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Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
It comes down to a choice.
Doesn't it always?
But here I am, right where I'd hoped I'd never be. My father to one side, my team to the other.
Which is my family? I wonder quickly, crazily.
"Kill them," Father says.
I notch an arrow, but my bow stays pointed firmly at the ground. My father, there, implacable as always. And on the other hand...
Superboy is watching me, and he's so very very young. So idealistic, so naive, and just a little bit broken, too.
Robin's next to him, just as young but far more jaded. Stained with life, and I think he understands me best. We come from similar places. Places the others will, hopefully, never understand.
And Kaldur, the big brother I'd never known to want. Gentle when I needed it, stern when I didn't, full of advice and charisma. A good leader, though full of doubts he doesn't want to let us see.
Ad Miss Martian, M'Gann, Megan, the younger sister I'd never wanted. M'Gann is standing silent, tall and proud, for all she's covered in dirt and blood. She's got tears in her eyes, tears I pretend I don't see.
And, surprisingly, it's Kid Flash, Wally, who steps forward, who holds out a hand, who says quietly, "Artemis."
Kid Flash, who's a little witty and a little arrogant and a whole lot smart. Wally, who's teased me and pushed me, who I've wanted to strangle and punch repeatedly.
I could have loved him.
I do love them all.
"No," I say, and turn towards Father, letting my bow inch up. "I won't."
I hear a sigh, from behind me, even as Father says "So be it." He raises his whistle to his lips.
My bow gets there first, and the arrow flies true.
But I know the pain of an arrow wound as well, and it doesn't surprise me to see the fletching sticking out of my side. I knew there'd be backups in the shadows when I made my choice.
But I still smile on my way down, because it doesn't matter.
Five little Indian boys going in for law,
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
I've been ready to die since the day I was born.
That's the way I was programmed.
Other lives above yours.
Superman's above all.
But Superman effectively negated the last part. I might be called self-destructive, but I don't care. Not anymore. I can't care.
They took Artemis. She was team.
She was family.
So it doesn't matter if Cadmus or the Light or whoever the fuck they think they are has Kryptonite.
It doesn't matter that Robin's got one arm and Kid Flash has the other, and M'Gann is pleading and Kaldur is ordering, it doesn't matter.
Other lives above yours.
They have Kryptonite. If left unchecked...
Superman's above all.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
I don't think we ever really got over losing Artemis and Superboy. It was a blow.
Miss Martian had only really known death conceptually. Kid Flash had encountered it, knew it, but not intimately. Not like Robin.
Not like me.
It hurt. I know, I know that nothing I could have done would have saved them.
It still feels like I failed.
So days, weeks, months later, I still see them in my dreams.
I take some time to go home to Atlantis, to ground myself.
But then there is an attack, and they don't know who it is and that scares them. So I stay behind to protect the queen and her unborn child, and my King takes to the battlefield.
The fight is glorious.
The assassins, not so much.
I fight them off, all of them. No one will harm my queen.
Not as long...as long as I
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
When it comes right down to it. I'm only fast. I mean, that's it. I can run. I can't hack or throw things bigger than me or shape shift or anything.
Not that I'd trade my speed for anything. I went through enough to get it.
So, yeah, I may be a bit reckless, but I can always outrun the consequences. And mostly, I'm not even in the line of fire. Strategy, and all that.
Though that might have gotten a bit lost after Aqualad...left.
So when Blockbuster grabs me, I'm a bit surprised. I mean, yeah, I'd rather him grab me than, say, Robin, but I wasn't expecting him to grab anyone.
And, okay, sue me. I'm a bit skinny. So yeah, I'm kind of afraid for a second, 'cause bones are brittle, and Blockbuster's strong, and I'm only fast.
But then I hear Robin's little echo-y laugh.
And I know everything's gonna be okay.
Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun;
One got frizzled up and then there was one.
Robin doesn't disappear anymore. The first time he did, after...after Wally, I might have, you know, freaked a little. I might have possibly-Well, he doesn't vanish now.
We still take missions. It's all we've got now. Missions, and each other.
Robin's becoming more like Batman every day. I hope he never dons the cowl himself.
But anyways, here we are, the two of us. And here's the volcano we ended up in.
Because of course someone's got a secret lair in a volcano. I'm actually kind of happy at how cliche it is.
But I'm flying, and Robin's got my arms, and the lava's a bit quicker than I am.
"You're getting fat," I tell Robin with a small grin.
We're near enough to the lip that he can say "Then drop me," and I can believe he'll make it.
So I toss him forward and upwards, and he does a quick flip before shooting out his line.
The momentum is what ultimately gets me, I think. It pushes me back and down, and the lava suddenly roars, faster than it's been going, and I think I should've known volcanoes do that.
I manage to look up at him and say, "Bye."
And then the world is fire.
One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went and he hanged himself...
He disappears one day, on a mission.
It used to piss them off.
No one's left to care.
...and then there were none.
Nobody ever sets foot in Mount Justice again.