The Power Of Femininity
Light had her. She couldn't see. And his voice…the things he was saying… They made her skin crawl. She was so afraid. What if the League didn't get there in time?
But Sue knew that Light's only power was Light. He was smart, but he was crazy, and his body was only human.
She could fight him.
Ralph was the detective, though Sue was no slouch in the brains department. She'd taken a women's self-defense class, then realized the whole thing was bogus. She needed offensive power, not just defensive, not if she was going to work with the Elongated Man.
She wasn't up to breaking boards with her hands yet, but Sue was good, really good at karate. She'd just gotten her brown belt. So Sue let Light think he got the drop on her. She screamed, and didn't have the fake the fear in her voice. She'd probably have more than one shot, but the first one would have the element of surprise.
Sue fought, but made sure not to get hurt too badly in the process. Then, when Light had her pinned – Don't think about it, don't think about it, don't think what'll happen if this goes wrong… – Sue took stock of where his body was in relation to hers, and then, mind screaming, she struck. Her heel connected to his crotch with as much force as she could muster.
That was a lot. She couldn't break boards with her hands, but she could break them with her bare feet. And she still had on one sneaker.
Light went down, bawling like a baby and Sue reeled away. She gave him a few kicks to the head for good measure, pleased to hear his blubbering cut off; hopefully she'd managed to knock him out.
And there she was, shaking, and cowering in the corner. She wanted to run, to flee, but where could she hide that Light wouldn't find her?
When Barry arrived, she recognized the sound of a speedster, but for all she knew it was Dr. Zoom, and she got into a ready position. Barry was shocked by what he found, and babbled his worries as he almost broke her ribs with his hug. Sue actually had to remind Barry that Light needed to be restrained.
Hal put so many chains on him she could hear the weight of light-formed metal groan. And Ralph…Ralph was practically hysterical, which was just her luck. Both of them couldn't break down at once, or neither of them would regain coherency any time soon. She'd have to wait him out.
So she listened to him babble, and felt the giant ache of fear/worry/panic start to ease a bit. "Oh, God, Sue…" he said, and wrapped around her so tight Sue felt like she would suffocate. But it was Ralph, and this all-encompassing hug had never scared her, and she wasn't about to let ten minutes of her life change that. "I'm so glad you're all right," he sobbed. "I'm so sorry I wasn't there. I'm so proud of you for fighting him. I'm so glad you're all right."
Sue realized, through the haze of half-shock, that Ralph was right. She was all right. She was safe now.
She'd fought him on her own…and won. And once she'd had some time to collect herself, she'd be ready to make sure Light got put away for a long, long time.
Edwald was dead. Her brother was dead. And the…thing, the alien creature that killed him was trying to control her. Trying to make her do his bidding.
Trying to make her as much of a killer as he was.
Ask anyone, and they would tell you that Tora was a sweet-natured woman, and didn't like hurting people. But she was a superhero, and she did what she had to do.
And no one got away with murder as long as she was still breathing.
Tora had always been strong-willed. She needed that strength to break free of Overmaster's control. She had to fight him, had to stop him.
Had to keep him from killing anyone else.
When she finally broke free, she knew she couldn't hang around, not even to gather her wits. If Overmaster tried to take control of her again, she didn't know if she could stop him.
Stop him…she could stop him. She'd have to kill him, but he was a completely alien being. He didn't seem to have a conscience, and his way of thinking did not mesh at all with Earthly morals.
And despite her banishment, she was a princess, and used to the idea that those in charge sometimes had to make hard choices to protect their people.
So Tora used her powers, more intricately and more intensely than she'd ever let herself before. She got inside the pores of his body, latching onto the water inside of him – and froze it. Froze it all.
His heart stopped pumping as his blood became so much frozen slush. After five minutes had passed, his brain was as dead as dead could be.
Her teammates were mostly so glad to have her back safe that they didn't say anything. Batman, of course, felt differently, though admitted that she couldn't be brought up on charges for what amounted to self-defense against a being that wasn't even of Earthly origin.
Tora herself… She hadn't liked killing Overmaster. But she didn't regret it. He was trying to take over the world, and he could possibly have done it. Some people were just too dangerous too live.
She might have saved the world. She had saved one small corner of it, including her friends: Booster and Michelle, Ted and Bea…Guy.
Tora could live with that.
Sheila had no idea how she'd ended up like this. She'd wanted to be a doctor to escape her old, crappy life. To make things better for other people, and get a nice fat check for it.
She couldn't do that as a single mom, and anyway, that woman Willis had seemed like she'd make a better mother than her, anyway. But despite everything, Sheila had still ended up in debt to a madman with a gun, someone who had control of her life. She could have stayed in Gotham and become a hooker, for all the autonomy and safety she had.
At least most pimps weren't nuts. But the Joker was, and he was here, and so was her son.
Jason. Jason Todd. Jason Todd Wayne, and Sheila was almost jealous of the kid for that, for having gotten adopted by a man with more money than God, who actually seemed to care about him.
Sheila had never had that. But Jason…Jason could.
But not if the Joker got his way.
The clown had already left by the time she made it down to the warehouse. She didn't spare a thought for him, too focused on that crudely scrawled invoice for a bomb. A bomb! And not some homemade fertilizer crap thing, but a real one!
There was only one minute and thirteen seconds left on the clock when she got inside. Sheila tried not to think of it as an omen. Then she tried not to think about why the Joker had dressed her son up in some sort of circus costume.
No, Robin costume, like that kid that helped out Batman. But it didn't matter; Sheila needed to get them out of there.
Thankfully Jason wasn't attached to the bomb in anyway. He was unconscious, beaten up, bloodied and with probably several broken bones, but alive and breathing.
She didn't know if his spine was okay, but she couldn't be a doctor right then; she had to be a mother. Sheila carried Jason out of the warehouse at a run, heading for the desert dunes, hoping for cover.
The explosion was so loud Sheila felt her ears ring, and the wash of heat that drove her forward was hotter than the sands beneath her feet.
But they were alive.
Once they were a safe distance away from the carnage, Sheila pulled out her cell phone. It had been bought and paid for by the Joker; Like I was, she thought with a twist of her gut. Mentally resolving to replace it, she called the European 911 and told them what had happened. Then she called Wayne, and told him what had happened. Then she administered first aid, like the doctor she was, taking special care like the mom she could maybe still be.
Somehow, Sheila wasn't surprised when Wayne arrived first. And he didn't look at all surprised by the Robin costume.
Even if he wasn't Batman, Sheila still needed his help. She knew about the Joker's plan to become a diplomat for Qurac. Why anyone in any government would be corrupt enough to take on a supervillain…well, there were many. But to take on a supervillain that was nuts?
Sheila was going to make sure that didn't happen. And after that…maybe she'd get to know her son.
He seemed like a good kid, despite, or maybe because of, her nature.
Selina was finally getting her life on track. She'd gotten away from Stan, she had a job that kept her fed and in a nice apartment, and she and Maggie were actually talking to each other again.
She even had two cats, Isis and Gypsy.
What she didn't have, was justice. Well, more like vengeance, but the men who'd led her to Stan still needed to be stopped. If she broke a few of their heads at the same time, who'd care?
Certainly not her, or the lousy good-for-nothing cops.
Turned out the big man in charge also ran child prostitution rings. Well now, that just wouldn't do. Not at all. But the big man had moved to Star City, and the operation was too big for Selina to take down by herself, so she alerted the authorities to their presence.
The police, the FBI, and the Justice Society, which was the only 'super-team' with their number in the phone book.
When they arrived, red and blush flashing lights, black cars with tinted windows, and brightly colored costumes, Selina was prepared to sit back and watch the show.
She wasn't prepared for some scum-sucking twenty-something, looking like he just stepped off the cover of GQ, to be dragging a little blonde girl, couldn't be more than ten, away from the warehouse. It looked as if he'd been bringing her in, and was now trying to get away from the cops.
With the 'merchandise' in tow. Only, said merchandise was fighting him.
"No!" she shrieked. Selina winced at the hurt, more emotional than physical, in her voice. "Dammit, I thought you loved me! I thought you cared! But you're just like them, like all of them!" The snarl on her face was a wildcat's, even through the tears. God, she looked so much like Holly… "And I won't let you use me!" She stomped on his foot, the momentary pain causing his grip to loosen, and, taking advantage of that moment, she ran. But the man was taller, with longer legs, and she was obviously weak.
He would have caught her – but Selina got in his way. She wrapped her whip around his throat, twisting it tighter until he passed out.
"Are you okay, kitten?" Selina asked, barely even noticing the endearment. This close, she didn't look like Holly, but her spirit…yes, that was familiar.
The girl was gasping for breath, and she didn't look good. She stood up straight and put on a brave face, saying, "Y-yeah, I'm…I'm okay." She was so shaky she didn't even seem to think that being rescued by a woman in a purple catsuit carrying a whip was unusual.
Selina's street-bred eye catalogued the girl: runaway for six months, no more than eight. Had most likely been stealing and scrounging to get by. Met the deadbeat at their feet less than a month ago, and he'd taken care of her, told her everything would be all right. Made her feel safe and loved. From the scarcity and relative newness of the track marks on her arms, he'd probably only just started trying to get her hooked, using 'recreational' drugs.
It was like looking at herself ten years in the past. Like Holly when they'd first met. If either of them had had a place to go, they wouldn't have fallen in with Stan.
If Selina could find this girl a place, she could have a life.
And Selina knew of just the place. "Listen, kitten, what's your name?"
The girl looked wary, but like most kids on the street, women weren't considered as dangerous as men. Not that they couldn't be, but nine times out of ten, the really dangerous ones had Y chromosomes. "Mia," she said. "Mia…Dearden."
And Mia didn't have any real attachment to her last name, seemed like. Explained certain things. "I'm Selina." Selina paused a moment, then said, "Listen, Mia, I've been where you are. I can't tell you what to do, but if I had my life to live over…" She shook her head; she didn't need to go down that road right then. "Let me give you some advice. And please, take it."
Mia licked her lips, stared down at the guy on the ground, and then turned to her, tears and determination in her eye. "Okay. What is it, Selina?"
"There's a shelter on Fifth," Selina said. "It's run by good people." Actually, Green Arrow was a bit of a flake, especially if he thought people couldn't recognize that distinctive beard, but he had more money than God, and after his sidekick got hooked on heroin, seemed intent on cleaning up the streets and helping the kids he found there. He'd already subsidized four group foster homes for kids just like Mia, and another half dozen were in the planning stages. "I know you think you've heard that all before, but I've been in your shoes and I can tell these guys are making a difference. They do care, and they'll make sure you are taken care of."
If Oliver Queen didn't take Mia in, she'd be damn surprised. And she'd shove his quiver up his sanctimonious ass.
"I…" Mia swallowed, and looked almost embarrassed. "I don't know where Fifth Street is." Selina added that tidbit of information to her mental file; Mia had met up with the scumbag now acting as a speed bump in another town.
And he'd brought her to Star City to separate her from whatever family or friends she might have had.
Selina tamped down her anger, promising herself a long session using the scumbag and his ilk as a punching bag later in the evening. "I'll take you there, kitten," Selina promised. And she'd watch over Mia, too.
The girl had too much of the cat in her for Selina not to be curious about how she ended up.
Fighting. She was always fighting her father's influence. She'd spent her entire life doing so, and it still hadn't been enough.
But she wasn't going to stop.
Raven's awareness of her soul-self was extremely lacking, but she focused on it, as hard as she ever had on defeating Trigon, and came to find herself floating above…a wedding?
At the altar were Starfire and Nightwing. Her friends, making the commitment they'd all been waiting for.
And above them, next to her, hovered the Phantasm. Her mother, and Danny, and the souls of Azarath. And outside the church…Trigon neared.
They would only be able to defeat him if they worked together.
So Raven possessed Phantasm, though she disliked performing such a dark art. It was necessary, and once joined, Phantasm understood her reasons…and her plan. They laid in wait for Trigon several miles from the church; Raven hoped to keep her friends from the fight on what should have been a happy day.
Once Trigon arrived, the fight was swift, and brutal. But Raven/Phantasm won, and the cost of their lives.
Their lives…but not their souls. Raven couldn't hold onto Phantasm as she was pulled into limbo, and she feared what would happen if Trigon, defeated but not destroyed, found them again.
But she had saved her friends. And she wished Koriand'r and Dick well in their new life together.
Maybe, one day, she too would get a new life.
She should have checked to see who was at the door before she opened it. When Barbara saw the glint of a Hawaiian print shirt as she started to open it, she got confused. And some inner sense started screaming danger.
So she moved to stand behind the door as she finished opening it.
And there stood the Joker, maniacal grin on his face, gun in his hand. He had it pointed straight ahead – and her father was right in its path.
Barbara shoved the door closed, hearing the thunk of solid oak, and then the CRACK! of a bullet hitting it.
"Go!" she yelled to her father as she slammed the lock shut, and he headed for the window, and the fire escape.
James Gordon was no fool; he hadn't seen the Joker, but he'd heard the shot.
"Barbara?" he shouted back to her in worry as she veered towards her bedroom.
"It's the Joker; call the cops, dad!" she yelled, which did nothing to alleviate his worry. But he thought she was going to exit through her bedroom window, give them both a better chance of getting away by splitting up.
That may have been the smart thing to do, but Barbara remembered Dick telling her about what had happened to Jason. She also knew the statistics; the Joker killed more people in New Jersey in a year than AIDS and cancer combined killed in the entire country. The clown was a cancer. He needed to be excised.
Jim didn't know Barbara was heading for the secret panel she'd put into her closet, the one that hid her Batgirl gear. She'd been thinking about giving up the vigilante nightlife, but when a crazy costumed criminal comes into your home…
Maybe she'd been hasty.
She grabbed her cape, wrapping the Kevlar garment around her, feeling the seconds tick by with more gunshots ringing in her ears to count them. Then she grabbed the gun her father had given her for protection. Batman might not kill, but she'd been a Gordon long before she'd become a Bat.
She'd only become Batgirl because she didn't think being a cop would help Gotham enough. The FBI got bogged down in bureaucracy. The Suicide Squad only did dirty work, and anyway, that was mostly former supervillains.
Maybe she should rethink that offer from Checkmate.
Barbara didn't think any of those things until afterward. After she'd waited on the other side of the door, purposely making enough fidgeting noise that the Joker would turn her way. After he'd moved to open the door, not noticing that she could see him through the barest sliver between the hinges. After she'd moved, faster than faster, like she was going for a triple spin on her dismount instead of a double, and shot him, point-blank, in the face.
The resulting spray of blood, brain matter, and bone chips would be something she'd never forget.
But Barbara knew it wasn't over. She could hear his goons out in the living room. They probably though she was the one who'd been shot. She'd have to be quick, again, since she didn't hear sirens, though maybe they were running silent.
Not in Gotham.
"Boss?" Mook #1 called out, as Barbara dropped her gun with shaking hands to the floor and grabbed her sleeping gas bombs from the Batgirl utility belt. She threw them out the door, and in less than a minute heard two loud thunks as the meatheads hit the floor.
She stuffed the cape and the rest of her costume into the hidden panel. She left the gun and its' box on the floor. The sleeping gas bombs she quickly threw out the window. When the detectives asked, she'd say she hit them over the head with a heavy metal bookend.
To make it look realistic, Barbara did so. Then, once the scene was set, she gave into her exhaustion. Barbara sank to her knees on the floor, absently noting the blood stains on her white carpet. She made a mental note to get it replaced. No, to move.
Sirens started up, and Babs breathed a sigh of relief. Her father was okay.
So was she.
She ran. She had to get away. He was coming after her, and the baby–
The baby. The babies. She had one child in her arms, safe from the Scarecrow's madness, but the others…
Sarah halted her headlong rush only to find herself in an alley. She took a look around, and almost laughed – or cried – from the irony: right across the street was the church that had originally taken the Scarecrow in.
The church that was protected by the Huntress.
Sarah shivered in the cool night air, and cuddled the crying bay close to her as she climbed up the fire escape to the roof of the church. "Hello? Huntress? Please, I need your help."
For a moment, Sarah called herself a fool. Just because Huntress looked out for the church, didn't mean she was there right that minute. Batman watched over all of Gotham, after all…
Then the voice came: "What kind of help?"
Sarah turned, careful to hold the baby out of harm's way. She saw a tall, dark-haired woman in a purple cape, carrying a crossbow. The purple could have meant Catwoman or that new girl, Spoiler. The crossbow could have meant Renegade, the enigmatic young man who generally used thrown knives, but also the occasional arrow. Both the color and the weapon meant it was Huntress. "The Scarecrow. He's down at Wayne Memorial, trying to kill all the babies that've been born since the quake." She wanted to cry, to quake, to fall down and sleep off the adrenaline-induced exhaustion of the past few days. But the baby in her arms was only one of many, and she was a cop first and foremost.
She knew how to get down to business.
The Huntress appeared shocked, but solid. Good; she may have been a vigilante, not a cop, but she could handle it. "Are any of the other crazies with him?"
Sarah shook her head. "No. But the hospital staff can't stop him, and he's got a lot of help." How anyone could sign on with a crazy to kill babies, Sarah didn't know. She'd seen a lot of sick things in her career, but Gotham was already a wasteland; why were people trying to turn it into Hell on Earth?
Huntress gave a sharp nod. "The priests'll take care of you two in the church. I'll get some of the others to help me, and we'll stop him."
"Others?" Sarah couldn't help but ask, even as she turned towards her and the baby's haven.
"There's a new Batgirl," Huntress told her. "Best fighter I've ever seen." She smirked, and gave Sarah a wink. "But not the toughest, Commish."
The world was falling apart, there were dozens of babies that might die, and yet…Sarah found herself heading for the church with a smile on her face.
Always. Dinah always took care of herself.
Jankowski wasn't insane, not quite. He was a sociopath, and really liked using his knife. That was worse than if he had been crazy.
But he was cocky. With every slice of the knife he got cockier. He seemed to forget that he'd tied her up with rope. Rope frayed.
Her wrists had always been slender. Not quite slender enough to slip through the rope, even blood-slicked, but it gave her the edge she needed.
It was hard, harder than she thought it would be, to play weak, yet tough. Tough enough to keep fighting, but weak enough to make as if she was losing the fight. Every cut bled away a little more of her resolve. Soon, the pain became excruciating, as the monster wielding the knife threw in punches and kicks. He seemed content to take things slow, and had only done superficial damage. She didn't have any internal injuries except a few bruised ribs, and maybe a torn muscle or two.
But he seemed to delight in her pain. And for that, he would pay. Not just for her – for the other women and girls he'd done this too. He delighted even more in her emotional pain as he told her about the women and veritable children he'd cut up for his own amusement.
Children like little Lian, and her best friend Mari. It made Dinah sick to hear of it. Jankowski wouldn't be amused when she took him down, that Dinah swore.
When Jankowski left for his third 'break' in as many hours, Dinah tested her bonds, and knew this was her chance. She formed a fist with her left hand – it was slightly smaller, since she was right-handed – and popped the thumb out of its socket. Normally, the pain of that maneuver would be immense. Added to everything else she'd already endured, it was just one more annoyance.
Quickly, she popped the thumb back and untied her right hand. She heard the shuffling down of his footsteps across the concrete floor and jumped up, catching the ropes with her hands, wiggling her fingers through the loops to make it look as if she was still trussed up like a turkey in a meat-packing plant.
"Hello, sweetheart," Jankowski greeted her with a creepier than Gotham grin on his face. "Did you miss me?"
"Go…to Hell," she swore, and when he reared back to strike her – she stuck.
Heel-kick to the face while her right arm knock the knife out of his hand. A punch-kick combo to his gut, knocking him on his back. Then she took the knife he'd used on her and clouted him with the handle. Once Jankowski was out, she took out some of her anger on him by shoving it into his gut, her blood mingling with his. The police wouldn't need the evidence that the Black Canary had been there; they'd have plenty from his prior crimes. She'd made certain of that.
Gut her like a fish, would he? He looked more like a beached whale now.
Then her righteous fury wore down, and Dinah slumped on the ground, trying to catch her breath. She hurt, all over, the cuts stinging and burning, the deeper ones sapping her strength.
But not all of it. She was strong enough to climb out that window and get to a forklift, strong enough to start the damn thing, and watch as that warehouse of torture housing a factory of poison went up in flames.
She was strong. She'd done it, all by herself. Without Ollie.
Ollie, who seemed to think she needed him to help her with everything. He'd been a good man once. But then, so had Bruce…once. Ollie still was a good man, and she loved him. She wanted him in her life. She wanted Mia, the new Speedy, in her life.
But Dinah Laurel Lance would always be her own woman. And she didn't need any man to tell her how to live.
Batman kept telling her to quit, that the crime-fighting life wasn't for. Well, crime-committing certainly wasn't, and Steph wasn't the kind to stand idly by while bad things happened.
Batman could take his objections and stick them in his pointy ear. The Birds of Prey wanted her, and she was learning so much she didn't care about Bats and his boys' club. She could fight crime with – well, not with the absolute best of them, but she'd almost beaten Cass sparring the week before! And she had beaten Huntress a few times. And she and Speedy were about equal, though Mia was better with a bow.
And she could damn well beat a lame two-bit hood called Johnny Warren. Heck, her father could beat this punk.
And since she'd beaten her father, obviously Johnny was going down. Even if she didn't have any help. When she got her replacement Ora-comm, she'd have to ask Oracle for a spare, just in case she accidentally sent it through the wash with her Spoiler suit again.
So what if she couldn't even call for back-up to help her and Tim take down Johnny? So what if she couldn't have even contacted Jason anyway, because Renegade refused to turn his Ora-comm on half the time? Steph didn't need to talk to anyone; she just needed to listen to Johnny talk to himself. And watch him. Oracle kept trying to get her to use her mind more, instead of just her fists, and she was going to make her mentor proud. Maybe even prouder than she'd been when Steph had taught Cass the alphabet.
Those bodies had been withered, by Johnny. Johnny was looking a little drained himself, and more so by the moment. He'd obviously gotten some sort of magical powers, and the eerie red light seemed to be emanating from that thing stuck in his chest. The thing had to be giving him his powers, and it was feeding off his life force, and that of other people, to do so.
If she could run his metaphorical battery down, she could pull the magical thing out of his chest, and presto! Bad guy taken down.
So Steph ducked all the things he flung at her, watching as Johnny got more skeletal by the minute. She kicked him in the face, which broke his neck. Steph felt her lunch lurch for an exit when she saw Johnny still talking. If she pulled the magical thing out of him now, he'd die. And Johnny wasn't so totally evil that he deserved it.
Then Steph remembered those tangler grenades Black Canary had given her. Hiding behind Tim's new ride – and a sweet one it was, too; she'd have to get him to take her for a spin – she dug into the pouch in her cape, and launched the tangler grenade at Johnny's chest.
And yes! She scored! The magical amulet thingy was completely covered by the tangler grenade, and the red light bounced back. Johnny couldn't use his power. Which also mean he couldn't take in anymore, so they were all safe.
Tim was already moving from where he'd fallen when his magical shackles disappeared, and soon enough, Johnny was ensconced in enough zip-strips to encircle the Hob's Bay Bridge. Also, some sort of de-magicing charm.
So, okay, technically it was Tim who finished the bad guy. But she was the one who'd saved the day.
Beat that, Batman.
Ask anyone who knew her, and they would tell you that Troia was a good woman. She generous and warm, conscientious and caring…
And if you hurt someone she loved, then may whatever Gods you worshiped have mercy on your very soul, because she sure as Hell wouldn't. She hadn't let Terry keep Bobby from her after the divorce, and when Terry and Marcia had died in a car accident, she hadn't let Jennifer languish in foster care, either.
No one hurt her family and lived to regret it.
It didn't matter that the Superman robot wasn't sentient, or in control of its own actions. That just made it easier for Donna to kill it…like it had killed Omen. Omen was a Titan; she'd been one of them.
The robot was going to pay. It was strong, but Donna was stronger, and eventually, enough blunt force trauma from her fists would finish it.
But why did she feel like she was forgetting something?
She strained against the robot's hold, and while focused on trying to subdue it, she did notice the flicker of read in the optronic eyes. Then she remembered… This was a Superman android, and while not as tough as Superman, it did mimic all his powers.
She had just enough time to lean out of the path of the heat vision blast. The second one she caught with her arm bracers, forcing the lasers back onto the robot itself.
The explosion was actually rather anticlimactic, considering all the damage the robot had done. Lilith was dead. Several cities across the country were half-destroyed.
But Donna would do her best to help people remember her fallen friend, and then rebuild in her memory.
Rose wanted a family. But something…something was wrong with her…father.
With Deathstroke. Rose had only just started to 'see' things, but what she could see in her father's…aura, for lack of a better word…was…
Dark. It wasn't even human. It was almost like he was being possessed.
So she accepted the sword. Made him believe she wanted a family bad enough that she'd take him, mental instability and all.
She did want to know him, but…was he really himself? Rose didn't think so.
The training was rigorous, hard, and almost brutal. At times she almost hated Slade, and wondered if the cause was that darkness. She got better, though, better than she'd ever been as a Titan. And 'Daddy' rarely let her out of his sight, but he trusted her, far more than she trusted him.
Not that he knew that.
It was easy for her to plan her mutiny. A little online research, her usual every-third-week excuse of wanting some fresh air and needing new gloves, and she was free for the whole afternoon.
She did go to the park, just in case he was watching. On her way to the mall, she stopped at a little café, as if on a whim. Out the back door, over two blocks and down one, and with a quick in-and-out, she got the supplies she'd need, stolen from a veterinary clinic that was closed on Sundays.
Rose didn't waste any time. The next morning she slipped a horse tranquilizer in his coffee. It didn't matter if she got the dose wrong; he was immortal, and could heal from anything.
She still had her Titans' communicator, and she called. Then she tied Slade up, and gave him a shot of diazepam every twenty minutes.
Rose breathed a sigh of relief when the Titans' arrived and he was still out. They weren't the same ones she'd trained with – the new Speedy was a girl, and both Spoiler and Batgirl were members – but once a Titan, always a Titan. They took her back with them, to the Tower, and once inside its walls, Rose felt something inside of her unclench, a rush of warmth stealing over her.
It was like coming home. Coming home after a long time away, to find the change had changed and grown. The Titans were a real family, complete with bratty children. The JLA was off doing…something – Rose was confused by the explanation; it involved other dimension and time-travel – and their kids were staying at Titans Tower.
Lian Harper had a new half-brother, which Cheshire had somehow gotten Roy custody of. Black Canary and Green Arrow had just adopted a little girl, Sin. Plasticman's son, Luke. Cerdia, Tempest and Aquagirl's daughter. Oracle and Ted Kord's son Michael. And the babies! So many little babies. Grace Gardner, Haley Grayson, Marianne Dibny, Iris and Barry West.
It was almost surreal, as was the welcome Rose received from the younger members of the team. Impulse was, as always, glad to see her. He seemed to have grown up a bit, though not grown out of his crush on her, which was flattering. Beast Boy and Raven seemed willing to listen when she explained the problems her father had been having; Raven even seemed to know what was wrong. They also seemed to have worked out their relationship problems, and Rose wondered if they'd need a nanny anytime soon; she'd liked that time in her life.
Robin didn't have the smile for her that Nightwing would have, but he seemed approving of her planning. There was a girl in purple, Spoiler, who seemed to have laid her claim to him. Spoiler was a girl after her own heart, and Renegade, the former Robin, seemed like her kind of people.
Cyborg mentioned something about having plenty of rooms in the new Tower, and Rose relaxed for the first time in months.
Her father would get the help he needed, and she…she had a home.
A man armed only with boomerangs, even razor-sharp boomerangs, should not have been so scary.
But he held her husband's life in his hands.
The one thing Dana had on her side was that he didn't know she was there. The phone lines hadn't been cut, so she put in a call to the police. They told her to hide and stay safe.
Fat chance. Jack's stupidity had almost cost them Tim; she wouldn't let her own cowardice cost her Jack.
She snuck into the kitchen, and then carefully eased into the living room. Jack was down, so he wouldn't alert the boomerang man to her presence. She hoped to God that he was still breathing. If he wasn't…
She'd enjoy what she was about to do a lot more.
Carefully taking aim, Dana swung the heavy, cast-iron frying pan at boomerang's head, just like she was going for a homerun in her high school softball game.
Direct hit, and down he went. Down…like Jack.
Completely disregarding the costumed crazy, Dana rushed to Jack's side. He was breathing, he had a pulse, and he seemed to have only been dazed, not knocked out. Already he was starting to come around.
Ignoring the roiling in the pit of her stomach, Dana set about administering first aid. She remembered how she and Jack had first met; she'd been his nurse then, too. Focusing on the happier memories of how she and Jack and met, Dana tried not to think about what Tim might be facing out on the streets, if this was what they faced in their own home on a normal night in Gotham, when none of the real crazies were out.
The young man was trying to take care of them all; the least Dana could do was look after herself and Jack.
Kon had already nearly died once. Cassie wasn't going to let him do it again. If she had to form an alliance with Ares…so be it.
Cassie had only rarely ever felt her power flow through her; on those rare occasions when her mother had grounded her, getting her powers back had felt like such a relief. This…this felt…better.
It wasn't quite right; she wasn't foolish enough to think that at some point Ares wouldn't ask for something she wouldn't agree with, like in The Godfather, but…she had the almost soul-deep certainty that if she didn't do something…she or someone else just as powerful…
Kon was going to die.
And she wouldn't let him. She loved him too much to lose him forever. Lose him to another girl, or even another guy…let him quit heroing even, she could handle that. At least he'd be alive. Be there. Be her friend, because no matter what, she needed them all. Anita, Bart, Cass, Cissie, Mia, Rose, Steph, Tim, even Robert and Jennifer, and the other Titans' kids…and Kon.
Cassie wouldn't let him die. She was Wonder Girl. And even Death herself had better not mess with her.
Obviously, having Dr. Light with all his faculties intact means that anyone who went up against him, like the first Teen Titans, learned more from fighting him than in canon, thus making them stronger.
Tula, alias Aquagirl, managed to save herself, and she and Garth did marry. They had a daughter, not a son as Garth did with Dolphin.
Michelle Carter, alias Gold Star, also managed to save herself, and regularly drives her brother Michael, alias Booster Gold, nuts, by keeping him on the straight and narrow. She was also the one to think of using Skeets to keep bad things from happening to their friends.
While Tora recovered from Overmaster, Bea bitched Batman out for trying to force his No Killing morals on his teammates; Guy stood by Tora, and they eventually married. She later pulled him into the Super-Buddies.
Mirage never disguised herself as Kory to bed Dick Grayson. Dick didn't ask Kory to marry him in response to that. He and Kory managed to work through their issues because Dick wasn't such a dick about Karras, and they thus they had a much better foundation for their marriage.
Babs did become Oracle, but still has use of her legs and thus is not as secretive about her identity with the Birds. She was also more open to romance, and with Dick married off, managed to make things work with fellow tech-guru and semi-street-retired superhero Ted Kord.
Selina started being a good guy earlier, and she and Bruce eventually worked out a relationship; he sends street kids to her Community Center in the East End, which is now a whole lot nicer and safer. The OMAC thing never happened because Selina kicked Bruce's ass once she found the plans for the satellite. She made him sleep on a cot in the Cave until he dismantled it.
Mia became Speedy much earlier, was never diagnosed with HIV, and joined Young Justice when Cissie left. A recently returned to life Ollie learned not to be so…Ollie-ish…by raising her and this led to his eventual marriage with Dinah.
It was actually the Joker causing that trouble during No Man's Land, but since he was dead by then in the story, I replaced him with the Scarecrow, who was also on the loose at the time. During NML, Renee Montoya convinced Two Face to get real help at somewhere other than Arkham, and a few years down the road, post facial-surgery, he does pro-bono work out of a subsection of Wayne Enterprises for the people that pass through Selina's shelter.
Steph didn't fight Black Mask because War Games never happened; she was secure in her Spoiler identity when Tim gave up Robin, and also Batman had Jason around on a semi-regular basis, like Nightwing. Also, Steph had to keep the rest of the Titans from going nuts now that their field leader was gone.
Identity Crisis also never happened; Jean Palmer managed to control her nutso tendencies long enough to get therapy, leading to her reconciliation with Ray.
There are a lot more children running around than in canon, making the heroes feel much more protective of their home in the Titans' Tower, and causing the villains to regret ever attacking them. Cheshire signed over parental rights to her and Catman's son to Roy after seeing what a good job he did with Lian, and Donna won custody of her son and her ex-husband's daughter in court. Kate Spencer, the Manhunter, was her lawyer.
After the Crisis, during which Cassie saved Kon's ass, and bittersweetly accepted that Kon's heart really lay with Tim even if both of the boys were too blind to see it, Raven did discover how to bring Joey back, as in canon.
Not all of the great female characters are included; some of them kick enough ass that it seemed almost redundant to include them: Kory, Grace Choi, Diana, Addie Kane, Cassandra Cain, etc.