was going to pay whatever prices were associated with it.
She'd gotten this black eye as a consequence of making other people punch out Cthulhu and save every possible Earth, after all.
Now that Eidolon's first accidental offspring was contained, the most important question was how could it and its future siblings be used to defeat Scion?
Step 1: Wait until they'd taught him how to talk.
Step 2: Get the child alone.
This itself involved a rather complicated set of steps, because Eidolon had learned his lesson about letting a kid whose tantrums could smash cities feel that his daddy had abandoned him; Legend and his husband were utterly enthralled by the new baby and discussing adopting their own despite the clear demonstration of just how much destruction small children were capable of; and the third of the Triumvirate had already declared herself Auntie Alexandria and kept tossing - later, punching - the kid into the upper atmosphere while he made happy gurgle and whee noises whenever neither of the other two could see them and freak out like they were the babies. Whenever Eidolon didn't have a super-strength power, his hugs weren't really strong enough for the kid to feel them: fortunately, personal experience and a decent thinker level by the standards of people who weren't Contessa had allowed Alexandria to figure out the physical affection requirements of a Brute of the child's level and make sure he got love tough enough to crush coal into diamonds. They had procedures for making sure he had adequate babysitting far more strict than the fledgling Master-Stranger protocols. But she was Contessa.
Step 3: Lean down to talk to him on his level, giving him an even stare when he tried to blink at her disarmingly. Oh, he wouldn't be able to function as an adult without time to learn about the world, but he had a high enough thinker level that she was not dealing with an ordinary child. He would understand that this was a serious offer.
Step 4: "I will toss you at a man. This is a bad man. I will give you candy if you scream for your daddy, auntie and uncle and say that the bad man is trying to kill you because you are a threat to him."
Step 5: Ensure that Behemoth struck Scion with sufficient force to knock it through one of Doormaker's portals into an unpopulated earth, while other portals conveyed the screams to the members of the Triumvirate.
Step 6: Profit.
Alexandria put her hands on her hips and looked down disapprovingly as Legend tried to pull a still-berserk Eidolon off Contessa (but not all that hard). Alexandria wasn't helping him only half because the power set Eidolon had developed to painfully torture Scion with didn't actually have anything that would do mere physical damage. All that fear, and all it really came down to were illusion and empathic projection abilities? And enough sadism to use a thinker power to ask how to hurt Scion instead of how to kill him or how to make him fail to destroy humanity? Fate of the world aside, "The hell, kid?"
"The lady said she'd give me candy." Nope, absolutely no repentance here for nearly giving his supposedly-invincible daddy a heart attack.
"What have I told you about taking candy from strange thinkers?" she demanded.
The boy frowned: Contessa wasn't a stranger... Oh! She was still strange. That must be what Auntie meant.
Alexandria approved of people who didn't ask stupid questions.
"Candy," he said simply.
She had to facepalm: her hand hit her forehead hard enough to splatter someone else's brain through the nearest wall.
Okay, so she'd need to get someone to design candy that would give him a painful stomachache without actually killing him so he'd learn to take her warnings seriously in future. There was a difference between near-invulnerable and actually invulnerable. "Well, you did something stupid and risky, so that means no candy." Before he had a chance to insult her intelligence by applying the waterworks (seriously, she wasn't David. Or Legend. Or...) she said, "You helped save the world, so you get ice cream," because positive reinforcement.
Someone was going to have to take over so she could retire to a private island in her old age without having to worry about having it blown up, she thought, picking him up with one hand and turning her phone off with the other.
Also, she'd just beat the shit out of a blubbering alien. It wasn't as though it was hard, or she had a problem with killing something that hadn't fought back when it had intended to trick humanity into exterminating itself without ever giving them any real chance at fighting back, but it had taken so damn long to get through all that mass even with Legend that she'd missed lunch. Eidolon was too busy making it suffer for touching his baby to actually do any of the heavy lifting.
When she first started bringing Behemoth to this ice cream place, the staff looked at the celebrity with stars in their eyes. After the first few visits, they had been replaced by dollar signs. "The usual?"
At Alexandria's nod, they got to work preparing three of everything. As the appetizer.
Phone off, she was blissfully unaware of all the panicked attempts to contact her as Eidolon's inability to figure out how to get the newly-arrived toddler Leviathan to stop crying flooded their HQ. Or at least that was what she claimed later.
Why, who could possibly have realized that since the purpose of these constructs was to keep Eidolon's life challenging, it was just about certain that one was going to show up the same day Scion died?
The leading theories were that Eidolon's subconscious chose the powers of his construct offspring based on those of powerful capes. The sources of Behemoth's powers were obvious: an 'Alexandria package' strong enough he could 'fly' through solid rock plus an even stronger form of Legend's ability to control energy: hitting people with lasers at right angles translated to lightning striking from the sky while Behemoth looked innocent. Fortunately, it wasn't very strong for months after he'd popped into existence and it mostly struck Eidolon and stupid people who didn't keep to a safe distance when a superpowered toddler was having a meltdown.
She was just glad that Legend's marriage was strong enough to weather the implications and accusations that another member of the Triumvirate shipped him with Alexandria to the point of creating a Legend/Alexandria baby. It had still caused an exponential increase in the number of stupid questions she got about her relations with her colleagues, and then there were the people not-joking that she should marry Eidolon now that there was a baby, as though this somehow reflected on her virtue or lack thereof even though she had nothing to do with this baby.
Well, other than being awesome enough that Eidolon used her powers, but that was a given.
Someone might have wanted to make Eidolon suffer for all this, but seeing him try to deal with Behemoth? He was already suffering enough for using an unknown power to just go and make a wish for something truly challenging so he'd be strong enough to beat Scion like that. And there were more coming. Constructs that came into existence with the sole purpose of making Eidolon's life difficult. Challenging him to something truly difficult that couldn't be solved with power alone. Something that no one, no where, had ever managed to not screw up in some way, shape or form.
When the ability to handle other people was an entire category of cape power for a reason, and Eidolon had no social skills.
Giant monsters would have been easy by comparison. Far, far too easy to really challenge the second most powerful being on the planet – first, with Scion dead. Eidolon wished he'd gotten giant monsters.
Bets were already being placed on which parahumans' powers the others would have. The first had the powers of the world's two most prominent capes after Eidolon.
Alexandria was just waiting for mini-Contessa. Contessa Prime had just caused the death of her second Elder God. If humanity had two of them… Because they might have killed Scion and its counterpart, but there were more of those things out there. Devouring helpless worlds the way Alexandria and Behemoth were annihilating these sundaes.
Now that it was safe to tell the world about the true enemy without risking alerting Scion, they needed to start getting the world to think on not just a multiversal level but an intergalactic one. Take all the aggression native to a species of predators and amplified by the shards, and point it safely away from civilians.
Giving the world a target would do more to put a stop to parahuman crime than anything else until they found a parahuman with the ability to cover people in spiders. An ability like that? They'd have to pull out all the stops to keep that person from realizing their true power until they were firmly on the side of the Protectorate, no matter what it took.
If only that desperate alliance of supervillians hadn't managed to take out Hero before he finished his work on the I Win Button… Unfortunately for the forces of evil, Alexandria had her own I Win Button. It was called 'Having Contessa On Speed Dial.' And, without Scion to worry about?
"Why yes," she told Behemoth. "You may have some soda." It was Eidolon's own fault for revealing to the rest of them that he got stronger when truly challenged, and he had literally asked for this by volunteering as a Cauldron test subject.
A child that came into existence because he wasn't strong enough to fight Scion and everyone was going to die.
And Scion was going to murder him. Because Eidolon wasn't powerful enough to save anyone. It didn't matter if he managed to delay a few people's deaths as long as the deaths of everyone everywhere were still inevitable because he had all this power and he still wasn't strong enough, wasn't good enough, and a child, his child was going to die because he wasn't and would never be…
No one really noticed that Eidolon had a trigger event when the Triumvirate fought Scion. His first real trigger event. No one detected it until a few years later, not in the haze of Eidolon's other shards, and then there wasn't any real rush to figure out what exactly it was.
Oh. Eidolon was now even more broken. Whoop-de-doo. At least the fact that it wasn't a major power meant there was some justice in the universe. What, like Master 2?
It would have taken a very high-level thinker to find the connection between the following events, all of which took place in the aftermath of the Zion fight.
In Boston, a young therapist watched the coverage and realized that even Eidolon wasn't so superhuman, wasn't so above it all. Even the parahumans were human enough to have trouble dealing with family, and since family relationships were so important to emotional stability and development?
Maybe she should go into parahuman child and family counseling instead of crisis intervention. Give future superheroes and potential supervillians stable foundations, nip potential threats to the world in the bud.
In Newfoundland, a tinker contemplated Eidolon's created constructs, and while he hadn't really been considering full human-level AI, maybe he should be. Before, he would have thought it would take something like an assault by multiple eldritch abominations trying to end the world to make him do something so risky, but now it turned out that there had been multiple eldritch abominations out there trying to kill everyone all along.
He should do something about that, the way Eidolon had. The hero's constructs were immortal, they'd be able to continue fighting after he was gone, and socializing them as humans, causing them to develop emotional connections to humans and become personally invested in humanity's survival: that had potential.
An AI creation that saw humanity and its future as precious, that crouched over the Earth protectively like a dragon guarding her horde…
In Brockton Bay, a young couple were woken up by their daughter running into the bedroom, jumping up and down from excitement. "MommydaddyI'mgonnabeasuperhero!"
Her parents rolled over and blinked blearily, trying to clear the spots from their eyes. The specks hovering in the air didn't go away.
Their daughter was covered in bees.
Two more trigger events took place that day.
Because the universe was just that unfair, once again Eidolon had gotten an utterly broken ability that would make everything so much easier for him.
While the Siberian won't happen here, Hero's the obvious target for someone trying to go after the fledgling Protectorate. He's relatively easy to kill compared to Alexandria and Eidolon, and also 'fucking tinkers' – taking him out is taking out their most versatile member and biggest source of nasty surprises after Eidolon.
There was a joke floating around tumblr that if Spider Man's power was shooting actual spiders at people, no one would commit crimes ever again. Apparently he pretended that he had this power in some comic somewhere?
These are earlier versions of the characters, and they won't be exposed to as much desperation. The separation from humanity Taylor observed in Alexandria: we don't know how much of it was an act, but she still should have known better than to convince someone that Alexandria had murdered one of her friends and was going to kill the rest if Taylor didn't stop her. That speaks of years having the fact that other people don't care as much about human life as much as they really should hammered into her, which makes a sad kind of sense, given the shards.
Also more time in canon for Alexandria's shard to go to work on her psyche.