Author's Note:

This one doesn't have much new stuff added, unlike last chapter. Mostly just editing work.

Probably the most annoying thing about this editing process has been that some characters capitalize the Black Light and the White Light in certain contexts, among other nouns (Spectrum of Life, Glow, etc.) while others don't. It depends on how much importance they attach to the words. Nekron, for example, throws capital letters around like crazy, while Alan Scott is rather more irreverent (to him, Nekron isn't The Embodiment of the Black Light of Death, Nekron's 'that damned necromancer with the annoying energy absorption power'). Out of the Justice League, Barry Allen is the one who is most likely to think of things like the White Light in Capital Letters because of how he views his superhero work.

Barry's a bit of a jokester at times, but being The Flash for the Justice League is like being part of the Knights of the Round Table as far as he's concerned. To Barry, living up to that lightning bolt isn't a choice so much as it is a calling.

"I'll handle Jay," Barry told them resolutely.

"Are you sure?" Clark asked. "It's probably the best way to handle it, but we're a team. We're strong enough together that there's no need for you to-"

"No, I think I need to do this," Flash told him. "I want to lay him to rest myself. Flinching back from doing the right thing... that's not the kind of hero he taught me to be. I'll do it."

Clark inclined his head respectfully. "Alright. Kent Nelson. I think we'll have to rely on your lasso if we want to stop his magic, Wonder Woman."

She simply nodded, fingering the mystical artifact.

"Junior and I can handle Ted and Carter," Alan spoke up. "Won't be much use against Nekron or Charles, and I'm not sure what Wesley's zombie has up its sleeves."

"Who are you calling Junior, Senior?" Kyle lightheartedly mocked the old man, before turning serious. "I should probably take Hawkman, since I know his tricks from last time. I'm not really familiar with Starman."

Alan nodded in agreement, so Kyle continued to speak.

"I'll have to report on this to Oa directly after all of this is done. That black light is way too good at dealing with our rings. The Guardians will want to find a way for the Corps to be able to fight it effectively. I just hope it doesn't take as long as that stupid weakness to yellow objects..."

Alan blinked at Kyle, befuddled. "Eh? Yellow? Never had a problem with it. Now, wood on the other hand..."

"Wood? You're wearing a hyper-advanced xenotech law enforcement tool!" Kyle exclaimed. "What kind of stupid design flaw makes a space cop weak to arrows?"

"No idea," Alan shrugged. "Stopped having trouble with it after four or five years, never really figured out what was up with that."

"I will combat Sandman while Martian Manhunter deals with Doctor Mid-Nite again," Batman spoke up over them. "Zatara has supplied us with three paper talismans that should be able to capture a very tiny amount of the black light. I assume that Green Lantern Junior-"

"Hey! Wait, was that a joke?"

"-would appreciate a sample to bring to his superiors, and Zatara has already mentioned the potential use of them in preparing for any further problems we may have with wielders of the black light of death, and Nekron in particular." Batman passed one to J'onn, another to Clark, and hesitated on passing one to the amused Life Entity.

"If we were to carry it, it would be our Light that it contained," the elemental informed him, but paused to consider it and reached out to touch it. "Perhaps... yes, it may be useful in time." She put down the, now slightly glowing, talisman to one side. Clark wasn't sure if 'useful' was meant to be a good thing or not. "We assume that Superman will aid us in defeating Nekron?"

"That's the plan," Clark said. "It might be a bit belated to ask this, but what do we need to do to defeat him, exactly? I've assumed destroying his body would do it, but..."

"We intend to purge the Black Light from his host body and resurrect it with our White Light."

Clark blinked. He opened his mouth, paused, and closed it again. There were a lot of things he was tempted to say, and he could see that the others were similarly affected, but by silent agreement none spoke out. "Why resurrect him, exactly?" Clark asked. "My understanding of your position on the topic was... rather contrary to that. Death being a natural part of life, and so on."

"Resurrection is indeed unnatural and contrary to the proper course of the universe," she said bluntly. "However, to completely remove Nekron's far more unnatural influence on this realm, we must disrupt the ritual that called him here, or we have no doubt some cleverness or another will lead to him finding another way to manifest on this plane in the near future. To be perfectly honest, we expect the host body will not live a very long second life, given what Nekron has put it through, but the suicide that was the cornerstone of Nekron's summoning will have been undone."

"...Facial analysis has identified the host body as William Hand," Batman spoke in a low growl. "Preliminary evidence suggests that he killed his entire family-"

"The penultimate preparation for the summoning," the Life Entity said sadly. "Nekron has spoken to him in his dreams for years now, and once William began to listen we began our own attempts to enter this plane. This one's arrival on this plane was fortuitously timed."

"...Let's go end this," Alan said, and it was promise.

Here's the thing about being a death elemental: it makes it easy to find where the bodies are buried.

Yet, he couldn't find this one.

He had checked the obvious places first. The Justice Society's cemetery. Gotham. The places the man he was looking for had performed his, rather memorable, work.

Gateway City was one of those places, but more promisingly was a place regularly frequented by Wonder Woman for no readily apparent reason. But, clearly, whatever it was that drew the heroine to the city, it was not Jim Corrigan's grave.

Nekron grit his teeth together and pettily kicked over a vase of flowers by a tombstone as Jay finished his futile search of the city's cemeteries. Nekron knew where Corrigan had died, but the Spectre had risen from that death with purpose and, more importantly to Nekron's mind, with vast power. If he could raise Corrigan as his servant, the tables would not merely tip in his favor, but turn completely. The other revenants that he had called from the grave would simply gift wrap his victory.

Events thus far had not gone to Nekron's liking. Earth's heroes had emerged to oppose him. The dead he had raised were either middling as heroes went or, in the cases of Starman and Doctor Fate, not in possession of their greatest tools of power. Ted Knight's cosmic rod was attuned to his successor Stargirl, and while Kent Nelson now served him, the order elemental Nabu did not. Only Jay Garrick could truly stand against the powerhouses of the Justice League as an equal. His one moment of good fortune had been stolen away from him mere moments before his victory, and William Hand's body had begun to weaken under the strength of the Black Light he was forced to use to absorb the power of the elderly Green Lantern, forcing him to withdraw upon the arrival of the Martian Manhunter and the young Green Lantern lest his own power unmake his link to the physical plane.

And now, now his mastery of death failed to provide him with the one answer that could assure him of accomplishing his goal. The memories of dying beings gave him many answers, but not this one. How had this come to be? Had the man's corpse been retroactively erased from existence? Had some great and powerful wizard cast a concealment spell strong enough to hide the tomb from death itself? Not for the first time this day, Nekron seriously considered attempting to bring Nabu under his thrall. Doctor Fate was weaker than Nekron, yes, but his more flexible powers and world-class strength would make discovering the grave Nekron now sought a simple task. But... no, it was specifically because Nekron's powers were narrow in scope that such was impossible.

The problem was, Nekron needed to kill the Life Entity and so could only spend so much of his strength before battling it. He was at an advantage because of his conceptual superiority to his foe, so he could afford to impart a fraction of his power to animate assistants to defend him from the Justice League's intrusion into his destined triumph, but he wasn't foolish enough to spread his strength too thin. The Justice Society had been an obvious choice. They had emerged as the heroes of the day above all the many villains. Or more to the point, they had won. History is written by the victors, after all.

If he couldn't have the Spectre, then surely there was someone else with sufficient power to allow him to drive back the heroes? Solomon Grundy had already been vaporized this week, so the energy-efficient option of picking up the Earth's most persistent undead wasn't viable. Most of the truly powerful villains of this world had- Wait. Teth Adom. Theo Adam was currently using his soul as a battery to be Black Adam, but the original version was dead. A strong power, capable of going toe to toe with Superman- but, would the powers of Black Adam go to the raised version? They were granted by his gods, not inherent, after all. Yet, it was very tempting to at least make the attempt, given the capabilities of the man.

Now, Nekron considered, where were Teth Adom's remains? He immersed his thoughts in the memories of the dying, reaching far farther back than usua-

Red lightning flashed across the cemetery, and before Nekron could even react, Jay Garrick had vanished. That was- The Flash! Somehow, the Justice League had found him! Too late, he set his revenants to counteract the attacks he knew were coming, and even as Starman and Hawkman were thrust away from their defensive positions above him with constructs of lambent emerald light Nekron found himself struck, full-speed, in the chest by Superman. The hero shoulder-checked him, driving him through the air away from his undead allies, towards the waiting Life Entity, who weaved a web of White Light before him.

Refusing to be taken down so easily, Nekron managed to slash an arm at the trap he was approaching, scattering most of it with claws of Black Light. The remnants he passed through burned with the Glow of life, and Nekron felt William's body spasm helplessly until he managed to subsume the fragments of the Glow. Superman wasted no time in planting him head-first into the ground before Nekron could even think of counter-attacking, and Nekron found himself forced to stumble out of the crater, using his Black Light to make up for the fact that much of his upper body was crushed bone. He'd protected William's brain at least, though it had been a near thing.

He'd never felt pain himself before coming to Earth. He didn't like the experience.

As vines of White Light swarmed him from all around the pre-planned trap Superman had dropped him right in the middle of, Nekron swore that this would not be how it ended. His victory was inevitable! Death would overcome life, and all off the cursed lights would go out forever!

Black fire leaking from his eyes, Nekron launched himself into battle.

Batman moved silently through the tombstones as combat raged around him. It was a futile hope to actually be unseen here, it being the middle of the day in a flat area with the memorials being rather too small and too widely spaced to effectively hide a man his size.

But his target was occupied with trying to aid Doctor Mid-Nite's battle against Martian Manhunter with his gas gun, and sometimes the element of surprise is all about being swift-footed and quiet. Sandman wasn't looking his way. Hawkman and Doctor Fate had seen him at various points, but the revenants weren't a true team. They worked together to an extent, but they didn't communicate. They didn't call out advice or warning.

Wesley Dodds had no combat-related superpowers in life, but undeath had granted the man the same prodigious strength, stamina, and recovery speed as the rest of the zombies.

Batman made no effort to get any closer to Sandman, instead launching a batarang into the revenant's back. The powerful throw sent the weapon's edge through the man's trenchcoat and, fortunately, stuck in place, imbedding itself on flesh and bone. As the revenant turned his gas-gun in Batman's direction, Batman threw three more batarangs in succession. Sandman caught the one that had been aimed for the mechanisms of his weapon, while the other two, sent to bracket the zombie, struck hard-packed earth and an old tombstone.

Wesley didn't immediately approach, and Batman pretended to fall to one knee as if he hadn't bothered to bring a rebreather with a filtration system to defend himself from his target's favored weapon. Grasping the two triggers, he triggered the electric shock on the batarang that Sandman had caught, and gave it a moment to do what damage it could to the undead's physiology before activating the detonator on the explosive still stuck in Sandman's back.

There was a limit to how powerful you could make an explosive that size, and still carry it around and throw it without fear of it exploding when you didn't want it to. So it was only expected that Sandman pushed himself up off the ground and lunged forward, gas gun left where it had fallen. Batman was just disappointed that he hadn't managed to take a limb off.

Batman rolled to the side, and as Sandman's fist narrowly missed him, he reached into his utility belt once more.

Fighting creatures like this when he had the capabilities of a human was always risky and could end in his death with a single misstep. But while Batman was human, he would never let himself be just human. If you are prepared, you have victory in your grasp. If you are not prepared, then death is knocking at your door.

Batman had survived this long with the best in the world. That wasn't going to change today.

Diana smashed through a wall after a poor prediction of Kent's next spell left her flatfooted. It didn't hurt her at all, really, but it wasted time. Every moment a mage was active on the other side of the battlefield was a moment that experienced warned her that something might be about to go horribly wrong for her side. When this was over, she decided as she deflected a flurry of bolts with her enchanted arm guards, she was going to find the Justice League a battlemage, even if that meant she had to train them in the 'battle' part personally.

She threw a piece of rubble at Kent, forcing him to pause to defend himself. A shout from off to the side gave her a warning that the revenant didn't heed, much to his misfortune, as Hawkman was born down upon the mage by emerald shackles and not one but three ball-and-chains. Carter's anti-gravity belt floated off to the Kyle's side, unfastened by some clever trickery on the artist's part.

Wasting no time, Diana threw out the Lasso of Truth which she had readied at Kyle's behest, and both revenants fell still as the artifact's charm bound them. The mystic glow of Kent's powers faded, and the black light battleaxe Carter had been attempting to free himself with flaked into nothingness.

"I'll have to stay holding the Lasso to keep them bound," Diana told the younger Green Lantern. "Go help the others!"

Alan pinned Ted's corpse to the floor with a giant nail, though he could see the black light infusing his friend's body already beginning to eat into the construct. It wouldn't be enough.

As Alan called forth a greatsword of emerald light, he felt... disappointed in the revenant. It was an insult to Ted's memory. It didn't fly like the real thing. It didn't fight with every ounce of effort. It had a measure of Ted's skill, but it lacked his brilliance, his innovativeness, the spark that had made Starman great.

So for the sake of his friend, he swung down, severing the arm holding the Gravity Rod at the shoulder in a strike not powered by his withered muscles but by his indomitable will. He tore the rod from the now-limp hand with a set of green tongs.

"Rest in peace, old friend," Green Lantern said, and brought the full might of his will upon the corpse.

Barry didn't hesitate this time. But with the additional resilience being undead granted Jay, Barry's flawless initial strike didn't quite end the battle. Jay had taken the blows Barry had landed cleanly, before the zombie had gotten up to speed, and lost the use of half his torso for what little time it took a speedster to heal. But the Black Light had supported his pulverized flesh and bone, and Jay hadn't missed a step.

How do you stop someone with that powerset? Barry wasn't sure, yet. He could try taking off a leg, but he suspected that the Black Light would just form a construct replacement. It would waste a bit of the revenant's power, but not enough to make it worth committing to something that would require him to dump that much speed into one blow.

For now, keeping Jay busy was enough. If Jay wasn't fighting Barry, Jay would be taking on his friends and Barry had to admit that that would probably go badly. Getting blitzed by a speedster was the sort of thing that turned an entire battle on its head. So Barry traded blows with Jay down the streets of the city, across the bay and back, tearing up the roads with their footfalls. Three times already he'd had to take big risks getting civilians out of harm's way, and Barry was thankful that Jay wasn't all there mentally. If this really was his mentor as he'd been in life, but evil, Jay would have endangered the people around them constantly until Barry made a costly error.

Maybe, Barry thought as he crossed the water for a third time, striking and deflecting strikes from the zombie, he shouldn't be focusing on Jay's weaknesses. Jay had died years ago, and Barry had picked up a few tricks of his own in that time.

Pulling ahead to race up the side of a skyscraper, Barry suddenly turned as their feet struck the edge of the roof, and thrust out his hands. The red lightning that appeared when he really pushed, which he still didn't understand completely, surged around his hands as he reached out and-

The instant Barry touched Jay, the revenant's speed drastically altered, leaving Jay moving at a crawl compared to his former supersonic speed.

External acceleration control, or to use less fancy words, 'stealing speed', was just one of those little things in the package of the Flash's powerset that Barry hadn't really appreciated properly before he started to experiment a little. For catching bullets safely it was pretty useful, but as a speedster it was a lot more energy efficient to speed up yourself than it was to slow your opponent down, and enemy speedsters could fight it if they understood what was happening. But sometimes, sometimes it was perfect.

As Jay began to fall towards the ground below, Barry set to work, easily gaining back the speed he had sacrificed as he ran back down the building, seized a nearby street sign, and ran in a loop around the bay area to build up momentum. Streets to docks to water to docks to street to-

Jay, in black garb, falling towards the ground like the air was made of molasses, thirty feet above the concrete. Barry's hands holding the street sign's metal pole, his form beginning to shine with crackles of red lightning at the edges.

-up the side of the office building, weapon drawn back, it's over in an instant as Barry Allen cleaves the revenant in twain.

Both halves of the body twitch, but Barry doesn't give them a chance to try to come together, and the left side of Jay's form is dropped on the other side of the bay.

Barry allows himself a millisecond for disgust, for panic, for grief, before he blitzes back to help the others.

Nekron howled with fury as Superman exhaled, freezing hurricane force winds battering him back down into a bed of White Light rosebushes, which tore into him with thorns that did not harm his host's body, but tore at the Black Light within.

Impossible. This was impossible.

He thrashed away at the flowering white plant-life with every weapon he could think of, tearing himself free once more, but always, always were the Life Entity and Superman prepared. The sky was filled with flying creatures of White Light under the Life Entity's command who hounded him and spied upon him, and Superman was ever-ready to take even the slightest weakness on Nekron's part as a chance to force him down to the flora that filled the park below.

Why did the White Light hurt so? He should be able to absorb it, but even before, when he had tried to subsume it in Milwaukee he had struggled. The Black Light overcame the Spectrum of Life! The Green Light of Willpower had certainly been ineffective enough against him as expected. What was this? How had the Life Entity usurped the natural order of the world? The light of life should be incapable of harming the light of death!

No, he would not stand for this. Nekron called forth his power, not in the form of short-lived constructs judiciously chosen to defeat his foe's attacks, but in the form of a thousand nightmares of the dead and dying. Crawling horrors birthed from alien minds, quick-footed insectile swarms, manifestations of darkness and death without name. Let this body fall apart after this battle under the strain of the Black Light, if he won it did not matter what happened to it.

Nekron called forth a shield, defending himself from Superman's heat vision, as his monsters set to their brutal work, tearing into the White Light constructs with the swiftness and surety of the grave and yet-

Yet they fell, their light subsumed, shattering one by one. How-

A small hand touched his back, and as White Light wrapped around him in chains of life, he was gently tilted back to rest on the grassy ground beneath. It should have been brown, dead matter in his presence, yet it was a healthy green, bursting with life.

The Life Entity walked around him, placed a hand above his still heart, and the White Light began to slowly seep into him in ways he could hardly understand.

"We apologize for this chain of events," the Life Entity's host said earnestly. "We failed to bring you to heel before the situation escalated to this stage. Please, take this chance to learn from this experience and grow properly into your true role as the embodiment of the Black Light as we remove you from this plane." The little girl had the temerity to smile at him, like this was nothing, like he had never had a chance.

But, no, he realized slowly. He was not done yet. His enemy was quite literally within his grasp - and there was some of the Black Light that she had not yet bound with inexplicable conceptual strength. He reached out to his revenants and unceremoniously ripped his power free from them, calling it back in a great spear of darkness. Superman called out a warning, but too little, too late, and Nekron threw back his head and laughed as the Black Light construct tore through the body of the Life Entity's host, stilling her blasphemous heart-

"It is important to recognize that the Black Light has meaning because of the Spectrum of Life."

What- no.

No. He must be imagining that stupid little brat's earnest voice. She didn't even have lungs anymore. No, no, no-

"Your role is one of great importance, but death by itself has no meaning. Death is relevant only in the context of life, and it is from this perspective that black is one of the colors of the Glow. You should not consider yourself separate," the Life Entity continued her lecture unperturbed as the spear fizzled away uselessly within her chest. As it shrank away, he could clearly see that the Life Entity was unharmed, her clothes not so much as torn.

No, no, no, no, NO!

"We... do not claim to understand why you have trouble with accepting your place in the universe as of late," the Life Entity said, clearly disappointed, before perking up. "But we will have plenty of time to talk through your problems once your interference in the physical world is over. We have faith in your ability to overcome your flaws and learn to take pride in your true purpose." She smiled at him, hopefully.

Nekron gurgled as he felt his hold on William's form slipping. "H-how?" He managed to gasp out. "Why won't you... just... die!"

"Die?" The Life Entity looked puzzled. "We are an existence of life, of living. The Black Light is as much a part of life as the other colors. We do not understand why you believe dying would affect us in a meaningful fashion." She cocked her head to one side and nodded. "We shall illuminate your ignorance. The White Light is an existence that forever arises. Even if all life in the universe ceased, as some day it will, and all the stars went out, as someday they will, and the universe as an existence ended, as it has before and will again, new existences will come from the emptiness as is the nature of things. In time, new life will arise, as will sentience. And so, killing life is a fundamentally and metaphysically pointless act."

She smiled benevolently down at Nekron, who stared blankly up at the sky. "Please consider this, and your place in existence, until we contact you in your home plane."

And everything was washed away by the white-