Disclaimer: Young Justice belongs to DC Comics
Tempest: Chapter One: Daughter of the Storm
There was nothing truly spectacular about Amara Isely, that much she had learned rather early in life, something her father had informed her several times that had come from her mother, her ordinary human mother.
Amara would have honestly preferred to be ordinary, considering what she could do, then, at least she would have had something in common with her deceased mother other than being female and sharing her green eyes.
But none of that mattered now.
Amara was floating in nothingness, and that blissful nothing was the best she'd felt in a long time, and then she had to go and open her eyes.
The light hit her eyes and made her wince them shut, having been more adjusted to the darkness that had been her dream, but her eyes gradually got used to the brightness. She opened them fuller and blinked a few times.
A good portion of her body was covered with bandages, no doubt hiding the burns beneath. They stung, but they were probably already healing. Amara pressed her head farther back into her pillow, the morphine making it difficult to think straight and making it even harder to place the man sitting at her bedside.
Amara narrowed her eyes suspiciously at the man, looking him up and down. His hair was a cropped blonde and his eyes were shut, making him appear to be sleeping, but Amara wasn't sure whether to trust that (she'd lost count how many times she'd tried to sneak past her father when he'd appeared to be sleeping only to receive a sharp jolt for her troubles). His build was slighter than her father's had been and Amara frowned…he seemed familiar, but she couldn't quite place him.
Then, as if sensing her eyes on him, the man stirred and opened his eyes which were a clear crystal blue.
When he saw that she was awake, he spared her a slight smile. "So you're awake? How do you feel?"
"Kid! Get out of the way!"
She blinked blearily, looking him up and down again. "You're more impressive with the mask," she told him blandly and his eyes widened in surprise. "Is that the point?"
Her head was cloudy from the drugs coursing through her and she couldn't quite think straight.
Barry Allen covered up his surprise and gave the girl a slight smile. "What gave me away?"
Amara screwed her face up as she thought hard, her cheeks puffing out. She wished the doctors hadn't pumped her so full of pain medicine, but in the back of her mind she was also grateful that she couldn't feel the sting of the burns.
"The voice," she decided, scrutinizing him intently.
Barry was good at several things, forensic science being a primary example and his super-speed being another, but hiding his secret identity wasn't something he was very good at; Iris often stated it was a miracle that Central City hadn't figured out who he was yet.
"You've baffled the doctors," Barry said, not quite knowing what to say, nodding back to where Amara could hazily make out the forms of several people in white coats moving past in differing directions and at differing intervals. "They're not quite sure how you survived being electrocuted with such a high voltage of electricity."
Amara looked at him blankly.
"Do…Do you remember how you got here?" he asked, taking note of the expression.
Amara closed her eyes, thinking hard…what had happened the previous day? Or had it not even been a day? Amara couldn't be sure…
She rushed across the rooftops as far as her small legs could take her, leaping from one rooftop to the next and nearly missing it completely.
But she gripped the edge of the roof tightly, her teeth gritting as she pulled herself onto the roof, her heart beating wildly in her chest as she watched the scene unfold.
Amara didn't know where her father had come up with the name Storm Caller, it certainly didn't strike fear into the heart of his enemies, but maybe that wasn't the point. It was more a statement of fact; he could call storms and Amara, little Amara, could only chase them.
Storm Chaser was a more apt description of her abilities, she thought morosely as she looked out to where the storm was amassing around the one she called father. His eyes glowed with electricity and his hair, as grey as clouds during a storm, crackled with static that made it stand on end as he threw off bolt of lightning after bolt of lightning.
Amara ducked as a stray bolt was thrown towards herself, focusing intently on the flash of red that was dodging the strikes of lightning.
The Flash was fast, Amara had lived in Central City long enough to know that, but she also knew how painful her father's lightning could be. One hit from it could render the scarlet superhero unconscious…but Amara had built up a resistance to lightning, owing no doubt to her father's blood.
Amara took hold of a pipe, shimmying down it until her feet were planted on the ground and then she was running along the street whilst others screamed and ran away in fear of being hit by her father's lightning. She couldn't really blame them; it burned more than stung.
But the Flash was fast, until Storm Caller sent out a pulse that floored him and everyone but Amara who only stumbled from the force of the strike.
"Victory is mine!" Storm Caller roared, concentrating the lightning inwards before releasing it towards the Flash with a sadistic laugh.
Before the hero could move, a blur of grey swarmed his vision as a small figure launched themselves between himself and his enemy.
She opened her eyes and looked down at herself, attempting to move the stiff fingers of her left hand only to flinch back when a spasm of pain flared from the tips of her fingers up to her shoulder.
"Don't try to move, you've got some serious burns," Barry warned her.
Amara scowled at him in annoyance, though it more had to do with her inability to move than his presence.
"I'm Barry Allen, by the way," Barry said, suddenly realizing he hadn't given her a name other than his superhero one that she must have already known. "What's your name?"
Amara closed her eyes tiredly. "I'm Amara Isely."
Amara disappeared once it became known of her father's escape from Iron Heights Penitentiary, unfortunately, it didn't take much effort for Barry to track her down.
"The last time you and your father clashed you ended up in a hospital bed with serious burns," he reminded her and she didn't look up from the binoculars she was using.
"I was shielding you," the child said pointedly.
"I could have outrun the lightning," Barry countered, crossing his arms as the grey-haired girl flipped off the branch to land lightly on her feet.
Green eyes narrowed in irritation. "Fine!" She stomped her foot angrily. "I wanted to see if Father cared!"
There was fire in her eyes as she clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. She looked as though she was about to explode into a tantrum that Barry's nephew Wally was well known for when he was younger, but then she released a breath and she calmed slightly.
Amara began walking and Barry slowed his pace to hers. "My mother died the day I was born," Amara said finally, "and my father…he never really liked being saddled with me, I 'didn't have the potential.'" She raised her fingers to quote his words.
"Doesn't sound like a great living environment for an eight year old."
One shoulder lifted and fell as Amara sat down, lowering herself over the small ledge, landing on uneven feet.
"I'm tougher than I look," Amara said sourly.
"Amara, you're eight years old," Flash said, trying to stress the words. "You don't have to be tough, you just have to be yourself."
Coming from a man wearing a mask, that wasn't really comforting, but Amara didn't bother speaking her mind on that matter.
"I don't really know who I am," she admitted after a long moment, coming to a stop, looking up at the sky, seeing where the lightning was lighting it up.
Barry gave her a smile that made her cheeks redden; she'd often imagined her father looking at her in such a kindly way, but she wasn't sure he was even capable of such a thing.
Then he ruffled her hair.
Amara squawked in outrage, reaching up a hand to try to fix the mess with a glower towards Barry that only made him laugh.
"We'll talk once I've got an inhibitor collar on your dad," he said, preparing to speed off.
"I'm coming too!" Amara countered.
"It'll be done by the time you get there!" he called over his shoulder, leaving her in the dust.
Amara wanted to beat her head into something. "So much for crashing the mode," she muttered, using the phrase she'd come up with when she was five.
Though there was no denying that her attempt to take down her father would have been met with failure, Amara didn't really think much about that, being far more angry at her father for his attack on her the last time they'd met.
"She has the same atmo-kinetic skills as her father, Weather Wizard, though it seems he's taken the alias Storm Caller to throw us off his trail."
Batman's eyes were focused on the screen before him with Flash at one side and his sidekick, Robin, positioned on the opposite side in a similar stance, his hands pressed against the table, his eyes hidden behind his domino mask as he looked to the same screen as his mentor.
"So far she's only shown the capability of resisting electric attacks," Barry said, "but only to a certain degree."
Batman scrutinized the image of Amara Isely on the screen. She was a wild card with her abilities and parentage, but she'd shown herself to lean towards good rather than bad in stepping between her father and Flash.
"What do you think of her?" he asked Barry suddenly for his opinion that the speedster had to blink.
"I think she's got a lot of potential," Barry said decisively, "but she's untrained with a lot of anger…there's at least emotional abuse to consider…my wife's taken a shine to her."
Barry's identity was quite well known throughout the Justice League community, mostly because he was so bad at keeping secrets, but those entrusted with his identity he knew would never reveal anything about his personal life to his enemies.
He'd brought her back to his home after he'd collared her father and left him to the authorities and seeing Iris fret over the state of the eight year old metahuman had been something else, especially given how surprised Amara had been by the attention.
But she'd warmed up to Iris in a similar manner to the way she had with Barry. When he and Iris were at work for hours, she vanished, only returning once they were home as well. She kept coming back even though she didn't have to and Barry suspected it had more to do with her enjoying the company than a place to sleep and a warm meal.
"Keep an eye on her," Batman said finally, "she's an anomaly and we need make sure her atmokinesis doesn't get out of control like her father's."
Barry gave a lazy salute before dashing off. Honestly, he could have kept the information about Amara within S.T.A.R Labs, but Batman was thought of very highly in the Justice League and his guidance could often be very beneficial.
With the Weather Wizard (Storm Caller, same difference) behind bars there was only one other loose end, Amara's mother.
A woman who most certainly was not dead and most certainly was a threat.
But the less Amara knew about her the better.
Amara was curled up on the couch when he got home, shrugging off his coat, the snow clinging to his hair.
Iris was throwing a thick blanket over the grey-haired girl's body as she breathed in and out evenly and his red-haired wife spared the slumbering girl a soft smile that she usually reserved for their equally red-haired nephew.
"We could adopt her."
Iris jumped at the sudden words, looking to where her husband was leaning against the wall, looking at the pair of them fondly. A flush adorned her cheeks at the look more than anything else.
"I'm not sure she'd be a fan," Iris quipped. "She's a bit of a lone wolf."
"All wolves know that you need to have a pack to survive," Barry said with a smile, wrapping his arms securely around her waist and giving her a quick kiss to her lips. "Is it a terrible idea?"
"Not terrible," Iris wheedled, looking down at Amara fondly. "She's a great kid, and she deserves to have a family, but…are you doing this because of the League? To keep an eye on her?"
"The League does want to keep an eye on her," Barry had to admit the truth there, Iris could spot him telling a lie a mile away, "but that's not the reason."
The first time he'd seen her smile was when she'd shown up one night completely soaked, her grey hair nearly black with rain. She'd looked more like a drowned rat than anything else, and before she could even speak, Barry had pulled her inside and dropped a towel on her head, ruffling it until she laughed.
From what he'd gathered from the other Leaguers that had caught sight of her during their missions, she seemed quite remote and silent.
The only time she opened up was around the Allens, or maybe it was that she only knew how to open up around the Allens. She was very reserved for an eight year old, something she had probably picked up from living with the Weather Wizard for those first eight years.
She had walls around her on all sides, but walls crumbled and fell and the child within was becoming more clear to see.
"What is the reason?" Iris asked curiously.
"She's got spirit," Barry said as though trying to come up with an appropriate word for what he saw in her.
She didn't remind him of himself or of Iris, in truth, Amara reminded him of Wally, his nephew. She had a good heart and a good soul with a light behind her eyes that refused to go out.
"Is that all?" Iris asked in amusement, her eyes twinkling in the light of the fire flickering in the fireplace.
"Among other things," Barry laughed and the green-eyed girl stirred under the blanket at the noise the pair were making, not quite awake but not quite asleep and Barry grinned as Iris swatted him reproachfully.
Amara was nearly nine when the adoption was finalized and it was the first time in a long time that she'd been good to honest happy, and as such she'd been deeply annoyed when her new foster parents had requested she sit through a session with Black Canary.
Amara didn't like the idea of therapy much and she certainly didn't think she needed any.
But she complied to the request because it was Black Canary and Black Canary was totally kickass (but Amara refused to fangirl in front of the woman, she was cool, she was cool –she was absolutely not cool! This was Black Canary!).
"How are you settling into your new home?" Black Canary asked her and Amara rubbed her wrists together in a nervous gesture that the blonde hero was quick to pick up on.
"It's nice," Amara said at long last, "Iris and Barry are the best."
Black Canary smiled at her and Amara ducked her head. "So your relationship with them is still good?"
"Why wouldn't it be?" Amara asked defensively. She liked Barry and Iris, they were the best! It was almost like they were her real parents and sometimes Amara would pretend that she'd inherited her green eyes from Iris and Barry had gotten her a ruby dangling earring with a glamour charm that made her grey hair the same color as Iris' (Barry had pouted at her not wanting blonde, but Amara had seen more blondes around than red-heads).
Amara looked ordinary now, or as ordinary as an almost-nine-year-old could look with powers over the weather, predominately in electrokinesis.
"You've had to look out for yourself for a long time, Amara," Black Canary said in a sympathetic manner. "It's understandable if you find it hard to get used to having people take care for you instead."
Amara opted to say nothing to that, picking at the arm of her chair instead.
"Do you like Barry and Iris more than your biological father?"
If Black Canary had expected an expression of conflict on Amara's face, she was getting something else coming.
Amara nodded her head feverishly as if being too slow to respond would be a slight towards her adoptive parents.
"Is he still locked up?" Amara asked suddenly.
Black Canary nodded and Amara slumped into her seat, relief pouring from her body. She didn't think they had much to worry about with Amara Allen.
"Enough talk," Black Canary said, "why don't I show you a few moves before Flash shows up to take you home?"
Amara brightened noticeably.
Wally was racing around the house completely brimming with excitement. Even sine his mom and dad had told him that Uncle Barry and Aunt Iris were in the process of adopting a girl around his age. Finally, a cousin! It was the most exciting thing that had happened to him yet, but it had taken months!
But now they were bringing their adoptive daughter with them to dinner.
"Wally, you're going to wear a hole in the carpet," Jay Garrick remarked from the kitchen where he was assisting his wife, Joan, in setting the table.
Jay was the first Flash and as such a sort of surrogate grandfather to Wally, especially after the accident (which still made Wally wince) or not-so-accident in which Wally had recreated the experiment that had given Barry his powers.
"I can't help it!" Wally whined. "Why are they taking so long? It's been forever!"
"Wally," his mother said, mildly amused, "it's been three minutes."
"Exactly! Forever!" Wally launched himself to the couch that was pressed against the window and he looked sourly out into the storming night where he could barely make out a pair of headlights.
Maybe that was them!
No…the car turned into a different driveway and Wally pouted before a familiar car made its way down the street to park in their car in the driveway and three figures exited to hurry inside.
"Didn't feel the need to expand your storm cloud?" Uncle Barry commented from the door.
"If you can outrun a bullet, surely you can outrun a bit of rain, dear," Aunt Iris commented dryly. "Right, Amara?"
Amara was the name of the girl they'd adopted and Wally practically lunged in the direction of the door and ended up skidding on the carpet and falling flat on his face.
Not the greatest first impression to give his new cousin.
"And this is your cousin, Wally," Iris said in amusement. "How are you doing down there, Wally?"
Wally gave a thumbs-up as he lifted his head from the ground to look at Amara Allen with renewed interest.
Her green eyes were slightly wide in surprise as she looked down at his fallen form, her red hair barely restrained in what must have been the shortest ponytail he'd ever seen. And she was completely dry, whereas her adoptive parents were wet from the rain that had hit them on their way in.
Then Wally was on his feet, grinning as brightly as he had before and Amara recoiled slightly in surprise. She was about two years younger than him and it showed in height and appearance.
"Hi, I'm Wally!" he said. "I'm your new cousin!"
"Um…hi?" Amara said awkwardly, glancing to Barry and Iris for help but they offered her none. Wally was like a ray of sunshine to her storm cloud and she was slightly rattled by his enthusiasm. "I'm Amar—whoa!"
He dragged her into the living room faster than Amara had time to blink of breathe –she would later blame the super-speed for that— to introduce her to the four remaining people in the house.
Wally pointed first to a big-bellied man with brown eyes and hair with a thick mustache. "That's Dad –Uncle Rudy to you, I guess." He then pointed to his mother. "That's your aunt Mary, careful she'scrazy!" He'd whispered those words audibly and his mother rolled her eyes good-naturedly as Amara giggled.
"And that's Jay and Joan, they're the coolest!"
"H-Hello," Amara stumbled over her words.
It had once just been her and her father, there had been no extended family to concern themselves with, but when Amara had become part of the Allen family she had learned a great deal about how close Barry was with the Garricks and how close Iris was to her brother's family.
It certainly was something else, but it was also a bit overwhelming and Amara tried not to let it show on her face as she glanced around the room to the strangers who would one day be spoken of quite fondly from her.
"I'm Amara," she added helpfully, steeling her nerves, but somehow she thought she'd rather have her father take another shot at her with his lightning than be looked upon with so many eyes.
"Welcome to the family," Joan said and Amara's nerves left her and smiled slightly.