This is the largest story I have ever tried to undertake, but not to worry, I am a serious writer who is bound and determined to wow you guys without using plot crutches or making stupid mistakes for the sake of making something happen. I write as though this were reality, and if it doesn't sound real, I change it. I loathe OOCness, Mary-Sues and one-dimensional characters. If you find any of that in my fics, let me know immediately so I can change it because I consider that intolerable.
Not to say that I will make every change suggested, or try to please everyone. No half-decent writer can cater to her audience long before becoming a crap-ficcer. I write the story as it came to me, I use the characters that belong in the parts they are supposed to play to make the story come alive. All word definitions will be at the bottom of the relevant chapters.
That said, please enjoy the hilarity of their suffering while your favorite characters try to understand the new arrivals to their world.
Love and hate; two of humanity's most basic emotions. Absolute opposites, both of which we seem to have a endless capacity for. Paradoxal in our natures, is it any wonder no one can make sense of us?
Static Shock Introduction
March 2005, five points off origin; Static Shock cartoon timeline
"Rich, wh—where are you going?" He's already mostly packed up by the time I get there. What is going on with him lately?
"I'm leaving V, I told you." He seems mad, but I can't tell why. Did I do something?
"Yeah, but where?"
"Stephanie's…got a place."
"Is it in Dakota? Out of state? How can I visit y—"
"You can't visit me." The tension in his voice is starting to worry me. And what do you mean I can't visit you? We're partners. Best friends!
"Richie, if this is about what I said last night, I'm sorry." Whatever this is, we can work it out! Can't we?
"This has nothing to do with you." He sighs and stops packing. "This is just something Stephanie and I decided to do. We're moving, and it's…too far. I can't see you." Richie resumes piling pieces of his life into a suitcase, though I notice his costume is conspicuously absent.
"But why? Why not move closer, or not move at all? Richie, why are you doing this?" I can't believe what I'm hearing! How could you agree to this? And what's Stephanie planning!? Why would she make you leave everything you know, your best friend, your family, your whole life?! I've gotta find out what she's up to!
"This isn't easy for me, Virgil, but it's something I have to do. I can't explain it." This is obviously the work of some bang-baby power. I knew there was something sinister about her; Batman couldn't find her in any database on the planet!
"Richie, this isn't like you. don't you see? There's something wrong here! She's doing something to your brain—"
"Are you on this again? God, will you leave Stephanie alone?! She is my girlfriend, Virgil, and there's nothing bad going on here. I know what I'm doing." He comes over and looks me straight in the eyes. "I'm leaving. Forever. You're never going to see me again." He turns back to his work. "Good-bye V."
"…Bye…?" All I can do is stare. Why? How could this happen? I turn to trudge down the steps outside his bedroom. I leave Richie's house in a fog, trying desperately to process what just transpired. My best friend is leaving…forever…and I can't stop him…No! I can stop him. I have to! Batman, he can help! Snapped out of my confusion, I race home with a renewed sense of purpose. If Batman can't fix this, then no one can!
On the way, a cop car passes me, lights blazing. Sigh. A superhero's work is never done. Following the car on my flying disk, I discover a panic-ridden city street, covered in flying debris, emergency vehicles, and of course, the terrified public.
Whatever the source is, it appears to come from an amazingly bright alleyway, so I charge over, ready to beat the snot out of whatever bang-baby is causing all this chaos. I have to hurry and finish here so I can fix this before Richie leaves town. Before I get to the alley though, something hard hits me from behind and I black out.
October 2004, twelve points off origin; X-men: Evolution cartoon timeline
"Jean! Cover Beast, he needs to get her out of here!" He is dodging the gun fire pretty well by himself, but he's holding an innocent girl in his arms. I need to make sure she stays safe. They've got it. I turn to monitor the rest of the battle.
"Nightcrawler, how are you doing with the wounded?" I can't see him right now, he's on the other side of the battlefield assisting our allies.
«I have almost finished, Cyclops. They say they have two more still out there, with Callisto.»
"Good, we're going to have to pull out soon, there's just too many of them." I try to stifle the wave of relief that crashes across my body; I can't relax just yet.
«Hey, Cyke? Can I get a little help here? The Vanguard is regrouping on the south side and the Morlocks are spread too thin to cover them.» Relief is replaced by despair. We can barely cover our own front, let alone send Evan reinforcements. As a former X-man, Evan knows we'd help him in any way we can, but I've already given him everybody I can spare.
"We're a little strapped but—" Suddenly I hear loud grunts and gunfire over the radio. I know it's a mistake, we are just barely holding our line, but I can't just leave him hanging. With a growl, I utter a curse and activate my communicator again. "Iceman. Can you give Spyke a hand?"
Looking over, I notice Bobby had been watching me. If he doesn't concentrate more, that kid is going to get someone killed!
«On it!» He salutes me as he creates an ice bridge over one of the many hills dotting the junkyard.
«Cyclops, I have secured our young friend in the X-jet, shall I return to assist you?» Finally! A little good news, I really need that. Thank you Dr. McCoy!
"No, fire up the jet so we can get out of here. Send Jean back though, we need her." Maybe we'll be okay after all. If we can last the minute or two it takes Jean to get back, everything will be okay.
Feeling good, I shoot down a few more mini-copters with my optic energy blasts. I dodge through a hail of bullets and laser-fire riding on a high I haven't felt in a while.
But my optimism doesn't last.
A piercing scream cuts across the battlefield, a steel foil through a row of candles.
Clark Kent Introduction
August 2006, three points off origin; Smallville TV Series timeline
Ten o'clock am. Is that late enough to not seem eager? Who cares, I can't wait anymore. I have to know. Now. It's a three hour drive from Smallville to Metropolis—plus morning traffic, but I'm not taking a car. Thank God for superspeed; sometimes it's great being an alien with really cool powers.
In the blink of an eye, I'm standing in front of the Daily Planet building, staring up at the grandiose golden sign. Another blink and I'm in Chloe's office, watching her papers go flying. One of these days, I'm going to need to figure out how to fix that.
I'm practically burning with anticipation, but I can't appear too invested. I try to sound as nonchalant as I can. "Hey Chloe. So, did you find anything yet?" Darn it! It didn't work. Boy, I hope she didn't notice. She usually doesn't, knee-deep in a story, but who knows?
"No, sorry Clark, nothing yet…" She seems distracted. Didn't even finish picking up the papers on the floor. Chloe abruptly stops typing and turns to me, like she just realized I was here. "Can I ask what this is about?"
Oh no, I was afraid of this. On reflex, I fix my gaze on a floor tile to my left. "Uh—it's nothing, I was just curious." Please leave this alone, please leave this alone, please…
I sneak a sideways glance and catch a glimpse of the hard look she's giving me. "Clark, it's me, Chloe. I know you're secret. Whatever it is, you can tell me." No Chloe, I can't, because if I did, she'd die. If she hasn't already—No, don't think about that, Clark. Focus. I so wish I could tell her, but I can't breathe a word to anyone about Amanda; not even Chloe.
Seconds pass, and she can tell I won't give it up without a fight, so she tries again. "I promise I won't tell anyone. My lips are sealed." She even illustrates her vault-like qualities by miming locking a deadbolt on her lips.
I know Chloe, you don't have to tell me twice. You've kept my secret for almost two years now, never even told your boyfriend. "I'm sorry Chloe, I can't." I never exactly plan it; the puppy-dog eyes come out of their own accord, but I still hope it works. Keeping this from her is just too painful.
Exasperated, she throws her hands in the air, "Why? Clark, I thought we were friends, why can't you tell me?"
Fighting an internal battle, there is finally a winner when Chloe gets up to leave. I know this could come back to haunt me, but she deserves an answer and I have to get her to stop asking questions. "Because I made the same promise."
Now it's her turn to feel guilty. Shoot! I didn't really want to make her to feel bad, but at least she's stopped pressing. Oh well, I might as well get what I came for and leave before I can make my closest friend feel any worse. "Are you sure there isn't anything at all?"
Given a task, she is all business, as though nothing ever happened. Good. I hate being a jerk and making her feel bad all the time. She strides over to her computer to bring up the info she found. "I'm positive Clark, look. There's a guy in Tennessee who swears he saw a vampire, a little girl in Nebraska threw a tantrum when her family tried to board a plane that crashed two hours later, and a dog predicting the weather with tarot cards in Center City. Now, the girl in Nebraska might have powers, but you said you were looking for someone with no family."
"Right. Well, okay. Thanks Chloe." I didn't think she'd find anything. It's already been three years, and I personally scoured the globe, looking. Nothing. Not a gosh, darn piece of evidence that could tell me where I might find…sigh.
Heading out the door with my spirits in my ankles is slow going, so Chloe has time to stop me.
"Clark wait. At the risk of running into the steel wall on your vault of secrets again, a little more information about where or what kind of powers I'm looking for would make this go a lot faster." Just like Chloe. She never gives up…and neither will I, Amanda is counting on me.
"I'm sorry Chloe, that's all I can give you. Thanks for trying." I head back to the farm to finish my chores at the speed of light.
"Hey, Clark? Lunch is ready!" I'm all the way in the barn using the table saw, but I can hear my mom calling me into the house anyway. I turn off the saw and put everything away before heading to the door.
My super-hearing tells me the wind is picking up too. Starting to get worried, I race out of the barn to see if there is a tornado nearby, but something strong yanks me to the side and tries to rip me apart as I fight for consciousness—and lose.
July 2046, six points off origin; Batman Beyond cartoon timeline
The sun had set over the cold, empty mansion hours ago. In the full light of day, it can still manage deep shadows and a depressing drear. By nightfall, the entire property seems consumed by an abyssal darkness. Even after all this time, it still gives me chills.
Eight o'clock pm. Most people would be at home right now, finishing dinner, chatting about how their days went, winding down for the night. Soon, the I love you's and kisses good night…. But not me. Not now, not anymore. I'm stuck in a dark house, with a dour host and dust covering everything. It seems like the old man keeps it there to remind just me how long it's been since this desolate place had any life.
Life. Lifeless. This is a place of death. All who come here die, or are already dead, waiting for the end. So many have gone before me.
Soon, I will join them.
My work completed above, I descend to the cave below, not sure why though, habit perhaps. I know what he'll say, he's said same thing every time for the past six years. I don't want to hear it, but I go anyway. Must be a glutton for punishment.
Not much difference here, it's the same theme. Relics of the past and monuments to the passed away collecting dust, on display for the few still left alive. The Batmobile, set apart from the pedestals of souvenirs, is all that's left still in use. That and the monstrous computer covering half far the wall.
Nearing the end of the long, curved stair down, the row of costumes is in full view. I allow my eyes to settle on the closest one, as they do every night. I couldn't bear to wear the same costume he did, so I'd had a new one made. The old one now rests along side the other fallen and retired heroes who came before us.
I miss him.
"It's late." My eyes jerk away to focus on the opposite end of the expansive cave. He's leaning forward in his chair, propped up by the cane, a stone statue staring hard at me.
"I know." Back on the stairs my progression had slowed, but I pick up the pace now. The sooner I retrieve my things, the better.
"I know." Can't he take a hint?
"This is your time of day." He isn't going to let this go.
"I know." Would it kill him if I punched him in the nose?
"It's your job." Damn him. He really knows how to push people's buttons. Why do I do this to myself?
"I know." How can I tell him what I'm feeling? How can I make him understand—at least enough to let me walk outta here?
My eyes meet his for a split second before I cast them down again. It just hurts too much.
"I just…don't feel right about it. I mean—this is his costume. I was just filling in until…"
"…It's been six years. He's not coming back." No! Don't say that! We'll find him, I swear it! I can't believe he just said that, but part of my knows he's right.
"Tomorrow. Okay? Just not tonight. Tonight is his night." The same every year, but this time is different. This time he lets it go. I wonder, is that good…
I grab my bag and leave as fast as I can, before he changes his mind. Heading for home, I fall into my annual ritual of remembering the great man whose shoes I've tried to fill. Terrence McGinnis. The Dark Knight of Gotham. He just disappeared one day, July 15, 2040, no warning, no trace. Terry; he was a good man. He was kind, caring and completely selfless. And for the last six years, I've tried to live up to that standard. And for the last six years, all I've managed to do is lose my friends while I poured every last bit of energy I had into doing his job and finding him. Six years, and all I've been able to find is a complete lack of any kind of evidence. Six years. The old man is right, Terry is gone and we can't find any trace of him. Why? How? How does a kid disappear so completely that even Batman can't find him? Unless…
No, no he'd never do that. Bruce would tell me if he knew where Terry was. After all, everyone thinks I'm him; there'd be no point to keeping me in the dark if our boss had to hide him.
Everyone thinks I'm him. I'm Batman. Everyone but me. Me? I know the truth. I'm just his best friend.
I notice a light peeking out of the alley ahead; I'd better check it out just in case.
"What the—!" It's some kind of energy ball or something! I sling my pack to the ground to pull out the Batsuit, but before I can take it out I'm wrenched into the air, feeling like I'm being torn apart.
February 2008, twenty-three points off origin; Teen Titans cartoon timeline
"AHHH!" I wake with a start, my heart hammering in my chest. I don't try to remember why my heart is racing—I don't want to remember—I'm just relieved the nightmare faded so quickly.
This morning is no different from any other; I have nightmares like this often. The things I've seen, the things I've experienced…done. There's no real surprise here. And like any other morning, the extra-long, hot shower improves my mood slightly, but my nerves won't settle until I join my friends for breakfast.
I'm able to shuffle halfway to the kitchen before Starfire ambushes me in the hall, that dreaded gleam of hugs in her eyes.
"Good morning Robin! Beast Boy has prepared us a meal of tasteless egg-substitutes and discolored false sausages!" I gasp for air and use the breathing exercises I'd learned to not pass out. I swear my eyes are about to pop out. Did I just hear a rib crack?
It's almost impossible to speak normally after that death-grip hug, but I manage it anyway.
"Sounds great. Thanks Star." Gasping for breath, it's kind of hard not to laugh; Starfire is pretty funny, even when she is crushing me. Only the years I spent with Batman keep me from doubling over with laughter. I still can't help the smirk.
By the time we get back to the kitchen, breakfast is already on the table and quickly disappearing, and if I know my friends, they are about two minutes away from an argument.
"...So anyway, I go left and this other kid goes right and the monster trips and falls on him! Then all I have to do is dodge the zombie hoards and duck the mutant vampire bats and I get to the next level!" Beast Boy is beaming brighter than the sun—I wonder how long that will last.
"Man, that was some pretty good luck." Wow, Cyborg sure wiped the grin off BB's face quick!
"Luck? That was talent! I'd like to see you get there in only fifteen days!" Uh-oh, a challenge. They'll be at it all morning, one-upping each other. I'd better leave before they ask me to referee.
"Fifteen? Ha! I'd make it in ten!"
I think I set a new record for clearing my plate; I can hear Alfred now, "Slow down, Master Dick. You'll suffer a stomach cramp." I shove his voice out of my mind as I dump my dishes into the sink.
"Ten?! That's impossible!"
"Why Don't we make a this a bet?"
This is the part where they ask me to judge. Luckily I'm out of sight, in the elevator heading to the Tower garage.
When I get off the elevator, I notice a slight draft. Cyborg must have left the door open when he got back with the T-car last night. I'll have to talk to him about that. Sliding into the seat of my custom 'cycle, the whole morning melts away in an instant. Soon I'll be out on the open road feeling the wind in my hair, dodging in and out of traffic, with nothing to do but enjoy the ride.
I start her up and maneuver around a pylon. On the other side I am faced with a large, raging vortex, viciously wrenching off pieces of walls and ceiling. Everything loose must have already gone in. I have no time to stop, so I swerve while fishing out my communicator. Wrong move: The winds pick up and latch on to me! I send out a line to anchor myself to a wall but it never reaches…