A/N: I don't own any members of the Justice League. They belong to Cartoon Network, Marvel, and DC Comics. I do, however, own Taipana.

Chapter 15: Dark Guardian

A year had past since the incident with Taipana and Luthor, who had been thrown in jail from another encounter. Since then, the League had experienced a lot of changes. After Luthor escaped from prison, Gorilla Grodd baited him into joining the new Legion of Doom with a piece of Brainiac technology. Luthor, the Key, and Dr. Polaris stole the Spear of Longinus from Blackhawk Island despite Flash, Fire, Shayera, and the last surviving Blackhawk's attempts to stop them.

Shayera agreed to meet with Carter Hall, an archaeologist who has discovered Thanagarian artifacts from ancient Egypt. Carter revealed himself to be her reincarnated lover from the past and Hawkman to a confused Shayera.

Supergirl, Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., and Green Lantern helped Warlord liberate Skartaris, a hidden world inside the Earth's core, from Deimos, a brutal dictator while protecting a very large piece of Kryptonite from Metallo and Silver Banshee.

Diana protected the body of the Viking Prince from Legion agents, who wanted it for reverse engineering of invulnerability powers, whilst J'onn left the League to better understand humanity. Thankfully, he returned.

Orion attempted to understand Flash's antics as Wally and Batman battled four of Flash's rogues that attacked the museum that was opening in his honor.

Deadman convinced Superman, Batman, and Diana to help him retrieve the stolen souls of a mystic order of monks that the Legion had stolen. They forced the Legion to retreat from Gorilla City, ending Grodd's attempt to turn all people on Earth into apes. Back at a general meeting in the Legion of Doom's headquarters, Luthor cited that Grodd's plan failed and that his "master plan" was silly. He shot him, and took over leadership of the Legion of Doom.

General Wade Eiling from Cadmus stole the "Captain Nazi" super-soldier serum, and injected it into himself to protect the world from meta-humans. With the more powerful League members busy, Green Arrow led Stargirl, S.T.R.I.P.E., Shining Knight, Crimson Avenger, Vigilante, and Speedy against him. Eiling only stopped short of killing Shining Knight when a civilian pointed out that Eiling's reason for attacking the heroes was non-existent, as his entire reason for the attack was to rid the world of meta-humans and he was the only one there with super powers.

Magic and science then collided, placing Luthor and Flash's minds in each other's body. The Justice League had to contain a super-speed powered Luthor on the Watchtower while Flash tried to hide the reversal from the Legion. That situation ended fairly well, for the most part.

Roulette restarted Metabrawl, this time with an all-female fight card made up of mind-controlled Justice Leaguers. The Metabrawl took place in Bludhaven, Batman's old friend Dick Grayson's, Nightwing, city. Huntress was allowed re-admittance into the League from Black Canary, but declined.

The hardest blow of all was yet to come though. On her twenty first birthday, Supergirl, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow were kidnapped and taken to the 31st century by Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, where Supergirl was destined to embark on her very last mission: a battle against the Fatal Five and the Legion itself. She fell in love with Brainiac 5 and opted to stay in the future since, according the Legions records, disappeared from the League, Earth, and the universe of the 21st century after her twenty first birthday.

The Hawkman story concluded here when Shadow-Thief captured Green Lantern and beat Shayera and Hawkman, forcing them to watch a vision of their past selves developing an ancient society of Egypt with Thanagarian technology. It turned out that Shadow-Thief was a villain from Carter's mind that was released when he touched the Absorbacron. Hawkman defeated Shadow-Thief by realizing that it not the way he wanted to approach things and left. Green Lantern, not wanting to have destiny play out his life, didn't get back together with Shayera, even though the two confessed their love for one another. Green Lantern went back to Vixen, but not before he told Shayera about Rex Stewart, Warhawk, their possible future son.

Yes, those were just normal days in the lives of the Justice League.

On Earth though, by some miracle, Batman had managed to keep tabs on Taipana. It was after her return to Earth that she slowed down on her bounty hunting, and focused more on re-assimilating herself into society. She got a job, a real job, at a music store part time. The rest of her time was spent working for the police and trying to cut the record she'd always dreamed off. Batman was not surprised at all when she finally got signed to Spade, a fairly new record company.

This particular night, he decided was a fine time to check up on her. Through many sources he'd found out that she was playing at a small club, Aces and Eight's. At the present moment, he was on the sky light roof of the club, watching. The place was packed, and the band was setting up. Pretty soon there was cheering as Taipana came onto the stage, smiling widely and waving to the crowd. She introduced herself, the crowd cheered some more, and the band kicked in.

Hopefully, Taipana would perform well and her career would take off.

Somebody help me! I'm being haunted by a whisper, a chill comes over me. I've been trapped inside this moment. I'm not a victim, I'm not a freak.

Free me, before I slip away! Heal me, wake me from this day! Can somebody help me?

I've seen the face of my affliction, of my reality. I'm being tortured by the future, of things that yet to be. I'm being haunted by a vision. It's like the moment never comes. I feel the burden of confusion -- always searching, on the run.

Free me, before I slip away! Heal me, wake me from this day! Can somebody help me? Somebody help me!

Now, I'm not a hero, no! But the weight of the world on my soul! These images burn in my eyes! They're burning me up inside!

Free me, before I slip away! Heal me, wake me from this day! Can somebody help me?

Free me, before I slip away! Heal me, wake me from this day! Can somebody help me? Somebody help me! Somebody help me! Somebody help me!

The crowd roared as her single, Somebody Help Me, came to a close. Batman watched Taipana closely, seeing her smile happily at being so well received. Silently, he was thankful that she didn't realize that he was watching her. That would mean that he still, on some level, cared for her. Whether that was true or not, even he didn't know.

With a sigh, he turned to leave when something caught his eyes. Her eyes, they were golden yellow again. Her fingernails, they were sharp and dark green again. Smirking as he straightened, Batman realized what that meant. Taipana was a meta-human again. Her powers had returned. How he had missed that over the past year, in all his "tab keeping" he didn't know.

Leaving without a word, Batman took some comfort in the fact that the old Taipana, his Kendra, was back. He didn't have to worry about her anymore. Well, not as much anyway. As he took off in his jet, the crowd continued cheering. Taipana was still waving to the crowd as she looked up at the skylight. She didn't know it had been Batman, but she had sensed she had someone watching her, some guardian angel. Whether it was the Dark Knight of Gotham or not, she didn't care.

She just smiled.

P.S.: Three pages total.

P.S.: Fifty-eight pages total.