Chapter Thirteen: A Handful of Endings.
The Three Day Epilogue.
Dick and Bruce sat in the main living room in Wayne Manor. Things had happened quickly- the Lords had been arrested, on the authority of Batman and the President, and within two months there would be an election. The state of emergency had been lifted, and everyone was trying desperately to restore some kind of normality to the country. All that was left for the heroes to do was tie up the loose ends.
"So, you mind telling me what happened back there?"
"Around six months ago, I accidentally managed to get a glimpse of another dimension. It was like ours in every aspect but one: their Luthor never killed the Flash."
Dick's hands tightened around the armrest of his seat, but he said nothing.
"With the Flash still alive, Luthor never ran for President, and Superman never killed him." Bruce stopped, for a second. "It was, in many respects, a better world.
"I spent the next six months building a portal to that dimension. It was easier than I had anticipated, since I had already established some kind of link with them, albeit accidentally."
"Why?" Dick asked. "Why go to all the trouble?"
Bruce sighed. "A number of reasons, but the most basic one is the fact that I hoped that by showing the rest of the Lords this other dimension, with our counterparts, the Justice League; it might force a change of heart in at least some of them. I miscalculated. Having had little contact with them for the better part of a year and a half, I didn't anticipate how far they had fallen. You mauling my only potential ally hadn't helped."
Dick blinked. "Wait, Hawkgirl-"
"She felt uneasy with the totalitarian regime of the Lords. I believe she was something of a fan of democracy. May I continue?" When Dick remained silent, Bruce resumed his explanation.
"Superman immediately decided that we should 'help' our counterparts in organising their world. He and J'onn tricked them into coming here, where they were captured. I elected to act as jailor, while the others went through the portal.
"Eventually, the League escaped, and their Batman confronted me, here. He..." Bruce studiously stared into the fire "finished what you started."
Dick couldn't help but give a derisive harrumph. "You never did listen to anyone but yourself, did you?"
"No. I never did. The League went back to their own dimension, and I got the rest of the story from Hawkgirl. She told me that the Lords and the League fought, and that the League won, with a little help from Lex Luthor.
"He had somehow constructed a device that nullified powers, and used this on the Lords."
Dick sat in silence. That explained almost everything.
"But what about the Martian and Hawkgirl? They could still fight."
"That's because neither of them have 'powers'. Whatever abilities they have stem from their innate physiology as opposed to any outside influence."
Dick nodded. That left only one question...
"What happens now?"
Bruce gave an honest answer.
"I don't know."
The Three Week Epilogue.
"Find anything?" Cyborg asked his new arm.
"Not really," his arm replied in Nightwing's voice. "The staff have all cleared out. How about you?"
"Well, there's some serious hardware here. I might just have to salvage some of it," Cyborg replied, grinning. "Changeling, you found anything interesting?"
"What? ...Oh, nah, not really. The only thing I can think of is this stack of old Justice Guild comics in Green Lantern's room. Thought he might appreciate them."
Cyborg shrugged. "Well, haul 'em to the Javelin, then." With that, he turned back to the huge bank of computers, trying to assess what could be useful.
"Guys... I've been thinking," his arm said after a few minutes.
"Shut up, 'Wing. I thought, what happens now? I mean, Metropolis is unprotected, so is Gotham, and Central, and Keystone. Perhaps we should-"
"No. We're not replacing them. I already told you that,"
"Dude! Hear me out! Listen; there will always be a need for superheroes, right? New bad guys will pop up, natural disasters will happen, and so on. With the Lords in jail, there's a serious vacuum. What if the Titans filled it? I'm not talking about taking power or anything, but what if we worked with the government? Kinda like we do with Jump City at the moment?"
"Have a liaison with the U.N., you mean?" Nightwing sounded thoughtful. "It's an idea. Cyborg?"
"I've heard worse ideas. We'll have to think about it." He grinned. "Although, it is kinda worrying that we're taking one of Changeling's ideas seriously. I'm still waiting for the Zombie Ninja Pirates to make an appearance."
"Ha. Ha. Ha."
"We'll have to discuss it with the others."
"In any case, you've given me a great excuse to swipe some more toys," Cyborg said, his grin widening.
The Three Month Epilogue.
Jinx stomped through the silent streets of Central City, in a grand high dudgeon. When she arrived at her destination, which was a side street in the middle of nowhere, she stopped, and spoke to the night.
"Alright, I know you're out there, so just come out already."
"As you wish, Ms. Jinx."
Jinx started and jumped around to see the Stranger standing under the dull glow of a lamp post. Steeling her resolve, she spoke.
"Alright, so you've won. What do you want?"
The Stranger looked nonplussed. "What do you mean?"
"You've been behind this the whole time. You played Nightwing like a damn Stradivarius, and I daresay you did the same to the rest of us. I want to know why. It's pretty damn obvious the Lords couldn't touch you, and if you wanted them gone you could have done it yourself, instead of hiding behind us."
The Stranger smiled enigmatically. "But I could not, for that is not my role."
Jinx frowned. "Whatever. Now, answer my question. What did you do all this for?"
"The intent and desire was inside each of you all along. I simply assisted you in realising it. None of you wanted to see the country in the Lords' grip, and I helped you all to overthrow them. That is what I wanted; to help you."
"Bullshit." Jinx was fuming. "You didn't 'help' us, you manipulated us, used us. And I. Don't. Like. Being. Used."
The Stranger opened his arms out wide. "Does it matter? Look around you. You won. And without anyone getting hurt, I might add. Isn't that worth a little deception?"
Jinx's glower was his only response.
"You could call my methods deceitful, manipulative, even underhanded. Or, you could say I was a guide, helping you to face up to the hard choices you each had to make." He shrugged. "It's not my place to tell you what to think of me. In any case, it doesn't matter. You won't be hearing from me again, I daresay. Good evening, Ms. Jinx."
With that, he retreated, and the fog swallowed him whole.
Since several of you were confused be the conclusion (the majority of you clearly hadn't seen the Justice League episode) I thought I'd post this early. Now I have to decide whether or not to write the sequel immediately, or take some time out to write a BB/Jinx first.