I want to thank everyone for taking the time to review!
Okay, a bunch of you guys have been pushing for me to separate my chapters more from the storyline, feeling that it's a little too complacent to how the episodes progressed. So here you go, this chapter follows episode seven story-wise, but has a major twist added in it too. I hope you guys like it, because I certainly do.
~Young Justice: Red X~
Chapter 17: Denial
|2010 August 19, 19:39 EDT
Kaldur ducked as Superboy launched forwards at him. He spun a kick at the clone, who blocked and pushed back, forcing Kaldur to move into a backhand-spring, landing on one knee. He recovered and sent an uppercut at his teammate, blocking the strike aimed at his chest. The Atlantian grimaced lightly, shaking his numb arm, obviously trying to get some feeling back into the limb.
Wally guessed that while Atlantians had super strength, it seemed Kryptonians were still stronger. He shrugged, not really caring who won the fight, and turned his attention back to his burrito. After a few more seconds, and with the girls giggling about something, Superboy managed to beat Aqualad.
"Black Canary taught me that." The clone said proudly, which made Wally think of the woman and her sidekick. Man, what he wouldn't give for a team up with those two. His daydream was interrupted as Red Tornado dropped down into the room. He promptly finished his snack and raced over, stopping the android before it could get too far away. Seriously, if they were giving out awards for the most secluded hero, it would be a tossup between Batman, Red Tornado, and Red X.
"Do you have a mission for us?" He asked quickly.
"Mission assignments are the Batman's responsibility." The robot answered stoically. 'Well, duh Red Tornado, thanking you for pointing out the obvious.'
"Yeah, well, but the Batman is out with the Robin, doing the dynamic duo thing in Gotham." 'See, I can state the obvious too.' "But you're headed somewhere right? Hot date or a… amission?" He finished, throwing in a French accent at the end just for the fun of it.
"If we can be of help." Kaldur offered from behind, and Red Tornado brought up a screen. Wally wished Robin was there so that they could bump fists. 'Score.'
"This is Kent Nelson, a friend. He is one hundred and six years old." Red Tornado said and Wally felt like he was in class again, receiving another boring speech that he wasn't going to remember by tomorrow.
"Guy doesn't look a day over ninety." He joked towards the person closest to him, who turned out to be Artemis. She spared him a glance before refocusing on Red Tornado. 'Nobody appreciates my humor.'
"And he has been missing for twenty-three days. Kent was a charting member of the Justice Society, the precursor to your mentors' Justice League." The robot continued.
"Of course, Nelson was Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, he was Doctor Fate." Kaldur added and Wally scoffed.
"Please, more like Doctor Fake. Guy knows a little advanced science, "Dumbledore's" it up to scare the bad guys and impress the babes." He said while leaning over towards Artemis, who merely raised an eyebrow.
"Kent might simply be on one of his walkabouts, but he is caretaker to the Helmet of Fate, the source of the Doctor's mystic might and it is unwise to leave such power unguarded." Red Tornado paused before continuing. "Batman had already given this mission to Red X five days ago, but he has failed to report in any findings. That is why we believe Kent may be at his Tower."
'Oh man, X got another mission?' He huffed, feeling annoyed. 'How come Bats always gives the extra assignments to him?' Wally would have said Batman was playing favorites if he hadn't remembered whom he was talking about. Batman only liked Robin.
"He is like the great Sorcerer Priests and Priestesses of Mars. I would be honored to help find him." Megan said from ahead of him and Wally's hand shot up.
"Me too!" He agreed, making Megan turn around. "So honored I can't stand it. Magic rocks." He went so far as to make hand signs, hoping to cover up the lack of enthusiasm in his voiced.
"Take this." Red Tornado said while holding up an oddly shaped key. "It is the key to the Tower of Fate." As Kaldur moved to take the key, Wally slid up beside Megan, offering a sly smile.
"What are the chances we both so admire the mystic arts?" She smiled back and inwardly he cheered. 'Nice one Wall-man, now just keep lying and Megan will be your girlfriend by the end of the day.'
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 19, 19:41 EDT
The Old Haunt was trashed, any reflective surface had been broken and the lights overhead had been shattered. A lone figure sat slumped over in a chair, face buried deeply into his hands, and desperately trying to keep his temper under control. A low growl ripped through his throat and blood raced through his veins as he suddenly stood and threw his chair across the room, not even glancing at it as it broke against the wall.
A lone eye focused solely on hands that were too large to be his.
"This can't be happening, this isn't happening!" The figure shouted, fists slamming into a table nearby and breaking in half due to the force behind his strong limbs. He yelled ferociously, ignoring Raven's attempts to find out what was wrong. That right there was a bad sign. If Raven could pick up on his distress over their current distance, then Red X was closer to unraveling then he'd originally thought.
It had only been five days since Batman had assigned him with a mission to find Kent Nelson. After the first three, he'd tracked down where the former Sorcerer Supreme had last been seen, leading him to a little hole in the wall down in New Orleans. A woman named Madame Xanadu had held a session with the older man on July twenty-seventh, saying he'd been there to contact his deceased wife.
After the former Doctor Fate had revealed her tricks for what they were, an unknown man had arrived and grabbed Nelson, both just disappearing in a flash of white light. She'd tried to file a report with the police, but they'd simply laughed her off. Madame Xanadu's reputation as a con artist had worked against her.
Getting a description of the man who took Nelson, Red X found that it was Abra Kadabra who had been the one to take the old man. From there, he'd followed what clues he could and found them hiding in a wax museum near Keystone City, a place which had once served as one of Abra Kadabra's previous hideouts.
Red X slowed his X-Cycle as he reached the end of the street, taking in the seemingly abandoned wax museum with cautious eyes. He teleported to the roof, making sure his cloaking device was in effect, and peered through the skylight. He activated his Infrared vision and slowly eased himself inside, continuing his search when he saw that no one was in the room he'd landed in.
After ten minutes of looking he found them in the Houdini section of the museum. Nelson was tied up in chains, hovering upside down over a large tank of water. The man's face and upper body was already drenched, showing that Abra Kadabra had most likely been tormenting the older man for some time. The villain in question stood next to the tank, wand in his hand and looking displeased.
"You will tell us the location of the Tower old man, or so help me, we'll see just how long a former Lord of Order can last without air." Abra Kadabra snarled and Nelson gave a wet cough, smirking a little even as residual water from his abused lungs escaped his mouth.
"Do your worst, you second-rate magician." Red X moved before Abra Kadabra could lash out at the old man. He fired two Constrictive X's that wrapped themselves around the man's legs and torso respectively. He cautiously approached the fake magician and kicked away his technologic wand. Seeing that Abra Kadabra was taken care of, X turned to help Nelson, turning off his Invisibility so that the man could see him.
"Kid, behind you!" Nelson shouted and Red X instinctively ducked, avoiding a wave of what looked like red fire. He dove forwards, putting more distance between himself and his attacker, and turned to see that he was facing off against Klarion the Witch Boy.
Red X didn't know much about the Lord of Chaos, only from the little that Batman had told him years ago. There'd been the demon Etrigan and a snow globe involved, but Red X couldn't remember much of the story beyond that. Batman had only told him that he needn't worry about it since Klarion had been sealed away for good.
"No, no, no! You're ruining the fun!" Klarion cried while letting off another round of fire that Red X avoided. "No one was supposed to find us yet!"
"Sorry to break up the party." He offered coolly and the Witch Boy hissed in response, his facial features shifting into something demonic looking for a second. "But, Mr. Nelson here didn't look as if he was enjoying your activities list." He threw a barrage of Adhesive X's that hit their mark, but Klarion's magic fire burnt through them in a matter of seconds.
"Who are you?" The Lord of Chaos shouted in frustration and X charged ahead with his Bo Staff, taking the demon by surprise. He swung out with his staff, making the With Boy fall onto his backside to avoid getting hit and retreated as a red shield shot up protectively around the fallen Witch Boy.
"Right now, I'm your worst enemy." He answered evenly and Klarion snarled in anger, swiping wildly with his hands and making powerful gales of wind tear through the air. Red X teleported and appeared behind Klarion, striking out with his staff again and sending the demon face first into the ground. The With Boy turned to glare at him, a slight flush coloring his usually pale cheeks.
"You? As my worst enemy? Don't make me laugh, no normal human could ever compare to me!" Another wave or red magic shot out and Red X back-flipped to avoid most of the attack, bringing his arms up to block what he couldn't dodge. "I'll make you regret giving leeway to that impudent tongue of yours!" Red X grunted as something he couldn't see, more wind he guessed, slammed him hard into the opposite wall. "Abra, make yourself useful!"
Turning around just in time, Red X ducked the blast of electricity sent by a now freed Abra Kadabra. He eyed the two villains carefully, but was forced to move back blindly as both sent out new attacks. The conjured fire was easy to evade, but Abra Kadabra could manipulate the energy of his attack, making it chase after Red X as he moved. He took shelter behind a mannequin, barely able to hear Klarion muttering something under his breath.
"Kid, you have to stop Klarion, he's–" A loud splash echoed throughout the room. Red X quickly looked out from behind the mannequin to see that Nelson had been dropped into the tank of water.
"Silence you old fool!" Abra Kadabra yelled while aiming his wand at the tank and Red X took the chance to launch an Electric X at the charlatan of a wizard, who was too distracted to notice the attack. Abra let out a pained scream as red bolts of energy raced through his body. He collapsed to the floor, knocked unconscious from the high voltage fueled behind the attack. Wasting no time Red X teleported to the tank and smashed the glass, pulling Nelson out and helping him into a sitting position. The old man choked weakly, shivering from the cold, face dangerously red from the blood that had been rushing to his head. Nelson needed immediate medical attention.
"K-kid–" The older man tried to say before coughing up more water.
"It's all right, I have you." But the former Sorcerer Supreme merely shook his head.
"Spell …Klar…ion." Cursing, he turned around quickly only to see a flash of red fill his vision. Before he blacked out, Red X thought he heard Klarion say something.
He woke hours later, head fuzzy and body oddly sore. Nelson, Abra Kadabra, and Klarion were of course gone. Red X growled at himself, slamming a fist into the floor and crunching the bits of glass underneath his body. He stopped suddenly, noticing that he couldn't see anything out of his right eye. He brought his hands up to his mask, but the latch seemed to be missing. Feeling uneasy for some reason, X brushed the emotion aside, understanding that he had more important things to address. Nelson needed help.
Stumbling to his feet, Red X clumsily made his way out of the room. He needed to get to his X-Cycle and report to Batman. The League had no idea that Nelson had been captured by Klarion. As he slowly moved down a hall, a flash of orange and a lone dark eye caught his attention. Red X jumped back and landed in a sloppy fighting stance, unable to get his limbs to move the way he wanted.
Slade did the same, holding himself in the same slack position.
"Slade!" He hissed, jerking a little in surprise as he heard his voice echo. That wasn't him, that wasn't his voice. There was no metallic tone covering his words, and it was most certainly not the voice of a seventeen-year-old. No, he'd sounded like–
Red X eyed Slade, his heart beating so quickly he thought for sure that Slade could hear it. Slowly, he raised his right hand and a strangled noise escaped his throat as Slade copied the action. Giving up all pretenses, X charged forwards, his fist aimed at Slade's mask, only for it to end up crashing into a mirror. He stumbled away from the cracked surface, only to see Slade again in the corner of his eye and he wildly lashed out.
Everywhere he looked he saw Slade. It was only when he had collapsed onto his knees from exhaustion, cutting himself on broken shards, did he realize that he was standing in a hallway full of mirrors. Then he suddenly remembered what Klarion had said before unconsciousness had taken him.
"Let's see how you handle being your own worst enemy."
And Red X, not for the first time, felt something inside of himself snap.
X was suddenly brought back to his senses by the crackle of his communicator that was still remarkably inside his mask, even though it had been transformed along with the rest of his body.
"Red X, are you there?" He didn't respond. He couldn't. His voice was Slade's now. How would Aqualad recognize him? "Please, respond. Red Tornado said that you have failed to report in recently." There was a long pause before the connection was cut off. He didn't know whether to feel relieved or not. He just knew he didn't want anyone to see him like this.
"Red X? Can you hear me?"
"Miss Martian?" X responded without thinking, but ended up sighing in relief. At least he still sounded like himself inside his own head.
"Oh good, we were worried about you. I'm going to hook you up with Kaldur, okay?" She seemed to be telling him, rather than asking him.
"Red X, are you alright?" The Atlantian inquired and he looked down at his hands, wondering what he should say. Definitely not the truth. His silence seemed to be an answer in its own right. "We have been assigned to find Kent Nelson and Red Tornado informed us that Batman had given the mission to you days ago."
"Where are you?" He asked swiftly, his hands clenched tightly at his sides to keep them from striking out at anything. He hadn't contacted anyone since waking up, too afraid to let others see him, too disgusted and ashamed. Now though, he realized he'd left Nelson at Klarion's mercy for two days. And that was unforgivable.
"We are approaching Doctor Fate's Tower to see if the Helmet is secure. Hopefully, Kent Nelson will be there as well." There was another long pause. "What has happened? Miss Martian says she sensed great distress radiating from your mind."
"Can you give me the coordinates? I'll meet you there and fill you in." Red X said instead, not bothering to answer Aqualad's question. If Kaldur was put off by his rudeness, then the Atlantian didn't show it.
"Of course my friend, the destination is Salem,Massachusetts. What is your arrival time?"
"I'll be there in about an hour." It was about time he put his newly acquired X-Plane to work.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 19, 20:22 EDT
"Grant us access to the Tower, and I promise you an end to your suffering. Continue to refuse and–" Kent shouted in pain, filling in for what Abra meant. He gritted his teeth against the agony, his body aching from the days of torture. Below him, sitting in the audience, he could hear Klarion's sick laughter.
"Shush Teekl, I'm watching the show." The Lord of Chaos said to his yowling familiar.
"Enjoy it… while you can, soon enough… my friends will come to help me." He huffed raggedly, feeling that his old age was finally getting the better of him. Having worn the Helmet of Nabu for years had increased his own powers and physical fitness, but right now Kent felt every year of his age. He gasped as Abra shocked him again.
"Friends, huh? You mean like that dumb kid who tried to save you?" Klarion taunted and Kent glared at the Witch Boy with everything he had. "I wonder how he's doing, being trapped in the form of his most hated enemy?" The familiar hissed and Klarion turned to it, annoyed. "What?" The creature said something only Klarion could understand, making him smile. "Oh, we're in luck you old fool, it seems more friends have come to your rescue."
Kent frowned. Yes, he'd hoped the League would send help, but from the sounds of things it looked as if they're arrival was going to do more harm than good. Well there goes twenty-three days of resistance shot down the drain. Klarion approached him, teleporting them to just outside the abandoned theater, where they could see a group of teens standing in the empty lot. Klarion, unfortunately, had cast an illusion spell, making their small group invisible to the gathered teens. Still, they could hear the children talk amongst themselves and the blonde girl listed off possible scientific reasons for why his Tower seemingly wasn't there.
"Hey Abra Kadabra, aren't you using adaptive micro-electronics and phase shifting?" Klarion asked mockingly, getting a sighed admittance from the other man. Kent ignored them and focused on the group of children, they couldn't have been any older than the kid who'd tried to help him the other night. He'd hoped that boy would have shown up again, if only so that he could help the lad, though Kent didn't know if he could undo the spell without the Helmet.
He put those thoughts on hold as the tallest lad in the group, an Atlantian if Kent wasn't mistaken, opened the door to the Tower, breaking the protection spells around it.
"Shouldn't we wait for Red X?" The green skinned girl, a Martian he deduced, said from beside the glowering boy who bared Superman's symbol.
"We still have a half-an-hour before his estimated arrival. If Mr. Nelson is here, we can end the mission easily enough on our own." The Atlantian replied, getting nods from the others. The children then entered the Tower, leaving him and the two villains outside.
"Now, if you would be so kind." Abra Kadabra said while giving a harsh push that sent him stumbling a little. The Tower reacted to his presence, opening a back door as he approached it.
"You know," Kent said lightly as they traveled down a hall. "The Tower may not appreciate trespassers."
"Mute." The fake magician growled while summoning a strange collar that wrapped itself around his throat, leaving him unable to talk. He scowled at Abra but continued on, knowing there was little he could do. They proceeded at a slow pace and a manifestation of himself, the sentinel of the Tower, appeared to greet them.
"Hello, Kent. How unlike you to bring guests to the Tower, especially one with such potent mystic power." Disturbingly enough, the collar around his neck spoke, repeating the words he'd used only minutes ago.
"My friends – come to help me." The patchy sentence was enough to appease the sentinel, granting them passage deeper into the Tower.
"The Helmet of Nabu will be mine." Klarion said mostly to himself, giving Kent a dark look as he petted the familiar in his arms.
'Over my dead body, it will.' He thought back. 'Hang on kids, I'll think of something.'
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 19, 21:17 EDT
Red X stood on the roof of a rundown theater directly across from the Tower of Fate. He'd arrived twenty minutes ago, his X-Plane currently camouflaged behind him, only to find that there was no entrance to the Tower. He'd tried contacting the others, but he couldn't seem to get through on the comlinks or even reach Miss Martian. With nothing to do but wait, X found his mind wandering into dangerous territory.
He was Slade.
A growl tore through his throat and his hands itched with the desire to break something. Movement from down below on the street caught his attention and he was glad for the distraction. A man wearing a black ski mask was trying to pry open a convertible's car door. He moved without consciously meaning to, muscle memory seemingly taking over, and landed heavily behind the car thief, still unused to the movements behind Slade's body. The thug turned, crowbar in hand, only to freeze on the spot as he caught sight of Red X.
The teen hero tried to ignore how different his shadow looked under the streetlight.
"D-Deathstroke!" The crook cried, dropping the crowbar and choosing to run for his life instead. Red X mentally filed the name away to look at later before giving chase, cutting through the alleyway and landing in front of the thief just as he rounded the corner. The car thief couldn't stop in time and ran straight into his chest. Red X barely felt it, but the thief lost his footing and ended up sprawled on the sidewalk. "Oh god, p-please d-don't kill me!"
X froze, he hadn't even touched the man and yet he was already pleading for his life. Just how terrifying was Slade in this dimension?
"You want to live?" He asked as neutrally as he could, gritting his teeth at the sound of his own voice, of Slade's voice. The crook nodded his head rapidly. "There's a police station six blocks over, go and turn yourself in. I'll know if you don't." The thief took off, whether to actually turn himself in or not, Red X didn't really care.
His attention was turned to the Tower of Fate. He could hear the faint sounds of what sounded like fighting. He ran around the building to see flashes of yellow and red lights flare out from the roof. Not wasting a second, he used a grappling gun to join the fight.
The sight that greeted him was one he would remember for the rest of his days. From inside of a yellow bubble-like shield, Kid Flash was preforming CPR on Kent Nelson. And it didn't look as if the man was responding. 'This is my fault. I could have saved him days ago.' He furiously charged forwards, pulling out his collapsible staff and batted away the fireballs Klarion had aimed at the barrier.
"What are you doing here Deathstroke?" Klarion roared angrily and Red X narrowed his eye. He'd thought that the Witch Boy had stayed long enough to see what his spell had done, but apparently, that was not the case.
"Deathstroke? Like as in, Deathstroke the Terminator, the world's deadliest assassin?! That Deathstork?!" Kid Flash cried in surprise, his voice cracking a little. 'Assassin?' X thought, feeling unnerved. 'That's what Slade is in this world?' However impossible, it seemed that this Slade was even more dangerous than his. He pushed those thoughts aside and turned to look over at Kid, his single eye landing on Nelson's body. A distant, broken part of his mind, one that sounded like a nine-year-old Dick Grayson screamed. 'I can't lose another one!'
"Kid, focus on Nelson!" He shouted, shaking the redhead out of his dazed state. The speedster responded, looking confused, but quickly turned back to Nelson, continuing the chest compressions. Red X looked back at Klarion, glaring at the demon with everything he had. "You and I have a score to settle." Klarion studied him curiously for a moment, before realization dawned, making him grin darkly.
"Oh!" He cried triumphantly while clapping his hands. "I remember you! You're that dumb kid who tried to save the old fool!" He laughed while clutching his side and X growled in response. "So Deathstroke is your worst enemy, huh? But, you look kind of… off. Different outfits, slightly different masks." Klarion grinned. "Is this how you see him in your head?"
Red X didn't answer, he simply charged at the Lord of Chaos, overreaching a bit with his staff and almost completely missing his target. He brought up an armor-plated arm; blocking Klarion's fire imbued punch, and swung his staff at the demon's unprotected stomach. The Witch Boy doubled over, hands wrapping around his injured side and gasping for breath.
The one good thing about Slade's body was that it was much stronger than his. The advantage was slightly ruined though as he was unaccustomed to the longer limbs. Slade's body also wasn't nearly as flexible and agile as his, thus crippling his fighting style even further. He tried to follow through with a kick at Klarion's chest, but was blocked by a wave of red magic that threw him across the roof, smashing into Nelson's force field.
As he moved to get onto his knees, Klarion created claw-like hands from his fire, sending one into the barrier while the other grabbed Red X. He grunted in pain, feeling his ribcage protest at the force with which Klarion was using, and was beginning to find it hard to breathe. The heat pressing in from the fire was manageable, but only because of the flame-retardant material that underlined Slade's armor. With a free hand, he discreetly reached for one the compartments of his utility belt.
"I want that helmet!" The Witch Boy screamed and Red X groaned as the hand tightened even further. "Hey dumb kid!" For a second X thought that Klarion was taking to him, but he saw that the demon wasn't even looking in his direction. "You put that helmet on you may never get it off." Red X pulled out an ice disk and slammed it into the fiery hand that held him in place. The flames froze over and he brought up a knee, smashing his way free and landing on his feet.
He turned to Kid Flash, about to ask where the others were, only to be greeted by Doctor Fate.
"Fate has intervened." Kid cried aloud as a yellowish light shot out around his body. His voice sounded different, a deeper voice spoke simultaneously with his, overlapping Wally's words with its own and almost drowning him out completely. X grimaced behind Slade's mask. He knew very well what happened to those who wore the Helmet of Fate. He could only hope that he'd lost one hero today instead of two
"Give it up Nabu, order went out in the twentieth century!" Klarion hissed as he continued with his earlier tactic and hurled more fireballs at the Sorcerer Supreme.
"This battle is pointless. You sought to take the Helmet before it gained a host, but you are too late." Doctor Fate retorted, blocking the spells easily.
"Shut it you old fart!" Klarion summoned the roof's bricks upwards, manipulating the twin pillars of stone to slam into Fate. The Lord of Order was unaffected by the attack as he easily teleported out of the way.
"Brat." Fate returned the attack with one of his own, aiming a beam of yellow light at Klarion. The demon vanished before reappearing behind Fate and Red X threw his Bo Staff like a javelin, forcing Klarion to retreat before he could attack Doctor Fate's unprotected back.
"Ugh, you again? Stop interfering!" X jumped back to avoid a fresh wave of fire and regrouped with Fate who merely nodded. There was no recognition in Kid's green eyes, nor did he say one of those dumb jokes that the speedster loved to make. Fate had truly taken over. Klarion summoned more fire, the flames taking the shape of a beast as it flew at them.
Red X dodged, but Fate was much slower, resorting to falling onto his stomach to avoid being hit. It was startling to see Kid Flash moving so slowly and X had to wonder why the Sorcerer Supreme wasn't using the speedster's abilities. The fire beast spun quickly, diving upon Fate who blocked the spell, only to be hit from behind by another of Klarion's fireballs.
As Fate skidded across the roof, Red X quickly retrieved his staff to block the bullet-like orbs of energy that Klarion directed at him, not trusting his current body to move as it usually did. Fate tried to block with a shield, but it only last a few short seconds before failing. Giving Fate no time to recover or X the chance to advance, Klarion spewed fire at them from his mouth, the powerful torrent of flames forcing the two to separate. Fate took to the air and Red X raced across the roof, throwing shuriken at the Witch Boy at every opportunity.
The demon soon switched his method of fighting, summoning a series of fiery geysers that chased after both heroes. Despite being at a disadvantage, Red X managed to evade the attacks, pausing only when he heard Fate cry out in pain.
"You're out of practice Nabu, and that pathetic host body, zero affinity for the mystic arts." The Lord of Chaos taunted as Fate struggled to push himself onto his knees. "And your ally isn't much help at this point either." Klarion raised his arms to the sky, summoning down a bolt of red lightning. Fate just barely managed to bring up another shield in time, doing his best to maintain the hastily casted spell. "Oooh, rainbow powers."
Patience now gone, Red X ran forwards, taking Klarion by surprise as the Witch Boy had been distracted by arguing with his familiar. The demon let out a shout of surprise as he ducked Red X's first strike and grunted as the second attack hit its' mark. Klarion slid back a few feet, landing near his cat and glaring, his control on the lightning spell lost and giving Fate the chance to escape.
"It is difficult for a Lord of Order or Chaos to maintain a presence on the physical plane." Fate said before taking to the air. Klarion's features transformed into something feral looking and a wild blazing aura began to cover his body. The demon created even larger fireballs than earlier, throwing them at Fate with more ferocity than before. "I am bound to the Helmet and use a human host." Fate shot a beam of light at Klarion, which was blocked. "But that is not your way."
"You're babbling Nabu!" Klarion hissed, his voice carrying a demonic tone.
"Am I?" The Sorcerer Supreme launched another beam, bypassing Klarion and hitting his familiar. The small creature was thrown back, obviously injured from the sneak attack. X didn't exactly understand why Fate had attacked the cat, but he trusted that the sorcerer knew more about Klarion than he did.
"Teekl!" Klarion cried out worriedly before turning to glare at Fate. "I can't believe you would assault a defenseless pussy cat!"
"We both know that creature is no cat, Witch Boy. And without your familiar, you have no anchor to this reality." At that, Klarion's body seemed to fade a little, blinking out of existence for a moment before stabilizing. Red X eyed the cat, realizing he now had a way to return back to normal. He raced for it while keeping an open ear on the two mystic beings behind him.
"Bully! Killjoy! Geezer!" Klarion shouted and Fate retaliated with a beam of light. "Holy crap." The demon dodged by jumping into a black hole that disappeared as soon as it was created, reappearing next to X just as he snatched the cat from the ground. "Teekl!" The Witch Boy cried in surprise and Red X dangled the cat over the side of the Tower, making the demon halt in his tracks. "Give him back!" The earlier aura and anger had returned, making Klarion a terrifying sight to behold.
Red X was unaffected. After facing someone like Trigon, Klarion's little temper tantrums were far from intimidating.
"Change me back to normal and I'll return the cat unharmed." He stated firmly as fire gathered in Klarion's hands. "Do anything otherwise and we'll see if all cats really do land on their feet." He dropped his arm a few inches, making the cat whine and Klarion gasp.
"Okay, okay!" Klarion started muttering again, saying words Red X couldn't understand. X turned his attention to Doctor Fate, who was staring at Klarion intently; likely making sure that the Lord of Chaos wasn't up to anything. His eye was reclaimed by Klarion as a circle of red runes appeared around the demon's feet, black smoke rising from the glowing symbols, before a wave of red shot out towards him.
Red X had the foresight to bring the cat back over solid ground just as the spell hit him. He tumbled to his knees, vision fading, but was still able to make out Klarion disappearing with his cat.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 20, 03:48 EDT
Red X stared over the wreckage that he'd cause to his base. His hands, his normal hands, ghosted over the broken computers and other ruined equipment. It was jarring to see how much destruction he'd caused. To have visible proof of how he'd lost control over himself. This destruction and chaos bordered on line of something more than just rage.
The tattered caped hero had known for a few years now that he had a bit of a temper. At first, the evidence and actions had been easily covered since he'd mostly been angry with Gotham's criminals back then. When he'd beaten up the bad guys, when he'd started to leave them with broken noses and sprained limbs, it was expected and no one had ever looked to see if there was more to it.
But then he'd punched Batman.
He hadn't meant to, it hadn't been a conscious decision, but Batman had just made him so angry. He'd tried to blame it on lack of sleep and stressful nights, but he couldn't continue to lie to himself once he'd seen the budding bruise on his mentor's face the next morning. Alfred hadn't asked where the mark came from and Bruce had simply dismissed the entire event, but he hadn't been able to get over it. He'd apologized, oh god did he apologize. He'd never felt so horrible about something before that. Bruce had brushed it aside; mind mostly focused on whatever he'd been working on at the time.
The following weeks went by slowly and Red X's remorse and guilt had only increased. Alfred had tried to help, but there was only so much the butler could do. Batman, for all his brilliantness, had remained oblivious. Then the night came that changed everything between them. It had all happened so fast, he was still fuzzy on some things. Joker had been aiming a gun at Batman. And he had seen that his mentor was facing the other way, unaware of the danger his life was in.
Stepping forward and taking that bullet certainly wasn't the hardest thing he had ever done.
It had taken him months to recover. The bullet had his heart by inches. After the countless grueling sessions of physical therapy, of the many weeks of rigorous training to get back into shape, Batman had decided to drop the other shoe.
He'd forbidden Robin's return.
The argument that followed was one that Red X would never forget. By the end of it all, he'd stormed out of the Cave and Wayne Manor, promising that he was never coming back, with Alfred calling after him. A noise caught his attention and X turned with a shuriken in hand, relaxing as he saw who his visitor was. 'Speak of the devil.'
"What are you doing here, Batman?" He asked tiredly. He hadn't gotten much sleep over the past few days while trapped within Slade's body. What little rest he did have was filled with nightmares that even the Scarecrow's fear gas couldn't have conjured up. The image of Nelson's body appeared in his minds' eye and X knew he wouldn't be getting any sleep tonight either.
Nelson's death was his fault. He shouldn't have let himself be distracted during the fight. He should have told the League about Klarion's and Abra Kadabra's involvement, regardless of what had happened to him. If he'd just kept his head, if he hadn't allowed himself to sink into a haze of anger and depression, then Kent Nelson would still be alive.
"I read the team's report." That five-worded statement seemed to say so much. The deafening silence that followed was overbearing and stifling. Red X gritted his teeth as Batman's eyes roamed over the room, studying the mess that was a physical manifestation of his own mind. He was unable to meet the man meet the man's gaze, feeling too guilty, and instead stared at the dented wall opposite him. He could feel the judgment in the man's lingering eyes and he snapped back defensively.
"Would your own base be in better shape if you'd been transformed to look like the Joker?" He growled, catching a slight twitch in the man's jaw. Batman visibly backed off, clearly understanding how badly this had affected him. "…I'm sorry about Nelson." And then he teleported away, not wanting to hear a lecture, or even worse, his not-mentor's consoling words.
He would fix up the Old Haunt tomorrow, for now he just wanted to find some dark place to hold up in. A lone sanctuary where he could escape from his thoughts, where he could hide from Batman's stare, and where he could try to forget his haunting memories.
~Young Justice: Red X~
Red X getting turned into Slade didn't really seem too farfetched or out of context for me. I felt like it fit in with the weird episodes the Teen Titans often used to have. I was glad to bring this element into the Young Justice dimension where everything is so damn serious. Not that the situation wasn't serious, there was no humor in this chapter at all. Still, it was nice to branch out and do something different.
And shit, Nelson died. I really felt like they didn't give the old guy any justice for being the first character to die on the show. They just kind of glossed over his death. Red X though feels guilty because he could have saved Nelson. This will haunt him for a little bit, making him unstable and putting himself in danger. Basically, he gets more issues that need to be resolved. Man, what a basket case I'm turning X into.
And that bit at the end. I loved that, I really did. The Teen Titan show never explained why Robin left Batman so I'm glad I get to go over it. I'm pretty sure Robin getting shot by the Joker, resulting in his leaving, is actually cannon in the comics. If not, then it totally should be. I'll go into more details about the shooting at a later point in the story, but for I'll just let you picture the scene in your head.
If your curious about what the X-Plane looks like, I imagine that it looks like the one used in Batman Beyond.