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'Fly Like an Eagle' is performed by the Steve Miller Band
Atop the roof of a skyscraper, Raven folded her arm over her chest and adopted a hard stare, typically reserved for her young wards, but apparently equally effective on Gar as he began to fidget and rub anxiously at the back of his neck. Standing slightly beside him and trying to look innocent, a difficult task given her hidden expression, was the freshly named and rather troublingly armed Glowbug.
"Okay, so remember Robby Reed and Vicki and Chris King and then a bunch of other people found this old rotary dial and for some reason, they started calling H-E-R-O on it and it would turn them into different heroes?" he said, speaking quickly as though to hurry through the topic and then leave it behind. "Well, I may have kinda said that DeeDee could have one. And now she's using it."
"And, man, does it feel nice," Glowbug added appreciatively, rising into the air slightly. "I mean, I appreciate the room in her head and everything, but like this, there's no back-seat drivers, nobody trying to cut in, nothing."
"What were you doing with an H Dial?" asked the grey woman, focusing upon the shape shifter.
"So, few years back, one of Superboy's friends was thinking about joining, but decided that he was gonna give up the hero life. Kid had been using an H Dial for all his adventures and stuff and after hearing some Doom Patrol stories from me, he figured I'd know how to look after it," he supplied before pausing. His brow furrowed and he wondered, "Y'know, I wonder if there's any connection between those stories and his decision to 'get out before it got crazy.'"
"I can't imagine how they would," Raven rolled her eyes.
Pointedly ignoring her, he turned to study Glowbug who snapped to attention and delivered a salute that caused the green man to smile.
"At ease. So, I'm guessing by the suit, the faint whiff of napalm, and the name, that the Firefly nutjob is your daddy?"
"Yep," she offered a thumbs up. "Twice the firepower, but only ninety-five percent the pyromania!"
"That's . . . that's manageable," Gar reasoned. "So, I take it that you're a master at firefights?"
"Oh, yeah. I'm real hot stuff," she returned, mirth evident even through the distortion of her helmet.
"You must be pretty bright to have made that suit."
"I'm leaving before this grows any more painful," Raven declared sourly as she summoned a portal. She looked to the elder of the remaining pair, his attention now focused upon her as he smiled reassuringly.
"Whenever you want to talk, Rae, I'm always here to listen," he said. "No promise that I'll be able to say anything mature about it, but I can definitely listen."
"Sometimes, that is enough," she nodded and he caught the flicker of a smile. "The other times, I'm familiar enough with your antics to know how to handle you. Goodbye, Garfield."
She disappeared into the portal that closed up behind her and Gar waved after it before shoving his hands into his pockets. Beside him, Glowbug swiveled her helmet between him and the disappeared heroine before she leaned in towards him, elbowing him lightly in the side.
"So . . . she handles you, huh? Any chance you could you possibly explain what all that entails?"
"How old are you?"
"Ummm . . . twenty-one?"
"Unfortunately, dudette, not even I am buying that one."
"Eh. I figured it was worth a shot," she shrugged.
"Hey, has Blackfire or any of the others seen you? Or Duela changing into you?" he scowled at the inquiry before looking back to her. "Do any of them know what the H Dial does and that you have it?"
"Umm . . . no?" she said, raising her arms in a helpless gesture.
In the span of a second, hundreds of potential pranks raced through his head only to be engulfed in star bolts or carved to shreds by dancing blades before he had the chance explain that it was merely a joke. With a reluctant sigh, he shifted into the form of a majestic harpy eagle that leapt into the air and turned to the armored girl still on the roof. Her flight pack hummed as she lifted towards him and he led her upwards, skimming beneath the clouds. Grass green feathers scraped along their great bellies, dampening the tips with moisture as he corkscrewed along the cloud.
Without breaking his maneuver, he called to Glowbug, "Hey, does the Dial just time out, or do you consciously switch, or how's that all work?"
"I honestly have no idea," she admitted. He casually dropped back to position himself beneath her, swelling as he did so in fear of his initial suggestion. She glanced down and continued, "I mean, I can kinda feel Dee in here, but she isn't as . . . present as usual. You know, she's like dormant."
"But, if she were awake, she'd resume control of the body and - what? Control your body or revert back to her own?" he mused before shaking his head and grumbling. "See, this is why I miss the Doom Patrol. With them, stuff was absolutely bizarre - and that was completely normal for us. And if something did need thinking about, I took no part in it."
"I doubt they wanted you to strain yourself," she suggested, once again with a superior smile evident in her tone.
"More likely that they didn't want a kid to show them up," he reasoned.
"That sounds a bit far-fetched to me."
"Well, how abou-argghhh!"
"Gar?" She dropped her head to find the sky beneath her empty save for a few swirling feathers. "Changeling? Not a fan of the whole 'punk the new girl' thing. This isn't funny."
"Of course it is!"
She released a yelp as a solid force landed upon her back, sending her head diving down before she was yanked back upward. At the edge of her vision, she could make out wickedly sharp talons before her attention was pulled to the feathery face that quickly obscured the rest of her vision. A black, hooked beak, razor keen and blatantly intended for ripping and tearing, emerged from a slender visage adorned in ebony feathers. Large eyes of gold studied her and Glowbug felt that they seemed distinctly feminine before they narrowed and the unchecked passenger sneered at her.
"It simply depends on your perspective!"
Beneath and growing increasingly distant, Changeling struggled against a captor who seemed intent on tearing his wings from his body. Shifting into the form of a kangaroo, he placed his broad feet against an armored chest and smirked, "I appreciate the sentiment, dude, but I'm already spoken for. Now, hands off."
Powerful muscles uncoiled and launched his attacker away from him, leaving Changeling to plummet. As he tumbled through the air, he melted into the form of a falcon, and spread his wings to spiral upward as his assailant recovered, spreading immense, leathery wings that sprouted from his back. He snarled and glanced about before catching sight of the shape shifter and diving forward.
"Well, I do admire the persistence," Changeling admitted as he took the brief opportunity to study his attacker.
Cybernetic armor of white was broken by stripes of pebbly, blue scales that were as dark as the ocean. His attacker's visage was covered by a shiny faceplate that could not contain the animosity in his hidden glare, and the back of his helmet rose in a small spike. Lashing through the air behind him was a segmented tail tipped with a blade that may have been an extension of the suit but moved as though alive. Claws tipped his gauntlets as well as the boots and the former spread as they swiped at the falcon who gracefully circled about the arm and raked at the faceplate, talons raking futilely across the surface.
Ducking away as the snarling figure grabbed at him, Changeling heard an agitated buzzing sound and he chanced a look towards Glowbug. She darted through the air in sudden bursts of speed, trying to disengage from the shadowy figure that danced in the sky with an inhuman grace. Before he could assist the girl, a growl warned him of the approaching creature and he narrowly avoided the razor-tipped fingers. Rolling out of the way, he unfurled his wings again and swung in an arch to gather momentum as he flowed into the form of a ram. The armor stood firm against his assault, but threw his foe through the air, disoriented and open to another attack.
Glowbug growled within her helmet as her own adversary cackled and the talons on her feet, covered in shimmering auras of silver, gouged long scars before she managed to pull away, preventing the damage from reaching any deeper. With a slender, gently curved form, the bird woman swept through the air with acrobatic grace and savage ferocity. A dark suit to match her midnight feathers covered her body, but left her legs bared and had holes large enough for her wings to fit through. Golden eyes contained the mad glee that her beak could not express as she attacked relentlessly at the heroine who fumbled with her belt before tossing a small device at the avian.
A brilliant flash filled the sky and Glowbug grinned at the squawk as she dove forward, goggles protecting her from the light burst, and delivered a dual kick that stole the breath from her lungs. The bird woman slipped towards the earth before she managed to catch herself and rise upwards, rage in her eyes as she snapped at the armored youth.
"I am going to turn your flesh to ribbons!" she promised.
"Well, gee, that's just rude. Here I was hoping that we could have a nice, friendly fight to the death," she retorted as fire roared from her gauntlet's barrel, forcing the bird woman back. She sneered before sliding under the torrent to stab at her again, screeching as she brought her claws to bear.
Changeling led the winged man on a merry chase through the sky, abandoning the larger forms of avians for insects or tiny bird, circling above his pursuer and unleashing a mighty swipe as a bear or some other animal before taking flight again. His potent gaze had seen the movements in the forest below, and he had not missed the fact that he was being herded towards whoever lurked beneath the fresh leaves. Firing upward, he burst through the layer of clouds and passed beyond them before he swelled into the form of a gorilla, clasping his fists together as the scaled man doggedly followed after him. Unable to resist the toothy grin at what he was certain was an expression of shock and horror, he quipped to his foe.
There was no chance to dodge as clasped hands that made entire people look small on their own slammed into the pursuer's chest, sending him hurtling downward. Following after in his simian form, Changeling shifted into an oversized harpy eagle as he emerged from the other side of the cloud and pressed his wings to his side, diving down to collect the twisting man in his claws. He struggled with the weight, wondering how the figure could stay aloft, when a burning pain spread from his chest. Screeching indignantly, he looked down to find the bladed tail slicing along his breast and he released his captive, letting him drop again as he pulled upward, blood trickling from the wound in a macabre rain.
The armored man recovered with surprising speed, by now used to the sudden drops, and shot after him only to be intercepted by a black and gold blaze that sent him spinning through the air. Straightening himself, he shook his head and snarled at the voluptuous alien generating a starbolt in her palm, standing between him and his prey. She remained unimpressed by his display and threw her hand forward, casting the burning orb at him. He dodged as Changeling flapped at the beauty's shoulder.
"Good to see you."
"Isn't it always?" she arched a brow.
"I might have to plead the fifth on that one, oh great ruiner of girls' self-esteem," he answered.
"I still do not understand what that means," she grumbled as she launched more starbolts at the nearing foe.
"And it's going to stay that way for as long as I can help it."
"Rose and Eddie are engaging foes on the ground. Where is Duela?"
"She's calling herself Glowbug right now," he said, directing her to the armored and feathered figures. "She's the one without wings. I'm going to help the other kids."
"Have fun," she called as she dodged a swipe of claws. With a sinister smirk that gave the scaled man pause, she promised, "I know I shall."
Branches snapped against the scaly hide of a pterodactyl as Changeling entered the forest, spotting a lithe shape diving behind a tree. Shooting towards it, he failed to notice the significantly larger shape behind him until a fist sent him plowing into a nearby trunk, which exploded into splinters as he crashed to the ground. Struggling to his feet, he changed into his natural form, and winced at the ache that sought to overwhelm him before focusing on the advancing giant. He held back a groan but couldn't stop the grimace at the unwelcome sight of Behemoth shouldering through the trees.
"Somebody really needs to have a talk with your zookeeper," he muttered.
Behemoth growled, "You're more than welcome to."
He raised his fist before he was consumed in a roaring conflagration, hot enough for the sensation to pierce the protection of his thick hide. Bellowing more in annoyance than pain, he whirled about, swinging his fist through several trees as Kid Devil ducked out of the way. Behemoth's other hand was patting down his hair, trying to put out the fire in it before he was suddenly pitched forward, shaking the ground as he landed. When he attempted to rise, an elephant's foot slammed in the middle of his back and the trumpet sounded in his ears. His teeth ground together but before he could lash out, the weight had disappeared from his back and there were startled trumpets amongst the crash of trees.
A shadow fell across him and he carefully avoided the gaze of the slate grey creature as he hissed, "Take care of the child first. I will handle the Changeling."
He scowled but nodded as twigs snapped at the scaly figure's rapid departure, chasing after his quarry while Behemoth fixed his blank gaze upon Kid Devil who vainly attempted to hide his anxiety.
Several yards away, caramel eyes watched as Behemoth lumbered to his feet and charged at the horned hero who leapt out of the way. Claws bit into the bark of the tree, holding Touch-N-Go in place as she condemned herself to her orders. Her rebellious inclinations caused pain to shoot through her leg, the scar reminding her of her folly even when sealed under the strange, armor-like device that also covered the corresponding knee. She was not to engage unless the quarry tried to bolt, but she allowed herself a moment to admire the devastation her only friend created.
The forested area was quickly turning into a clearing, the trees toppling as Behemoth rampaged through them with terrible ferocity, charging relentlessly at the crimson youth. Kid Devil kept his face stern and summoned his strength to send the falling trees back at the brute who jerked his head at them, horn ripping through them. Split trunks and branches piled beneath them as Kid Devil stayed perpetually out of his reach, closing the distance between them only to deliver blows that belied his lean frame. He quickly unleashed a gout of flame and then moved out of range again under the cover of the blaze. Grabbing a nearby log, he grunted and spun it to smash against Behemoth before the flames dissipated and it exploded into splinters across his face, serving only to infuriate him further.
Touch-N-Go's internal cheering squad was silenced at the creak of wood and her short ears swiveled about before she dodged a trio of blades that stabbed into the tree that she had been using as cover. Following their trajectory, she scowled up at Ravager who stood upon a sturdy branch, both her swords now drawn.
"What's up, wussy-cat?" she smirked, highlighted by a purple light from overhead for a second. "How's the leg doing?"
In the next instant, she was beside her upon the branch, claws stabbing towards her as she snarled, "A lot better than you will be!"
"Oh, so you aren't any slower?"
Ravager made a faux attempt at innocence in her question as she batted the hand aside and then jammed the elbow into the side of her foe's neck. Before she could recover, the one-eyed girl leapt from the branch and stabbed a sword into another tree, swinging upward to a new branch and pulling her blade free. Looking over her shoulder at the enraged feline, she challenged, "Try to keep up."
Upon a pile of splinters and larger limbs of foliage, a recently emerged termite shuddered and grew into a mossy green humanoid who shook his head, pleased that he had been quick enough to put an armadillo's form to use.
"The learning never ends for the alumni of the School of Hard Knocks," he muttered as he stood and turned towards the sound of crashing trees. The rustle of leaves, one not decidedly caused by the still air, rooted him to the spot and he turned as they moved again.
"I had heard that you were funny. Well, at least that you tried to be," murmured a soft voice that brought to mind the wind running over dead leaves. A figure emerged from the canopy, clawed hand making the first appearance and naturally followed by a brawny arm coated in grey scales that were thick enough at certain points to be spikes. The face was a serpent's head though not as long, fitted with a short snout that a split tongue flickered from, tasting the air. Small horns decorated the ridges over blood red eyes that seemed to draw all who met them into their endless depths. His powerful torso led into a long tail that was wound about the tree, keeping him secured as he slowly progressed downward. Unlike his comrades, he abandoned any pretense of modesty, baring his inhuman form to the world.
"And I've heard a story about a talking snake in a tree. I'm probably going to have to refuse any fruit you offer," he said with an apologetic shrug. He stared into the crimson eyes with an unnatural fascination, his mind ebbing away as his muscles went lax. A part of him recognized what was happening and he managed to wrench away and slam his eyelids shut against the potent stare. Above him, the snake man gave a soft, malicious laugh as he paused on the tree.
"You may manage to amuse me yet," he said before firing from the tree.
Blackfire had been suitably surprised by her foe when his claws and bladed tail had managed to scratch her skin, and she expressed the subsequent displeasure at the marks with a barrage that, for a brief instant, outshone the sun. Ignoring the armor and rather bulky wings, the scaled man had managed to evade her onslaught with quick, efficient movements. Gaining height, he dove at her but she swung aside to drive her elbow into his back, cracking the shell of his armor. As he dropped downward, his tail flickered up, reaching for her throat but flickering across the bare skin in the window of her armor. Snarling, she lashed out with a kick that caught his body in the side and sent him tumbling through the air before he managed to right himself. Fixing his covered gaze upon her, he prepared to launch forward when a dark, ragged figure barreled into him.
They tumbled through the air to crash into the canopy as Blackfire looked towards the armored girl descending from above. Setting a hand upon her hip, she asked, "Glowbug, I presume?"
"Ooh, you're good. Practically on fire," she said, breaking into a slight giggle.
"Are you hurt?"
She glanced over the scarred suit before shaking her head. "I think I'm fine. My suit took a bit of a beating. That harpy needs to cut her nails."
"I'd rather cut your throat!"
The snarl passed from a dark blur that streaked through the air to steal Glowbug, carrying her towards the clouds. Blackfire moved after them only to find a sudden weight upon her ankle before she was whirled through the air and crashed into the trees below. High above her plummeting form, Glowbug managed to tear her shoulders free of the talons that nearly pierced to her skin and a jet of fire leapt from her gauntlet at the bird woman. she shrieked at the flames, pulling away from them as Glowbug's flight pack sputtered and tried to keep her aloft. Rage in her eyes, the dark figure flapped her wings and several feathers hurtled towards the armored girl, stabbing into her suit. She made to pluck at the ethereal silvery constructs, similar to those about the harpy's talons, but they dissipated at her touch, leaving only the wounds in her battered power armor.
Ravager faltered as Blackfire crashed through the next branch she had been about to leap to and she felt Touch-N-Go's claws upon her back. She turned to slice at her, only for the cat girl to duck, giving the heroine the chance to reset herself and jump for a new location. Her landing was unsteady but she managed to balance herself as Blackfire shot back through the canopy, cutting off Touch-N-Go. When she bounded after the white-haired girl, throwing knives stabbed through the air and one managed to find its mark in her thigh. Tearing it out before she landed, she growled as she stabbed at Ravager who stepped towards the end and spring-boarded to a new vantage.
"Man, you're just getting worse at this," she sneered as she landed. "This rematch is - what was it that you said last time? Oh, right. 'Pathetic.'"
"Behemoth says I need to be professional," she said. Sprinting forward, she threw herself higher onto the tree and then used the space to gather momentum to slash at Ravager who managed a block. Touch-N-Go leaned in to growl, "But I'm going to enjoy stringing your innards up like Christmas lights."
Fire raged in a devastated ring within the force and Behemoth stormed through them, pink sweat rolling down his hide as he sucked in raspy breaths. He kept his form tense, watching the fires that Kid Devil naturally seemed to blend into when there was a blow that caused him to stumble forward. Growling, he rounded upon the youth and surged forth with surprising speed to catch him, hands clasping about his arms and torso like a cage. The sweat began to evaporate in his palms and he could feel his captive growing hotter, but he pushed away the pain.
"Don't make me crush you," he warned, tightening his grip to make his point clear.
Wincing at the feeling of a cracked rib, Kid Devil grunted as he struggled, trying to crawl from the massive grip. Falling still, he narrowed his gaze at Behemoth and noted, "You know, without a bunch of civilians to threaten or a city to knock down, you aren't that tough. Or too smart."
With a pained roar, Behemoth dropped the youth and gazed upon his trembling, blistered hands as Kid Devil gulped in breaths, air flowing freely through his lungs once more. He forced himself to roll out of the wait as the round foot came crashing down upon his location and he slipped into the welcome embrace of the fire. Behemoth's already uneasy breathing grew more agitated as he forced his hands open, unwilling to close them upon the painful burns.
"Out here, there's nobody else. No authorities. No camera phones. Nobody to worry about."
The words rose over the crackle of flames, circling about him and the giant jerked around, trying to pinpoint their source.
"We aren't going to accidentally rip open a gas line. Or ruin the life of people we're trying to protect," he intoned, still circling.
"You going to talk or fight?!" he demanded, blustering through his growing unease.
"Out here," the voice suddenly whispered in his ear. "We can really cut loose."
A scream erupted from the forest that shook even the thickest of trees as a geyser of flame screamed skyward.
Well, Ira's hand has healed and he's back to full duty on typing. Hopefully you all enjoyed the fight. What did you think of the constant shifts in focus? Were they too frenetic or did they work? Please let us know.
newboy: We weren't trying to make it hard. Unfortunately, somebody beat you to it. Thanks for the review.
diamondace4: That's simply who they've matured into. This is based off the canon put forth by the cartoon - ignoring the Teen Titans Go show that they've recently put out. Besides, we get so much more traffic having it located here.
Please review and point out any mistakes!