A/N: Hi everyone! I can now proudly say that this chapter is the final one for this fic (*hurray*). It's been a long journey and now our time together has come to an end. I hope you have enjoyed this adventure so far and that your spring and summer have been good enough. Now, it's my time to relocate myself to write something more, something I have been dreaming about for like 10 years already. I really hope it will some day see the daylight.
Have a great day!
"Okay, you can do this," Nia encouraged herself when she stood next to the door. She was feeling really nervous and scared. For a good reason. "You can do this, you own this game…" She could barely believe her words, but at least she tried.
Nia opened the door and flinch at the noise that ran freely in the air again. She was now convinced that the noise was much louder than before, and that wouldn't be a sign from anything good. Hands covering her ears, Nia marched straight towards the machine that loomed over her and the whole room.
Alright, what are the magic words, Nia asked herself as she studied the machine. There were no buttons visible to Nia, but it had several big parts which none looked like she would be able to detach. She tried though, but she wasn't physically strong enough to do it. She needed her powers, she just didn't know how to evoke those powers. Nia sighed and shook her head. I can't do this, she thought. How am I supposed to –
Her moment of self-criticism and desperation was interrupted when the machine suddenly stopped being loud. The noise was totally gone, and the echoing room was silent for the first time. Puzzled about this change, Nia lowered her arms. The silence felt almost painful after the mix of chaotic noises. Even though Nia was pleased about the unexpected improvement of the environment, somewhere deep down she knew the change wasn't a sign of good things coming.
Nia felt her whole body stiff a bit, it felt like slight electricity waves going through her, dancing on her shoulders, arms, legs and toes. There was a tingling sensation on the back of her head. Her senses were intensifying to the point where it felt like she was bursting with the electrical energy flow. Nia gasped as the energy finally exploded in her and left her feel calm and balanced.
"Oh," she said out loud and examined her whole body. She felt strong and transformed, like some sort of invisible wall or cover had been lifted around her, and she was once again merged with the Dream world. She felt like being home.
"Yes!" Nia screamed with joy. "I'm back!"
With a smile on her face, she turned to look at the machine next to her. She breathed deep in and out and focused on her powers. "Here's what you deserve," she announced victoriously and aimed her newly returned powers towards the machine.
Blue light flew from Nia's hands and hit the huge device. Nia focused more and closed her eyes. Her powers were usually effective but now they barely did anything.
"What are you doing?" a man's voice asked sturdy, and Nia's concentration came to a halt. Without further hesitation Nia threw blue power bursts towards the man. But he was quicker.
"Do you really think you can fight me and win?" he asked now. He looked furious but there was also something else in those eyes. A recent experience of defeat.
"They got to you, didn't they?" Nia asked and smiled gently. "And you lost."
Anger flamed in him. "Just a momentary retreat, I would say. Which means I'm back here with you, and this time I'm gonna finish you!"
"Not if I get to you first," Nia challenged.
"Good luck with that," he smiled and closed his eyes.
Nia could feel the device being activated again; it started to hum and vibrate. She connected the dots. He is the one controlling the machine, she thought. He needs to be stopped. The noises were starting to come alive and Nia felt the effect immediately. It was now or never. She threw blue beams towards the man, but a protection dome appeared right around him.
"What –" Nia said surprised. The man smiled widely at her. Before she could think anything more, she launched herself straight at him. To her astonishment, she wasn't stopped by the dome, but rather she went through it and collided with the man with force.
They both fell to the floor, and she had succeeded; the link between the man and the machine was broken and the noises were fading. At least for now. The man pushed Nia away from him and stood up. Automatically Nia threw another light beams at him, but they stopped on the edge of the dome, just like before. She continued bombing the dome endlessly in order to break it.
The man just laughed. "Do you really think that's gonna work?"
And just as he had ended his sentence, the dome started to crack. He gave a glimpse to his protection wall and then to Nia.
"No…" he gasped silently.
Encouraged with the slight hope of actually winning the battle, Nia pushed his powers to their limits with full force. It was now or never.
"Stop!" the man shrieked and rushed towards Nia. They started their own play of cat and mouse; he trying to get Nia to stop, and she keeping her distance with him while forcing the protection to give up.
When the man stormed towards Nia, she quickly powered down, dodged him and at the same time she knocked him over. He snarled as he hit the floor, but Nia was already shooting her powers at him. It was the final hit; the dome shattered with a loud cracking sound and he was vulnerable.
"The answer is yes," Nia stated panting. "I really think it's going to work. Now, surrender!"
"Never!" the man shouted back and rushed at Nia again.
This time, as she took a grip of him, she felt a slight whoosh, like a breeze, and noticed them not being in the same room anymore. They were both taken aback because of the sudden change, but Nia more than him.
"No!" he screamed as he realized what had happened.
A quick glance to her surroundings, Nia could tell that they were in a regular house. There were pictures on the wall, furniture and even a half empty cup of coffee on the nearest table. One of the pictures on the wall was of him, the man that had terrorized the city for a while and almost killed Nia. Twice. It was a picture of the man that was now with her in the room.
"Oh my god," she gasped out loud as she realized the situation. "This is where you live."
The man looked a bit frightened and made a move. With good reflexes, Nia raised her right hand immediately and threw a blue net over him. He screamed in anger and frustration and collapsed to the floor.
"What… did you do… to me?" he asked eyes wide open, speaking like he could not breathe well.
"It's something I've learned recently," Nia replied with a relieved smile. "Just a little moment of sleep paralysis. You just chill there, would you?"
The man looked like frozen now. Someone could have thought he was dead.
With hands (and mind) free to examine the environment, Nia walked to the window. She could see houses, markets and cafés on the street. In the distance, she saw the high silver tower with a logo of CATCO.
"Ha, gotcha!" Nia said. Now there was only one problem: she couldn't exit the Dream world, or the sleep paralysis state would fade away and he would be free again.
"Nia? Are you there?" Nia heard someone calling for her.
"Alex? Is that you?" Nia asked and looked around her.
"Yes! Thank God I found you. I'm not good at using this device," Alex replied and gave a laugh. "J'onn should've not left me alone with this."
"I think you are doing quite well, actually," Nia said changing her side of conversation inside her mind.
"Are you okay? Where are you? You are still not waking up and I've tried so many times to contact you."
"I'm okay, Alex. Everything is fine, I got him. I know where he is!"
"You mean he's not there?"
"No! I mean, yes, he's here in the Dream world with me, but I know where he physically is right now."
"Well at that's good news," Alex uttered and sighed. "The others have been trying to find him everywhere! They almost got him once but somehow he got away."
"I know. He's in good hands now, he's ready to be taken. Can you let them know where we are?"
Nia described the location of the apartment to Alex, who in return apparently told it forward to someone else Nia couldn't sense.
"Should they be aware?" Alex asked worried.
"Not at all. He's sleeping, there is nothing he can do right now," Nia smiled, mentally patting herself on her back.
"They have him!" Alex announced. "You can finally come back home."
"That is all I've wanted for a very long time," Nia said almost crying. "I'm just taking care of something first. I'll see you soon."
Alex took off the device from her head and sighed deep, relieved this was all over. Finally. She looked at her friend who was still laying on the bed, not giving any signs of waking up. It didn't take long until the others were back in the CEO hospital room.
"How is she?" Brainy asked right after he had stepped back inside the room.
"Why hasn't she woken up yet?" Supergirl demanded right after Brainy. "I thought everything was fixed!"
Alex raised her arms to calm everyone down. "She said she needed to do something first so… let's just trust her. Okay?"
The other three nodded and they waited.
Just two minutes later, Nia started to move on the bed.
"Ooooh, she's waking up!" Supergirl got excited.
"Easy," J'onn said as everyone seemed to rush towards their friend. Brainy took Nia's hand in his and stroke it gently with his thumb.
"Hi," Alex greeted when Nia finally opened her eyes. "Good morning, Sleeping Beauty. How was the trip back here?"
"Ugh," Nia huffed. "Fine, I guess. How long was I out?"
"Only two weeks or so," Brainy answered with stern look.
"WHAT?!" Nia shrieked and pushed herself up.
"Relax, it was only hours all in all," Brainy added when getting odd looks from others. "I was trying to make a joke."
"Well, that was a bad one," Nia commented. Her heart was racing because of the shock he just gave her. "Making jokes doesn't suit you. No offense."
"None taken," Brainy said and sat down.
"So?" Supergirl asked impatiently.
"What?" Nia stated.
"What were you doing there? What was that place? What did it look like? What about –"
"Hold your horses, Kara," Alex interrupted gently and put a hand on her sister's shoulder. "She has just returned from a possibly exhausting and a slightly traumatizing lockdown from the Dream world."
"Yeah?" Supergirl asked in confusion.
"That means she might need a bit of her own time to recover. We have all the time in the world, you know. She will tell everything when she's ready."
Supergirl sighed. "I'm sorry Nia. I didn't mean it like that."
"It's okay, I understand," Nia smiled at Kara.
"Would like to take a nap?" Supergirl asked in return.