Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. I doubt this one's going to win me any popularity contests but do R/R anyway.
He struggled more than I would've given him credit. My first question is whether or not I'll ever be able to wear this tie again. I liked this tie. I should make a note to never wear favored ties when I have to choke people with them. I'll remember that.
He was almost the President of the United States. Many great men were killed too soon. Perhaps there's a connection somewhere, some overlapping conspiracy against those that are extraordinary. But there's no grand conspiracy surrounding the death of Lex Luthor. It was what had to be done and I'm the only one crazy enough to do it. I wonder if there's a connection between insanity and presidential assassins. That's something worth looking about. I stare down at the body. A is A. Luthor is Luthor. Time marches onward, the cruelest of masters, and as the seconds tick by, they usher in a new era that no one but me and a few other people on this planet can understand. There are many jokes made in the halls of the Watchtower about how saving the world has become a day job for us, something so mundane that we take it for granted. I do not make such jokes.
"For a better world," I mutter disdainfully. We're not so far removed from the world of the Justice Lords. Waller's computer simulations were incredibly accurate, perhaps more accurate than anyone's willing to admit. All it takes is one step over the line. But therein lies the trick. For some people, like Superman for instance, the line is very, very clear and distinct. Members of the Justice League do not kill. There is never a cause for murder. Period. End of discussion. However, there are others, myself as an example, who see the line as blurred at best and non-existent at worst. Sometimes situations come up and we make a choice. Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. All it takes is one step over the line but the trick is knowing where to step. I wonder something. How much does it take to break a man? How much would it take to turn someone like Superman into someone like Lex Luthor? A question worth pondering.
I . . . I need to get out of here. At least I think I do. At this point, I weigh my options. Would they ever be able to trace this to me? Can I get away with murder? Can I save the entire world by killing the most powerful man in it and then simply return to business as usual? Too many questions. I . . . I don't have time to answer them all. Who will the League send after me? Superman? Batman? Green Arrow? No . . . too many questions. Can't . . . can't think and I . . . I have to do something.
There is noise outside the room. I can hear the sounds of a fight. The blows aren't the hard, thunderous punches of the Man of Steel. They're smooth, light, more finesse and less force. Batman? I suppose they would send a detective after me. Can I outmaneuver the world's greatest detective? Is it even worth it at this point? More questions without answers. A body smashes the door in. I was wrong, inaccurate. How ironic that someone like me misinterprets the facts.
"Q?" It takes a couple seconds for the Huntress to get it all in. She's a smart woman, smarter than what the League gives her credit. I assume she saw the files. I assume she knows why this had to be done.
"Helena," I reply quietly, "You . . . you weren't supposed to see this."
"You . . . you killed him," replies Helena, the shock evident in her eyes. It shouldn't be so shocking. She would do no less in my position. When is it acceptable to kill? That's the question of the ages. She wanted to kill the man that murdered her parents and she was ostracized from the League for it. I never wanted to kill Luthor but did it out of obligation and for the greater good. Will I be praised because my actions were more noble-minded? Highly unlikely.
"Helena, I did this for us," I explain, "You. Me. The League. The world."
"They're going to come for you," states Helena, "They're going to throw you in jail."
"I know," I tell her, "The League will thank me for this some day though, Helena." Great men are never understood in their own lifetimes. It's a sad but true fact.
"I saw the video," says Helena, "Q, that world was a different world. There could've been a different way to change this one."
"There is no different way," I respond as she moves towards me, "A is A. Armageddon was inevitable unless someone did something to stop it."
"You can't say that for sure," replies Helena tearfully, "Vic . . . God, Vic, why do you have to act like you know everything?" She knows what's going to happen. I will be put on trial. I will go to jail. Then comes the death penalty. The League won't help me. They'll drop me like garbage and they'll live on through the shame. I won't live on though. I'll take the bullet for them and they won't lift one damn finger to help me. She knows this just as much as I do.
"I won't let them railroad you," assures Helena defiantly, "I won't let them!" Touching sentiments, my beautiful Helena. Would that things could work out differently. You were made for better things, my Helena. You weren't meant to see so much death.
"You have no choice," I whisper quietly as she stands in front of me. She's so close that I can smell her perfume. God, she's beautiful.
"We'll run," says Helena, "C'mon, let's go." She takes my hand and moves towards the window, intent on leaping through it and swinging off with me into the night.
"No," I tell her, having finally gotten around to answering some of the questions. She turns and looks at me as if I'm insane. I'm used to it by now.
"Q, this is no time to be a hero," says Helena.
"Yes, it is," I reply. There is but one final mystery I have to solve. There is one question so undeniable and inescapable that I have to answer it. They'll put me in a padded room and pump me full of their chemicals. An insanity defense will work. So it won't be the death penalty for me. It'll be a fate far worse than that. I stare at Helena. Who would deny that I am insane? She would.
"The League will crucify you for this," whispers Helena as I hold her closer, "They're probably on their way right now." I'll have to be quick about this then, given the speed at which some League members move.
"I did this because it was for the best," I whisper as I take her hand, "The same goes for what I'm going to do now. Please remember that, Helena." The crossbow's already loaded. It's pressed right against my stomach, right against the soft spot below my ribcage. I'm sorry for this, Helena. I wish there was another way.
"Q?" asks Helena as she feels my fingers wrap around the trigger, "Q, what the hell are you doing?" The sound echoes ominously as I pull the trigger and discharge a bolt into my own chest.
"What's necessary," I gasp as I fall backwards, grabbing the crossbow from her hands and moving it upward. It has to go through the heart.
"Q!" cries Helena as I discharge another bolt, "Vic!" That one . . . that one got it. I barely register my body hitting the floor. Helena rushes forward and grabs me.
"You ass!" snarls Helena as she rips the bolts out of me, "You incredibly stupid ass!" I smile behind my mask as I stare at her. She's . . . she's beautiful when she's angry.
"Don't you dare die on me!" snaps Helena, "Damn it, Q, don't leave me now!" God, Helena, I'm sorry for this. Maybe in some other world, we could've been happy together. Would that be possible? I hope so. If A is A then Q is Q and Helena is Helena. So it would make sense that we would be attracted to each other in other worlds. Maybe in some other life, circumstances would've allowed us to be together like we should've been.
"They won't . . . understand," I whisper, "Help them . . . find the connection."
"Vic," pleads Helena desperately, "Vic, you have to stay!"
"I have . . . to know the answer," I tell her. What happens to a man when he dies? I have to know. It's the ultimate question and I have to find the answer somehow.
"I love you," whispers Helena.
"I love you too," I whisper back. Everything slowly dims as I feel Helena kiss me. What's beyond this world? What happens to a man when he dies? So many questions. There will be time enough to answer them all.