Sorry about the break between chapters (and for the long Authors note, I get carried away). I started writing this at an unfortunate time, I suppose, since I lost the motivation to write and add more stress to life than it already contains for a time. I'm back now, and hopefully the renewed knowledge that I enjoy writing, even if having five fics on the go at a time is not one of my better ideas, will stick with me. I hope you enjoy the chapter, and that it isn't disjointed; unfortunately it was written in a couple of chunks, but fingers crossed that that won't come across.
And hopefully this being longer than my normal chapter length will do something to make up for the delay. This is the first that follows the vague timeline of one of the missions from the old JLU cartoon, but these chapters will most likely be few (and perhaps far between) as I made that mistake in a couple of my earlier attempts at Fanfics and found that it wasn't as enjoyable following someone else's path as making my own with a combination of machetes, bulldozers and angry locals. (No offence intended to any angry locals) But, with that in mind, please do bear with me in how soon I explain things; I will rarely veer from my chosen path to add in a scene to clarify (for example) why Harry is saying spells verbally. But I will often have a reason. If you ask nicely I will respond equally nicely and, on rare occasion, give you an answer. (If you really need an answer, it's be best to use PM, not reviews; I like reviews, but often miss them. PMs require replies, in my mind, far more than reviews as most reviewers aren't inclined to go to their profile page to find the responses.) Hello, to anyone who is still reading my rambling Authors note; I think you're in the minority. I have wrapping paper with penguins on it: I don't know why I've told you that, probably to test your patience some more. Have you gone to the story yet? No? Huh. Well, I won't take up much more of your time.
Hot damn. I look away from the story for one measly little month-and-a-bit and it's over a thousand follows. That's a shock, when there's less than 30,000 words so far and 'tis a crossover. Thanks for the implied compliment to my work.
I own nothing you recognise, I am simply using others' intellectual property for entertainment purposes. I make no money from writing this or anything else on the site.
"Was it really necessary to send a chaperone for me?" Harry asked, as the two walked down the pavement. "Presumably your teleporter could pick me up itself. Either that, or bringing a hundred heroes up will take a long time with one of you going to meet each of 'em."
"It was not necessary," J'onn replied, with a shake of his head. The martian was in the guise of a young man roughly Harry's age with brown hair and eyes. He wore a leather jacket similar to Harry's upon first inspection, and the two looked like friends out for a stroll as they headed away from the rush-our flow of people headed home from work. "But you are an unknown to us. We decided to… play it safe, and that the best way to do this was to spend time with you to understand the type of man you are."
"I assume that by 'we' you mean Batman convinced the rest of you that I was a potential danger?"
"How did you know?" J'onn asked, though his tone was nowhere near surprised.
"He seems paranoid," Harry shrugged non-committally. "He must trust you all, but I'd guess that that was only after he found out everything there was to know about each of you. There isn't a lot to know about me, and I'm told that I'm not the easiest person in the worlds to get a read of." He continued, with his own tone one as casual as if discussing the mild weather.
J'onn hummed, and the two carried on in silence as people around them bustled about their business. Harry's eyes roamed, and he examined the people sharing the footpath.
The vast majority were working folk. Office workers dressed in smart-wear hurrying home from their jobs in cubicles who didn't have the patience left in them to wait in traffic were shouldered aside by the manual labourers just as eager to reach the loving arms of their significant other, or their children, or just the drink waiting for them in the fridge. Dotted between them were better-dressed men and women. Managerial staff, or those in esteemed jobs, that lived locally, and whose working day ended at the same time as their subordinates. Even as Harry's eyes rested briefly on one of the more expensive suits, he saw a teenager bump into him and relieve the banker or lawyer of his wallet. The kid quickly weaved through the crowd, and by the time the man realised his money was gone was lost in the sea of people. Harry payed it no head; maybe the boy had a reason, maybe he didn't, Harry didn't care about the finances of a man clearly not struggling. Either the police would handle it or not.
That teenager was representative of one of the other, more noticeable, groups in Harry's eyes. Those who were not working. The vagrants stood out the most, but they were only the extreme; the poorer people were far more interesting to Harry. Or, more specifically, the difference between the two groups as a whole; they were both envious of the wealth the others held and unaware of the fact that their worries were less… unreasonable. In Harry's experience, the less money one had, the less arbitrary their complaints of life were. Even that which they should have worried over, they took with a grace that was uncommon in the upper classes. Harry was fairly certain that, back when he had an ordinary-ish life, he would have been afflicted by the first-world problems that mattered so little.
Or maybe he was wrong, if the nightmares he often had were anything to go by his life had started terribly and not gotten better before being pulled from the world.
"It's strange that you couldn't fetch me from the hotel," Harry mentioned, as the foot traffic thinned. His tone was pleasant; non accusatory since they'd already established the Manhunter's motives for being here.
"We're almost there," J'onn replied, and Harry observed him nod towards a park in the distance. Presumably, that was where they'd be beamed up. "And I would advise that, if you intend to adopt a disguise, you pause and become accoutred."
"Hm," Harry knew there were benefits to a secret identity, but was torn on the subject. The typical superhero had a civilian life that they wanted to protect. Harry didn't. He didn't even crave one, to be honest; normal life seemed excruciatingly boring. He was far more suited to life as it would be as a 'superhero' than… well, whatever career he might be able to do in the real world. And he had very few marketable skills for civilian life. But he shouldn't make it overly easy for anyone who wanted to find him. "Refer to me as Thaumaturgist for now, then. I'll cast a charm on my face that'll stop people from remembering any details about me unless they've already met me without it."
As Harry raised his hand to his face and cast a quick charm, the Manhunter nodded and spoke into his communication device. He let whoever was monitoring the frequency know the two were ready, and Harry unconsciously braced for teleportation that was not under his own power.
A few moments later, Harry realised that had been unnecessary. Unlike magical teleportation, the system the League used, one he didn't care to try to understand because it would doubtless be incredibly complex, was not at all uncomfortable. Almost unnoticeably so.
Harry's eyes widened noticeably at the sight of the League's headquarters.
The original members were all present to greet the first arrival. Even Batman had chosen to be here for the induction of the new members. Several would be leaving to retrieve individuals soon after, but Harry had been brought up to the Watchtower a half an hour earlier than Superman would pick up his cousin. And Kara would be the first of the other members to arrive.
"What does that mean?" Wally asked Harry, upon being told his 'codename'.
"Someone with the capability to perform magic or miracles. It comes from some Greek words." Harry answered.
"How on Earth did you know that?" The Flash wondered aloud.
Harry smiled. "I Googled synonyms for wizard, and picked one."
Wally opened his mouth, frowning, to respond before closing it again slowly. Harry guessed he felt Harry had cheated in coming up with his superhero name, but the Wizard felt it was both far easier to do so and far more creative a result than some of his new allies' chosen titles.
"So," Harry continued. "Where is everyone?" He had understood that a hundred-or-so people would be joining the League, yet it was only him and those he'd already met with.
"We brought you in early," Superman answered for the others. "So that you could ease into meeting the others. We thought that you would be better able to handle it if you met them one at a time."
Harry nodded, but frowned imperceptibly. Or what would have been imperceivable had he not been in the presence of superhumans. "I'm not fragile, you know." He said in response, and then corrected himself. "Maybe you were just being logical about it, and if that's the case you're right; meeting and greeting individuals is the best way to form something of a connection to each. But if you're mothering me, just don't. I don't want pity, and certainly don't need it." He addressed Superman, who was also frowning now.
"You don't need to put on a brave face here, Harry," Kal-el said, with his brow furrowed. "You're not in a warzone anymore."
The right corner of Harry's mouth lifted into a knowing smirk. "Everywhere's a warzone, Superman. And I'm not putting on a brave face. This is just my face." He looked over to Batman, who looked contemplative but not pitying. "So when do the new members get thrown into the fray? I assume that you need to observe my abilities, and the others', more thoroughly than you did by sending Superman to spy on me." At Batman's eyebrow rising, Harry continued. "I couldn't care less if you want to spy on me. I don't have a private life, so why would I?"
"As soon as a situation arises, we will send teams on missions," Batman answered. "Who goes depends on what team will best be able to respond."
"And everyone'll arrive here, I assume?" Harry pointed a thumb at the teleporter behind him and the Leaguers nodded. Harry walked away from the teleporter, and found a seat at the edge of the entrance hall, on a cool metal shelf, to await the other newbies. He sat patiently for half an hour as the un-super workers bustled to and fro going about monitoring the situations for which super-teams would be dispatched.
The first person who arrived, Harry did not recognise. That meant he hadn't met the man before, since his appearance was… unique. The superhero's physical form seemed to be composed of several different materials, none of which were flesh, and Harry plucked the memory from his subconscious of reading about the League helping a civilian transformed into this dubbed Metamorpho by the press. The man meandered over to Green Lantern, and the two made conversation in the time before the next person arrived.
Well, person might be a bit of a stretch. Red Tornado was an android that was somehow sentient, from what Harry understood. There wasn't a whole lot of information on the scarlet hero on the web, not that he had tried massively hard to find any.
The third person was who Harry had expected to be first on board. Based on her scowl, and her cousin's sterner-than-usual disposition, some kind of argument had taken place. While Harry would guess it had had to do with Clark being uncomfortable with her being at risk, he had nothing to support this possibility and so wouldn't assume to be correct.
Supergirl sat down with a huff and an unnecessary level of strength next to Harry. The wizard heard the metal dent, but pretended not to as Supergirl huffed again.
Upon the third noise of annoyance, Harry got the hint. He guessed, again, that she wanted to complain to him because no other females were available and the others were further, in her mind, from being her peers than him. Wonder Woman was off somewhere and no superheroines had arrived yet.
"Everything okay?" Harry asked, unnecessarily. He was amused by the response he received.
"No! No, everything's not okay!" She, Harry needed to find out her name and in with her in this mood decided the guessing game they'd started might be taken badly. Almost certainly would be taken badly, he amended to himself as the Kryptonian smacked the metal she was sat upon and it crumpled. "Where does he get off telling me what I can and can't do?! He's not my father and I'm an adult!" Harry was certain that he had given no disbelief by his expression, but apparently Supergirl disagreed; maybe she had simply expected to see it. "I am! Now that I'm eighteen, it's legally true as well as psychologically! Even before then, I'd already been saving people left right and centre!" She paused, waiting for Harry to speak. The dimension traveller blinked before responding, hiding the fact that he had expected her to just rant and rave for a while.
"Against human enemies?" Harry knew the answer, but phrased it as a question. Supergirl frowned, opening her mouth to disagree. "Some of whom had superpowers, but were still human, yes?" Now, she nodded. "Superman knows that we're going to face greater threats than you have before, and is worried about you. That's what family does." Usually. "Be angry at him. Avoid him. Throw things. I'd advise playing pranks on him to express yourself. But it won't last long for either of you; he'll realise that you're able to take care of yourself and you'll realise that he has a point about the danger. There are people the League has faced in the past that dwarf anything you've faced before."
Supergirl tried to hide it, but Harry saw she understood what he was saying. Masking it with an annoyed mutter was a nice touch, though.
"I bet I could take you." She crossed her arms and fell silent.
The corner of Harry's mouth twitched. She had no idea.
Supergirl left without a word of goodbye when an annoyed Batman arrived in the Watchtower for the second time. Instead of the first, when he was conversing in quiet tones with the blue-leotard wearing Nightwing, Batman escaped as soon as possible with a deeper scowl than usual for the perpetually grumpy hero and left Batgirl to the tender mercies of the other superheroes. Barbara lit up at seeing her friend approaching and the two set about catching up.
Harry wondered if Bruce and Clark would moan to each other about the two girls, as their younger allies were no doubt doing currently. Then, he wondered if Supergirl would be expressing her annoyance with him as well as her cousin. It was quite likely, and would no doubt colour Batgirl's opinion of him for the time being; it was fortunate, then, that they shouldn't be working together in the foreseeable future.
He was pulled from this train of thought by a whistle from the space beside him, from the woman who had been approaching since arriving and scanning the room a few minutes before. Harry looked at her, and found a black haired woman of slightly above average height wearing a top hat and looking at the indentations on the metal next to Harry.
"Who did that?" Zatanna asked Harry. "Batman won't be happy." Harry agreed silently, hence his next action.
He waved his hand over the metal, and it returned to its previous form.
"Problem solved." He said simply as the woman stared.
"I guess I don't have to ask if you're the wizard Batman mentioned then, huh?" She grinned, her eyes moving from the spot to Harry and back again.
"Unless I'm wrong about you being intelligent, no." Harry shook his head.
"Intelligent?" The magician asked.
"You'd have to be to fool people that watch you perform magic every day," Harry shrugged. "A bit foolish to flaunt it, but intelligent nonetheless. Maybe just a tad cocky."
"I am that," She continued smiling. "But you have me at a disadvantage. You know who I am, but I don't know what to call you." Zatanna hinted.
"For now, call me Thaumaturgist. I'm not sure I agree with the secret-identity policy, but I can see some sense behind it." Harry explained his language choice quickly and without prompting.
"I see…" Zatanna sat on the repaired perch, facing Harry, and prompted the wizard to turn his head to focus on the woman. "Now, I'd very much like to pick your brain."
Harry grinned, as his eyes flicked to the crowd and back again.
"I'm afraid you should've arrived earlier, in that case. Superman looks to be ready to speak, and it would be rather rude of us not to listen."
"I didn't mean to be so late. I had a show that I couldn't just cancel; people had tickets to see me weeks in advance."
"Even so, this isn't the best time to have a chat." Harry reasoned with a smile.
"Thaumaturgist!" Green lantern called shortly after Superman's speech had finished. Harry looked to the man and found John waving him over to where the dark-skinned man stood with the green-skinned Martian Manhunter. Harry also noticed that John called Captain Atom and someone named Kara to him, but had turned to address his fellow magic user.
"See you around," Harry said to Zatanna, with whom he had been making small talk. "It sounds like I'm being given a mission."
"You still owe me an interrogation," She called, reminding Harry as he walked away with a wave of confirmation.
Harry weaved through the crowd of heroes, and made his way to where John and J'onn were patiently waiting. He blinked, then, as he found that 'Kara' was Supergirl. Well, he knew her name now.
"There's been some kind of nuclear accident in Chong-Mai, we're heading down their to investigate and contain the accident, or to try to remove the source." John gave a brief explanation to the three he had called over, before they began moving.
"'Remove the source?'" Harry repeated. "Is the source some kind of weapon?" He asked, knowing that Nuclear weapons were present in this world and that they posed a serious threat to lives.
"We don't know," John answered simply. "But it's best to be prepared for that possibility."
Harry raised an eyebrow, as he looked at Captain Atom and then Supergirl before moving his gaze back to the Founder. "And is that what I'm for? Being prepared for a wide range of possibilities? Because I'm not especially suited to dealing with Nukes, can't help calm the situation in any way that you'd approve of, and aren't likely to be trusted by the government there. Or, no more likely than the rest of you. From what I've read, they don't trust foreigners much no matter what."
"That's a fair statement." John avoided explicitly answering, and fell silent for a time as they made their way through metal corridors. "Have any of you been to Chong-mai?" He then asked.
"It's on the State Department's no-fly list." The pale-suited Captain Atom replied immediately to the question being posed. "It's a class-3 felony for American citizens to go there."
"Is it anywhere near Datona beach?" Kara asked in response, with an excited lift in her tone. Harry guessed she was looking forward to the mission.
"Nope." Harry said simply.
John sighed resolutely, and Harry wondered which answer had annoyed the Green Lantern. Two of the three had been… odd, so likely not his own.
As the four reached their destination, footsteps sounded behind them. Harry identified the green-themed hero as Green Arrow, and listened to his exchange with Green Lantern without much interest.
"Hey, hold up! You're not gonna leave me up here on Mount Olympus are you?" Oliver Queen asked of Green Lantern.
"You can get back the way you came." John returned curtly.
"Nu-uh. No one's playing pinball with my molecules again." Arrow shook his head.
"All right," Lantern did not seem to want to argue. "We'll drop you off. After we're done."
They had Wireless internet even on the Javelins. That blew Harry's mind, but he was happy to have access to it as he performed a quick Google search on the Smartphone he had purchased during his time on Earth. The company that sold it to him were far more interested in his method of payment than credentials, and so it had been quite easy to acquire a few of the handheld technologies.
"So, you're gonna let me drive? Right?" Kara asked John, who was actually sat behind the wheel. Harry noticed, with amusement, that Captain Atom's eyes widened in fear at the notion.
"Whoa- wait! Has she been certified in a Javelin?!" The energy-based-man asked, skeptical.
"Why don't you take the stick out, Corporal?" Kara shot a glance Harry's way, and frowned. He supposed it was because his attention appeared riveted on the phone in his hand. Therefore, she ignored the grumpy return from the other hero.
"Captain." He corrected.
"Hey, watcha lookin' at?" Kara asked, after a moment's silence. Harry took his eyes off the screen with a smile, and turned it around so that the blonde, leaning over her own headrest, could get a look. "Th-That's…"
On the screen, there was an article on Kara Kent from Smallville-High's newspaper. It was nothing incriminating, just a recalling of her breaking her school's academic record, but the heroine was evidently shocked that Harry had found her secret identity. Then, however, he could almost see her realising he identified Batman and Superman both and that he almost certainly would be capable of finding her in that case.
She gave him a nervous, slightly flustered grin before speaking again. "Interesting." She finished her previous sentence unconvincingly. "So, are you looking forward to the mission?" She asked, in an attempt to change the subject.
"You've forgiven me for earlier, then?" Harry asked, since she had seemed annoyed only an hour before.
"Yep. Ba-atgirl pointed out that you didn't really do anything wrong. You were kinda rude, but I haven't gotten the chance to show you that I can handle myself. I'm sure you'll change your tune after this mission, when I show you how strong I am." From her happy expression, Harry knew that this was what she genuinely believed had happened.
He decided not to correct her, and tucked the phone into his trousers' pocket as he tuned into the hippy-ish Green Arrow express his unhappiness with Captain Atom being entirely made out of Nuclear energy. That was far from surprising, and Harry did not care; it would only be relevant if they needed to work together, after all.
With a mental shrug, Harry set about getting ready for what was to come.
He walked off the Javelin with his forearms bare, and what appeared to be a kevlar vest covering his torso above a close-fitting shirt with sleeves ending at his elbows. Harry pretended not to notice the other members of his 'team' eying the tattoos on his forearms with curiosity; eventually he might need to explain their nature, but why seek that out?
The blood vessels in his arms were very pronounced. Harry didn't like that aspect of muscle tone; in the past it had made the jobs easier, if only slightly, for those who had less-than-friendly intentions towards him. Plus, they tended to light up when he cast any significant spells. That had given him away in nighttime situations before, and while this wouldn't be an issue today, it was a rather large problem for him overall. And it wasn't like he could cover his forearms, with the symbols that had been branded onto his flesh, any amount of power nearing significant and the material would burn. Unless, of course, he limited himself to the magics of his ancestors. And an issue with doing that, and it was far from the only one, was that it may well insult Death; it would be as though he was refusing her generous, if for a time unwelcome, gift.
John, not being overly interested in the 'tattoos', though Harry could see he recognised that they were significant, gave them their orders.
"We'll do recon," The Green Lantern said, curtly. "If you see anything, do not try to engage."
Harry nodded, Captain Atom saluted, and Kara gave a half hearted noise of confirmation. She was definitely the most interested in Harry's forearms, as she tried to angle her head to look at the underside of his right arm. Realising that was not the easiest way to get another look, Kara took hold of Harry's wrist, and turned his hand over without any resistance from the owner.
"What does it-" She began to ask, only to be cut off, suddenly, by Green Arrow shouting a warning to the group fifty feet from him.
"HEY!" All four heads snapped around to look at him, and found the archer pointing to the edge of the field, with an expression of panic.
John had erected a shield before the fired rocket made it more than halfway to the group, and it very nearly blocked Harry's spell from getting to the target. That would have been unfortunate, but far from life threatening. Just… mildly embarrassing for whoever was hit instead.
The spell found its mark, and the rocket stopped in mid air. With a pop, it turned into a turkey, fell to the ground, and began flapping its wings wildly, squawking all the while.
The man with the RPG froze at the unexpected sight, and Harry saw his lips move as the bird turned towards he and his fellows and charged. But he wasn't alarmed just yet.
The wizard-turned superhero stepped around the barrier, and fired an icy-blue spell at the aggressive turkey. It ballooned to the size of a small house, and Harry heard panicked yells in a foreign tongue before a trio of RPGs caught the bird in its chest.
With a pained squaw, the bird turned back to its original form, and the rocket propelled grenade sat harmlessly on the floor.
If the attackers sighed their relief, they followed shortly after with objectionable yells as green orbs, courtesy of Green Lantern, encircled each of their weapons and dragged them out of their grips. They flew through the air as though summoned, and fell into a pile off to the left of the Justice League group. John allowed his shield to fall, and stared down the unarmed soldiers with a scowl on his face only to be interrupted as the area was filled with the sound of the beating drum of a Helicopter's propeller.
Harry's eyes flicked to the sky as the source appeared, and touched down on the ground between the Leaguers and native soldiers.
A man, short of stature, stepped out of the helicopter and shot a glare at one of those on the ground. Based on the fact that the recipient of the look had two horizontal lines intersected by a single vertical, and the angry man had a trio of each, Harry guessed that the helicopter-man was a higher up.
"My apologies for the fireworks," Six-stripes said. "Colonel Kim here was just a farmer before the revolution. He does not know who you are." He gave a forced, unconvincing friendly smile. "Though I feel the need to ask, why is it that the you have honoured us with your presence?"
"You had some kind of nuclear accident," John reminded him.
"A minor problem. It is fully under control." The phony smile was back in full force. Harry felt an uncomfortable twinge of dislike for the man. Clearly, he was lying and that meant, in all likelihood, that this government was willing to sacrifice its civilians for the sake of hiding… whatever this was.
"If it's all the same to you-" John began, only to be cut off by the government official in front of him.
"It is fully under control," He stressed. "If it's all the same to you." The smile was gone now, and replaced by a hard, serious expression.
"Listen," Supergirl stepped forwards, with an angry look of equal intensity. "We came a long way to help, and-"
"Your help is not needed, and was not requested. Now goodbye." The man said, dismissively, and turned his back on the Leaguers to walk to his chopper. Harry was mildly impressed, for a moment, by the fact that he masked whatever fear he had of them so well.
Green Lantern glared at the man's back while he walked away, while Supergirl directed a heated look his way that Harry was half convinced would literally ignite the man with her Heat Vision. It was fortunate that she restrained herself, and turned on her heel with a huff and a scowl to stalk back to the Javelin. If she hadn't, it may well have caused an international incident. Or, at the very least, began the process of having a group of countries be anti-League.
Harry, on the other hand, stayed where he was with his eyes trained on the back of the government official.
"They do not have that fucking thing under control!" Harry snarled, as sparks danced over his knuckles. It had taken more restraint than he had had to muster in quite some time to stop from cursing the government bastard. "That son of a bitch watched his men burn, and gave the order to leave them to their fate. He knows that more still are going to die because of his refusal of our help, yet he's just letting it burn a path through his country."
"Thaumaturgist," A calming, soothing voice came from the monitor. "We have to operate in the bounds of the law. We cannot simply do as we deem necessary, or we will never be accepted. And if we aren't accepted, when the time comes that the world is in danger, we will not be able to act on their behalf."
There was still anger in Harry's eyes when he looked to the martian on screen. Each stayed stock still for several moments, and then Harry made a noise of annoyance and turned away from the screen. He left the room, and then the remaining Leaguers heard the main door open and close.
"Where's he going?" Kara asked, frowning at the doorway. "We can't let him go alone!" She objected, confirming what she herself assumed.
"He isn't going after it," John shook his head with a frown. "At least I hope he isn't. If he did, then he clearly doesn't fit with us; we can't have someone on the team who doesn't trust us to do what is right. We just need to proceed with caution to avoid an international incident."
"Where is Green Arrow?" J'onn asked suddenly.
"Right over…" John turned his head. "...there. Next to the doorway." His head fell, and John sighed. "We have to go after them."
"I thought you said Harry wasn't going after it!" Kara objected, again. "That he trusted us and so he wouldn't storm off on his own!"
"Fine. Then we have to go after Green Arrow, wherever he is."
"Coming?" Oliver Queen asked.
Harry scowled at the horizon with his arms crossed as he leant against the side of the Javelin. Fingers drummed against his left bicep as he internalised his anger. He grunted.
"Suit yourself." Oliver said curtly back. "A lot of people are going to die if we don't stop whatever the hell is going on." He reminded Harry, and ran into the woodlands to the right.
How he expected to outrun three flying beings, Harry had no idea.
His fingers then stopped drumming on his arm, and instead tightened around the flesh strongly enough to bruise the flesh.
Nobody cared more for life than Death. A mildly ironic fact, but wholly understandable. To meet every person at the moment of their death, and then have to take them at the moment of their death was just a part of her misfortune. Not the worst, in Harry's mind, but it was a horrific cross to bear nonetheless.
Harry's memory of his old self was clouded, but one thing he could remember was that he, too, held the sanctity of human life in high regard, so it wasn't surprising that Death's sadness had… affected him. It had not amplified Harry's opinion of life; his younger self would never take a life, Harry had learned that there were times that it was necessary. That those times were rather frequent for someone with his life. But what it had done was change it to be more… loathsome. Life sometimes had to be taken, and as nasty a job as it was Harry had long since proven that it would not consume him, that he was, at his very core, the same good man that he had been when mortality had been a factor.
But Harry's own moral compass was as distorted as any part of his personality. He knew what was right and wrong, but sometimes things weren't so simple as 'this is the right thing to do, so I should do this'. Sometimes one had to look at the big picture to avoid making things worse, or to avoid having unforeseen circumstances. It was a crippling fear, for reasons he thought were ample.
Harry had ignored Death a few times at first. Had been disgusted by the order to let something bad happen. And one of the people he saved had been a psychopath. Or they had been the politicians who decided to use weapons of mass destruction. Or they had been fucking bandits who tore through a town burning and raping.
The only person who's orders he obeyed, for this reason, were Death's. Yet he was a member of this society of superheroes; if he didn't do as they believed was correct, there were obvious potential results. It was the first bloody day of the extended members, who knew how many of them would follow his lead if he ditched them? Why they would, Harry didn't know… but what if they did? This legion of superheroes could do more good than anything he had ever seen in the past, even in a single generation. Harry would not ruin that even if his selfish reasons weren't taken into consideration.
And his selfish reasons were significant. This was his world now, was it not? These superheroes were the only ones that he would be able to interact with in anything approaching his genuine self. He did not want to sabotage the first friendships he would have had in a long, long time without good reason.
But saving thousands of civilians was a good fucking reason. That is, if this would result in truly saving them. Hell, the dictatorship that ran this country might be worse for them than the giant homicidal robot. If he interfered, then who could say that they wouldn't be offended and take their anger out on the civilians? And that wasn't even taking into consideration any outcomes that Harry had not thought of in the thirty-three seconds since Green Arrow had left.
Even as Harry's mind scrambled to make sense of the sudden, incredibly loud noise, his hand had snapped up and a scarlet cone of light had illuminated Kara's surprised face. Then, she had fallen to the floor, and Harry's left hand had followed his right. A turquoise jet of light struck the floor in front of him, and from it erupted a geister. The boiling hot water produced a fog then, and Harry was in the process of dropping into a crouch when he saw the unconscious girl who had crumpled to the floor in front of him.
"Shit. Kara?" Harry asked, and then said it again upon no sound coming from him. And again. Then it clicked, and Harry raised his right hand with his thumb pressed against his middle finger. When he clicked his fingers, Harry heard nothing.
Enervate was the spell he used to revive Kara; despite the stunning spell being a modified version, the reversal spell was the same as it had always been. And, so, Kara's eyes fluttered open, and locked onto his. She stared at him with what appeared to be confusion, and Harry spoke first.
"Why can't I hear anything?" He asked.
Harry couldn't hear her answer, but from the movement of Kara's lips, he gathered what she had said.
'You can't hear anything? Did something… oh.' Her cheeks reddened, and Kara smiled sheepishly at him. 'Well, you see… sometimes I forget that I have super-strength and such, and I guess that when I yelled to get your attention it was kind-of supercharged." Midway through her explanation, Harry's eardrums healed, and he repeated his test of clicking next to his right temple and, when he heard the sharp sound, by repeating the motion on the opposite side of his head.
"Well," Harry said in reply. "No harm, no foul." Then, he glanced to the side. "Though, from the looks of them, Green Lantern and Captain Atom might disagree with there being 'no harm'." He nodded to the two, stood a few metres from where Kara was still seated.
While the Captain was trying to hide his temporary deafness, he had a slightly confused look on his mask-face as he tried to gather what Harry and Kara were saying. Next to him, John had a hand against his head but seemed to have a better idea of what was happening even if his look of intense concentration made it clear he, too, had been affected by Kara's super-shout. Perhaps, Harry guessed, the ring had done something to protect him from the harm that would have come from an external source; that was what it did, after all, but it also made sense for the defences built in to the weapon to be more focused on physical attacks than sounds.
Then, Green Lantern shook off his distraction, and turned his head to stare at the woods Oliver had entered.
"We're going to follow," His voice was several decibels louder than normal, Harry noticed with idle amusement. His sour mood was all but gone; swept away by the strange turn of events that came after it. "He's got a head-start on us, but we can reach him before he does anything irreversible if we leave now.
"Remember, though, we have to try to be covert about this; they will misread the situation if we give them a reason to fear us. So we will have to follow on foot."
Kara didn't dare object, after her faux-pas, Captain Atom wasn't the type to object, even if he had heard John's words. And Harry didn't feel like being carried, or messing up in an attempt at controlled flight, so he was happy enough with the plan.
"Brave sonofabitch, isn't he?" Harry's eyebrows raised, as he watched the comparatively tiny figure of Green Arrow shooting explosive arrows at a gargantuan robot.
Then, the three accompanying him took to the air, and Harry watched them go with a neutral expression. Maybe they'd forgotten he was confined to the ground. Well, Kara and Captain Atom probably did, since they were used to flying solo; Lantern looked to have other things on his mind, as he shot forwards and scooped Queen up in just enough time to save him from the robot's attack. From looking at it, Harry guessed it was some kind of nuclear death-ray. But, beyond the obvious that it would be best to avoid it, the nature really didn't matter to him.
Harry did an extremely quick bit of mental arithmetic, and decided that, until he had an idea of what the monstrosity could do, it would be best to get the bystanders out of the way. He turned on the spot.
He appeared next to one of the soldiers that had just now joined the crowd, and was breathing heavily. The man spun with a noise of surprise, and his hand went to the sidearm at his waist.
Harry tapped him on the head, his fingers pulsating with a ruby light at the same time, and the man's legs folded under him.
"Please do not panic," Harry said, loudly, to the fearful gazes of the locals. They stared at him without comprehension, and the wizard sighed. "Damn. Of course you don't speak English. Okay, it's probably not a good idea to cast a spell on you that has no obvious effect, so I won't use a translating charm." He frowned, wondering how they would react to a levitating charm. "Ah well, you'll get that I'm trying to help when you get over to the other side, I'm sure."
He raised his hands, with the palms flat towards the crowd, and they took to the air. The people yelled, panicked, at first. But people in their situation were always calmer than most people would suggest; the life-and-death nature of it all made their choices appear simpler. Between a man who seemed to be trying to help floating them across the chasm that had been blocking their path, and death by radiation burns to the nth degree, it was no surprise which choice they settled on as a group. Despite their fear, the men and women comforted the few children that were with them as they sped over the empty space.
Had he been nicer, Harry would have moved them at a more sedate pace when he saw two different floaters turning green. Actually, had he been nicer he would have created a bridge for them, or set them into motion with a more complex spell that would only require his activation and gently lift them to their destination. But he wasn't, and as a result the two fell to their knees as they touched down on solid ground. Harry turned away from them, and his eyes widened.
"HARRY!" This time, he was far enough to avoid the after-effects of Kara's super-lungs, but that and the fact that she wasn't great with the whole secret-identity thing barely occurred to him as the girl placed herself between Harry and the incoming nuclear death-ray. Harry scowled at that, and opened his mouth to remind her that he could teleport before realising the obvious; if the beam passed through his space then it would hit the opposite cliff of the chasm. And then the humans he had just saved would die.
But it was better for it to reach him than for Kara to try to block the radiation; it was frustrating that she didn't realise how foolish it was to try, and Harry raised his hand to cast a spell at her to move the girl out of the way.
And then she was gone; tackled out of the way by a green, man-shaped blur. Harry's eyes followed her, and when she stopped moving it was to find herself inside an emerald cage extending from John Stewart's ring. Judging from the intense expression on the african-american man's face, it would hold her for the time needed for the attack to hit Harry. The Wizard smiled, comprehending why the Green Lantern had intervened.
After all, he had seen the spell Harry was going to use before.
"Protego Flecto." Harry said, and the beam of light met the shimmering shield on his palm. It was seemingly sucked into his hand, as Harry stood calmly waiting for the next step to occur. The radiation-based attack tore from his palm with an intensity equal to what had hit him; unfortunately, Harry had underestimated how much backwards force it would unleash, and was thrown into the pit behind him as his returned attack roared towards its sender.
As he spun in the air, his descent far from controlled, Harry heard the world above him shake and shudder. The robot had fallen over, then. Well, he was already spinning, so Harry decided to take advantage of the fact and, with a pop disapparated again.
His spin stopped as Harry appeared in the air above the flat-on-its-ass robot, but the world kept going. So he stayed there in the air, hovering as he waited for the dizziness to fade. As it did, he noticed that the robot had not fully fallen; for some strange reason it was sat on the ground with its legs straight out in front of it. He almost got the feeling that it was confused and, when he realised why that was Harry let out a bark of laughter.
They had failed to predict this scenario, and the robot couldn't get back to its feet. The other four with him seemed to realise this at the same moment as Harry, having been waiting to see what the robot would do next, and each made to attack only to be stopped by Harry aiming his left palm at the ground with a look of discomfort on his face as his blood quite literally boiled with the energy coursing through.
The ankh on his hand's palm glowed a deep blue, as the blade of his branded scythe shone platinum, and the monster's body slackened as the fire around its shoulders and skull was extinguished.
And then it died. It's skull crumbled, and the body teetered backwards to crash into the ground. When the League removed the shell of the robot, they would discover the indentation it made in the earth, and that would explain the cloud of dust the heavy torso sent into the air.
After Harry descended, and his feet touched the ground, he scowled at his shaking hands. He only banished the expression when he noticed Supergirl rocketing towards him, with a grin on her face as the others followed at a slightly more sedate pace. The three didn't share her jubilation, Harry could see; they had shock and question in their eyes at what he had achieved, and the magic user had a feeling that their curiosity would not end well for him.