A/N: Break down the walls of Jericho! Once again Slade's family just makes for a fun premise. I know that "Character A" never meets "Character B" in the comics and that a "Deathstroke II" never existed but meh! It's my fiction, go write your own! … Oh you have? Well, uh go you! I'm itching for some Jericho fics; link me in an e-mail or a review. Heck, even telepathically if you can.
A story dealing with a split family (ala divorce) was something I always wanted to do. There's a lot of emotional trauma (let alone the physical) that Joseph went through that I and a lot of others can probably relate to quite well. This was a pleasure to write for that very fact.
P.S.: OUTSIDERS! OUTSIDERS! OUTSIDERS!
- W -
The effortless sound the katana made as it cut through air.
Bright sky blue eyes attempted to follow the swift motions in easy glances, the blade's swipes like music to the boy's ears. For Joseph it was pretty amazing. Even in this frantic behavior, there was a precise rhythm in this display of ballistic martial skill.
It was an observation by a true artist.The rest of us would just see one determined blonde kid on a warpath.
"Rargh!" The elder Wilson brother slashed again and again with his unsharpened katana blade, his target dodging him quite easily as the young swordsmen was beginning to tire. The irked boy scowls, suddenly slicing and dicing away with a two handed grip in frustration, only to be grabbed by his right wrist harshly after a well timed parry.
"What did I tell you?" The older man gleamed down disappointed.
"… Never fight, angry." Grant wheezed, calming himself as he was let go. "… I'm sorry dad."
"It's alright Grant, now get your head together." Slade backed away, pulling up his non-lethal sword and pointing it. "At least force me to use the blade."
The two male soldiers of the family began to go at it again, of course Slade having his way with his youth. It was times like this where Joseph always felt so left out. Naturally passive, he just wasn't into the warrior life that his family was born into.
His mother was a high ranked officer. His dad was a mercenary.
His brother Grant had the tenacity of both.
… But what of him?
Why do humans fight and destroy. .
When they can create such beauty?
"Finished," Joseph whispered, the blonde fro'd boy glancing at the sketch he had just completed, the last bit of shading finding its way behind a thorny bush.
A penciled image of the forest background of fauna and trees was now before him, the same area where this sparring contest was being held his inspiration. He smiles admiring the details of his work. Joe was never one to brag, it was fact that Grant took all the 'ego' in the family as well.
"Are you going to paint that dear?" Joseph heard a soft voice from behind, bringing only the sweetest of emotions.
"I don't know mom." Joseph blinked. "Should I?"
A cup of nice cold orange juice was sat next to him, Adeline Kane Wilson doing the same. Joseph grinned gleefully as his hair was petted by his mother. No one would guess this beautiful woman was such a ruthless soldier back in her hay day. To the many soldiers she commanded the name Kane struck fear into their hearts.
To Joseph she just was simply 'mom'.
"I think that's up to you Joey." Adeline stared at his picture in amazement. "You are the artist of the family. I think it looks beautiful."
"Thank you,' Joseph loved the compliment, only to suddenly hear a clink!
"Hell yeah!" Grant yelled out in celebration, the sight of the duo of katana clashed together being the sign of victory. The boy actually made his father defend for the first time, Slade chuckling as Grant was totally beside himself.
"Mom you see that?" Grant began to pump his fist, tossing his sword off as if he had one the World Series.
"Yes I did," Adeline shared in his happiness. "I'm very proud of you Grant."
"Yes, good work," Slade patted his son on the back, taking his boy in an arm over the shoulder as they walked to the porch of their home. "You'll be a great soldier in no time."
"Dude that was sick!" Grant was still on his emotional high. "Come on J, you know you loved that move I pulled."
"Sorry, I… kind of missed it." Joseph muttered in a half lie. Just like it was half-jealousy.
"Ugh, doing what?" The elder brother growled. "One of your stupid drawings again?"
"It's not stupid." The younger shook his head with passive anger.
"That's a girl thing!" Grant teased, walking over and glancing at it. "Come on, get with the program bro. We Wilson's are soldiers! Not prissy painters!"
I'm not like you. Joseph turned back to his drawing. I'm not like any of you.
"Leave your brother alone Grant." Slade came to the defense of his youngest son. He was definitely protective.
"Fine fine," Grant Wilson smirked at papa Slade. "Wait till the guys at school hear about my skills dad. They're gonna freak."
"You deserve the praise." His father softened. "But we're done for today Grant."
"Oh I know. I'm wearing you out pops." Grant made one last remark, walking in with his towel draped across that tank top adorned chest. "Soon I'll be kickin' your ass all over the field."
"Don't get too arrogant now." Slade reminded him with a confident voice. Grant was too busy mouthing off some Heavy Metal lyrics to make any reply, running into the house with a hop in his step.
Jealousy. Disappointment. Joseph just lowered his eyes to the ground, not really knowing what to say. Grant wasn't a bad brother so to speak. But he definitely sure could be a jerk. But as much of a jackass as he was being, he was sort of right. Joey just didn't feel like he belonged. He wasn't as strong nor did he have that warrior mentality.
He knew his dad and mom loved him. But he knew that unless he could become more like Grant he would never make them as proud.
"My my my, is my husband getting weaker by the day?" Adeline teased, blowing a kiss his way.
"No," Slade groaned. "The boy is just getting stronger."
"Oh come on Slade dear," Adeline latched onto her man, "Admit you're losing a step."
"I'll admit nothing." The husband lifted his wife up with ease, "And I'll prove that to you on the sparring grounds… or anywhere else for that matter…"
"… Anywhere else huh?" Adeline made that signature naughty face a couple truly infatuated would make.
Dad and mom have their soft side too. Joseph grinned. Not many people would see this side of these two army buffs. And when they showed it? It was almost too adorable for words.
After a few more flirty taunts Slade kissed his wife, walking over with her in his arms, looking down at his son. "And how are you today Joseph?"
"I'm fine father."
"Good." Slade's eyes glanced over to the sketch, then back. "Another elegant piece of artwork." The comment came so routinely.
"T-thanks." Joseph put on the largest smile he could.
Are you really proud of me dad?
… Or are you just saying it because you're a good father.
"Now let's leave Joseph be so he can finish it," Adeline muttered. "We have things to do now don't we Mr. Wilson?"
"Plenty of things," Slade flirted, walking into the house and closing the door behind.
Joe was alone, with only his creative mind keeping him company. The boy was isolated with the wilderness, his family on the inside and he on the outside.
For Joseph it was like this far too much. But even then, he could've been satisfied.
The events that would take place the next night would forever tear his world apart.
- W -
7 Years Later…
It was everywhere.
That bumping techno beat from those gigantic amplifiers. Those laughs and hollers of elated teens from left to right. The loud videogame boops and beeps from the populated arcade. Those… depressed sighs as Raven was trying to keep to herself isolated in the corner with a book.
Hearing the quiet sounds like sighs at a party? Yes. A hero like Jericho noticed the little details in frantic places. He was one of those kids that could spot out a calm fly in complete pandemonium really.
The boy was used to being in total concentration and listening attentively. Having his own voice taken away, the only identity one has beyond physical sight made him that way.
Feeling so alone…
And no one in the world will ever know.
Joseph glanced. This was how a victory party should be. The club that Blackfire had taken the Titans too a couple of years ago had only expanded, now sponsoring the largest party ever to hit the Jump City nightlife. Food, games, dancing, and the whole nine yards! All the Titans were here, from East to West celebrating their handling of the Brotherhood of Evil. Obviously even Raven showed.
Who was dragged along by her teammates naturally.
The girl can communicate with anyone her heart desires. Jericho stared at the isolated purple haired Titan. Yet she chooses not to.
What a boy like him would give for that chance again.
Sure, Raven was as complex as they came. But complexity ran in Joseph's family like a disease. His empathy told him all about the sorceress' problems with emotions, but even then he couldn't help but see wasted potential. Yes, he was sitting next to a giant wildebeest that was eating the entire food storage of Jump City.
But he had no choice.
It's hard to be noticed when you can't speak in a room full of loudmouths.
Speaking of loudmouths…
"Yo bro," The only bionic hero of the party growled. "It's my turn to dance with her! You've been tangoing for a tad too long."
"A tad too long?" The fastest kid on the planet shrugged. "Eh? It's only been like what? 3 minutes?"
"Well you're super fast, shouldn't that count like for what? An hour?"
"Boys, will be boys." Jinx muttered annoyed, holding onto Kid Flash. The two were dancing, and tearing up the rug for that mater. That is until of course our cybernetic hero jumped in. Jericho kept a close eye, watching drama unfold seemed to be an unknown hobby.
"Cyborg, you gotta chill out." Kid Flash rolled his eyes.
"I'll chill out when you stop hogging the dance floor!"
"Boys, boys, boys," Jinx patted them both, sucking up all this attention like a sponge. "There's enough of me for the both of you."
Our 'boys' were not amused.
"Okay that does it," Flash pointed. "This stuff can't go on anymore."
"No it can't!" Cyborg added in agreement.
"Jinx it's either him or me."
Drama. Drama. Drama.
"… Ugh," Jinx let out a breath that was out of defeat, this girl in the mood for some fun. "Fine, if you two are gonna be such babies I'll chose neither!"
"GAH?" Both of them fell over.
"Hey you!" Jinx pointed, of course finding our silent Jericho in the corner. The clueless blonde kid looked around, finding Wildebeest's face. Of course the beast's look was THAT much more confused than his.
"Come on, no need to be shy." Jinx walked over, grabbing Jericho by his wrist and pulled him out. "Let's dance!"
Dance? Jericho gasped, trying to pull away, the hippy like hero forced succumb to the techno beat. Jinx began to get down, rocking to the dance by clinging close to him. One could only imagine the faces on Vic Stone and Wally West.
Jericho felt as awkward as ever. Even more awkward then Robin who was being forced to a dance by his own girl, a red head with the most adorable dialect you'd ever hear. But then again at least they were good friends. Joseph was always quiet, even before his accident. A girl like Jinx was the TOTAL opposite of a shy person.
This didn't seem like this was going to end well.
"Come on, dance cutie." Jinx held him, moving the blonde around, natural kinetics taking over. "So you're Jericho… right?"
"Heh-heh-heh," Jinx let the boy go, starting to bump it to the beat with a sassy move. "You're adorable. All quiet, and so cute." She bumped his side, causing Jericho to silently eep his way back. "There should be more guys like you. We have enough obnoxious motor mouths."
Jericho was flattered but this really wasn't working. It was just Jinx's hot hip hop moves vs. Jericho's ineptness at getting down. And it continued that way, Jinx seemingly having a ball of a time as she was fuming Cy's and Kid Flash's gears.
"Don't worry, relax." Jinx smiled at Jericho warmly. "I'll make you look great."
Look great? GAAAAAAH! Jericho slipped, a Hex spell the cause, only to suddenly feel himself spinning like crazy. The rest was just a blur, a bunch of colors and shapes as he felt himself stop. It was true that Joey was a good listener. But when he started hearing claps around him he had to hit himself a couple of times.
Jinx just made him the most badass break dancer on the floor.
"Whoa Jericho, nice moves!" Bumble Bee commented as she was walked over, leaving Aqualad blinking.
"Yes friend," Starfire held the blonde's hand, pulling him up so easily. "You must show us how you did the dance of breaking."
"I am very impressed there." Argent commented, the gothy looking matter manifester dropping her hand to hand grasp with Speedy. "You dance as well as you fight."
"I know! Ain't this kid adorable?" Jinx giggled, the Titan girls forming a circle around him.
"If you need help getting out," Raven muttered from afar, feeling so sorry for this kid for having to deal with these gals turned into a prod group. "Let me know."
Jericho nodded nervously, glancing around in his pure innocence not knowing what to do. Attention was alien to him. Attention from girls felt like winning the Lotto twice… in a row!
"Whoa whoa whoa," Beast Boy jumped over the top. "Let the kid breath now alright?"
"Pantha is curious to know of you." The large wrestler Titan grinned, her grip of Jericho's hand nearly crushing him. "You were very impressive in our battle."
"Well ya can't." BB was always glad to talk for anyone. "Jericho isn't much of a talker. But the dude does play a mean guitar."
"GUITAR?" Most of the girls sighed. Jericho just blushing as he didn't know whether to run away, or just let this attention eat him up alive.
"Guitaring ain't that great," All the other jealous guys commented in whispers as well as with groaning. Their 'womens' were being taken!
Apparently just like his father in his hay day, Jericho was a natural ladies man.
"Play for us friend Jericho!" Starfire pulled at him, the boy shaking his head wildly in embarrassment.
"Oh come on, stop being shy stud." Jinx helped the alien push, Jericho looking around for any help, only to get absolutely nothing.
Soon he was in front of everyone, Cyborg and a few others shutting off the DJ system. An acoustic 'Tacoma' guitar was tossed up to him. Talk about being put on the spot. First dancing, now these guys want a Jericho solo concerto? The submissive boy didn't even try to think on it too much, just sitting there, trying to avoid eye contact.
"Come on Jericho!" Jinx screamed. "Play for us! Woo!"
Our Jinx had already found a comfort zone obviously. Jericho was one who understood that the whole complex nature of morality, Jinx's struggles with her own values. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. And if that was true? One man's embarrassment could be another one's adrenaline rush.
The calm of music.
Pachebel Cannon in D.
Classical guitar. The fingers began to work themselves on the rosewood fret board, all of this being memorized by Joseph's many session of guitar practice alone. Music was the universal language. You didn't need a voice to express how you felt to convey any emotion. Notes, melodies, and scales spoke louder then words to Jericho.
A place for his soul. This was his emotional outlet. And when he was into it, nothing else mattered for that short while. Art was so intertwined. To him painting was the same as music and vice versa.
The one thing that made humans so different and special.
Before Jericho knew it, they were clapping and cheering for him. Hot Spot and Speedy of course spoofing those many metal concerts with their mock lighters (A thumb and flame arrow respectively) in the darkness, getting chuckles from everyone.
"Glorious!" Starfire clapped loudly, Crimson Star and Robin doing the exact same thing.
Red cheeked, Jericho placed the guitar aside preparing to walk back down the stage. It felt good to belong. These Titans were way more then just some team of superheroes. That was more like the Justice League. The Titans were… family.
Jericho gasped, his eyes going wide as he saw something… someone at the doorway. It wasn't a pleasant sight. A bone chilling mask gleamed in the moonlight outside, that one dark eye that used to be a radiant blue glaring right at him. The stare was so cold. Nothing like it was long ago.
The masked being didn't reply, turning his back and walking down the street. Jericho grunted as he shoved some of the Titans off, making a mad dash for the exit. The Titans were as clueless as can be at his outbursts, only a split second later to be RATTLED out of their minds as an explosion that busted through the backside of the club.
For Robin it was so fast, or even too fast, the Boy Wonder dizzily noticing a hole in the wall and plenty of Titans knocked out cold on the floor. The dust from concrete filled the room, Rich Grayson shooing it away with his gloved hand. Two dark silhouettes formed as the dust cleared, the remaining Titans on foot glaring.
They were actually being attacked?
The idea that villains would jump a party stacked with Titans was laughable, Dr. Light learning the hard way earlier today. But these two teens weren't just any kids. They were A LOT more.
"What just… happened?" Beast Boy wiped his dusty face.
"They happened apparently," Speedy prepped his arrows with a pull of that bow. All Titans began to get into position, really not wanting any battle at this point. They thought at least one night of downtime was deserving.
These two had other opinions.
"Ravager," The feminine ninja-esque dressed warrior smirked, hair as white as snow.
"Deathstroke," The male in blue and black armor, a mask split right down the middle pulled out two katana.
It was their names. Names that had been given only by people worthy to hold that title. So much history… so much blood came with these titles.
"Nice party," Ravager smiled behind her mask, those lips blowing a kiss towards our recuperating heroes.
"And now that we've got the greetings out of the way." Deathstroke clinked his two swords together. "I hope you Titans don't mind if we make ourselves feel right at home."
Home seemed like it was going to hurt.
Truth was it was going to hurt a lot.
- W -
Jericho wasn't even thinking. The huffs and puffs the only noises his throat could muster. When it came to his family, the few times he'd been in contact with them, thought never really mattered. He thought about them way too much when he was alone.
The reason we're not together is because I was too weak. Too… different.
The guilt was all on him. The sole reason of why his family was split, the reasons they were all alone was his pain to bare. Joseph's mind would run through that situation countless times, questions that tore at him constantly echoing with no stop eating up inside.
Why couldn't I be more like Grant?
Why do I have to be the weak link?
He was nothing but a coward, letting his father carry all the burden. Grant wouldn't have let Slade make the choice to save him. He was the better brother. He would've saved Adeline's and Slade's marriage.
"You have grown to be quite the nice young man my son." The cryptic voice was heard down the alleyway, Jericho sprinting off that direction going behind the backside of a pizza parlor.
"I watched you as you fought the Brotherhood." Slade was as invisible as air. "In fact I've been watching you ever since I left."
Jericho was beside himself, he wanted to see that man. The man he used to call dad. The loving father that cared for him so much. It was apparent that now there was not even a bit of that man left. As the black and gold armored villain appeared from the shadows Joseph could only gasp, the image of his father shattered into a million pieces.
Father, what did you do to yourself?
… What did, I do to you?
"You were always the artist, a creator," Slade's armored feet shuffled against the street, getting closer. "But now you are ready to be the son that you were meant to be. Like God Jericho… you need the ability to create and… destroy."
Jericho wanted to back away so badly, his body shivering. But his mind fought to stand strong. He wasn't a coward anymore. And he wasn't going to show his father weakness. That was a mistake he wouldn't make again.
"I've been gone from you all too long." Slade hissed, taking a hand to Jericho's shoulder, that fatherly touch covered by a cold obsidian glove.
Jericho didn't even make eye contact, staring to the less harsh floor. It was a combination of being ashamed, and fearful. Fear of the mask Slade wore. Fear of the memories that would flash back if he looked into that eye. Ashamed of his weakness.
"It's a fallacy." Slade knelt down to his son. "You can be scared Jericho. A warrior should be frightened."
"The difference is," The masked cyclops patted his head. "You need to learn how to change that fear. Into… rage. Into a thirst, into ambition."
Father, your mind is so clouded. So much pain hiding behind a mask.
You're just as introverted as I am.
"Do not blame yourself for what happened." Slade almost sounded like the father he once knew. "The past should be left behind. It is irrelevant now. You must look forward Joseph… Jericho."
"So you've lost your voice," Slade grabbed his son's shaky hand, and put it against the black of his mask. "And I've lost my eye."
"But our legacy. Our destiny is still as alive as can be." Slade picked his head up by his chin. "The future is here for you to see Joseph. Don't let your fear get in its way."
It was a conflict. But it must be done. Jericho opened his eyes, glowing bright blue. I won't let you down anymore father. I won't let my fear keep our family apart.
"Face what you fear the most." Slade's eye glared coldly at his boy's blue eyes, the metahuman nodding as Jericho suddenly absorbed into the body. His trial, his fears, his family's destiny it was in his hands.
And as his mother, Headmistress Kane from the H.I.V.E. watched on from behind, a small… evil smirk could only be seen on her face. Jericho sensed her, catching a glimpse as his ghostly self was now inside the mind of his father.
The realization was obvious but never so loud.
The family I knew?
… Is no more
Let the trial begin.
- W -
A/N: One more chapter and this baby is a wrap. Two-shots are just now my "thang". I don't know how soon this will be updated, because I got a lot to finish. This was written while I was heading out to UCLA, because I simply forgot how my Arach went! I got a chunk done on that too btw. Stay tuned for more. Wave!