"Why have him escape from a religious compound rather than just be... I don't know, discovered living in the woods somewhere?" Night Bitch asked.

"Because that would leave him traumatized and take years to fix," Merlin replied. "This way he's healthy, mentally and physically, and has a lot of skills."

"And you can just do that for anyone?" Colonel Stars and Stripes asked.

"No," Merlin shook his head, "I can just do it for those where no one I know, knows what happened to them. The less people know and the less connected they are to me, the easier it is."

Remembering Tommy hugged him, thanking him with tears in their eyes.

"Go get your son," Merlin told them. "Powers can wait."

"That was..." Insect Man shook his head.

Merlin nodded. "Yeah, I know. I won't be switching realities for another couple of days after doing that, but I was planning to hang around long enough to empower you all anyway."

Insect Man immediately stepped forward. "Spider me, please."

Merlin grinned and a ball of light formed in his hand that he split into two balls. "Okay, we've got super strength, speed, agility, toughness, regen, your blood dissolves metal, your pain tolerance is increased, you can secrete webbing, stick to surfaces at will, enhanced flexibility, and precognition."

The group just stared at the balls of light in shock.

"What kinda mods do you want? Light and sound effects are cheap, subtle alterations are pretty easy too," Merlin said.

"Uh... something to help me knock people out at a touch and heal people?" Insect Man asked nervously.

"A slight alteration to your precognition will let you read injuries at a touch," Merlin said absently as he tapped one of the balls, causing it to glow a touch brighter, "and I can make it so you can secrete various venoms allowing you to numb injuries and knock people out on contact."

"That... that's all I need," Insect Man said excitedly, bouncing on his heels.

"Alright then," Merlin said, placing the ball of light against his chest and watching it sink in, the man's already sharply defined muscles swelling slightly.

Insect Man leapt up and touched the ceiling, his fingers anchoring him to it. "This is amazing!"

"Me next!" Night Bitch said eagerly.

"What would you like?" Merlin asked.

"I'm thinking something in a cat theme, without taking away the webbing or danger sense, cause that would be stupid," she said.

"Alright, so let's give you a touch of shape shifting to allow you to grow fangs, claws, cat's eyes and slightly pointed ears," Merlin said. "That can be bundled in with regen, just means you'll heal faster while transformed and have to eat more. Alter the voicebox a little so you can let out a deafening roar or purr as needed... and let's add some enhanced senses cause cats can see in infrared and have a great sense of smell."

"Did you just read my mind?" she asked, wide eyed.

"No, that's just obvious stuff a cat girl should have," he told her. "Good?"

"Perfect," she said, thrusting her chest out and closing her eyes.

"It doesn't hurt," Merlin told her as he placed the ball of light on her chest and it sank in.

"Neither does getting a shot, but I still can't watch it," she replied as her muscles swelled and her features shifted, giving her a feline cast. "Holy shit!"

"We should have asked for some alterations," Hit-Girl told Kick-Ass, "because that is one hell of a costume."

Night Bitch examined her hands with their new claws, grinning widely, showing off impressive fangs. "I may have to rebrand."

"I'm tapped out on power enhancement for the moment, but an extra day to do touch ups is no big deal," Merlin told Hit-Girl.

"Can you do dogs?" Colonel Stars and Stripes asked.

"Easily," Merlin assured him, "but if I'm empowering animals I'm going to link it to you, so we don't end up with a world ruled by hyper intelligent dogs."

"That's fair," he said with a nod.

"This is awesome," Insect Man said before taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes. "I can see... I really should have gotten my prescription upgraded years ago."

"Little imperfections like astigmatism would be fixed by regen," Merlin told him.

"How about teeth?" he asked. "Two of the most common non-emergency medical expenses are teeth and vision."

"Covered by regeneration," Merlin assured him.

"This is great, my dental premiums were a bit high," Insect Man said, dropping into a full split before leaning back and rolling into a handstand.

"That hurts just looking at it," Colonel Stars and Stripes said.

"Eh? Why'd I fall asleep?" Doctor Gravity asked as he sat up and looked around.

"Power vials knock people out when they take them," Merlin said.

"Power..." His eyes widened and he shot to his feet. "I wasn't dreaming?!"

"No, you were completely awake," Hit-Girl said. "Now, let's see what you've got."

"What I've got..." Doctor Gravity said thoughtfully as he closed his eyes and his limbs lit up with alternating patterns of black and white squares as he floated off the floor. "I can fly!"

Merlin examined his power. "You can float. You have the ability to negate or increase gravity on anything you are touching. You'll need some form of propulsion to actually fly."

Doctor Gravity lost concentration and belly flopped on the mats. "Oof! I'm fine," he said and got to his feet. "How much can I affect?"

"A cruise liner would be a strain, but you could probably handle it," Merlin said.

"A cruise liner... Damn!" Doctor Gravity exclaimed. "It's both more and less than I was hoping for."

"Graviton?" Kick-Ass guessed.

"Graviton," Doctor Gravity agreed. "Not as well known as Magneto, but a kick ass supervillain."

"I think I read about him in an Avengers' comic," Merlin said. "Remind me when I give you spider powers and I'll see if I can add some range to your powers."

"Wait! I get the Spiderman buff too?" he asked hopefully.

"Only in the comics do they not share powers," Merlin said, "this is real life with real lives on the line, the more powers the better."


"I can't wait to patrol!" Night Bitch said excitedly.

"Just remember, you are strong enough to put your fist through someone now," Hit-Girl told her. "So don't hit anyone with your full strength unless you want to spend all night cleaning blood out of your costume."

"Shit, I didn't think of that," Night Bitch said.

"And don't practice your webs in here, it's messy," Kick-Ass added.

"Costumes," Karen said with a grin, holding out a hand as she closed her eyes, black mist slowly forming around her hand.

Hit-Girl held a finger to her lips and everyone kept silent for the several minutes it took for the wavering black mist to solidify into a garment bag.

"Here," Karen said with a smile, handing it to Insect Man, "it's your new costume. It looks almost exactly like your old one, but it's made of super fabric that spreads the impact of bullets and can't be cut or burned. There is a button on the belt that lets it do the chameleon thing so you can blend in with the background when you are standing still."

"Really?" he asked in disbelief as he accepted it with a great deal of reverence.

"I pulled it from the idea of a world where superheroes were common and you already had your powers, so it should fit perfectly," she told him.

"Thank you!" Insect Man said excitedly. "I'm going to go change right now!"

"We get super suits too?" Doctor Gravity asked in disbelief.

"After you are empowered so they fit," Merlin agreed. He turned to Night Bitch. "If you're going with a feline theme, you'll need a new outfit, so give me some sketches when you know what you want."

"Will do," Night Bitch said. "I'll have to google cat themed supers and see what I can come up with."

"When you said to think of you like a genie, you weren't kidding," Colonel Stars and Stripes said.

"I can imitate one pretty easily," Merlin said.

"Glad you're on our side," Kick-Ass said, "I don't want to even imagine if you ran into Red Mist first while he was pretending to be a hero."

"I probably would have noticed he was a nutcase, in a bad way," Merlin told him, "but even if I didn't, I could have removed his powers and given them to someone worthy if he went on a killing spree or something."

"Too many people who gain power just decide to step on everyone around them," Colonel Stars and Stripes said, before lighting a cigar, "it's why Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl inspired me to be a hero, they showed it didn't have to be that way."

"Same here with a side order of vengeance on my sister's killer," Night Bitch said, looking up from her cell phone.

"I just thought it would be fun," Doctor Gravity said, "and maybe... I could clean up the city a little, make it safer for people to walk the streets."

"It is fun," Hit-Girl agreed, "but then Big Daddy trained me to be a hero since I could walk and I've never wanted to be anything else."

Kick-Ass shook his head. "I just couldn't see why no one put on a costume and went out and did it, so I did... and got stabbed and ran over, had half my bones reinforced with metal... and then went out to do it again."

"My brother, who still thinks I don't know it was him, did it because I needed a hero, someone to watch over me," Karen said, "unlike Cartman who got into it because he thought he could make a successful franchise and become rich. There are any number of reasons to become a hero, I'm just glad to see people standing up and making a difference."

"To Justice Forever," Colonel Stars and Stripes said, holding up a beer.

"To Justice Forever!" the other members cheered, raising clenched fists.

"Goofy bastards," Hit-Girl said with a wide smile on her face.

That Night

"Yeah, but I can ignore the limits of libromancy, because I'm actually reaching through shadow when I grab an object," Merlin explained as he pulled his arm out of the comic book he was holding, a futuristic pistol in his hand.

Tommy's jaw dropped as he took in the scene. He'd thought his parents had gone a little crazy from losing him, them running around in costumes fighting crime certainly underlined that fact, but seeing an actual catgirl, two people sitting on the ceiling, and a man floating... he was rethinking things.

"Everyone, meet our son Tommy!" the two heroes chorused with wide smiles.

The floating man fell out of the air and landed on some mats. "I've got to work on that," he muttered as he got to his feet.

"You weren't kidding," Tommy said to his parents, "you really are a pair of superheroes, part of a group of them, and found a genie."

"It shocked us too," she told her son.

"Does this mean the supernatural is real?" Tommy asked. "Was the church right about the apocalypse?!"

"Let me check," Merlin said, closing his eyes and tilting his head for a moment. "No," he said after a few tense seconds of silence, "There are no strong supernatural forces in this world nor any sealed great evils. I can sense a handful of voodoo practitioners who have some real talent, but nothing apocalyptic."

"So... Mom's wish saved me?" Tommy asked.

"And all the other children who were with you," Merlin agreed.

"There were one hundred and forty-four of us," Tommy said.

"That's a huge amount," Doctor Gravity said in disbelief.

"People go missing all the time," Merlin told him, "and since it's been so long I was able to fold a lot of missing kids into that wish."

"Why save one when you can save dozens," Colonel Stars and Stripes said with a grin.

"Exactly," Merlin agreed. "Some were murdered, sold into slavery, used for their organs, or simply died from accidents where no one could find them, but now they all just went through half a dozen years or so being trained by religious fanatics. I'm sure it was hard, but it beats the alternatives."

"It was more than worth it," Tommy said firmly. "I won't pretend it wasn't hard, but... I've got friends I wouldn't trade for the world."

"One hundred and forty-three of them?" Night Bitch asked with a grin.

"Sixteen," Tommy said. "We were separated into choirs, one male for every three females, so we could repopulate the earth."

"You were expected to have three wives?" Night Bitch asked in disbelief.

"That's what you find the strangest part of an 'End of the World' cult?" Insect Man asked her with a snicker.

"Yeah, good point," she admitted.

Tommy chuckled. "It all seems normal to us."

"So, what are you planning to do now?" Mindy asked curiously.

"Spend time with my parents, catch up on all the stuff I missed, fight crime," he listed off.

"What?" his parents chorused.

"Just because I don't have to restart society after the end of days, doesn't mean I don't want to help people," Tommy said.

"We don't always go out in costumes to fight crime," his father told him, "we also organize charity fundraisers and volunteer in soup kitchens."

Tommy's smile grew even wider. "Helping feed and clothe the homeless also fights crime, since they don't have to commit crimes to live. Beating up sinners is only one small part of helping support a community."

"And that's why I say we should never skip out on meet and greets," Colonel Stars and Stripes told Hit-Girl, "Raising people's spirits and giving them hope is an important part of the job."

Hit-Girl sighed. "Yeah, it's a part I'm not fond of. I was trained to work in the dark, but Kick-Ass is making sure I show up."

"So, the religious nuts taught you some solid morals while training to be a green beret," Doctor Gravity said with a grin, as he floated just above the floor.

"As long as you ignore all the bits about the ends justify the means and the only good sinner is a dead sinner," Tommy offered. "Thankfully we could all tell that was tacked on and not from the bible. We had private discussions about everything they taught us, because even as kids we knew some of it wasn't right. Thankfully they never questioned us wanting to learn more about the bible or the church."

"And that's how you figured out they were cracked and you needed to escape," Hit-Girl realized.

"Yeah, when you took a close look at what they were preaching, you could see the flaws," he agreed. "Once we knew they were wrong, we talked with our brothers and then with our wives and quickly came to an agreement."

"Are you okay with being separated from your brothers and... wives?" Tommy's mother asked him, concerned.

"It's only temporary," Tommy told her. "Most of us don't have families to go back to or were sold by them in the first place. Tanya, Clarise, and Sandra have probably already gotten access to the social services servers and arranged for those in care of the state to be transferred to homes nearby."

"Are those your wives?" his mother asked cautiously.

"No, those are Tod, Jason, and Alex's wives who handle information services," Tommy replied. "Hacking is woman's work. Tina is my wife who specializes in information services and she's already located us and wants to know if you'd like to meet her."

"How..." Tony's father's voice trailed off in confusion.

"We'd love to meet her," his mother assured him.

Tommy smiled. "She's on her way."

"Telepathy?" Night Bitch guessed.

"No," he gestured towards the surveillance camera in the corner, "she sent me a message via morse code using the red light on top of the camera."

"Damn," Doctor Gravity said, falling to the mats again, "I am impressed."

"I'm a little scared," Insect Man volunteered.

"Hacking is woman's work?" Kick-Ass asked as they heard the service elevator start up.

"Women are more patient, detail oriented, and have an overall faster typing speed," Tommy replied. "On average that makes women better hackers than men."

The door to the service elevator slid up and a mixed race girl, wearing a black leather trench over a simple blue blouse and well worn levis, entered with what looked like a Pip-Boy from Fallout on her left arm. "Tommy!"

"Tina!" he exclaimed and swept her up in a hug.

"Sorry it took me so long, I had to acquire local resources and it took me nearly two hours to find an appropriate target," she said, hugging him tightly.

"Appropriate target?" Colonel Stars and Stripes asked.

"Pawn shop owner who was dealing kiddie porn on the side," she explained. "He was already under heavy surveillance so all it took was rerouting his IP connection through the local servers while making it look like he was going through Dubya as usual and the onsite FBI agents swept him up. Of course, they took over an hour to impound all his high-end computer equipment, so once I broke in it took me nearly half an hour longer than it should to create what I needed."

"You guys were trained like Hit-Girl," Insect Man said in shock.

The two teens turned to Hit-Girl who simply shrugged. "My dad trained me to be the best hero I could be since I was a kid. I didn't go through the religious crap though, I am strictly a do unto others, preferably scum bags, type."

"She's insanely skilled," Doctor Gravity said.

"And now has superpowers making her probably the deadliest person on the face of the earth," Night Bitch added.

"I think they forgot about us," Karen told Merlin with a grin.

"We aren't locals, we don't count," he replied. "When it comes to people from this world, Hit-Girl ranks as number one currently."

"She's skilled," Karen agreed with a smile.

"You decided we needed another hundred and forty-four Hit-Girls?" Doctor Gravity asked Merlin.

Merlin laughed. "No... Well, probably not. I wasn't really concentrating on the details, so a lot was done subconsciously, I just wanted Tommy to be healthy and skilled without any major mental traumas, while helping out a large number of missing children as well."

"I can't say I especially feel traumatized," Tommy said thoughtfully, "and our choir or camp was the oldest, so the others are less skilled than us. I say you did a great job."

"We completely agree," Tommy's father said, "while it may take a little getting used to and some compromises on both sides as we get used to one another, having our son back is all we ever wanted."

Everyone grinned as the family hugged.

"Can I get a charger for this?" Colonel Stars and Stripes asked.

"Sure," Merlin said, reaching through shadow for the appropriate equipment.

"Stun pistol?" Doctor Gravity guessed, having been busy practicing with his power when they'd retrieved it.

"Of a sort," Colonel Stars and Stripes agreed with a smirk. "It's a non-lethal energy pistol wielded by a man named Spider Jerusalem."

"And what makes it so special you'd choose it over a Star Trek phaser?" Doctor Gravity asked.

"It's a bowel disruptor with the highest setting being anal prolapse," he replied with an evil grin, making everyone step back.

Typing By: Abyssal Angel

Beta By: Abyssal Angel and Mist of Shadows

TN: Well... at least it's not The Rectifier from Saints Row 4...