Reboot to the head!
Disclaimer: I do not own any major media property, all series are property of their respective studios.
Ron awoke with a start, his head pounding. He stumbled into furniture he only half-remembered having as he made his way to the bathroom. The pounding had almost stopped by the time he'd gotten the cap off the aspirin, but he took two anyway and stuck his head under the faucet, letting the water run over his scalp. His head felt like it was two sizes too small, which was no surprise as he realized he had two complete sets of memories.
A brief spark of hope died as quickly as it appeared when he realized that despite some major changes to the world, his life had followed the same general path. He'd done poorly on tests, failed to get into the same college as his best friend and they'd slowly drifted apart. He'd done his best in both timelines, but it seemed some things just weren't meant to be. It was actually a relief in a way, because while he still felt down, he no longer felt the need to blame himself. People drift apart, plans don't work out and... some third thing he couldn't think of at the moment.
There were a couple of major changes however, like a number of their missions having different villains, different situations, the Justice League…
"Well… there goes my comic collection," he complained before realizing he still had a collection, though it was a bit eclectic as Marvel was a bit too dark and gritty for his tastes so he'd never collected it the way he did DC.
Thoughts of what he could do now that he was in the DC universe brought a grin to his face. He started running through various ways to gain super powers in his head, trying to figure out which would suit him best. Really the best way to actually test it would require-
*KNOCK* *KNOCK* *KNOCK*
Ron opened the door and was not really surprised to find Abed and Annie there.
"Sorry," Annie apologized, "but Abed was working in the imaginarium and he insisted we see you."
"Please tell me we haven't slipped into the darkest timeline!" Abed begged, upset.
"I'm surprised you noticed," Ron said, much to Annie's shock and Abed's horror. "Whoa! I mean, we shifted from two to… three, not jumped down to six."
"That's… a relief," Abed said with a sigh.
"How real is this?" Annie asked cautiously.
"Real enough that I'm going to need you to pick up my homework assignments for the next couple of days while I call in some favors from various League members," Ron said sincerely.
"Didn't you say you were out of the game?" Abed asked.
"With the timeline shift, it's a whole new ballgame," Ron replied.
"You'll be careful, right?" Annie asked anxiously.
"Probably," Ron said with a shrug. "Can't really guarantee anything, but I'll certainly try."
"What are you going to do?" Abed asked.
"I'm going to call in some favors and see if I can figure out what happened," Ron answered, semi-honestly. "Of course the fact that changing the timeline probably wiped out all trace of the event, means I probably won't find anything, but I plan on trying anyway."
"Why didn't it affect you?" Abed asked.
"It did," Ron replied, "but I also have something that doesn't like the idea of not existing, so it provided me with a backup of my memories."
"What was the other timeline like?" Abed asked. "Did it have shrimp? What were we like there?"
"It was a lot like this one except with the superpowers turned down to one," Ron replied. "Yes, there were shrimp and I have no idea because I went to a completely different college. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to change."
"I'll come by to check on you and drop off your assignments," Annie said, herding Abed out the door before he could ask any more questions.
"I'll try and be in," Ron said as he closed the door. "Bye."
Going to his closet he saw his old mission clothes hanging in the back next to his Fearless Ferret outfit. He grinned as he realized that in this universe he was the Fearless Ferret, even if it had been an infrequent event when there was a mission he didn't want connected to his name for safety's sake. In the end he simply dressed in his Dread Pirate Robert cosplay outfit, which fit him better than clothing he hadn't worn in a couple of years.
"I have gotten pudgy," he complained, before sorting through his Keys to find the one he wanted. It looked like a simple black Skeleton Key, if you didn't notice the way it absorbed light. He brought it up to the wall, the shadows forming a door that he cautiously opened, relieved that he was still on the approved list.
"Nice to see some things never change," Ron said as he stepped through the portal into Shadowcrest. Looking around the eighteenth century boarding school turned magical mansion, he remembered his one great annoyance with the place. "Where the hell am I?" he complained. Every time he entered Shadowcrest alone, he found himself in a new area, several of which Zatanna claimed did not exist. All he knew was that it was mildly annoying and he suspected it was payback for all the times he raided Zatanna's ice cream supply.
It took him a good ten minutes to find his way to the stairs and he knew he'd passed through several rooms at least twice. "This place has it in for me," he complained, as he reached the bottom floor and headed for the kitchen. Having been a boarding school, Shadowcrest naturally had a kitchen that required a dozen people to run, which is why Zatanna had remodeled the dry storage room into a smaller more intimate kitchen. It was that kitchen that Ron was currently raiding.
"One cold iron spoon," he said with a grin, as he took a specially made spoon out of his back pocket and used it to open the freezer, a bright blue spark crackling off the end of the spoon, making him laugh. "Success!" he cried on spotting a quart container of Rocky Road ice cream. He almost grabbed it before pausing and poking it with his spook, the flash of light from the ice cream blinded him for a moment, but he quickly recovered and claimed his prize. He was on his third bite when he suddenly dropped into the splits and a black clad foot swept through where his head had been. Throwing himself backwards, he avoided a follow up kick and got a clear view of who was attacking him.
"CIGAM DNIB YM EOF!" Zatanna intoned, causing bands of eldritch force to form around Ron, where they popped like soap bubbles as he dodged Batgirl's next attack.
Ron leapt onto the table, then to the top of the fridge where he sat like a gargoyle eating ice cream with a grin.
"Ron?!" Zatanna exclaimed in shock, causing Batgirl to pause. "Ron, did you just pop in after two years of not one word to steal my ice cream?"
"I sent postcards," Ron said with a frown." Come to think of it I also sent gifts and cookies during the holidays and never received a single thank you card."
"Where did you send them?" Zatanna asked.
"Here," he replied, waving his spoon around the room. "Don't you ever check the mail here?"
"We can get mail here?" Zatanna asked surprised.
"Please tell me you're joking," Ron said.
"I use a P. O. Box," Zatanna replied. "I'm not sure how a mailman would deliver to a mansion between the light and the dark."
"The front door has a little chute to the left of it that drops the mail in the mailroom," Ron said, shaking his head in disbelief, before dropping off the fridge with barely a thump.
"Before we get into that, how did you break my magic bands?" Zatanna demanded.
"I have my own mystical powers and you didn't exactly put a lot of strength into them, now did you?" Ron said before taking another bite of her ice cream.
"Since when have you had mystical powers?" Zatanna asked before saying, "Well, I didn't expect to be restraining someone with magic."
Batgirl tilted her head to the side and watched the two curiously, saying nothing.
"Gimme that!" Zatanna said, snatching her ice cream back from Ron.
"Since always," Ron replied, figuring that was about as accurate an answer as he could give when dealing with time itself shifting. "Anyway, let's go check the Mail Room."
"Fine," she agreed, "but how do I know you didn't plant any mail there, since you've been here for at least ten minutes?"
Ron lead the way to the front door. "Because if you haven't checked your mail in the entire time we've known each other, there should be a lot more mail than from just me." Turning to the right of the front door he examined the blank wall before tapping it in various places, looking for the hidden door.
"NEPO!" Zatanna intoned, causing a coat hook to fall forward and the secret door to open.
Ron stepped into the room, which held a large wooden table under a mail chute that was overflowing with mail that had scattered across the floor. The rows of empty pigeonholes lining the walls had faded yellow labels of students long gone.
"I can't believe you were right," Zatanna said in surprise. "I thought you were joking or playing a prank."
Batgirl poked through the massive pile of mail, making a three-foot-tall stack of phone books in just a few seconds.
"LLA LIAM EB DETROS OTNI DELLEBAL SELOHNOEGIP!" Zatanna intoned, causing a huge wind to sweep through the room, almost knocking them off their feet and leaving the mail properly sorted with thirty-seven pigeonholes labelled and filled with mail.
"See?" Ron said, pointing to three pigeonholes with his name, filled with letters and packages.
"This still doesn't explain how a postman actually got in here," Zatanna complained.
"By walking up to the door," Ron suggested.
Zatanna stormed over to the front door and threw it open revealing a thick wall of mist that blocked all sight after a few feet. "We're in a pocket dimension," she reminded him.
Ron thought about that for a minute and then began to laugh.
"What?" she asked.
"When did you first move into Shadowcrest?" he asked.
"When I was thirteen, you know that," Zatanna said.
"Yes, and if I recall, you were going through a boy crazy phase," Ron said.
"What's that got to do with anything?" Zatanna asked, blushing a little as she recalled how she acted at that age.
"Your father told you this place was in a pocket dimension, didn't he?" Ron asked with a grin.
"I've done spells that have confirmed that," she pointed out.
"Yes, but I bet they were all done inside the house, weren't they?" Ron questioned, trying not to laugh.
Zatanna stepped out to the porch and quietly cast a spell, stepping inside a couple of seconds later, looking annoyed. "And the fog?" she asked.
"It's normal fog," he answered her with a grin.
Batgirl gave Zatanna a look and she sighed and explained, "Using the Keys to come and go, pings the wards, so I couldn't sneak out and he died before he could tell me otherwise."
"So, about that favor?" Ron asked.
"Sure," Zatanna agreed. "Despite always stealing my ice cream, you haven't been a neglectful friend and I do owe you one."
"Great," Ron said as she snapped her fingers and summoned a spoon. "I need to locate a mystical artifact."
"WOHS EM EHT STCAFITRA DETCENNOC OT YM DNEIRF!" Zatanna intoned, waving her spoon like a wand. Her eyes glowed brightly for a moment. "It's in Japan."
"Not that one," Ron said. "I know where that one is. No, I'm looking for a dial whose buttons are in a futuristic language that grants temporary powers to the one who uses it."
"That should be exact enough to get a general feel for its location, provided it isn't warded as mystical items often are," Zatanna said. "LAID FO REWOP, YLLAROPMET DETIMIL, YLLARUTLUC DECNAVDA, LAEVER RUOY NOITACOL!"
An image of a black and green wristwatch buried beneath several feet of sand appeared and vanished a moment later.
"Was that the one?" Zatanna asked a white faced Ron.
"No, but it'll do," he said, wondering how many universes had been jammed together and what had happened to prevent Ben Tennyson from claiming the Omnitrix.
"Are you okay?" Zatanna asked concerned.
Ron sighed. "I will be, I just have a lot on my plate right now. Did you sense any other Dials or just that one?" he asked.
"Just that one," Zatanna replied. "Any others are warded."
"Not surprising," he said, as he thought about the history of the Dials that originated in DC comics. "Can you collect that one and make sure no one puts it on? It'll bond itself to the first one who wears it."
"Sure, but what will you be doing?" she asked.
"I gotta go call in another favor and see if I can locate another dial through scientific means and locate the guy who was destined to wield that first dial," he explained.
"How did you get involved in all of this?" Zatanna asked. It'd been years since she'd seen him and she was curious.
"I'm partially protected from whatever changed the bearer of the Omnitrix's destiny," Ron said. "I have no reason to suspect anyone intentionally screwed him over, in fact I'm positive the change is unrelated to him, but I can't just stand by and let him get screwed over."
"Are you saying someone has messed with the timeline?" Zatanna asked concerned.
"I can name several time travelers off the top of my head, one is even a League member, and I'm not talking about the various times League members have time traveled and altered things, I mean he's from centuries in the future and his every action is altering the future he came from," Ron said.
"You've got to be kidding me," Zatanna said looking horrified.
Ron shook his head and stole another spoonful of ice cream while she was distracted. "Time is a river, it's not static, and we happen to live in the rapids. Fortunately, it's also self-correcting to a degree, so try not to stress about it."
"Do you have to fix things a lot?" Zatanna asked, a sudden suspicion of Ron being a universal handyman entering her mind.
Ron waved his spoon. "You got the wrong idea, I'm not a Timelord. This change happened to be something I had some protection against. Other changes have other people knowing about them."
"Oh," Zatanna said. "This is confusing and concerning."
"Time travel in a nutshell," Ron said with a shrug. "Well, I gotta motor. Know a quick way to get up to the Watchtower?"
"How do you-" Zatanna sighed and flicked her wrist, producing a playing card with a number written on it. "Call up the monitor room and convince them you have a good enough reason for them to teleport you up there."
"Cool, I'll be by later to pick up the Dial and I'll try and visit more in the future. Ciao!" he said, walking out the front door and vanishing into the fog.
Zatanna shut the front door while Batgirl took off her cowl and shook out her mane of red hair. "Wanna help me sort half a decade of mail?" Zatanna said hopefully.
"Sure," Kim replied. "I'm not on patrol for another two hours."
"So, any reason you didn't speak up while Ron was here?" Zatanna asked.
"Because we haven't talked in forever and it'd be really awkward," Kim admitted. "Plus… secret identity."
"Provided he doesn't already know it and wasn't just humoring you," Zatanna teased. "Who knows what all happened in the alternate timeline he remembers."
"He could have been dating you before the time change," Kim pointed out with a grin. "Maybe that's why he was so comfortable coming in here and stealing your ice cream."
"What?" Zatanna asked, never having considered that.
"Maybe he's planning on hanging around some more because he already knows all the right spells to get into your stockings," she teased.
"Or because he knows what buttons to push to get access to your Batcave," Zatanna fired back with a grin.
Kim stuck out her tongue and stole a quick spoonful of ice cream while Zatanna was laughing.
"Where'd you get that spoon?" Zatanna asked, knowing Kim hadn't been near the silverware drawer in the kitchen.
"Utility belt," Kim said with a grin.
"Hey, Flash," Ron said cheerfully, into the phone. "This is the Ron man. I need to call in that favor you owe me."
Typed by – Sitheus Maximus / Ipsith
TN: Sorry about the delay people, fucked up my hand and didn't really listen to the doc's orders to let it get better first.