Title: Teen of Steel: Reforged (11/?)
Feedback: Please be gentle.
Distribution: Gimme credit and a link.
Rating: Maybe a little harsh language, certainly some violence, but nothing worse than on BtVS.
Spoilers: Diverges wildly after Halloween for BtVS with possible spoilers up to the season eight comic and pretty much up to current DCU.
Disclaimer: The characters depicted herein belong to other people. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: YAHF. When a young man comes back from the dead, how will his friends react?
Author's Note: Another interlude-style chapter. Bits and pieces that need to be shown that lead up to stuff.
Raven woke up screaming.
She took a moment to calm herself down as the nightmare faded. Or... not a nightmare. A memory. A memory of what she had seen inside Xander's mind...
Conner's soul was gone. Of that, she was sure. There was still a lingering presence of him, but it was just an echo. There had been other echoes as well, echoes she did not recognize -- Beast, Warrior, and Hunter; Hand, Spirit, and Mind -- but it was none of these that disturbed her sleep.
No, it was the formidable protections weaved over his soul that plagued her dreams, powerful magical wards with an avatar that bore a disturbing resemblance to herself on a bad day: pitch black hair and eyes, veins visible through her pale skin, power positively crackling from her fingertips.
Wards that had made it quite clear that she was not welcome and had forcibly ejected her. She had told the other Titans' about the echoes she had found in the first moments of babbling coherence, then shrugged off their concern as she regained control... but she would be watching him. He clearly had no idea that his mind had been warded, especially given his reaction when she told him, but whoever had placed those protections had been powerful indeed and must have had reason to do so.
Yes, she would definitely be watching him.
"Okay," Willow said, finally whirling around to glare at the intruder, "I've had enough of this. Who are you, what are you, and why are you in my room?"
"Uhh... you can see me?" the white-skinned spirit blinked in surprise.
Willow nodded and picked up her phone, "And I have an exorcist and the Slayer on speed-dial, so start talking, buster."
"Would you believe I'm on a mission from God?"
"Belushi, you're not," she said, crossing her arms. "You're paler than a vampire, dressed like a Dracula wannabe, and we're right on top of the hellmouth. Try again."
"Okay, okay. My name's Boston Brand, I'm a ghost, and Rama Kushna sent me."
"Rama Kushna?" she frowned. "Why did she send you?"
"Um, as I understand it, to keep you from destroying the world."
He wasn't a particularly selfless sort. On the other hand, he wasn't blinded by Sunnydale Syndrome either... well, not since Halloween, anyway. And in the weeks since then, as he snooped around, he finally came to a conclusion.
The Mayor had to be stopped.
He didn't want to skip graduation when it came at the end of next school year. On the other hand, he didn't want to get eaten either. Therefore, the Mayor had to be stopped.
Now if he could just find a sucker who'd be willing to pay him for it.
Warren Mears stood in his basement and smiled triumphantly at his newest creation as he activated it. He wasn't sure where he got the idea, but the newest robot was truly lethal. April still followed him around like a moping puppy, but he could still channel her irritating devotion to something useful. The new robot hummed to life, and its menacing eyes glowed orange.
"Greetings, Master. Statement: HK-47 is ready to serve. Query: Who do you want me to kill?"
"Look, I just want to find out-"
"Cool it, Speed Loser," came the sharp response. "It's magic. What else do you need to know?" With a negligent toss, she sent a pebble skipping across the water's surface.
Bart ground his teeth in frustration and hurled his own pebble, which plonked right into the lake without even skipping once. She just wasn't listening. They had met a few times since their first meeting, all here, where the "race" had ended, on the shores of Lake Champlain.
"I realize that," he said, picking up another pebble, "but you're tapping into the Speed Force. Not even Jay can do that anymore. This isn't just some minor prank spell. This is some major power we're talking about here."
"So?" she snorted, sending another pebble skittering across the lake. "Why should I care?" Bart was really starting to annoy her. She wondered why she bothered meeting him here anymore. Probably because it beats having Daddy wonder where I picked up a superhero stalker, she thought darkly.
"Because it could be important," he argued. "It might not be permanent. What if you're flying, and you suddenly lose your powers?"
"As if," she rolled her eyes. "Just because I can fly doesn't mean I will. I'm quite comfortable on the ground, thank you very much. If you wanna know more, why don't you ask one of those mystic hero types you hang around with?" With that, she rose to her feet and zoomed off.
Bart looked up at the heavens, "This is karma, isn't it?"
K.O.R.D. Industries had suffered greatly from the sudden and mysterious death of their owner and CEO, Ted Kord. Still, the company wasn't about to go down without a fight and had rebounded surprisingly well. It was, in fact, expanding. Sunnydale, California proved to be a gold mine of inexpensive property with extensive facilities, including the abandoned Calax Research & Development building. The full computer and robotics setup inside was an incredibly lucky find, worth almost as much as K.O.R.D. Industries had paid for the entire property.
For the first time in nearly a year, power ran through the former CRD building. It started as a twitch. A hum. Ever so slowly but surely, something... awakened.
Dawn was in the Bleed again. It was her fifth foray into the bizarre nonexistence between worlds, and she was slowly getting used to it. It helped that the Bleed seemed to respond to her will... to the point that she could alter herself while in it.
It was great being twenty-six again.
Kinda like... Magik, she thought. And on that note... She extended a hand and tried to focus her energy into her hand. With a sudden pop and a release of strain that surprised her, she found herself holding a glowing green broadsword.
"Of course it had to be green," she snorted, taking a few experimental swings with it. "Cool. A Keyblade," she smirked at the joke no one would get for several more years.
She twisted around and flew, revelling in the freedom of motion as she soared through the Bleed, avoiding the Carrier as it cruised past. She had no interest in visiting the Wildstorm universe -- aka Earth... 50? 51? Whatever -- or attracting the Authority's attention. That could only result in all sorts of badness. Spinning around freely, she grinned until one last turn put her face to face with...
"Monarch," she whispered in a strangled voice.
"Hello, little girl."
In Metropolis, two superpowered teenaged girls were hanging out. Surprisingly, this did not result in large quantities of property damage... yet, at least.
"So," Kara Zor-El asked, leaning back on her bed, "what's the dish on the new Superboy?"
"What?" Cassie Sandsmark looked up at her in surprise from where she sat cross-legged on the floor. "Who told you about him?"
"Of course he did," Cassie growled icily, grinding her teeth. Why couldn't Tim just accept Xander? Shaking it off, she dragged her thoughts back to Kara's question, "As for the new Superboy... he's not Conner, Kara, not really. But he's so close... it's hard to tell the difference at times."
"Oh," Kara said, pausing to digest that. "I see."
Kara looked away, "Actually, to tell you the truth, Cassie... I've met him."
"You did?" Cassie blinked. "When?"
"I had a... a mission, and Robin suggested I bring him as backup."
"Oh, okay," Cassie nodded, a little surprised that Tim would do that, considering how little he trusted Xander. "So what's the big deal?"
"Cassie..." the Kryptonian girl continued anxiously, "...I kissed him."
The room suddenly seemed to drop a good thirty degrees.
"Oh. Is that so?"
"Umm... Xander?" Willow said, fidgeting with the hem of her shirt as they sat in the park studying.
"Yeah, Will?" he asked absently, tapping his pencil against his lip.
"You, um, busy tonight?"
"Don't think so, why?"
"Want to, um, go out?"
"Sure, Will, always have time to hang with my bestest bud," he replied automatically.
"Um, not... not to hang... sort of... um... date?"
"Huh?" he finally looked up, confussion written all over his face.
"Date," she repeated, looking him in the eyes, nothing but determination in hers. "You know, guy and girl, going out..."
"Xander," she glared, Resolve Face on.
"Yes, Willow?" he replied automatically
"Yes or no?"
"And don't you dare say yes just to humor me."
"Yes, Willow," he said quickly.
"...was that to mock me or to say yes?"
Willow sighed. Obviously, she wasn't getting through to him. Finally screwing up her courage, she squared her shoulders and leaned forward, kissing him hard on the lips. Ten years of pent-up frustration and emotion poured itself out into the kiss, and she moaned as he responded.
When oxygen finally became an issue, she pulled back and gazed at him across the picnic table, "All right, Xander. If you can honestly look me in the eyes and say you felt nothing but ickiness from that, I will never speak of this again, all right?"
I'm on a date with Willow, Xander thought, sitting at a corner table in the Bronze with his aforementioned date fiddling anxiously with her straw next to him. I'm on a date with Willow. I'm on a date with Willow. I'm on a date with Willow. How the hell did this happen?
Xander sighed before he hung his head, "Women are cruel and occasionally strange. And sneaky, never forget sneaky."
"Be careful, Buffy," Joyce said, handing her daughter a packed snack.
"Duty calls, Mom," Buffy replied. "Don't worry. I'll be fine. It's just a couple of fresh risers and a quick patrol. No big."
"I'm your mother, young lady; you'd best remember that," came the quick retort. "It's my job to worry, super Vampire Slayer powers or not."
Buffy rolled her eyes and headed out. Mom could be so... mom-ish at times, it was annoying. She was the Slayer; this was a walk in the park for her. Literally, considering her patrol route.
You'd think, after two years, she'd be used to it by now... she thought sourly. Thinking back to when she'd first told her mother about it, she did have to admit that her mother had improved quite a bit since then.
And her first reaction had been a lot better than Buffy had expected, to be honest. She had half-expected to find herself in a straitjacket and padded room by the end of the night, but then again, in a world with superheroes who regularly fly around in spandex and capes, the whole Vampire Slayer thing was pretty tame by comparison.
Okay, I know the Joyce-knowing bit seems to have come out of left field, but the basic idea is that Buffy did tell Joyce about the Slayer thing when she first found out. In canon, that put her in the mental ward; in a world with superheroes, that's somewhat less likely. And as for Willow finally taking the first step... well... Rose gave her a time limit, and the clock is ticking.
Oh, and hands up, anyone who thinks this date is actually going to end well.