Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Batman.
Under Ivy's control the thick roots danced like snakes, before they slammed against nearby buildings. Everyone ran for cover once rubble came hurdling down to the ground; thick dust filled the air and almost shrouded the siren completely. Her eyesight isn't nearly as good as mine, and I can hardly see her. Leaping onto a nearby gargoyle I took in my surroundings, the redhead hadn't noticed me as she slowly circled the now one hundred foot tall flower. I can't just take her head-on again, and I can't call for backup without a radio. If I challenge her now I could easily die, but what am I supposed to do? Wait for her to kill more people, or let my friends get injured in my place? With a hand firm on my whip I jumped down and dodged the debris, the second my whip snapped in her direction a razor-sharp root clasped around my throat.
"You will not stop me," Ivy's voice shook with anger, before I could move four more roots wrapped around my wrists and ankles. Branding hot pain dug into my bones as blood trickled down my neck, my lungs burned without oxygen and my vision started to blur. A sudden gust of wind swept away the hazy dust, the cool breeze danced against my skin when I looked up to find Ivy standing in front of me. Her fiery hair whipped around her face, green lips pulled back she snarled, "You could never stop me." The stars above me started to fade out when a few streaks of red flew across the sky, in seconds the roots went slack around me. Lungs hungry for air I gasped like I'd been held underwater, my body was thrown over someone's shoulder, their red cape fluttered just beyond my fingertips.
"Are you okay back there?" a woman shouted over the screaming wind, wait we're flying, she's flying, Gotham shrunk as we soared higher.
"I'm fine," I wheezed, though I feel like throwing up now, I spied her blue boots, which meant this was not Supergirl. "Karen?" I asked in disbelief,
"This was not the reunion I was looking forward to," the Kryptonian sighed. "Oracle radioed me and tipped me off that the GCPD had sectioned off Times Square. Then I flew over the city and saw this massive flower," she explained as she stopped to hover.
"Is there any way I can move?" I grumbled feeling horribly nauseated as blood rushed to my head, when she nodded I curled my arms around her neck and hooked my legs around her waist.
"It's a shame Ivy turned out this way," she murmured softly, before we could dwell I changed the subject.
"Does Oracle know what we're dealing with?" I asked against her back,
"I think so, I described it to her and she's been researching," Karen supplied.
Power Girl switched on her earpiece,
"Whatever it is, Ivy's definitely mutated it," Barbara said firmly as she hastily typed away. "The flora she's crossed the fungi with isn't crucial, you said there were sacs full of spores right?"
"Yes, they're bright orange," the blonde responded, it was silent for a few tense seconds,
"No use in your heat vision, Ivy is playing with Cordyceps now, it would only spread the spores faster."
"If she can break the sacs in seconds, why is she waiting?" I asked,
"They most likely have to reach a certain maturity to become potent enough to wipe out the entire city."
"How long do we have?" Power Girl asked impatiently,
"Fifteen minutes at best," Barbara deadpanned. Karen immediately shot down towards Gotham, my heart jumped into my throat and I locked my body in place. She somehow managed to stop before we barreled into the concrete; I hopped off her back as soon as we touched down.
"What a shame," Ivy sauntered across rubble and grass trailed behind her, fragile flora crawled over titanium chunks and easily crushed them. "You should've brought a real Kryptonian to this fight," Karen stiffened beside me, her eyes a molten red, "I know I did." Off in the distant night sky something suddenly swooped down before zooming into view, my heart dropped. Fitted in classic red and blue Superman glared down at both of us as he hovered near Ivy, a deep frown pulled at his mouth.
"Kal- El," Power Girl almost whispered, "What has she done to you?" Clark's natural demeanor shattered the second she said his name, in a blink of an eye he flew down and slammed into Karen. Before she could be thrown into the side of a building, she took Superman and hurled him away from her.
"It's me," the blonde roared and her hands balled into fists, "Kara-,"
"Kara Zor-L," Clark snarled, "False daughter of Krypton, I know."
"He's under her control Karen, he's not Clark right now," I called up to her.
"On the contrary," he flashed a dark grin, "I've never felt more like myself." His attention quickly shifted back to Karen, "Your human friend should be easy enough to kill," his smile widened, "But you, I'll take my time killing you."
"When did I say you could kill the human?" Ivy snapped and Clark turned suddenly. "That was a rhetorical question, I never gave you permission. Deal with your cousin," the siren sneered, "won't you?"
In a split second I flew higher, suddenly a spear of heat plunged into my shoulder-blade,
"Damn it," I hissed. Getting into it with Kara or Diana was one thing, but fighting and beating Kal would be nearly impossible.
"Go and fly you coward," he growled from behind me, I faced him and inhaled deeply, my ice breath surrounded him and froze him in place for a millisecond. Kal angrily broke through his crystalline cocoon, "You'll have to try harder than that," my cousin taunted. Before I could blink his arms had clamped around my waist; the wind screamed around us, my body collided with a skyscraper. Metal groaned and concrete crunched as he shoved me straight through the building; I somehow managed to push him off me by the time my back met glass again. He's too powerful one on one, I need to keep flying. An idea struck me as I swiftly dodged Kal's heat vision,
"Phone Batman," I shouted, my phone-earrings immediately connected me to him.
"Karen?" Bruce sounded shocked and blatantly irritated, "I'm a little busy,"
"So am I, you try to out-fly Kal," I snapped. "I don't know what Poison Ivy did to him," I confessed, "It's like he's gotten a hold of red Kryptonite."
"It's fine Batman!" I heard Nightwing call in the background, "I can handle The Riddler by myself,"
"I'm on my way," Bruce said gruffly. God I hope he makes it in time.
With Karen in the sky I was a sitting duck, my whip is not going to cut it. Shit, I raced toward the dead officers and snatched up their revolvers, I managed to dodge Ivy's attacks. When I turned loud bangs filled the air as I sent an entire round into her pursuing roots.
"You," her shrill scream bombarded my ears, I fumbled for the other gun and shot half a clip at lightning fast vines. Without warning a fat root clasped around my firearm and splintered the metal in half, my heart soared up into my throat when she hauled me off the ground. It felt like the plant was growing twenty feet per second, and I didn't doubt it. Before I could think of clawing my way out her plants pinned my arms to my chest. Screams rang out and skyscrapers in the distance were pummeled by Ivy's roots, stomach tied in knots I was at her mercy as she raised me up to her throne.
I'm so high, I looked down and the police cars were ant-sized, I was about fifty stories up, give or take a few feet. Finally I reached the top of her demonic flower, my eyes naturally scanned up her legs and torso, until they landed on her emotionless face. The siren tossed me on a huge leaf by her side, I could either fall off or move closer to her. The redhead wasn't letting her guard down, she secured me with razor-sharp ivy. In spite of her expression, her eyes were boiling over with emotion; hatred, joy, and a hint of sadness swam in her tired eyes. From here the city lights were dim as they bobbed and drowned in the darkness of Gotham, police sirens screeched loudly.
"I'm going to kill every last human being," Ivy murmured calmly. "I'll kill you too," a smile twitched on her lips and her eyes started to water.
Icy wind crashed over my body, "But I'll kill you last, I want you to be here to see it with me."
"Why keep me alive to see something so awful?" There was no way to keep her from killing me, no way to keep her out of my head. "Do you hate me so much?" I can't cry, I can't do that now. I can fight my way out of this. The redhead faced me,
"Just once I need you to feel the pain I felt, the pain I feel because I can never kiss you, or hold you again. And I want to be the one to take that pain away from you." Ivy, I tried to choke back my tears.
Suddenly I realized that those weren't sirens that were screeching, they were bats. Before I could blink a whirlwind of bats filled the city, and a thick cloud of them shrouded Ivy's vision.
"Bruce," I exhaled softly, I'll never forgive you if you let Ivy win. Thorns tore into my wrists and blood dripped down my arms, Ivy stood and scanned the city. The siren's hair whipped in the small cyclone the bats had created; crossing an arm over her chest she stifled a chuckle.
"Batman thinks he stands a chance," Ivy's demeanor iced over again, "Let's see him save Gotham this time."
As planned, the bats had temporarily blinded Ivy. Or maybe she was simply analyzing me, and waiting for the opportune time to strike me down. I have to act fast. Oracle had debriefed me on the Cordyceps situation, and given the sheer size of the flower, Gotham had twelve minutes at best. Thunder boomed above of me, my head snapped up to see Clark and Karen fighting. Deep heat-vision caused wounds littered her arms and legs, while a hypnotized Superman wasn't injured at all. Any sort of explosives or aerial weapons would be useless against Clark; if those pollen sacs got so much as scratched they would burst. Magic was out of the question, it would affect Karen as well, and she's the key to the mission's success.
If I just position myself correctly, I crept closer to the thick trunk of the flower, Ivy's roots whipped around suspiciously. The bats' sonar had severed most of their telepathic connection, but they were still incredibly dangerous. One direct punch from a Kryptonian would shatter my skull, and most likely decapitate me, and put a permanent to Batman. However, I wasn't walking into this blindly. In the past I had thoroughly researched Superman's patterns, and analyzed Clark's personality and behavior. Since the Hush incident we had inoculated Clark as to avoid this exact situation, but Ivy's pheromones had evolved. Given the fact Lois Lane couldn't simply be delivered to Gotham, and that Ivy most likely suppressed that side of him, this was all I could do.
Whenever Superman's hypnotized he becomes reckless, cold and irrational,
"Clark," I shouted. Rage filled eyes connected with mine; taunting a murderous Kryptonian under any other circumstance would be beyond idiotic. But if I could count on him being as cautious as a released bull, it would be worth my possible death. Before I could blink he had abandoned Karen and swooped down, his arms coiled around me. One, two, three four, five, my ribs broke like splinters under a cement block. I pinched a small transmitter between my fingers, it sent out a frequency only Kryptonians could perceive. Superman released me and growled in pain, his eyes slammed shut and blood trickled out of his ears.
Clark flew up into the air, I ducked before his heat vision could slice me in half, and smirked as the red beams of light severed the gigantic stalk of the flower. The plant groaned for a moment, he inhaled angrily and blew me half across the city. But not before I buried a shard of meteor into his back with my dart gun. My body slammed into the side of a building, eleven minutes left. Pain overtook me and I lost consciousness.
Before the flower could collapse I raced over to it and inhaled deeply,
"I'm not done with you!" Kal-El roared behind me. I exhaled and managed to cover the plant in a thin veil of ice to keep it from falling, I turned in time to catch his fist before it could crash into my face. The fiery red faded from his eyes and he suddenly dropped a foot or two. When I caught sight of the blue Kryptonite jutting out of my cousin's back I realized he was losing his powers. My grip tightened just as he lost his flight,
"Hold on Kal," I grabbed his upper arm. Just as I got a better hold of him he socked me in the jaw, still has his strength, for now. "I will break your arms if I need to," I hissed.
Once I got him down he had lost his powers completely, until we took that Kryptonite out of course. With one blow I knocked him unconscious, I couldn't leave a ornery Kryptonian, powers or no powers, conscious.
"I was wrong about my estimation. We only have two minutes until the spores explode! Stop wasting your time!" Oracle yelled through my phone-earrings,
"Got it," I left Kal for some Leaguers to take care of. Circling the flower I inhaled as much air as I could before enclosing the plant in any icy prison, but I couldn't stop it from falling anymore.
Distracted Poison Ivy hadn't realized the swarm of police in Times Square or the fact her flower was collapsing, Selina broke out her binds the second they started to fall. I could either freeze the top of the tower, or catch them both and compromise the entire mission. Damn it. Seconds after I froze the entire thing it shattered against the concrete and left half the City littered with shards of ice. Now on the ground my wounds suddenly caught up with me, my head spun and I rested my hands on my knees. Given how high they had been they were still falling, I could hardly stand. My heart sank, I can't catch Selina. Before they could collide with the street Ivy grabbed her by the waist, and rolled herself underneath the black-haired woman. Crawling up on her torn open hands and knees the redhead sneered, "Bullets are useless on me," Ivy grinned, "Didn't you know?"
"Please," Selina breathed once she got to her feet, Ivy recoiled when Selina's fingers brushed over her shoulder, both were deaf to the words that screamed in my mind.
"Shoot her now," an officer growled, "She's distracted."
"What about the civilian?" a marksmen asked, "Shouldn't we wait for Batman to save her?"
"We can't risk Poison Ivy making it out of our city alive." I ran toward the officer with a rifle,
"Wait!" I yelled. But I was too late, the trigger had already been pulled.
A loud bang ripped through the silence and Selina's body slumped against mine. My arms automatically caught her before she could fall; among the chaos everything went quiet.
"Hey," my head swam with confusion, hot liquid washed over my fingers. My entire body went cold once I caught sight of dark red as it seeped through the front of her jacket."Selina?" I swallowed the lump that burned my throat and carefully settled her on the ground. No, my heart clenched painfully, my bloodied hands shook as I cradled her head; her jade eyes warmed into a soft gold when she looked up at me. "Stay with me," I murmured as panic sank in, I kept pressure on the entry wound just below her sternum.
How could I have let this happen? Overwhelmed with emotion I turned away from her, "What have you done?!" rage had set fire to my mind. Police lights and helicopter searchlights blinded me; cool, slender fingers trailed down my spine soothingly.
"Don't Ivy, that's enough," her voice was hardly a whisper, but a slight smile pulled at her lips. Regret froze me in place and tears trickled down my cheeks and on hers, I can't fix this. Selina's knuckles brushed my jaw and her beautiful eyes traveled across my face, she had stolen away all my oxygen.
"Selina I-," before I could finish a tranquilizer had pierced my upper arm, I tried to pull her close even though my thoughts were drowning in chemicals.
"Get off her," a policewoman growled and shoved me aside to get to Selina, everything seemed to speed up as the sedative raced into my bloodstream. I tried to sit up, to make sure they were helping her, but as I did another officer trapped my throat under a pronged staff. An electric current flowed through it and a sneer pulled at the man's face,
"Don't tempt me. Stay down." My eyes locked on a stretcher as they lay it beside Selina, I could still see the heave of her chest as she breathed. My heart thundered against my ribs as the paramedics pulled a white blanket over her.
"What are you doing?!" I screamed, "She's still alive!" Just then a dam broke, the chop of helicopter blades, the wail of sirens and the lights of Gotham left me frozen. I grabbed the prongs that were buried in the earth on either side of my throat, the electricity only made the sedative less effective. I threw the staff away, my children shoved away any officer who tried to stop me, but my legs felt heavier the closer I got to the stretcher. "She's isn't dead!" Emotionless paramedics stared at me, handcuffs locked around my wrists as I watched her stop breathing. "She's dying because of you," I sobbed as they carted her into the ambulance. A needle pricked my throat and more drugs were pumped into my veins,
"Time to sleep."
I didn't care if I ever woke up. Selina had died alone, and I had killed her.
Time dragged on until I regained consciousness, the chemicals in my system bogged down my thoughts and kept my reflexes sluggish at best. Black trees clawed at the bleached sky, I was shoved out of a containment vehicle and caught by asylum guards. Heavy iron gates groaned as they shut behind me, cold gusts of wind made the thin trees scream as I remembered what hell looked like. Arkham. The asylum grounds were wiped clean of any signs of life, every inch of the place was caught between a shadow and the dark intentions of its inmates.
"Poison Ivy eh?" one guard stated smugly,
"Your little escape made us look like idiots," the other hissed, "Don't think it'll happen again." They continued to push me forward, I snapped out of my haze once we got inside Arkham.
"Did you miss the place?" Angry shouts and miserable sobs rang out from seemingly every direction, and two years worth of memories suddenly resurfaced.
We are all scum, I couldn't deny that as they hauled me down the long halls of Arkham. Some inmates jeered and howled once their hollow eyes caught sight of me. Others were more solemn, as if the sight of Poison Ivy being put away drowned their flicker of hope at escape. Her blood burned against my clothes, tears seared behind my eyes but I kept my dignity and hid them from the others. Scarecrow analyzed me coldly as I passed by his cell, Two-Face grinned at me, and sneered. We are all scum, but we all belong to Gotham. The lights buzzed above me as the guards pushed me on, the earth is dead here. Soft dirt was suffocated by concrete, sunlight was replaced by florescence, and fresh air was nonexistent. I shivered once I reached my designated cell, frost branched across the cell next to mine.
The warden had ordered that I be assigned to the darkest, coldest cell in Arkham. I wasn't surprised that they placed me next to Victor. My children were dead and gone, my body felt like an empty husk without their presence. The grey burlap sack of a jumpsuit they had put me in rubbed my skin raw, I decided to sit in the corner and stare at the door. The front wall and door was two-sided glass, I knew the psychologists would be watching, observing me and my insanity. So I wouldn't give them anything to jot down, anger boiled hot inside me, they treat us all like animals in a zoo. Alas I didn't have enough energy to lift a finger, let alone control any plant-form, so I let the frustration boil away. Now all I was left with was the cold solitude of regret, the bulb that lit the entire room flickered in and out.
I watched my breath turn into small clouds and tucked my legs underneath me, heat streamed down my cheeks and slapped against the concrete floor. Selina. After hours of freezing cold my body tensed up and I couldn't stop shaking. If I'm going to die it might as well be painful and slow. I tried to curl up into a ball to stay warm, but nothing I did helped. "CODE RED, THE ASYLUM SECURITY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED. I REPEAT, THE ASYLUM HAS BEEN COMPROMISED," the speaker blared down the halls. Gunfire and crazed laughter bombarded my senses, quick footsteps crept past the cells.
"Mistah J, can we open this cell too?" a familiar voice asked sweetly.
"Shnookums, I'm only here to break out a couple of the boys. I'm not here so you can chat with some old gal-pal of yours," the Joker sneered.
"Get on her good side and I bet she'll be pretty useful to ya,"
"I bet she has no good side," he murmured dryly, "But that'll just make things more exciting." A few more gunshots sounded outside of my cell, "Could you get that?"
"Got it," the woman responded happily, she must've had an automatic because shell casings rapidly clattered against the ground.
The two went quiet as the other inmates cheered, without warning an explosion rocked the asylum. I tried to lift myself off the floor as smoke poured into the room, I looked around to see the floor littered with shards of the door. After a few seconds the two appeared by the entryway, the Joker remained in the hall as the smoke started to clear. His companion wore a red and black harlequin jumpsuit, with a matching jester's cap, which she peeled off as she walked closer.
"Harley?" I croaked as her pigtails bobbed behind her, since when do you hang out with the Joker?
"Oh Red," she knelt beside me and pulled me close, the blonde's body felt like fire against my skin.
"Jeez, she looks stone cold dead," the Joker cackled.
"That ain't funny," Harley snapped, everything around me started to blur,
"It wasn't a joke." I felt her grip on me tighten and I shivered,
"We havta get her outta here," panic was obvious in her shrill tone. "Come on Red, we need ya to get up." Everything faded in and out, I could feel them and hear them as they carried me down the halls. Another explosion shook the building,
"Cómo está big guy," the Joker chuckled, "It looks like we need your help." Why do they need Bane of all people? They take away his Venom every time he's incarcerated. Just then I felt someone throw me over their shoulder, oh.
After a while I felt like I was floating, the only thing that tied me to reality was the chaos unfolding around me.
"That's the last time I break into Arkham," the Joker giggled and the sound of helicopter blades filled my mind. "You can drive a stick right?" he asked Bane. "How's the ginger doin?" The sounds around me became warped and muffled, it felt like I had a steamroller on my chest. The cold branched in from my arms and legs before it was too much to take.
"Red?! Mistah J she ain't breathin!" Harley screamed. Everything went silent.
To be continued...