chapter eleven: the party don't stop till someone gets kidnapped and things get even worse
Jason is not having a very good day. Scratch that, the entire week has been (surprise, surprise) pretty craptastic.
"I'm not paid enough to deal with this shit," Jason mutters as he surveys the utter chaos taking place down below him. From his vantage point on top of the roof of Pete's Auto repair shop, he can easily watch three costumed figures-two he recognizes, one he doesn't- plow their way through what looks like...honestly, Jason isn't sure how to properly describe them. Nightmarish giant men desperately in need of a dental plan doesn't really cut it.
"Oh wait," Jason continues, rolling his eyes even though there's no one there to see it. "I don't get paid. It's a labor of love. Which means no days off or sleeping in or you know, a 401K."
"…Are you actually complaining about a lack of benefits right now? Seriously?"
"Some of us don't come from rich-ass families with trust funds account, bro."
There's a loud rumble and Jason can feel the vibrations tremor through the ground, before water bursts out of seemingly nowhere and everywhere at once. It swells and surges forward so quickly that it's literally torn through over a dozen angry monster creatures before Jason can remind himself that Kaldur is in Happy Harbour.
"Dude. You literally have a rich-ass family and a trust fund account. I can't even with you sometimes; imagine what Spoiler would say if she heard you. Uh huh, just think about that."
Jason grimaces because…that's actually a very good point and he kind of hates the fact that he can't even refute it.
"Hood, will you please stop complaining and get your ass over here?"
"Yeah, it's not morally right to make children do all the hard work-"
"There is so much wrong with that sentence, Replacement, that I don't even know where to begin-"
"I was talking about Percy, gosh," Tim's gin is obvious in his voice.
"Speaking of, Little Wing can you give him some backup. Robin, go give the GCPD a hand dealing with those civilians."
Jason ignores the spike of irritation that runs through him at the question-that's-really-an-order-that-I-expect-you-to-obey and instead focuses on properly appraising their situation. Percy, who must be one of the displaced demigod Dick mentioned earlier, is doing a pretty complete job at handling the monsters, but there is only one of him and many, many more of them. Jason looks over to track the other teen as he slashes through another monster. His skill with the sword is truly impressive although his movements are kind of...all over the place. A little bit like one of the Flashes. It does nothing to soothe the headache he can feel coming on, because too many nights of not enough sleep and those awful caffeine boosters Jason stole from Bruce's office is not a good mix.
"Yay, insane people, my favorite."
Considering everyone in your little 'family' is flipping crazy, I hope so, Jason thinks sardonically as he comes to the expected, but still annoying, conclusion: there's only one way the rest of his day (and if he's being realistic, probably the rest of the freaking week) is going to go.
Jason ducks, transfers his sword to his left hand, and punches a dude in the face, spinning around in time to slice a Laistrygonian in half. The man at Jason's feet is out cold, no longer screaming or trying to scratch his face off.
"I've got another one!" Jason calls, before remembering that with the comm. he doesn't actually need to raise his voice. "Uh, another crazy person," he says, this time at a normal level.
"Gotcha," Bart responds from somewhere, before there's a blur of orange and red that appears by Jason's side and he gently scoops up the unconscious man. "I'll bring him over to the EMTS."
"Any idea what's wrong with them yet?" Annabeth's voice sounds different through the small device in Jason's ear and she's several meters to his right, wearing the same outfit as the rest of the demigods. Nondescript black and grey padded outfits, reinforced with some seriously durable material. The boots, steel-toed and solid, fit perfectly and Jason kind of hopes he'll be able to bring them back home with him.
Around them, East End has more or less erupted into complete chaos; mad people-who've definitely been influenced by something-are either attacking themselves or anyone near them, the Greek monsters doing the same but not sparing anything near them. The streets are trashed, littered with destroyed cars, buildings, electric posts and filled with equally chaotic noises.
Jason is so thankful that the EMTs, news reporters, and police officers (Jason's pretty sure there are other officials from different departments too) have fallen back at the insistence of Artemis. Jason, as skilled and experienced as he is, can already feel weariness creeping in and sweat peppering his brow. He's sure it must be the same for the Young Justice heroes, and if that's the case, has no clue how a regular person would keep up.
"Jason! Duck!" A voice says in his ear—Artemis'—and years of instincts take over, dropping Jason to the ground in time for three arrows to slice through the air where his head just was. They impale themselves dead center to the chest of Laistrygonian, one that Jason had missed noticing in his blind spot.
Man does her name fit, Jason thinks while giving her a nod in gratitude. That was close.
Artemis flashes him a brief thumbs up before smoothly twisting and knocking a woman unconscious with some kind of dart. "I've got a woman here for you, KF."
"Ten-four, ready for more," the hero responds and he's already moved the woman to safety before he's finished speaking.
"So, I have to say this is a new one. Although considering our lives, I'm not actually surprised."
"Uh, who?" Annabeth asks, voicing Jason's exact thought. He doesn't recognize the male speaker and doesn't see them despite surveying the area.
A soft whizzing sound hisses past Jason's ear and the demigod whirls around just as the arrow explodes, caking two Laistrygonians in some sort of blue foam that hardens within seconds. It won't be enough to stop them but it's sure as Hades is enough time for Jason to take their heads off, rending them back into black ash.
Jason can hear a smirk in Artemis' voice as she says, "thanks for joining and welcome to the fun house."
"Crash, the gang's all here," Kid Flash adds, blurring into existence beside Jason. He grins at him and then points to the top of one of the buildings, a bank, where a figure in red and black is standing. "At your eight o'clock, Annabeth."
"Yo," the guy raises a hand before sliding an arrow and notching it. "Hey blonde girl, Annabeth, right? You might want to move."
"Right," Annabeth responds and Jason assumes she moves because a moment later the arrow is loosed, followed by a boom as it explodes.
"Jason, I have more monsters on my tail, care to help a girl out?"
"On my way, Artemis," Jason responds, moving her direction. He's not going to question the new guy too much, since Nightwing did mention someone else-Arsenal-would be meet up with them here. The guys got wicked aim, just like Artemis, and Jason's just going to assume they're part of the same arrow family until someone tells him otherwise.
Man my life is so freaking weird, Jason thinks for a brief moment, wondering when things like this had stopped fazing him. Because, really? He's in a different universe. The farthest from home he's ever been, staying with and fighting alongside super (and non-super) powered people, aliens, people from Atlantis, and who knows where else. At least the Greek monsters are a multi-universal constant.
Jason wipes sweat off his brow and breathes deeply before crashing into a group of Laistrygonians, slicing through with his sword and warping the air at the same time. He forces his mind to be blank, to only think about this fight and winning it.
It doesn't really work as well as it usually does, because there's too much to think about, like staying alive, killing the monsters that are on his tail and hounding Annabeth, and saving a crazed young adult from himself.
This would be a whole lot easier if we only had to deal with the monsters, Jason thinks as he shoves a young man to the side, skewering the Laistrygonians that had been about to eat him. Remaining wary of the regular humans, albeit a weird sort of crazy at the moment, is forcing Jason to be extra careful, preventing him from going all out.
"Any clue where these monsters are coming from?" The new guy, Arsenal, asks.
Oh the million dollar question, Jason thinks but doesn't say out loud because he's probably just going to get a mouthful of monster dust if he does.
"Nada, zilch, rien de tout," Kid Flash responds. "Also, we don't know what's up with the crazy civilians. Joker gas, maybe?"
"Please no," Artemis says casually enough but there is a rawness to her voice that Jason can pick up on.
"Speaking of," Annabeth's voice is slightly out of breath and Jason can relate. "I've got more crazy people that need medical attention. Also does anyone else think something doesn't feel right about this?"
"Like we're in a universe we shouldn't be?" Jason can't help but voice the sarcastic comment. Three more Laistrygonians are turned to black ash but it's not enough because they. just. keep. coming!
"KF, go be a pest to those monsters and give Jason some breathing room. Arsenal, can you get those people out of Annabeth's way?" Artemis' orders are delivered calmly as she weaves between monsters and the last dozen remaining crazy civilians. "But yes, I'll second that bad vibe; something about this isn't-"
"Gamma to all squads," Nightwing's voice suddenly comes through the device in Jason's ear, cutting Artemis off as the frequency channel must have changed. "We're dealing with a constant stream of Laistrygonians and several civilians, who seem to have been doused with something. What are your situations?"
"Um…" A voice comes through, and it takes Jason a second to identify it as Superboy's. "It's gett—" there's a grunt, faint noises of screaming, and a car honking, "—getting there. Leo, monster thing to your left! Your other left!" Jason winces slightly at the sound of two successive booms and what sounds like Leo laughing.
"Alpha squad has the situation mostly contained," Aqualad's particular way of speaking makes him easy to place. "The first responders have secured the humans who are affected, although what is causing the reactions exactly, I do not know."
"Same here," Nightwing grunts and there are successive pop pop pops that sound like gunshots. "We'll deal with the mysteriously appearing monsters and unexplained insanity later. Other squads, how're you looking?"
"We've been better," Batgirl says. "But we've managed to secure the area and Nico's...well. I'm just glad he's on our side."
Jason grins slightly at that even as he narrowly avoids being grabbed around the neck by a Laistrygonian. (Watching Nico actually use his powers is kind of wild.) The move forces him to lean suddenly, causing his foot to catch on a loose piece of rubble that makes him go careening face first into the ground.
That was so embarrassing, I am so glad Leo wasn't here to see that.
"Ditto that, you guys are missing some serious gnarly stuff over here," another voice adds and Jason isn't sure if it's Spoiler or Wonder Girl's because a group of Laistrygonians have decided to try and mash him into hummus.
Jason makes full use of his ability to control the air and knocks a monster back so hard with a blast that it goes smashing into two others behind him. All three of the Laistrygonians go flying into a store, glass and wood and plaster flying everywhere. The alarm must have been set because then there's a loud wail that begins to perfectly accompany the sounds of other alarms and sirens nearby.
"Man, Nico, you've got to show us that later!" Someone else, maybe Beast Boy or Kid Flash, is exclaiming when Jason is able to focus on the conversation. "That is so freaking crash!"
"Hey, Annabeth, a little help," Jason calls while sliding his sword through one of the Laistrygonian to his left and summoning a gale to deal with another. There are four more right behind him though and anothersix backing up those ones.
"Zeta has the uh, monster things, contained but we're getting hammered out here," Artemis updates, and Jason thinks she phrased it perfectly. He's literally getting hammered right now and shit that is painful.
"I got you, one sec," Annabeth answers as she joins the fray. "They...just do not...let up!"
"Copy that," Nightwing cuts back in. "Delta, once you've wrapped it up Central Square rendezvous with us in Gotham. Beta, ditto that. Alpha, if your location is secured, hand it off to the officers in charge and go give Zeta a hand. Clear?"
"Yes sir, captain sir," Batgirl responds. "We'll catch up with you in a bit."
"Good. Everyone, watch your backs and stay whelmed. Nightwing, out."
Cassie blinks as the temperature suddenly drops and the ground under Nico's splayed fingers starts to split open.
Out from the crevices, bones of all kinds start to kit themselves together into a mass of...bodies. Its like a scene out of a horror movie, but with way better CGI effects and shot in 4K.
Cassie tears her gaze away from the mass of skeletons (what the actual hell) to focus on Nico, who's speaking softly. The shadows around him look...darker, somehow, and after a few more muttered words the raised dead surge forward, each moving directly to one of the monsters.
"Are you guys seeing this?" Batgirl's voice sounds shocked, which is a perfectly adequate reaction, in Cassie's opinion.
"You mean the army of uh, dead people that are doing our jobs for us?" Stephanie responds. "Can't really miss it."
"That," Cassie says as Nico slowly rises from crouching close to the ground. "Is way more than just gnarly."
As a demigod herself, a superhero, and apprentice to Wonder Woman, Cassie has seen some incredible things in her lifetime. So much so that now, it kind of takes a lot to impress her.
Nico, however, summoning the spirits of darkness (okay, not really but close enough) and raising a literal army of dead people is definitely crazy enough that she can't help but stare at him with wide eyes. (It makes her wonder what the other humans, who've retreated slightly, must be thinking. Cassie deals with crazy every day but this is something all to itself.)
Beside her, Stephanie is looking equally impressed as they watch Nico's dead army go to freaking town on the Laistrygonians.
Cassie nods after a second, remembering that they should probably get moving but still too stunned to do so. "Yeah dude, what the hell."
Nico grins, his smile mostly teeth. "I think you mean, what in Hades."
Across from them, a pizzeria explodes.
The blast is massive; Cassie can feel the heat from it wash over her as her ears pop and she stumbles backward, bringing up her hands as pieces from the building go flying in every direction.
Cassie can barely make out Steph's shout but the warning is enough; Cassie instinctively lunges forward and grabs Nico, twisting so she can protect him from the flying wreckage.
"What happened?" Nico coughs a moment later, gripping his head. "What just ha-"
"Wonder Girl, Nico," Batgirl snaps through the comm. "Get moving! That explosion just brought in a crap ton more of those monsters; deal with them. Spoiler, get those people under control! They're going to get themselves killed if we don't contain them."
"On it," Steph replies. She's disappeared a moment later.
"Where are they coming from?" Nico wipes his brow, staring in shock at the fresh wave of Laistrygonians that seem to pour out of the destroyed building. "They shouldn't be able to regenerate that quickly."
"I don't know," Cassie says grimly. "But I have a bad feeling about-"
"Guys!" Spoiler's voice is panicked. "Grab those first responders and get the hell back; this whole place is-"
Cassie doesn't hear the rest of Stephanie's words before all of the buildings surrounding them shatter.
Percy sometimes thinks he should enter into parkour competitions. It's not like he actually has the time for them, but considering the sheer amount of jumping, flipping, and general run-hop-slide-under-that-twist-to-avoid-dying he's doing right now, he's fairly confident that he'd place pretty decently.
"Percy, can you clear out a path to the office building on your right? We've still got civilians trapped in there."
Nightwing's voice is clear and static-free in his ear, and part of Percy's mind is bemoaning the fact that the Hephaestus cabin hasn't figured out ways to make electronic devices like these work threat-free for demigods. Something for Leo to work on after he wraps up his falafel thing and giant dinosaur.
"On it," Percy starts forcing his way through, vaguely able to make out the shouts and screams from the people leaning out of the building amid the roars from the Laistrygonians and every other noise.
"Hey, Medusa slayer," a different voice, not Nightwing or Robin's, chimes through the communicator. Percy blinks, momentarily taken aback because who told them I killed Medusa? I was like, twelve.
"You might want to watch out behi-"
"Oh shit," Percy mutters before his head becomes violently acquainted with the ground. There's a heavy pressure on his neck-one of the monsters has its entire fist wrapped around it from behind. How did I not notice?
"Hold on," Nightwing says, his tone still calm but slightly urgent. "I'm on m-"
The rest of his sentence is cut off harshly. Before Percy is able to sever the arm that's holding him, five other Laistrygonians have wrapped their hands around him, and then he's being lifted and then slammed back down into the ground again.
Percy gasps as his head cracks sharply against the concrete, pain immediately blossoming into existence. His brain isn't working the way it should now and he feels distinctly like he's in a daze. Where was I going? Home...right?
The pressure on his head is increasing, and so is the pain lacing through his shoulders. It feels like something is trying to rip his out of their sockets and clean off his body.
It isn't fully formed, but the water responds but to his thoughts anyways. There's a loud gushing sound before a twelve-meter wave knocks into them, forcibly tearing the clawed hands off him. The water disperses over him and Percy breaths in relief as it starts calming the pain in his head and healing the many cuts on his body.
"Nice," that same new voice says just a Nightwing asks, "Percy, are you okay?"
"Yeah," Percy runs a hand through his hair, reaching a hand into his pocket to pull out Riptide. Somewhere in that battle she'd gotten lost, and that fact that she reappeared as usual is soothing. "I'm good. Thanks for the heads up, uh…?"
"Oh my g-"
Percy hits the floor (gently, this time and without splitting his skull open, yay) just as the distinct sound of gunshots (is that a rifle?) echo out and three Laistrygonians by him jerk back as the bullets hit their mark dead center.
"That's not going to-" Percy stops talking and just stares, but it does. It works; the monsters dissolve into black ash, just like they do when Percy cuts through them with Riptide.
"Dude, imperial gold bullets? Where did you get those?" Robin asks, but his tone isn't shocked, it's excited.
"You'd be surprised what B has lying around the cave."
"Did you update that in the inventory list? You know he hates it when you don't. I hate it when you don't."
"Oh, I know." The person is definitely smirking and Robin groans.
"Guys, focus. Percy, Red Hood, focus on clearing out that path. Robin, you're with me."
Red Hood? Percy thinks but the name kind of makes sense when he's finally able to spot him. The guy is taller than him, sporting a super cool leather jacket and a red...helmet. Or hood-ish looking face covering. Across his chest and visible when he moves his arms, hands clasped around matt black pistols, is a red bat-symbol, just like the one Batgirl wears.
Percy nods as the other hero joins him, noticing that there is a rifle slung over one shoulder and multiple other guns and knives strapped on him.
"Uh, hi. Are you part of Young Justice too, or?"
The situation isn't the weirdest Percy's been in; Greek monsters overrunning a city, scared civilians, crazy civilians (that one is kind of new, actually) and then introductions to another 'bat family' member who has a gun that shoots imperial gold bullets.
Red Hood huffs a laugh, which sounds normal despite the face covering. It isn't very amused. "I was, for a little bit. Not any longer."
"Oh, what happened?" Percy frowns as he uncaps Riptide, turning his gaze back to the Laistrygonians; somehow it looks like there's more of them now and it's making Percy crazy that they're able to be reborn so quickly.
Red Hood looks at him, before lifting a hand and squeezing the trigger. "I died."
Wow, this guy's dramatic, Percy thinks, easily slicing through two monsters in one movement. "Oh, uh. Sorry, uh, dude."
"Beta to all squads!" Batgirl sounds worried, her voice raspy and hoarse. "We need backup ASAP. We've just been hit with multiple explosives and the place is overrun with those monsters. And," she coughs several times, like there's smoke in her lungs. "We need to contact whatever reserved JLA'ers are available and find-"
There's a screech and weird noises through the comm., which do absolutely nothing to calm down the spikes of worry shooting through Percy. Something's gone horribly wrong, worse than what they're dealing with already.
"They took him. They took Nico."
Finally! An! Update! But also thank to you everyone following this story and the positive comments! I had to get a new computer (yee haw) and then got sidetracked with life :/ but! Here's an update (a little shorter than usual but hopefully as entertaining) guys I have a plot, there's a plan, I promise, it's just…taking for-freaking-ever to get there, apparently. (also, I've taken liberties (if that wasn't obvious before) with both fandoms and literally haven't re-read the pjo books in literal years (which, is really obvious) so yeah. good times.) drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts and what you like! :D always appreciate those, and hope everyone has a great new year's!