Disclaimer: Still don't own Justice League or the episode Hereafter.
Title: There's Still Hope
As always, perspective changes with –VvV- Holds true for all chapters.
The episode Hereafter deals with the Revenge Squad, a group consisting of Metallo, Livewire, Kalibak, Toy Man and the Weather Wizard, all intent on exacting their revenge against Superman for past defeats they've suffered at his hands. This story will start amidst the action with the Squad in downtown Metropolis, bent on gaining Superman's attention by trashing the city.
Thanks, as always, to my wonderful beta, Lavendar Gaia!
Chapter 1, Superman's Dead, by Our Lady Peace
Diana's perspective- (I'm going to spend a lot of time in Bruce's brain later)
I came upon a scene of devastation and ruin when I arrived in Metropolis. Soaring through the sky, I was able to take in the entire scene, perched in the winds above the city. The Revenge Squad had created a landscape of destruction and chaos – cars piled in a fiery heap, the villains encircled by a cluster of police vehicles, sirens wailing and lights blazing as they attempted to stem the damage and prevent the Squad's escape. Helicopters littered the sky with whirring blades, and armed figures of all types were scattered through the streets of the city, all of which merely provided fodder for the villains, target practice while they continued their barrage on Metropolis.
From behind the burning stack of ruined cars rose Toyman, armed in what appeared to be a giant robot of red and blue, its brightness standing out amongst the pillars of black smoke that climbed toward the skies.
A swirl of white on the ground caught my eye and I headed towards it to discover Flash trapped under a car as the winds controlled by the Weather Wizard raged around us, a patch of ice suggesting that Flash had slipped on the machinations of the meteorological villain. Flash didn't appear to be crushed, simply unable to move the enormous weight perched above him, teetering on a light pole that had surely saved his life.
Balancing myself in the air, I braced the car on my shoulders and lifted it onto my back and hefting its weight above my head.
"Windy," Flash commented with a sheepish look on his face, still flat on his back under the light pole.
The wind raged around us, whipping my hair about my face as I answered him, "I gathered." I flung the car to the side, careful to avoid it being tossed back in my face from a gust created by the Weather Wizard. Suddenly, lightning lanced the skies, crackling and hissing as it dove back towards me, the skies filling with blackness and menace. Bracing my arms together at the wrists, I raised them and fought to hold off the lightning with my bracelets, groaning with the force that I was exerting to keep the strike from entering my body, to ignore the lightning arcing around me in deadly spits.
As it finally let up, I turned back to help Flash escape his prison of debris and heard him say, "There are so many reasons why that shouldn't work." Ignoring his comment, I began to lift the pole from atop his body, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Weather Wizard preparing for another strike and I whipped out my arm, catching the lightning strike with my bracelet and reflecting it back at its bearer. It hit Weather Wizard squarely in the chest, knocking him backwards and dislodging the wand from his grasp. Satisfied that my work had been completed with this foe, that I had foiled his plot for the moment, I again picked up the electrical pole and removed it from atop Flash.
Tossing the pole to the side, I outlined the plan to the scarlet speedster.
"Our next priority is to get rid of Metallo."
"I got an idea," Flash declared, leaping to his feet and racing to my side to take hold of one end of my lasso. I stared at him in surprise, but before I could even speak, he handed me the side that he was not grasping and said, "Hang on."
I stood there, watching him race off in a scarlet blur towards Metallo's present location. Suddenly realizing what he had planned, I took to the air, going in the opposite direction of Flash so that we could literally send Metallo flying, almost like a slingshot. The plan went perfectly, the metal man caught in the stomach by the lasso and it propelled him through the air, out of our sight and currently out of our hands.
Dropping my end of the lasso, I fended off lightning bolts from Weather Wizard and made my way towards Kalibak, the monstrous son of Darkseid, but his brute strength immediately came to the forefront. He knocked me down brutally with his metal weapon, my bracelets unable to sustain the force of the attack and he pounced on me, driving his fists into my sides and face, pummeling me mercilessly before finally dispensing with me with one driving blow. I felt my body rip through several layers of concrete and building materials and I collapsed, unable to move amongst the debris and dust and too exhausted to attempt the effort, finally blacking out from the pain.
I awoke, presumably a few minutes later, still powerless to summon the strength to rise to my feet, even to move the pieces of collapsed building that rested on my legs. I weakly opened my eyes when I heard a groaning mechanical noise, vaguely noticing that Toyman's robot had changed the front of its exterior to what looked like a rocket launcher or some sort of energy beam dispenser. Closing my eyes again, I tried to find the concentration to clear my brain, to sweep away the cobwebs that littered my thoughts and help my teammates deal with this situation.
But, my mind cloudy and still fog-ridden, I could do little more than lie there, listening to the sounds of screams of terror and the blasts of noise generated by Toyman's machine. Cracking open my eyes, I watched as green blasts of energy were fired into the air by Toyman, each completely obliterating whatever it struck, leaving gaping holes in the ground and causing widespread panic and chaos. I could see my teammates moving frantically across the skies and ground in order to protect the citizens, to rescue them from certain danger and place them in secure locations, away from the glowing discharges from Toyman's robot and weapon.
I raised my head wearily as Bruce entered my vision, trying anxiously to free me from my confinement and debris. I could him he whispering to me, hoping to revive my strength with his words, and blinking blearily, I focused on the desperation written on his face, the worry that lined his expression and the fog began to clear. I tried with what little strength I could muster to free myself, to help Bruce in his efforts. Breaking clear of the debris, I could hear the energy buzzing behind me as Toyman prepared to launch another blast, but I was unable to see its location, unable to see that it was pointed directly at Bruce and me in a ploy to lure Superman into sacrificing himself for his teammates, for his friends.
I heard his voice screaming, "No!" and just as Bruce was helping me to my feet, we looked up to see, to witness in horror the skeleton of Superman, the ashy remnants emboldened against the glowing green of the beam, and then, nothing. He had disappeared, screaming in agony in the name of protecting us, given his body and soul in order to ensure that Bruce and I were still safe, still able to carry on. I couldn't even comprehend his sacrifice, only knew that my fuzzy brain was realizing that my friend was gone, that I had been used in order to…to kill Superman.
Bruce turned to look at me, stunned disbelief and grief lining our faces as the shock began to disappear. As the smoke began to clear, a smoldering remnant of red cape floated gently to the ground, and Batman stood, searching the skies as if by sight alone he could bring Superman back, could return the fallen hero to our ranks.
The silence grew as everyone stared in horror at the last location of Superman, as if we could still see his outline disappearing from the sky. Mouths hung open in shock, cries fell to the ground in sorrow as we realized that this time, he wasn't coming back. He wasn't going to rush in and save the day in the nick of time; he wasn't going to reappear with a boyish smile and the 'S' standing proudly on his chest; he was gone. And we were now six.
The smoke continued to billow, the cameras continued to roll as the world witnessed in abject horror the death of Superman, the beloved hero of Metropolis. We continued, thoughts flying and anger seeping, to believe. And with each moment, that disbelief that he could truly be gone began to wane and the sorrow and grief began to roll in waves of emotion through the entire city, through the entire world, and through the Justice League.
I rose unsteadily to my feet, launching myself into the air as a mist of rage and anguish began to pour through my shaky system, intent on dispatching justice in the only way I could think of at the moment: destroying Toyman, the villain who had killed my friend.
It seemed so recently that we had all been laughing and joking together, singing along with the karaoke machine and enjoying each other's company, intent on becoming friends and comrades once again. And that day such a short time again, that bond had been cemented, thanks to Flash and his efforts and endeavors to celebrate our friendship and each other.
Yet, here we were, having so recently rejoiced in our time together, losing one of our members. A loss that seemed at each moment to become more permanent, more real in the shock and grief that embraced all of us.
I tore through the front of the robot, destroying the energy dispenser, toppling it before standing before Toyman, judge, jury and executioner.
He aimed a water pistol at me, shouting, "Stay back! It's full of acid!"
I carelessly flicked the gun to the side, plucking Toyman from the ground and holding him aloft, sweater vest wrapped in my fist as I stared at him, vehemence in my expression and tears wetting my cheeks. I drew back my fist, and looked him dead in the eye as lightning punctured the sky and rain pierced the streets as if the gods themselves were angered by the death of Superman.
"Do I look like I'm playing games?"
"What are you going to do to me?" he stammered, and I could see the fear in his eyes as a bolt of lightning lit the sky.
"I'm going to punch a hole in your head," I stated calmly, pulling my fist back further as tears fell from the heavens and from my eyes.
And as I began to move my arm forward, I felt it stopped by a gloved hand wrapped around my arm.
"We don't do that to our enemies," Flash told me.
"Speak for yourself," I asserted, anger lacing my tone and grief fogging my brain.
"I'm trying to speak for Superman," he answered quietly and the sorrow in his voice finally pierced the cloud of misery, made me realize that this was not the answer, not the way to find justice, not the way that Superman would have chosen to avenge his death. I lowered my fists and my eyes, trying desperately to stem the tears as I finally understood that Superman was dead. And, tossing Toyman to the ground, I hugged my body with my arms, searching for some warmth left inside me on this cold day, for some relief amidst this misery. But none came and I knew that today, I wasn't going to be able to find the warmth in my soul.
We were only six.
Next chapter: Broken/Run To Me – Dealing with the guilt of being the pawn in Toy Man's game to destroy Superman…
10 points to my first reviewer! HEHE. Would you prefer my undying gratitude?