Hello All. This is the story that has stolen all my mojo from Broken Gears, which probably won't be continued as long as I'm working on this one. I hope you enjoy it anyway.
READ IF YOU WANT IT TO MAKE SENSE!: This story is based on the animated series. This is not connected to Broken Gears but I am continuing to use the idea that Brainy is part organic, meaning that he still needs to sleep and eat and all that and that his mechanical parts we see in the show were added to him - not born with it. This, like Broken Gears, is a slash/yaoi story, that means two boys in love. I shall add more information above the chapters if there are any further questions.
Also, I am openly begging for reviews. They're what keep the ideas coming and my fingers typing and lets me know I'm actually writing something people care about. Enjoy.
The Other Side of Possibility
It had been nearly a year. Precisely it had been ten months, two weeks, five days, 3.5 hours and ten seconds and counting. Not that Brainy was keeping track.
It wasn't as if the Legion hadn't been busy during that time. They had to deal with the Fatal Five trying to escape, twice, the Legion of Super Villains trying to escape four times, succeeding once, recapturing them, nearly a hundred robberies of a dozen different kinds on fifteen different planets and two natural disasters. No, it would be three since everyone seemed to count the heat streak in Metropolis with a broken air conditioner five weeks ago as a natural disaster.
Despite all of the activity, Brainy felt bored. It was as if the world had suddenly had become dull and grey. He had no desire to work on things in his lab, except for when he had to work on his clothes due to his steadily increasing height, and an even smaller desire to spend time with his fellow legionnaires. Most of his free time he spent in his room, staring at the wall and occasionally failing in his attempts to read.
Saturn Girl was the first to voice her concerns. She said it wasn't healthy for Brainy to be spending so much time alone, especially doing nothing. Everyday she tried to lure Brainy into doing some sort of activity; physical exercise, games with the group, arts and crafts or simply talking to her.
For the most part, she had little success. The most Saturn Girl could get Brainy to do was to leave his room and walk around with her. Sometimes he would talk to her too, but it was rarely of any importance. It was always about the last mission or an idea for an invention that he hadn't started yet.
When all of her attempts failed, Saturn Girl turned to the other girls for help. Triplicate Girl tried to cheer Brainy up with lots of extra attention. She made him sweets, talked with him about nothing in particular and gave him a hug nearly every time she saw him when they weren't battling someone. She slightly succeeded in getting him to leave his room more and talk a little more, about more then nothing, but Brainy didn't approve much in his depression. He still stared off into space for long amounts of time and he would never speak up unless spoken to, not even during a mission.
Phantom Girl tried her best to help, but she wasn't sure on what to do. She tried following Triplicate Girl's example, but when she failed at all of her attempts at baking she accidentally blew up at Brainy about being as depression as a black hole when he stumbled in on her in the kitchen. She spent twenty minutes outside his door apologizing without any answer before giving up. For the following two days, she bided her time and when she saw her opportunity she phased out of the wall behind Brainy, hugged him with a soft "sorry", and promised never to try to bake him anything ever again.
There was something about Phantom Girl's hug that got to Brainy. Before all his hugs came from an energetic Triplicate Girl that lasted a very short period of time. This hug was just as sudden and out of nowhere, but this hug was gentle and she didn't let go of him as she rested her head on top of Brainy's. He knew that if he hadn't pulled away when he had he might have started crying.
That was when the girls recruited the help of the boys. The girls talked the boys into a boy's night out. It wasn't required that they get a heart felt confession from the genius as long as they tried to make Brainy have fun and relax, to feel accepted and know that his friends were there for him. Under no circumstances were they to flat out confront Brainy on had was going on.
With a little hesitance, the boys agreed. When they first approached Brainy on the idea of going out, he had flat out refused.
"Come on Brainy, you never leave Headquarters anymore unless there's a mission," commented Lighting Lad.
"I don't see the point in going out unless something needs to be done," stated Brainy, without looking away from his wall.
"What if I order you to?" asked Bouncing Boy.
"Since its not Legion business, you can't," said Brainy.
"We can do whatever you want," insisted Timber Wolf.
"I want to stay here," said Brainy.
"That's it," exclaimed Lightning Lad, looking ready to strangle someone. He bent down, scooped Brainy off his bed, tossed the genius over his shoulder and stomped out of Legion Headquarters.
They realized just how serious it was when Brainy didn't protest or threaten them with his laser canons once. His expression hadn't so much as flickered in recognition that he had been abducted in any way.
They tried going to all the places Brainy usually went; the electronic bookstore and part shops but Brainy, instead of looking around, just followed the other boy's around as they looked. It was clear to them that even though Brainy wasn't protesting or demanding to go back, he wasn't going to participate unless forced.
"What's something relaxing but not requiring a lot of effort?" asked Timber Wolf.
"Stuff at the park is pretty nice. We could feed the ducks or something," said Bouncing Boy.
They tried that but it wasn't worth the flight over. Even though Brainy tore up the bread they had forced upon him and tossed it to the ducks, he made no outward sign that he was enjoying it in the very least.
"There's supposed to be some year round rides and games at the center of the park," said Bouncing Boy.
"Or we could walk on some of the trails," suggested Timber Wolf.
"I don't think he cares either way," said Lightning Lad.
While they were talking, Brainy finished tossing the bread to the ducks and walked away from them. He went to a nearby play set and sat on one of the swings with his back to them. Loosely holding onto the chains, he moved his foot back and forth in the sand and wondered how much longer this was going to continue.
"I've never seen the little guy so sad," said Bouncing Boy.
"I didn't think he could be sad," admitted Timber Wolf.
"That's right, you two weren't there," said Lightning Lad.
"Weren't where?" asked Timber Wolf.
"Do you remember us telling you about the whole thing with Alexis?" asked Lightning Lad.
"The rich girl that Superman hung out with for a while and when he wouldn't spend all of his time with her, she tried to destroy the Legion?" asked Bouncing Boy.
"The very one," said Lightning Lad.
"What about her?" asked Timber Wolf?
"Well the first time Superman went to hang out with her we had a fight with the scavengers. Brainy tried calling Superman for help but he hung-" started Lightning Lad but then his eyes widened in realization. Without finishing or saying what he was doing, he turned away from the other boys and went over to where Brainy was. He walked around so he was in front of Brainy before taking hold of the chains and slightly shaking them so he'd get the genius's attention.
Brainy looked up, wondering why Lighting Lad suddenly looked so concerned.
"Hey," started Lightning Lad softly. "You know you're going to have to get used to life without Superman, right?"
Not saying anything, Brainy looked back down at the sand.
"Come on Brainy," said Lightning Lad, trying to use his joking voice. "It's not like you were in love with him."
It hadn't so fast Lightning Lad wasn't sure what had happened. One second he was hovering over Brainy, the next he was on the ground and his face hurt. He stared up at the now standing Brainy in shock. The first expression he had seen Brainy have in ages; hurt, angry, embarrassed and near tears with his skin a very dark shade of green told Lighting Lad all he needed to know.
Unable to take it, Brainy took off flying before Timber Wolf and Bouncing Boy could join them on the play set.
Brainy didn't return to Legion Headquarters that night. He hadn't really gone anywhere at all, simply flew for a while and then walked around aimlessly. It wasn't as though he was worried about hitting Lighting Lad, legionnaires had come to blows in personal squabbles before, but now that they knew, he saw no point in returning.
It didn't surprise him in the least that it was Saturn Girl that found him a few hours after morning. He mostly wondered why she had bothered.
"Come for my Legion ring and belt buckle?" asked Brainy, already reaching up to slide the ring off his finger.
"Oh Brainy, you idiot," Saturn Girl almost whispered, tears forming in her eyes. She didn't give Brainy the chance to protest or ask questions. She wrapped her arms around Brainy, holding him tightly around the shoulders and placing the shorter boy's head on her shoulder.
Listening to Saturn Girl trying not to cry and with her holding him so close, Brainy couldn't even consider breaking away from her. Without that protection of physical separation, he joined her in her tears.
"Why didn't you ever say anything?" asked Saturn Girl after they had calmed the other down. Instead of flying, they decided to walk back to Legion Headquarters.
"Are you kidding?" asked Brainy. "I can imagine how smoothly that conversation would have went. 'Hey Superman, not to bother you or anything but I just realized that I'm love with you even though we're from different time periods, I'm descended from the android that is partly responsible for the destruction of your planet, whom you will fight many times to save Earth, and out of curiosity are you attracted to men at all? I only ask this because according to history texts you were practically tripping over yourself in your love for Lois Lane. Have fun in your own time period. Tell Ma and Pa I say hi'."
"You've become cynical in isolation, Brainy," said Saturn Girl, wishing for the thousandth time she had tried harder to reach Brainy sooner.
"It's called being realistic," said Brainy. "The chances of Superman returning any of my affection beyond friendship is below 25 and the chance of his being horrified and not wanting to be anywhere near me ever again a good 75."
"Where do you get these percentages?" asked Saturn Girl.
"Putting numerical value to past interactions, conversations, references in history texts and body language and comparing them to what I have researched about relationships and-" began Brainy.
"You can't research relationships, Brainy," said Saturn Girl, almost scolding.
"Human, or human based, behavior is fairly predicable especially in a time period where social patterns are already set due to the fact that they already occurred," said Brainy. "It's more likely that Superman would have feelings for Batman then me."
Saturn Girl paused, as if to consider it and blushed when she tried to imagine it. She pinched her cheeks in an attempt to get rid of it before turning her attention back to the young genius.
"You still don't know what would have happened if you had said something. We both know very well that Clark is a very accepting person. Even if he didn't feel the same there's no way he would have rejected you."
"There is no point in having this conversation anymore," stated Brainy. "Clark is gone, back in the time period he belongs and a relationship between us would have been impossible. Not to mention completely destroyed the moment he met Brainiac in his time."
This was a subject Saturn Girl knew better to argue. No matter what she or any of the others said, Brainiac was the source of all of Brainy's sins. There was no way to convince him otherwise.
They arrived back at the Headquarters in silence.
"I should probably find Lightning Lad and apologize," said Brainy.
"Too late," shouted Lightning Lad, landing from the air above them and crossing his arms and glaring at him. "There is no way you can apologize for what you did."
At that moment Brainy was almost thankful that Lightning Lad wasn't leader of the Legion anymore.
"You had me worried sick," exclaimed Lightning Lad.
What, Brainy's mind questioned, not sure if he was hearing right.
"Not coming back all night, what were you thinking?" questioned Lightning Lad, imitating a motherly voice and shaking his finger at the genius. "Now you march straight to the lounge and watch a movie with us as you think about what you've done."
Not sure what to make of it Brainy turned to Saturn Girl, who was trying very hard not to giggle.
"I said MARCH," said Lightning Lad, his motherly voice breaking when a laugh forced his way through.
As Brainy, as confused as can be, started to march back into Legion Headquarters, he jumped slightly when Lightning Lad tossed an arm around his shoulders.
"In all seriousness," started Lightning Lad, back to his normal voice, "Don't do that again. We don't care if you're in love with Superman and we all know you had the right to hit me on more then one occasion so I won't hold it against you this time, but we're not going to tolerate you shutting us out like this Smarty Pants."
Brainy's lips twitched in an almost smile. Only Lightning Lad had the nerve to call him 'smarty pants' and act like it was an affectionate nickname. He wasn't being rejected.
"And," cut in Lightning Lad, pulling Brainy into the headquarters, with Saturn Girl smiling behind them. "You ever not come back to headquarters like that again and I will chase you with a butterfly net if I have to."
"Why a butterfly net?" asked Brainy.
"First thing I could think of," admitted Lightning Lad with a guilty smile.
Just as the trio walked back in the alarm went off.
"We got an emergency stress call from planet Thairood," explained Bouncing Boy as he piloted the cruiser on the way there. "They're famous for a stable wormhole that leads to the other side of the galaxy that is right outside the asteroid belt that surrounds their planet. To get straight to the point one of their mad scientists is causing multiple wormholes to appear and disappear all around it and throwing asteroids into the planet and none of their authorities can reach him."
"Mad scientist, Bouncy?" asked Triplicate Girl.
"Their description, not mine," said Bouncing Boy.
"So how are we supposed to get close to this guy?" asked Phantom Girl. "It's not like we're any more asteroid proof then they are, besides me that is."
They all turned to Brainy, who was typing away at one of the consoles with his back turned to them.
"Any ideas Brainy?" asked Saturn Girl.
Typing in a few more keys, Brainy stood and went to the protector where it was showing an image of the asteroid belt.
"According to my calculations we'll have to leave the cruiser on the planet's moon to avoid damage. As for ourselves, it should be easy for all of us to get to the main wormhole since we have the flight rings. However, to save on some time, Phantom Girl shall use her powers to take myself and Triplicate Girl through the asteroids as quickly as possible. Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl should be more then enough to distract a scientist with no known advantage long enough for me to disengage his machine.
'Just in case we need backup, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and either Bouncing Boy or Timber Wolf will be able to follow us with Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad alternating between Saturn Girl's mental blasts and Lightning Lad blasting asteroids out of the way."
"Sounds good, but like you said we don't know if this guy does have any advantages. Phantom Girl will take you and Triplicate Girl right away as you said but the rest of us aren't waiting behind as backup. We need to stop those asteroids from crashing into the planet," said Bouncing Boy.
"Someone still needs to stay with the ship," pointed out Timber Wolf.
"Oh, right. I guess that's me," said Bouncing Boy.
It was easy enough for Phantom Girl to get Triplicate Girl and Brainy to the asteroid in front of the main wormhole with her power to phase through solid objects, but what they found was a very odd sight. The asteroid in front of the main wormhole, which was bigger then the moon, was equally huge and steady like a platform, unaffected by the wormholes all around it. There had to be about thirty different wormholes that had appeared, surrounding the asteroid like a dome. They were of all different sizes and there were even more appearing, staying for only a few seconds before disappeared again.
Then there was a huge pile of treasure in the middle of the asteroid of many different kinds. There was gold, silver, old fashioned books, even older scrolls, jewels, paintings, furniture and even a huge pile of newpapers. The scientist was nowhere in sight.
"At least the machine is unguarded," said Phantom Girl, pointing to something that looked like a console behind the pile of loot.
"It appears that way," said Brainy. He activated the communicator on his Legion ring. "The scientist is no where to be seen."
The trio flew into the space of the asteroid but as soon as they did they began to be sucked into one of the smaller wormholes.
Brainy put his feet on the ground in attempt to stop the pull but as soon as he did, the pull stopped.
"Put your feet down!"
The two girls quickly did as Brainy instructed, with Triplicate Girl nearly falling down to get away from the wormhole at her elbow.
"Why should I put my feet down?" asked a confused Bouncing Boy on the other side of the communicator.
"Sorry Bouncy, not you," said Triplicate Girl.
"As soon as you get to the asteroid land or you'll be pulled into one of the wormholes," announced Brainy, before turning the communicator off.
Just then a man wearing a suit that seemed to be made of badly put together technology jumped out of one of the wormholes and carrying a small statue on a man's head. He noticed them right away and smiled as the wormhole he came out of closed.
"So they sent the Legion after me, did they?"
"Yes, so do yourself a favor and surrender," said Phantom Girl.
"I can't do that, my dear. I have too much to learn," said the scientist.
"Learn? You're stealing," said Triplicate Girl.
"Perhaps, but not in the way you think," said the scientist. He pointed to the main wormhole. "This wormhole only takes you across distance." He suggested to the smaller ones. "These take you across time and space. 'What if' portals if you will."
"Explain," said Brainy.
"Gladly," said the scientist, holding up the statue he had just required. "This is the statue of the greatest Elizabethan playwright from an Earth where William Shakespeare was never born." He put it down and suggested to the rest of his pile. "These are all coins from different planets and times where events had happened differently. Different rulers, presidents and wars. All of them less then an Earth dollar in their original location. A painting that was going to be born in a revolution. Books that would have been lost at sea. Thrown away newspapers, disregarded furniture and jewels that had no worth where they came from except that they looked pretty."
"You're only taking things that no one will miss," stated Brainy.
"Exactly," said the scientist. "Sadly not all the portals stay open very long so I can only grab and go without actually getting to study the differences."
"You're still causing asteroids to be thrown into the planet with all of these wormholes," exclaimed Triplicate Girl.
The scientist blinked.
"I am? Why hasn't anyone come and told me?"
"No one else could get to you," said Phantom Girl.
"That explains why you're here," said the scientist. "But I'm afraid the machine is on a timer. I'm not sure I can turn it off manually or what cause it will have."
"We'll have to try," commented Brainy and started to walk toward the machine. Out of curiosity he glanced down at the pile as he passed. Upon closer inspection, he realized that nothing looked to be of any worth besides the jewels and painting. He looked over the titles of the newspapers.
Cosmos Ink: Star Shower Spectacular!
Intrigue: The Latest Love of Pop Star Britney-Britney.
The Daily Planet: The Death of Superman.
It felt like Brainy's heart had suddenly stopped and his brain turned off. His eyes would look away from it, from the photograph of Superman's torn cape on a stick in the middle of a giant pile of rubble.
It can't be. It couldn't. Not Superman, Brainy's mind tried to reason but another part of his mind knew that in a world in infinite possibilities that Superman could have died in millions of different realities. The thought only served to horrify him further.
"Brainy, look out," shouted Triplicate Girl.
Without realizing it, Brainy had actually started to take a step away from the pile. Unable to stop himself in his haze, his foot landed on something that wasn't the ground and he started to fall backwards.
With Brainy in midair, even for that tiny moment, a small wormhole was able to latch onto him and pull him in.
That last thing Brainy saw of his dimension was that of the newspaper and of the entrance to the wormhole closing behind him.