Author Note: This is my first work of fanfiction, I hope you enjoy it. This story takes place in current Marvel and DC Universes, with the slight tweak that I've added Cassandra Cain back to the Bat Family. I like her too much to omit her.
Updated for a better flow. I felt like I was putting my worst foot forward here.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the plot.
Earth-616 – Manhattan
Laura Kinney -AKA X-23, Codename: Talon- ducked low and dove behind a destroyed defense robot as another arc of pure energy lanced through the air where she was standing, followed by shrill, warbled laughter. She grimaced, hating the fact that she was so outclassed, hating the fact that she was being toyed with by this creature, but she couldn't stop. She couldn't fail the children. Snarling, she leaped out of cover, ready to face her tormenter-
Annihilus, the Living Death that Walks, Lord of the Negative Zone.
He was an interdimensional bipedal insectoid creature and narcissistic tyrant, standing head and shoulders over any normal human. Annihilus was covered in green chitinous armor with large, armored yet webbed wings. The tyrant came to this dimension seeking bloody vengeance on Johnny Storm and Richard Ryder. He would crush them, their families, those they would call allies, and everything they held dear. For this sole purpose he tore open the walls of the Negative Zone. He brought his army, his fury, and most importantly- a Cosmic Cube. A super powerful reality warping device no larger than a rubric's cube.
Laura had been in the Baxter building working as a baby sitter for Susan and Reed Richards when the chaos broke out. Luckily for her and the children, Valeria and Franklin, the Baxter building was a fortress. Unluckily for them, the Human Torch was at the top of Annihilus' list and he knew exactly where he lived.
"I'm beginning to lose my patience… Where is the Human Torch!?", Annihilus hissed, lifting the Cube higher.
When he did, Laura's world exploded into pain and blinding light. It felt like hours, suspended in the whiteness before reality came crashing back down around her. She fell to her hands and knees, disoriented, barely able to make out the words coming from the creature in front of her.
"-where he is, or face oblivion!"
Laura ignored his words rose to her feet. As long as he was tormenting her, he wasn't with the-
Both Laura's and Annihilus' head whipped around, one in horror, the other in surprise. Valeria and Franklin Richards stood in the doorway, grim determination on their faces, "Leave her alone!"
Annihilus immediately recognized both of them. He remembered the indignities he had suffered in their presence. He raised the Cube in rage, "The spawn of Richards? BEGONE!"
Laura had many different teachers since her escape from The Facility. She found that the one she learned the most from was Logan, her genetic twin- the man who called himself her big brother.
She remembered that night in the snow, when they had rescued Rahne Sinclair from the Purifiers. She said that Rahne should have known better- that she wasn't worth rescuing.
Logan turned on her in fury, 'Rahne Sinclair has two things we'll never get back… hope and innocence. She's who we save – she's why we risk our lives! She's who we die for!'
Warpath had pulled him away, but he kept shouting, 'Sinclair is more important than you or me. Our lives are worth NOTHING compared to hers! You hear me X!?'
Laura never really understood what Logan was talking about. Perhaps now she finally understood. No harm would come to Richard and Valeria while Laura watched over them. Of that, she was certain.
She acted the moment Annihilus began speaking. In a streak of adamantium and black, she stood between him and the children, blades extended and ready to take anything he could throw at her- anything he would dare throw at the children.
In a flash of blinding light, she was gone without a trace that she was ever there to being with.
Orbiting Earth-0 in a Different Multiverse
J'onn-J'onzz enjoyed his time in the Monitor Womb. His psychic abilities let him connect with the Martian technologies in the room, making him a living nexus of information and the first response to crisis points. He was the first person to learn of the trans-dimensional warp in Gotham City.
He'd never seen readings like the one the machine was giving him. It was as if a whole had been punched through the multiverse itself, if only for a moment before disappearing entirely.
Ignoring the flashing red lights in the room, he activated his comm. There was only one person in Gotham close enough to handle the situation, "Batman, this is the Watchtower. We just received odd energy readings coming from Gotham City that need to be investigated. I'm sending you the coordinates now."
Gotham City – Harbor
Batman put his hand to his ear, "Have the information sent to Oracle. I'm busy."
"Very well. I'll mobilize a response team-", Jonn's voice crackled over the line, before Batman cut him off, "That won't be necessary."
He ended the call, activating the comm. device in his other ear, "Oracle. Incoming information from the Watchtower."
"From the Watchtower? I mean, uh, on it.", Barbara's voice chimed in over the line.
He ended the call, turning his attention back to the beaten and bloodied muscle bound metahuman laying on the ground in the center of the seaside warehouse they occupied. There were fifteen other men in the room, all affiliated with organized crime. They were all unconscious, many with broken bones. Groaning from the pain of the effort, the metahuman tried rising to his feet.
Batman began to circle the downed metahuman, "I know the man you work for supplied Crane with the chemicals he needed for his attack on the city last month. Three months before that I busted what I learned was a shipment meant for the White Rabbit. A week ago I learned about this shipment coming in."
Batman took a hop-step forward, viciously stomping down on the rising metahuman, sending him crashing back down to the ground with a dislocated shoulder, "Imagine what I'll learn tonight."
Terror in his eyes, the man tried to crawl away from the dark knight looming over him.
Jonn relented with a sigh. There was no arguing with Bruce. He didn't tolerate other capes in his city and for the life of him Jonn could not understand why. He turned his attention back to the security console, sending the relevant information to the Caped Crusader's information specialist. The current course of action would avoid a public panic, and there had been no strange reports or police calls regarding the incident yet—still, he couldn't shake the feeling that an incredible chain of events had just began.
Barbara Gordon wasn't surprised when Bruce had called her so suddenly. It was normal for him, after all. What surprised her was that he called her so abruptly about Justice League business.
Barbara mentally sighed as she readied her computer for the data transfer, 'Normally he gives me more of a heads up, or he at least tells me what's was going on…'
Her eyes widened when her computer came to life and the data started coming in.
She scrambled to see who in the family was in town. Dick was off dealing with a jewel heist with Damien in tow, so that left him busy. Cassandra was available, but she wouldn't have any idea of what to do…
All that was left was Tim. Whatever this was, hopefully he could handle it. Who knows? Maybe it was nothing.
She sighed, "Who the Hell am I kidding? It's never nothing."
Barbara fingered her comm., "Hey, Tim. I got a job for you."
Despite his efforts, Annihilus had not destroyed Laura.
In his hubris, he had spared her life.
Annihilus was a creature that understood one concept above all else: Power. He had wielded the power of Galactus, commanded the power of the Cosmic Control Rod, and wore the Quantum Bands into battle, laying waste to everyone who would dare stand against his armies. Now he had a Cosmic Cube- a device of infinite complexities infused with the power and the secrets of the universe.
Despite all of its intricacies, the Cosmic Cube was nothing more than an instrument of brute force in the hands of Annihilus. With all of his power, Annihilus had commanded that the Cosmic Cube make whatever was in front of him be gone.
And Laura was gone.
The full force of the Cube was used for the single purpose of placing her as far away as possible. It shoved her through space and time until she arrived so far away that even the Cube couldn't retrieve her- a different multiverse entirely.
Laura gasped as air filled her greedy lungs. She scrambled to her feet, head whipping back and forth as she tried to orient herself. She was in an alley somewhere, nighttime, definitely in the inner city. The ground was littered with trash, making the space between the two deteriorating buildings feel all the dirtier and smaller. She could smell the rats scurrying away from her- the rotting food in the dumpster. There was nothing new here- she'd seen it all before. The place itself was new to her though, and there wasn't a smell she distinctly recognized.
She shook her head, trying to clear the muddled thoughts that flowed through her head. She was doing something... she had talked with Sue Richards about-
Her head snapped up. She had forgotten about the children- She had to find the children!
With the finesse of an assassin trained from birth, she flew up the side of a nearby fire escape, desperate to find a view of the city. She had few things close to her in this world, and the Richards children were one of them.
When she reached the top of the fire escape she flipped up over the side, landing gracefully on the roof of the building. She spun, searching the city skyline for a familiar sight or a building she had seen once before. A thousand lights danced before her eyes. Enormous Gothic buildings and grand skyscrapers pierced the skies, surrounded by a seemingly endless wave of smaller buildings.
There was nothing she recognized.
Laura felt weak in her knees, the despair threatening to overwhelm her. She had failed her mission. She had failed the Richards and failed Logan. There was no doubt in her mind that the children were dead. The girl fell to her knees and extended a single blade.
Slowly, she began carving x's into her wrist. She didn't understand the feeling that welled up inside her, the crushing wave of guilt and sadness. She hated not being able to understand. Pain was the easiest way to release her frustrations. Laura took her time with each scrape, watching the crimson liquid slide from her self inflicted wounds. Blood soon stained the rooftop at her feet.
A scream in the dark ripped her from her self-inflicted torment.
She peered over the edge of the roof top down into the dark labyrinth of alleyways behind it. She could make out a pair of people in the dark- one male, approximately six feet tall, two hundred pound, armed with a 9mm pistol. He was undisciplined with it, but held to a woman's head. She was crying on her knees, begging for her life. His intentions were obvious.
It looked like some things were universal.
X-23's wounds had already closed. She made her move.
Marie Sullivan cried desperately, begging to her assailant as she knelt on the ground in the filthy alley, "P-please… I have children… You- you don't need to kill me, I gave you all the money I have on me!"
The bastard smiled, "Sorry, babe. Just your unlucky day."
Just as his hand squeezed down on the trigger, he was struck from behind by a black blur, sending the shot while. The woman screamed, curling into a ball. The would-be murderer regained his balance spun around, gun ready, only to have it slapped away from his hands.
X-23 stood in front of him, hunched over with claws unsheathed, "Never again."
She pulled back for the killing blow, only to have a cable swing around her arm, preventing her from landing the killing blow. She spun, ready to face the new attacker.
Her eyes followed the cable up to the fire escape where a boy in red stood, cocksure and proud, "Those are some crazy accessories you have there. Do your parents know you have those?"
Tim Drake, also known as Robin, grinned when the girl glared up at him, "Hey, I know he's scum, but we don't kill here."
'New girl in town with claws in her hands, right where Babs tells me to investigate for those strange energy readings the Watchtower picked up? Yeaaah, that's not a coincidence.'
He saw her shift her feet and his smile fell a bit. She was going to try to cut the cable. He reached down to his belt, birdarang ready for when she failed.
"Hey, let's just talk about this…", Tim started.
Three things happened at once.
The mugger made a leap for his gun, Tim moved to release his birdarang, and the knife-hand girl twisted, her blades slicing cleanly through the cable like it was twine. Thrown off balance, Tim could only watch as the girl moved like lightning, closing the gap between herself and the mugger before he even had his gun leveled. Just as fast as she had closed the distance, she had severed the man's arm at the wrist. Blood arced through the air in a violent splash, staining the brick wall of the alley and the horrified Marie.
A split second was all she had needed.
As she fled, she turned and glanced at Tim and the blood-soaked woman curled up on the ground.
Tim's face twisted in horror, "NO!"
He dove down to see to the maimed man, throwing a tracer at the fleeing girl. She turned, and with inhuman grace, sliced the tracker neatly in two, not even losing half a step as she darted away.
Cursing himself, Tim knelt down to put a tourniquet on the crying mugger's stump.
Wide eyed, Laura raced out of the alley with inhuman speed. Facility training had taken over- she was in an unknown city, full of landmarks she didn't recognize, where the primary language was definitely English. Evading capture was her top priority until she figured out what had happened to her.
She paused for a moment to grab a discarded newspaper, "…Gotham City?"
Laura Kinney suddenly felt very far from home.