Hi all. If you're here from my other stories, welcome. If not, welcome anyway. Just using this as a chance to give some quick background on Injustice for those who might not know.

Alright, Injustice is a DC Elseworlds story, starting with the game Injustice: Gods Among Us and expanded by a comic series. I haven't read the comics though, so only the game is really relevant. Storywise- In the Injustice world, Superman is married to Lois Lane. The Joker manages to poison Superman with a modified Scarecrow toxin that makes Superman think Lois is the supervillain Doomsday, leading to the death of both Lois and her unborn child. On top of that Joker smuggles a nuclear bomb into the city Metropolis with the trigger linked to Lois' heartbeat, meaning most of Metropolis dies alongside Lois. Maddened by grief, Superman kills the Joker.

Cut to five years later when Superman is leader of the One Earth Regime, a tyrannical government only really resisted by Batman and his Insurgency. The Insurgency brings a number of heroes from an alternate Earth over to help them, culminating in bringing over the alternate Superman who defeats Injustice Superman in single combat, ending the Regime.

Another five years later, in Injustice 2, Superman and imprisoned members of the Regime are freed to help stop the alien supervillain Brainiac from taking over the world. In the aftermath Batman and Superman come to blows again, with two results: either Batman defeats Superman using a Kryptonite enhanced suit of power armour and imprisons Superman in the Phantom Zone, or Superman defeats Batman, resurrects the Regime and uses mind control technology taken from Brainiac to mind control numerous Heroes, Villains and members of various alien species that Brainiac was keeping in stasis after kidnapping them, including other Kryptonians.

In case it wasn't obvious from the summary, this fic follows the Superman ending. Now, should we begin?

"I still don't see why I have to be here."

Jason took a deep breath, suppressing his first instinct. And his second and maybe third too, come to think of it.

"You're here because I don't trust you," he growled, his helmet lending a rasping, metallic flavour to his voice, "So quit your whining."

Damian sneered at him, eyes glittering from behind the mask he wore clamped over his eyes, and Jason rested a hand on the butt of his pistol.

"Try me, Kid Killer."

Damian's sneer turned into a teeth-baring snarl, his own hand dropping to the sword, and Jason dipped his chin, shoulders squaring in preparation.

"Hood, Nightwing, enough! We have a job to do and you two fighting won't help!"

"It would help me," Jason rasped, but he dragged his glare away from Damian, turning his gaze onto the third member of their little party. Canary looked ragged, her jacket torn and patched roughly, but there was a fire in her eyes that wouldn't die. Damian scoffed, but this time Jason didn't rise to the bait.

"Besides," Canary continued, "The kid has a point. Why bring him with us? And what exactly are we after? You just told us that you had something that might help with Superman before dragging us out here."

Jason huffed, fingers automatically pulling at the collar of his jacket, making sure that it hadn't ridden up. He tugged it back into place before answering.

"You can thank Bruce for that. See, after Clark got thrown into jail for the first time, Bruce decided that the Batcave wasn't safe enough. So he stashed a whole bunch of gear in some other safehouses. Set up a system that would alert his allies if he didn't access it for a while. I got the message about three days ago."

"Gear? That's it?" Damian asked, but his tone was a little less hostile. Jason shook his head.

"I'm pretty sure that the cache we're looking for right now includes the dimensional transporter."

"Wait, I thought that was destroyed."

"Yeah, well, apparently not. But now that Clark has his mind-controlled armies, it definitely needs to be. Plus, there might be some Luthor tech still in there that we can use. Something that'll break the brainwashing, if we're lucky. If not, we'll still get something out of it. And since you're so desperate to know, Kid Killer, I brought you along not just because I don't trust you, but because you're actually good at stealth."

"Think you're funny, don't you?" Damian asked, bristling at the nickname. Jason gave him a grin that was all teeth: it was hidden behind his helmet, but he knew Damian would hear it in his voice.

"There's no thinking involved, Kid. Now come on, we haven't got all day. I don't know who else Bruce might have set to be alerted and I don't know who Clark's gotten his hands on."

"Tch. Hood is right, we need to move."

Jason smirked at Damian as he took the lead again. It wasn't far now- the car he had stolen in Metropolis had gotten them most of the way into the forest- but it was still a fair hike. Bruce's paranoia once again, although this time it was probably worthwhile. Jason tilted his head as his earpiece crackled, Canary and Damian mimicking his movements.

"You got trouble, Red," Harley sang out, her tone deceptively carefree as ever, "Some 'a the big blue tyrant's boys are headed out from Metropolis."

"Shit. You know where?"

"Nah-uh, sorry. But they're headin' your way. Little Blue said she'd distract her cousin for you, though."

"Tell her to be careful," Damian snapped, "She's not ready."

Harley went quiet for a moment, her tone sharpening slightly.

"I know, kid. But we all gotta do what we gotta do, right?"

Damian whispered a curse as their earpieces went quiet again.

"Let's pick up the pace," Dinah said, "We don't want to be late."

Jason nodded in agreement and sped up, almost jogging along the forest path. Damian followed in sullen silence before he growled quietly and broke the quiet.

"I don't get it, Hood."

"Don't get what, kid?" Jason asked. Normally he didn't have much time for Damian, what with- well, everything- but in this case the kid sounded genuinely confused. Maybe Jason would have to do the decent thing for once and act like an actual, responsible big brother.

"You're all off around me. I get it. I get it, Hood. But Harley- she's fine? What she's done is all cool with you?"

On a different day Jason would have replied snappishly, only hearing the whining in Damian's tone, like the kid thought he hadn't done anything wrong. On a different day Jason might have blown up at him. But today- Jason felt off, today. There was something in the air, and he might not get another chance.

Christ, he hated premonitions. His gut was almost as paranoid as Bruce. But still. Just in case.

"You want to know why you, a supporter of the Regime for the best part of ten years, is less trusted than Harley, former supervillain and loyal member of the Insurgency."

Damian growled, but it sounded uncertain.

"I- yeah, Jason. Yeah. I want to know. I know what I did, I- if I could take it back I would! But she helped the Joker, Jason! She was his sidekick, his backup, she's almost as responsible for all those deaths as he is, but that doesn't seem to matter! Bruce never cared, and you don't either."

Jason jogged on a few more steps, trying to find the right words. He was no good at this, but Canary wasn't jumping in to save him.

"Alright, kid. I'll level with you. You got a bad hand right from the start, yeah? Raised by the League, sent over to your old man, suddenly had to be a righteous hero. I get it. But you think you've had a bad hand, Harley's had a bad one too. She ain't exactly in her right mind even now. You can remember her back then, right?"

"Yeah," Damian muttered, sour and sullen. Jason sighed.

"If there was any justice, Damian, Harley would be in a mental institute. You think she'll get justice from Superman and his Regime? Diana almost killed her only a couple of months ago, she probably wouldn't even get a trial. And for the record- I think you did the right thing with Zsasz. You want to know what you did wrong there, though? Enabling Clark right as Bruce was trying to talk him down. You lost your head and look where it got you."

"You're one to talk about losing your head," Damian muttered and Jason grinned.

"Yeah, I know. Experience is the best teacher, or whatever. Look, kid. Everybody liked Dick, you know? Everybody. Even if it was an accident, you aren't gonna get away from killing him. That's gonna follow you forever, even with people who didn't know him. He's the golden boy now."

Jason stopped talking to swallow against the harshness in his throat. He'd done his investigating, he'd checked his facts- Damian hadn't killed Dick on purpose. It had been an accident. But fuck, Dick had been a shining light in the superhero community. Sometimes, on his bad days, Jason could barely stand to look at Damian. Sometimes, on his bad days, all he could see was the blood on Damian's hands, even if he knew that Damian had been a traumatised kid, barely eighteen, who'd made a mistake. Hell, that summed up pretty much every one of the Bat-family, even if Damian's mistake had been worse. But it was easier to remember that when he wasn't with the Regime, denying he'd ever done anything wrong, clinging to Clark's cloak. Jason chanced a look at Damian, who had clenched his fist and was looking down.

"Chin up, kid. We'll have time to mope once we've cleared out the cache."

"It's very sweet that you're getting over your issues, but is now really the time?" Canary asked. Jason turned his head to her, hoping that she could sense his raised eyebrow through his helmet. This wasn't the best time, not a chance, but they might not get another.

"Oh," she said, a lot more quietly, "That bad?"

Jason shook his head.

"Just a feeling. If you want to get outta here, now's the time."

Normally he wouldn't have offered. Canary- Dinah- was a hero too. She knew the risks. But this had a lot of risks involved, and Dinah had a family. She had more to lose. He wasn't surprised when she shook her head, though.

"Sorry, Hood. You're stuck with me."

Jason didn't do her the injustice of asking again, just nodding. They kept moving through the forest, steps quick and quiet.

"The Kryptonite laser was locked behind DNA samples from four people. This isn't going to be the same, is it?" Dinah asked. Jason shrugged.

"With Bruce, who knows. But I don't think so. He learned his lesson after his best weapon was inaccessible. I hope."

"Nice to see you so assured, Todd." Damian muttered. Jason clicked his tongue.

"No real way to know, Kid, and I don't wanna risk it. If we can't get through, we'll have to come back with some heavy gear. Explosives, probably. That dimensional transporter can't end up with the Regime."

"Well we agree on that," Damian muttered. Jason saw the kid frown, his head tilting.


"Noise," Damian hissed, dropping into a crouch, "Sounds like voices."

"Ah shit," Jason whispered, too quietly to make it through his helmet. They all crouched, moving ahead in an awkward half-walk to cover the distance. The cache was hidden in a cave, and they huddled in the treeline, watching the entrance. There were eight men in body armour and masking helmets there- Regime stormtroopers. Superman hadn't wasted any time in rebuilding his paramilitary forces, even if he liked to use his mind-controlled forces more.

"Half a squad. Must have been dropped off by helicopter, to search the area," Damian whispered. Jason nodded.

"We can take them. Just keep it quiet."

Jason slid one of his pistols from its holster, drawing a knife with his other hand. A glance to his left showed Damian, sword already drawn. To his right Dinah flexed her fingers, eyes narrowed. Jason nodded to them both.

"Three. Two. One. Go!"

Jason moved fastest. Bursting from cover. The stormtroopers had their backs to him and he took them completely off guard, plunging his knife into a neck before turning, the muffled bark of his pistol sounding twice. Two more shots, punching through armour and he pulled his knife free, ducked an instinctive swing of a rifle butt, pistol pressed against a knee and firing and he planted his knee on the soldiers chest, knife coming down in quick, disciplined thrusts until the soldier stopped kicking. A body thumped on the ground next to him, blood spattering the loam as Damian swiped his bloodied sword through the air, two more bodies behind him. Dinah was choking the last, grappling on the ground. Jason jerked his head at Damian, Dinah holding the man still as Damian walked across, a single slash across the throat ending the fight. Canary's face was curled in disgust.

"Easier to kill them. Safer, too," Jason said, refusing remorse. Dinah heaved the corpse off her and rolled to her feet, brushing at the blood on her jacket with a disgusted expression.

"Bruce wouldn't have killed them," she said. Jason froze, halfway through wiping the blood off his knife, and felt Damian tense next to him.

"No," he eventually said, "He wouldn't have. And look where that's gotten him."

Dinah grimaced but didn't say anything more. Jason finished wiping his knife and sheathed it, holstering his pistol.

"We won't have long before they fail to report in and we're busted, so let's go. We'll have to be quick."

They left the bodies behind, moving quickly into the cave. It was a narrow passage, just wide enough for two of them at a time, but it wasn't long before they came to a dead end. Dinah turned around, keeping watch behind them, while Jason and Damian looked for something- a control panel, a hidden switch, anything. Damian was the one who found it.

"This crack here, it's not natural. Looks like it might be- huh. A USB port."

Jason sighed.

"I appreciate the thought, Bruce, but there have got to be better ways than this. It must need the file he sent me- or hid on my computer, maybe. Not sure which, bloody paranoid. Lot of ways it could have gone wrong."

"But did it go right?" Damian asked. Jason reached into his jacket and pulled out his thumb-drive, holding it up.

"Let's find out."

The crack had been a covering, he saw, one that Damian had pulled away to reveal the USB port. Jason delicately inserted the drive, narrowing his eyes at the green light that flashed on it.

"What're the chances that there'll be more than one layer of security?" Dinah asked. Jason shook his head.

"More than excellent."

The USB flashed again and red lines of light swept from hidden apertures in the wall, sweeping over them. Jason slowly raised his hands.

"That could be bad," Damian noted, "Given that the last Father knew-"

"Do not finish that sentence. If you tempt fate like that I swear to Christ-"

"Acknowledged. Red Hood, Black Canary. Confirm presence: Damian Wayne."

"He's with us," Jason said, helmet turning left and right as he tried to work out where the lights were coming from exactly. Some kind of automated defence system? That was most likely. Luthor-tech drones, probably.

"Confirmed. Initial defences unlocked."

Jason sighed.

"Must be smart enough to work out that you're not coercing us."

"Probably assessing your body language and tone," Damian agreed. Dinah blew a breath between her teeth.

"You two are far too calm."

Jason snorted.

"You live with Bruce for a few years, you start to get used to his contraptions. Now come on."

The three of them passed through the door that had slid back in the rock, Jason snatching up the thumb drive as they went. Once they were all into the brushed steel corridor beyond the door slid back into place. Jason weighed the thumb-drive in his hand, wondering if he would need it again. He reckoned the odds were about fifty-fifty: Bruce could have been too careful to make the data important for bypassing more than one set of defences. Equally, he could require it be used twice as a sort of riddle. Either way, Jason would have it. They walked down the corridor and to the next door, halting there.

"I know Bruce is- was- paranoid, but three fingerprint scanners seems excessive," Dinah commented. Damian shook his head.

"They're not all scanners. Two are traps. Only one will work."

Jason grumbled under his breath.

"I wish Tim was here. He's better at this sort of shit than me."

Damian didn't bother to reply, kneeling and running his hand under the scanner.

"You've known him longer, Todd. What sort of sign would he use to mark the real scanner?"

"Have you looked for a bat?" Jason asked, tone absolutely unwavering. Damian grunted in annoyance.

"If you're trying to be funny, Todd, then you aren't doing a very good job of it."

"Touchy. Any ideas, Canary?"

Dinah chewed her lip, looking around the corridor.

"If Bruce was being paranoid- why would it be any of these? Wouldn't he use all of these as bait?"

Damian wriggled around, sitting with his back to the wall.

"That's a good point, actually."

Jason tapped his thigh, thinking.

"Yeah, that's the sort of weird thinking that he'd like. So another one in the wall. Thermo-vision marked, maybe?"

"Wouldn't that mean that Superman could see it?"

Damian wriggled out from under the scanners, shrugging.

"I doubt he'd care to. If Superman was here he'd just punch through all the walls and ignore the defences."

"Yeah, good point," Dinah conceded, "Hood?"

Jason reached up, tapping at the side of his helmet. When nothing happened he frowned, slapping the plastic with the flat of his hand, his vision flickering as the filters began to work.

"I've been running from safehouse to safehouse recently, not a lot of maintenance time," he explained, "Can see it now though."

Damian had produced a pair of visors from his belt, handing one to Dinah and sliding the other one on.

"It's a keypad."

"So, what, we just have to guess? Did Bruce have any codes that he used regularly?"

Jason snorted and Damian outright laughed.

"Father use a code regularly? I'm sure that he changed every password he had every three days or so. But we don't need to- he left a clue."

Damian pointed at the wall just above the hidden keypad, where there was a scatter of dots and dashes.

"Morse Code. Hmm…code seventy-eight. I know that one."

"Yeah, it's one of his emergency codes. Never used it before as far as I know," Jason agreed, leaning across and punching in the sixteen digit code. He stepped away once he was finished, all three of them waiting with bated breath.

"You think we need to do something else, or-"

Jason was cut off as the floor moved under his feet, leaping back to the walls. Damian and Dinah replicated the action, jerking away from the movement as quickly as possible, all of them staring at the floor split, two panels sliding apart to reveal a set of stairs. Jason laughed disbelievingly.


Damian shook his head.

"His flair for dramatics was certainly intact when building this place."

Jason shook his head.

"Secret stairs. How very Batman," he muttered. The level below wasn't lit, so he unhooked a torch from his belt and held it up, descending slowly- his night-vision was still on, but just in case. There was another short corridor, brushed steel again, but the walls had nothing like the last, just plain steel. The three of them walked roughly ten feet along the corridor, seeing nothing, until they reached a heavy vault door. There was one more fingerprint scanner locked into the door, and Jason doubted that this one was a fake.

"Well, Todd? You're better off than either of us."

"Dinah was actually part of the Insurgency, kid. You were Regime and I was rogue."

"But when Bruce built this place he probably assumed that I was dead. You're the only one it would accept," Dinah argued. Jason glanced at her, sighing.

"Yeah, alright. Hold the torch?"

Jason handed the torch to Dinah, pulling off his left glove and tucking it into a pocket. The fingerprint scanner was a full hand thing, with a recess for his hand to go in, so he leaned his right hand on the door and set his left against cool glass. Not a second after restraints slid out of the scanner, holding his hand still, and Jason swore in surprise.

"Hood! Are-"

"It's fine," he grunted, "Just startled me. Must be a full DNA scanner."

He grimaced at the prickling sensation that spread across his hand, something scraping lightly at the skin. Definitely a DNA scanner.

"Subject- Red Hood, Robin Two, Jason Todd. Affiliation- None, former Insurgency. Security question-"

"Robin Two?" Damian snickered quietly.

"Shut it, Four," Jason growled. The robotic voice changed, becoming deep, gruff. Bruce's voice.

"Jason. What were the last words you said to me, before you left the Insurgency?"

Jason blinked, letting his head tilt down, chin resting on his chest.

"I said," he started, quiet and sullen, "That you weren't going to stop Superman while wearing kid gloves, and I wasn't going to stay around and watch you die trying."

A frozen moment before the robotic voice returned.

"Voice print confirmed. Answer confirmed. Welcome, Jason Todd."

Jason sighed, long and slow.

"I wish you'd proved me wrong, old man."

"Jason," Damian started, voice uncertain over the noise of the vault door. Jason shook his head.

"Leave it, Kid. Save it for later."

Jason didn't give Damian a chance to argue, squeezing through the vault door before it was fully open and proceeding into the vault itself. There were doors along the sides of the circular room, a single computer sat in the middle. There was a slot for a USB drive front and centre, and Jason snorted in faint amusement.

"The USB?" Damian asked. Jason leaned on the computer desk as he inserted the thumb-drive, grinning as a file opened up.

"It's a cargo manifest," he said, tapping at the screen, "You funny sod, Bruce. Alright, that's clever enough."

"You know what we're looking for?" Dinah asked. Jason shrugged.

"Yeah, more or less. Let me see…ah."

It didn't take him long to search through the manifest and find what he was looking for.

"Good news, people. The dimensional transporter is here. Even better, so is some experimental tech that we can use. Bad news, it looks like it's only eighty percent complete."

"Oh, that ain't the only bad news, Hood."

Jason froze, hair standing up on the back of his neck. He heard Dinah and Damian turn around behind him and straightened from his bent over position. He turned, shoving the computer from the desk as he went- it was one of the new kinds, the monitor integrated into the pc. It smashed to the ground and Jason shrugged.

"Oops. Looks like you aren't gonna be looking through that any time soon."

"We're in no rush."

One and half squads of Regime stormtroopers, twenty-four men, and three others. Metas- or technically in that weight class.

"I would've thought you were better than this, Cold. The Regime killed your sister, didn't they?"

Cold tilted his head in a shrug, his lips curling into a sardonic expression.

"Sure they did. Didn't think that letting them kill me would make it right, though. We can't all get a golden boy redemption arc like the kid there."

Damian growled, his sword scraping softly as he drew it. Jason rested his hands on his guns, eyes raking across the Regime forces. Cold. Not a meta, but equipped with his cold gun and heavily armoured. Cyborg. Deadly enough as an enforcer, metal limbs and plenty of weapons generating from his advanced body, but not unstoppable. And last of all, Bane. Massive, hulking, torso armour plated. Super-strength sufficient to tear a man apart with his bare hands.

Not the best odds he'd ever seen.

"You'll never know if you don't try, Cold. Give it a shot. Cyborg can come too, if he likes. We're welcoming everyone these days."

For a moment Jason thought Cold might by it, but then the man laughed.

"Sorry, Hood, but I got a good thing going here. I'm not gonna throw it away for your terrorist group."

Jason sighed.

"Well, if you're gonna be like that, I've got plenty of bullets. And speaking of bullets, you've been waiting way too long. Damian? Do your thing."

Bane and Cold had just started to laugh when Damian held up a held, pressed a button on his gauntlet and detonated the explosive birdarangs he had scattered around the vault door as they entered.

Jason moved, bounding forwards, a hand dipping into his jacket and pulling out a grenade. The walls of the vault echoed with sound as Canary added her cry to the explosion, the Regime forces reeling, and an underarm toss sent the grenade into a cluster of stormtroopers. Bane and Cold had scattered, Cyborg staggering, and Jason saw Damian sprint past, sword in hand. Damian slid under Bane, getting into what stormtroopers remained, Canary running at Cyborg. Jason drew his left hand pistol, firing four steady, evenly spaced shots into the four troopers that remained in his line of sight before a roar drew his attention to Bane and he switched fire. Bullets sparked and clanged against the heavy armour that covered Bane's chest, the man roaring as he broke into a pounding run. Jason just had time to see Damian slice down the last of the stormtroopers and turn on Cold before Bane was on him.

"Come here, little man!"

"No, I think I'm ok!" Jason yelped, ducking under a swinging hand. He swung around behind Bane, unloading several more shots into his back, but Bane just roared and shrugged off the impacts. Jason didn't think the man was juiced up on the Kryptonian nanotech super-pills- there were bloody marks on his arms from the earlier explosion- but maybe he was on something else. Even with the armour holding those close-range shots should have left fractures in bone. Bane spun around, fast for such a large man, and Jason got busy dodging, ducking a heavy haymaker, dropping almost to the ground to avoid the following jab and rolling away, barely avoiding a massive stamp of a boot.

"We've done this before, Hood. We know how this ends."

"With a bullet in your skull and me walking away?"

Bane laughed.

"Brave, but foolish."

Jason reached his free hand into his jacket and tossed a handful of shuriken as he rolled away, the bladed stars glancing pointlessly from Bane's helmet but keeping him distracted long enough for Jason to gain some range. He hated to admit it, but Bane was right. Jason was faster, more skilled, but Bane was simply too strong. One blow would put Jason down for the count, and Bane had long since gotten wise to Batman's attempts to cut his Venom supply. The pipes were armoured now, running under clothes and plates. Too heavily armoured to be worth it. He needed an opening.

Jason let his gun fall back into its holster, slipping his hands into his pockets and sliding them into a pair of brass knuckles that he'd stolen- inherited, he'd inherited them- from the Batcave. Well, calling them brass knuckles was a little low. They were fully electrified and reinforced to deliver brutally punishing blows. Now he got to test them out.

"More trinkets, Hood? They didn't help Batman."

"Not against Superman," Jason agreed, bouncing on his toes and raising his fists, "But I'm not Batman. And you're definitely not Superman."

Jason weaved through two punches, retaliating with three quick jabs to the torso, staying close despite the danger. The brass knuckles crackled uncomfortably against his hands but he heard Bane grunt, heard the grunt turn into a snarl and he shifted his shoulders, ducked his head away from a swinging, open palmed strike and threw a punch to the jaw, sending Bane staggering back. Bane recovered with a swinging backhand that kept Jason away before lunging forwards. Jason wasn't quick enough this time and all he could do was cross his arms and take the hit.

It hurt like hell. The impact rattled his bones through his bracers and gauntlets and sent him staggering away. If he hadn't already been stepping back it might have knocked him off his feet, but as it was-

Jason weaved under an attempt by Bane to crush him under both fists and swung a punch into Bane's side. The impact stung his arms and Bane just shook it off. This wasn't working. Past Bane he heard Canary cry again and saw Dinah and Damian switch opponents, leaving Canary brawling with Cold and Damian closing in on Cyborg, but Jason couldn't spare a moment to do anything to help them, Bane coming in swinging again. Jason barely avoided a smashing downwards punch, slipping to the side and ramming the heel of his boot into Bane's knee in a perfectly executed move.

Bane barely flinched and massive fingers closed around Jason's ankle.

"Oh shit."

Bane wrenched him off his feet, his leg screaming in protest, Jason flailing in anticipation of being slammed into the ground. Damian saw he predicament, stealing a moment to flick out an arm- Jason saw the birdarang whip through the air a moment before it exploded against the back of Bane's helmet. The helmet held but Bane himself was stunned, falling to one knee and letting Jason go. Jason grunted as he rammed into the ground, ribs and arms protesting, but he was alive. The save had cost Damian though: Cyborg had gained the advantage, knocking the sword from Damian's hand and forcing him to the ground, one hand raised with the fist converted into a sonic blaster. Jason heard Bane rise but ignored him, slamming the two electrified knuckles together hard enough to overload them and throwing. He saw them slam into Cyborg's head and burst in a crackling shower of electricity just before Bane grabbed him by the head and rammed his face into the ground. Jason grunted in pain, his helmet only just holding, and Bane peeled him off the ground and to his knees. Jason scrabbled at his back, fingers curling around the hilt of his knife.

"Now, Red Hood, time to-"

The sonic cannon struck Bane in the skull with a wavering, bubbling echo of sound and Bane went limp for a moment. Jason drew his knife, driving it into Bane's knee and rolling away, coming to his knees. He didn't bother with a witty one liner, just drew his pistol and jammed it under Bane's arm, where the armour plate wasn't present.

Four bullets tore Bane's chest open, rupturing bone and pulverising flesh. Bane was dead before he hit the ground and Jason dragged himself to his feet, groaning. Damian rose from Cyborg's body, letting the sonic cannon slump to the ground before he retrieved his sword, bringing it into the air and stabbing down.

"Two down," Jason rasped, turning. Canary had Cold on the defensive, his back to them. Jason waited until Damian was in position and fired a single shot. Cold went to one knee as the bullet punched into his thigh, the armour holding but the impact dropping him, and Damian landed behind him, wrenching his head back and ramming a knife into his throat. Dinah grimaced at the blood but seemed to get over it.

"Alright, let's get this done. We might not have="

"We got problems, Red," Harley interrupted, Jason wincing as his communicator crackled. He rapped at the side of his helmet, walking quickly over to the side-vault where his prize was stored.

"What is it, Harley?"

"Superman musta realised somethin's up. He's made a move. Supergirl an' Flash are distractin' him, but it won't last."

"Shit. Shit, shit, shit."

"Yeah, what Todd said," Damian added. Jason swore again, pushing himself over to the vault and tapping a code into the keypad, the door sliding back.

"Tell them we only need a couple of minutes, Harley. We both know that-"

"Yeah, I gotcha. Be careful, Red."

"Yeah. Do my best."

Harley went quiet again and Dinah muttered something.

"Hood, we both know that-"

"Yeah, I know they can't stop him. Now come on, we have to hurry this up. We'll need to find a- oh. Aw, that'll do."

"Is that-"

"Yeah, kid. That's a functioning teleporter. That'll do for me. And that's the control-breaker in the corner, nearly complete. Grab it and we'll-"

There was a soft noise behind them and Jason spun, pistol already coming out. He was too late.

Dinah collapsed forwards, blood spurting from the gash across her throat, and Jason saw the last words her lips formed.


Rage surged furious in his chest and Jason whipped his gun up, firing, the recoil jarring his arm and the noise reverberating through the cracks in his helmet. His target half crouched, a cape swinging up to deflect the bullets before something flew from the dark figure and the gun was swatted from his hand. Damian leapt in and an armoured gauntlet deflected his sword, a fist catching Damian in the chin before two hands closed across Damian's chest and flung him away, the smooth motion of the throw frighteningly familiar.

"Oh fuck. Hello, Bruce."

Jason swallowed as Batman rose to his full height, shaking out the hand that his pistol had been knocked out of. This was the first time he'd been this close to Bruce since Superman had won their final battle and put Bruce under the spell of the mind control technology. In all honesty, he would have preferred to avoid this altogether. Jason wasn't a small man, but Bruce was taller, even if it was only by a fraction, and wider across the shoulders. Jason wore armour, but it was a battered Kevlar composite vest, vambraces and boots. Bruce wore armour across his whole body- chestpiece, thighs, shoulders, arms, all of it, giving him even more of an edge in single combat. Jason had a knife, a gun, and about six shuriken. Bruce could well be equipped to fight a war.

Some of the mind-controlled could be broken out of it- destroy the device that was usually clamped onto the temple and they might recover. Given Bruce's will, Jason didn't doubt that he would recover. The problem was that Superman had foreseen that. Jason had only heard rumours, but they were confirmed for him now- Superman had put Bruce into surgery, building the control device into cybernetics. Jason could see the sick purple glow of the alien technology, shining from the eye-sockets of Bruce's mask.

"Come on, Bruce. Don't make me do this, old man. I don't want to kill you."

"You couldn't even if you tried," Bruce replied, his harsh voice deadened and metallic. Jason gritted his teeth.

"Is that it, Bruce? You're just another pawn now? Just another fuckin' zombie?"

Jason barely got his right hand up in time to block the first punch. It staggered him, knocked him into the wall and the knee caught him in the gut, driving the breath out of his lungs. He doubled over, gagging for air, and Bruce rolled over him, wrapping an arm around his throat and squeezing. Jason choked, clawing at flat, hard armour with desperate fingers, lights flashing across his vision.

Damian saved him again, coming in with a silent dropkick that hammered Bruce into the wall and gave Jason a chance to roll away, coughing and spluttering. Batman rebounded without a word, hammering at Damian, fists moving with mechanical precision. Damian was talented in hand-to-hand combat, but he didn't stand a chance. Jason had seen it before. With their weapons of choice, all of Batman's Robins had a chance against their mentor. Reduced to fists?

Foregone conclusion.

Batman weathered two blows from Damian without flinching, catching a third and driving a fist into Damian's side, just above the kidney. Damian coughed in pain and Bruce released his fist, sent a quick jab towards Damian's nose and followed with a vicious punch to the chest, sending Damian reeling. The kid staggered back and Bruce caught his flailing fist again, tilting his free arm. Three curved blades popped out of his gauntlet with a vicious sounding click, Batman drawing his arm back, clearly intending to cut Damian down as he had Dinah. Jason dragged in a desperate breath and dashed across the empty space, locking his arm around Bruce's, arms interlinking to hold him still before he drove a kick into Batman's knee and headbutted him. That got a reaction and Bruce twisted, turning his hip into Jason and flipping him to the ground. Jason rolled on impact, getting away from the boot stomp that followed and hearing the grunt as Damian broke free of the lock.

"Damian!" he rasped, snatching up the sword he had rolled over and throwing it. Damian grabbed it from the air and turned, blade blurring as he attacked.

"He's too fast!" Damian grunted, Batman blocking every blow with reinforced vambraces. Jason got to one knee, hauling in a laboured breath.

"Cybernetics," he gasped, lurching to his feet. Damian spun, a slash turning into a spinning kick that flowed smoothly into a second slash, steel scoring Batman's breastplate and sundering the symbol of the Regime that now lay there. For a moment Jason had hope, until Damian made a mistake. Batman had staggered back and Damian got cocky, thought he had the advantage. A lunge went towards Batman's leg, not to kill but to cripple, and Bruce slid his hand down and caught it. The blade scraped off plate, trapped between arm and thigh and Bruce twisted, the silvery snap of steel sounding far too loudly in the quiet. Damian reacted quickly, but not quickly enough, and the dry crunch of bone was the next sound as Batman caught the hasty punch he threw and twisted his arm at a sharp angle.

"Damian! No, Bruce-"

The hand lifted and Jason reached into his jacket, threw his last shuriken, saw them swatted from the air by answering Batarangs, sprinting forwards. Bruce moved towards him but Damian grabbed his leg, held him for just long enough to distract him, paid for it as a boot dropped onto his chest and drove the breath out of him and Jason took a wild risk and jumped, knee catching Bruce across the temple and sending his sprawling. Jason grabbed Damian and dragged him upright, shoving the kid behind him, determined that he wouldn't stand by and lose him.

Not Damian. Not- not the last of his family.

"Run, kid. Now."

"Not without you," Damian whispered, his voice harsh with pain. Jason gritted his teeth as Bruce rose, although the purple light in his eyes seemed a little less virulent.

"J- Jason?" Bruce whispered, voice harsh and ragged. For a moment Jason forgot to breathe, his heart forgot how to beat, his blood forgot how to flow.

"Bruce?" he asked numbly, his pulse whispering harshly in his ears as it returned. Bruce doubled over, hands clutching at his skull, a low keening of pain tearing itself from his throat. Damian made a noise of horror from behind Jason as Bruce looked up, face twisted in agony.


Jason knew what he was asking. He just didn't know if he had the strength to do it.

"Jason, what is he-"

"Stay back, Damian," Jason said softly, so softly, walking slowly forwards. Batman looked up, the pain on his face transforming into a rictus of agony. Every part of Jason still hurt, but it was choked down by despair and a pulsing, icy numbness that invaded every part of him. Bruce snarled, teeth flecked with blood, froth dripping down his face, and lunged. Jason met him head on, blocking two quick punches and returning a straight left to the nose, ducking a swinging right and shooting a blow to the side, a kick slamming into his shoulder before he threw it off and swept Batman's leg, taking the fight to the ground. Berserk with sorrow Jason straddled Batman's fallen form, raining punches into his face, into the raised arms, trying to break Bruce's guard but he couldn't, wasn't strong enough, wasn't quick enough, wasn't good enough and the counterattack rammed into his helmet and threw him off. Jason rolled, helped to his feet by a boot that slammed into his ribs- fractured now- and a hand that closed on his collar and dragged him upright, blows pistoning into his helmet. Colours flashed across his vision, his back to a wall and he snarled, brought his hand up and closed his eyes. He heard Bruce cry out as the flashbang went off, slumping to the ground as Bruce let him go.

Get up, he told himself, get up.

His body wouldn't respond, couldn't respond. Jason gritted his teeth.

Get up before he kills you. Get up before he kills Damian.

His will overcame the weakness of his flesh and he rose, coughing out bloody spit, gasping for air. His fingers felt numb, but he wasn't done yet, his eyes fixing onto Bruce. He drew his knife.


The name out more like a plea than a curse, his voice cracking halfway, but it drew Batman back. The man surged across the empty space between them, cape billowing, and Jason met him with a slice towards the eyes. Bruce blocked with his forearm, twisted the knife from his hand, the other arm slamming into his chest and forcing him against the wall. Jason felt every inch of the knife as it entered his side.

The gun in his other hand pressed under Bruce's chin and he sobbed as he pulled the trigger.

"I'm sorry, Bruce," he whispered, falling to his knees next to the body.

"Jason! Father!"

Damian was at his side, an arm hooked under his, a look of horror and anguish knotting his features. Jason choked out another sob, watching the body of the man who had been a better parent than his biological forebears ever managed bleed onto the floor, and leaned on his brother in all but blood.

"I'm sorry, Bruce. God, I- fuck! Fuck, I-"

Damian wrapped an arm around him and helped him stand, tears streaming from under his mask.

"We can't- Jason, we can't stay here. They'll be coming."

"I know. I know, God. I- Damian, I-"

"Save the apologies for later, Jason," Damian managed, his voice thick with mourning, "Live for now."

The two of them forced themselves away from the body, limping into the vault. Jason slumped against the Dimensional Transporter, gasping for breath. Every breath came harder, and he suspected that a lung was punctured.

No. Suspected had a chance of being wrong. He knew a lung was punctured. He knew that he was dying. But he still had something to do. He grabbed the device he was looking for from a shelf, pushing it into Damian's hand.

"Here, take this. Take the teleporter out, quickly."

"What? You're injured, you need to go first!"

"I'll blow the Transporter and be right behind. Go, Damian. Go!"

Harley was giving a quick report, the words fuzzy through the damaged helmet and possible cranial trauma, and Jason didn't waste any more time. He shoved Damian onto the teleporter and punched in the coordinates that he knew by heart.

"Damian, listen. Listen! I need you…fuck…I need you to be better, you understand? Better than me, better than Bruce, better than Dick or Tim, better than anyone. I believe in you, little brother. Please…believe in yourself."

A look of confusion and horror painted itself across Damian's face as Jason stopped talking, a racking cough lashing his frame and spewing more blood onto the inside of his helmet.

"Todd- what are you-"

The roof blew in and Jason gritted his teeth.

"Out of time. See you, kid," he rasped. Damian's yell faded as the teleporter activated and Jason unloaded four bullets into the control panel, barely flinching as sparks showered across him. His last four bullets, he thought. Not that they would have mattered anymore.

"And you call me a monster," Clark said, his voice regal as he descended. He was pristine in blue and red, the master control device sitting on his temples like the crown of some alien king. Jason coughed again, more blood filling his mouth, and reached into his jacket one last time. Clark chuckled before he moved faster than Jason could see, pinning Jason to the teleporter with easy strength. Jason choked on the pain for a moment, just a moment before he shut it out. Clark reached up, fingers stronger than steel peeling away Jason's helmet and throwing it over his shoulder.

"Why wouldn't you join me, Jason? You know that criminals shouldn't be allowed to live. If you had only done the right thing, Bruce- your father- would still be alive. You could have a place in my utopia, Jason, if only you had done the right thing."

Jason bared bloodied teeth, a snarl of useless defiance.

"I've already done the right thing, Clark."

Superman chuckled again, the gleam of madness frighteningly clear in his crystal blue eyes.

"What was it you said once, Jason? You can't fight crime without cracking a few skulls? Doesn't that make you just another hypocrite?"

Jason spat blood in the perfectly chiselled face, earning nothing more than a roll of the eyes.

"Your Regime cracked more than a few skulls, Clark. But that's gonna end."

"I've heard that before, Jason."

"Sure you have. But not from me."

Jason slipped his hand out of his jacket, lifting it up. Clark glanced at it, blue eyes narrowing and hardening.

"A dead mans switch, Jason? I expected better. I can be in orbit before those explosives ever go off."

Jason laughed harshly, coughing hallway through. More blood spewed across Superman's chest, red even darker than the symbol on his chest.

"You want to know what made Bruce a better hero than you ever were, Clark? He knew his own mortality."

Jason grunted as Superman lifted him from his feet, jacket sliding slightly. Jason's left hand slid into his sleeve, grasping the weapon hidden there. Superman looked at him like an exterminator might view an insect, no sign of humanity there. Only the insanity that he had barely hidden since his wife and child had been murdered.

"And I suppose you'll be the one to remind me of my mortality, Jason? You'll be the one to do 'what is needed' and put the tyrant down? I wonder- when I was defeated and imprisoned, did you argue that I should be executed, like a rabid dog?"

Jason let his chin slump onto his chest, feeling the blood running out of him. He wasn't much longer for this world, he knew, but he'd never let an enemy get the last word in his life. Not unless he was literally unconscious. Behind him he felt the Dimensional Teleporter hum, energy causing the hairs to rise on the back of his neck. That could be bad, but he was a little beyond caring.

"Yeah, Clark, I did. Looks like I was right, huh? Shame that I'll never get to tell Bruce that."

Superman snorted.

"Tell him in the afterlife."

Jason coughed, more blood drooling down his chin, his vision swaying.

"I doubt we'll be in the same place. But you and me, Clark…you and me, maybe we'll see each other."

Superman raised an eyebrow and drew back a fist, slowly. He wanted to make this last, the bastard, and Jason marked that down as the final straw. This man- this monster- wasn't the hero Jason had once admired, and he never would be again.

"Any last words, Hood?"

"Yeah…why did you assume Batman was the only one with Kryptonite?"

Jason was only halfway through his sentence when the punch-dagger in his left fist slammed into Superman's ribs and pierced his flesh, a savage twist of the blade snapping the mineral off, burying it deep into flesh. Superman dropped Jason, pain ripping distantly through his injuries as Clark staggered.

"What- what?"

"Gold Kryptonite, Clark. Removes your powers. Won't be permanent, but-"

Jason gave him a bloody, dying, triumphant smirk.

"Think you can still outrun the explosion?"

Jason would give Clark this, he was still fast. Superman was almost through the vault door as Jason's finger came off the button, the Dimensional Teleporter activating behind him.

"I'll see you in hell, Clark," Jason whispered, his eyes going blank and body keeling over a moment before the flames of the explosion carried him to whatever afterlife awaited, consuming the vault before the Dimensional Transporter could fully activate.

Jason Todd, Red Hood, died in bittersweet victory.

An uncountable number of dimensions away, in another multiverse entirely, Izuku Midoriya fell over as a stream of information poured into his mind.

Izuku groaned aloud as he opened his eyes, a headache pulsing through his skull. He blinked, fuzzily registering the concrete under his hands, and pushed himself up. The roof surface was gritty against his skin and his left hand peeled stickily away, stinging. He turned his hand over and blinked at it- bloody, but just a scrape. He wiped his hand against his trousers, wincing at the sting of cloth against raked raw flesh. His notebook had fallen a few feet away and he wandered across, moving sluggishly. He was tired, but he wasn't sure why.

"Also I passed out and I don't know why," he said aloud. A moment later he staggered, almost losing his balance as his mind choked, almost, twisting horribly. His vision spun and he blinked hard.

"The- the dimensional transporter? What…what is that?"

He took two more wavering steps and sank down, onto his knees, tears streaming from his eyes.

"Oh…oh God, Bruce…I didn't want to- I didn't-"

Izuku bent over, fingers clawing at his chest, trying to scrape out the agony there, fingers curling and dragging at his shirt and blazer, clenching the material in his fists until they ached, frame wracked with sobs. He wept for several minutes, overcome by an anguish that he couldn't explain no matter how much he understood it, tears rolling down his cheeks and dripping fat from his chin. He spent almost five minutes there, curled over, before his tears dried and the shaking stopped, unhooking his fingers from his clothes with an effort. He kept his eyes clenched shut, thinking.

"Is this a Quirk- but nobody has- and I haven't seen anyone- so- no- it's something else."

Izuku slowly hauled himself to his feet, pulling a tissue from a pocket and wiping at his face with it. Memories hovered at the corner of his mind, at the tip of his tongue. Somehow he knew that they would explain what he was feeling, but he couldn't focus on them. They were like smoke in the air, like oil on water, ethereal. Drifting away. All he had was one memory: the dimensional transporter, and an explosion.

"It didn't function correctly. The- the explosion. So it transported…oh."

Izuku didn't follow that train of thought any longer, wiping his nose one last time and picking himself up to limp over to his notebook. He must have dropped it when he fell- it was in a sorry state. Burned, waterlogged and now hurled across concrete. He wiped at it, sighing softly as a page fell out. He would have to rewrite it, he thought, walking slowly back to his bag and tucking the notebook away. He checked his phone for the time- he still had a few hours before his Mom got back from work. He'd be home in plenty of time, even with spending half an hour unconscious on his school rooftop. He looked down, sighing at the dirt on his clothes.

"Great. What a great day."

Grumbling softly to himself he walked off the roof, heading back into the school building and slinging his bag over his bag with a wince. His left hand still stung, the scrape smarting, but he would clean it when he got home. At least the school wasn't locked for another few hours- he walked through the corridors, careful to avoid the places that he knew were regularly used by teacher and caretakers. He didn't really want to have to answer any awkward questions.

"Not that they're likely to ask any," he mumbled, "They didn't give a shit when Bakugo threw my notebook out the window."

He stumbled a moment after saying that, catching himself on the wall and suddenly short of breath.

"Bakugo- I haven't called him that since…since we were…he's always been Kacchan…"

The memories. The memories must be doing something to him. He needed to- he needed to talk to someone, but…but…

"Does it really hurt?" he whispered, eyes stinging with fresh tears, "Would he even care?"

Izuku leaned against the wall for a minute, waiting until his breath had come back and sniffling slightly. No. No, he wouldn't talk to anyone. They already thought he was pathetic, there was no need to make everyone think he was mad as well. He pushed off the wall, staggering slightly, and kept walking. The pain was fading a little, the ache leaving him, but there was still a tiredness in his bones. He just wanted to get home and sleep, that was all. Just sleep, and hope that tomorrow was a better day.

Christ that sounded trite, even in his head.

Izuku stumbled as he pushed through the front door and out of the school, thrown by a thought that wasn't quite his. Or it was his, but- it sounded different, almost. Rougher. Harsher. More cynical. Actually, it was quite worrying. Except he wasn't really worried.

"Maybe I have gone crazy," Izuku whispered to himself, laughing a hysterical little giggle. He'd hoped that going insane would be more fun, but apparently not- Izuku bent over, fingers on his left hand clutching at the straps of his backpack, bending over at the waist as another memory invaded his consciousness- helmet tight around his head, jacket heavy on his shoulders, teeth bared and the rage snarling and clawing at his soul, the words echoing in his head.

"Which hurts more, forehand…or backhand?"

Izuku coughed, spluttering on the thickness that coated his tongue before it cleared and he could straighten. The world looked a little clearer, memories not crowding so much, but- whoever those memories had belonged to…Izuku shook his head and hurried on. He could have a breakdown once he was safely at home. Izuku knew his way by heart…which was good, because as he walked his vision flickered, the familiar buildings of his home city becoming dark and gothic, rain lashing around him and drumming on his leather jacket. His leather- he wasn't wearing a jacket, was he? Izuku reached up and pinched at his shoulder, feeling only the cloth of his school blazer. No. No leather. Just a memory, even if it was an intrusive one.

The dark buildings were far too familiar. He'd never seen them in his life, so why did they feel so comfortable?

Izuku hurried on, so lost in thought that he barely paid any attention to where his feet took him- just enough to prevent him from tripping and falling. He didn't notice that he'd walked down an alleyway and into a mugging until a hand grabbed him by the collar and rammed him against a wall.

The impact was like a shock of cold water, rushing through his system and clearing the fog away in an instant. Izuku turned wide eyes onto the man who had him by the collar, absently noting the odd structure of his eyebrows- some sort of porcupine Quirk, maybe, expressed in his hair? Oh. The man also had a knife, and he was waving it quite close to Izuku's face. And a few feet away there was another man, holding a woman in a very similar position. Something in Izuku went cold and hard. The man holding him moved his knife-hand to point at his friend and Izuku snapped- maybe it was his own anger. Maybe it was the memories.

In all fairness, the moves he made were definitely from the memories. Izuku didn't have skills like that.

Izuku brought his right hand snapping up, catching the man across the bridge of the nose. The man's head snapped back, eyes snapping shut with the pain, the knife hand coming back in a clumsy swipe and Izuku grabbed his wrist with both hands and drove a knee into the mugger's groin. The grip on his collar fell away as the man doubled over and Izuku let him fall, tucked a hand into his pocket to wrap it in a tissue and ducked down, snatching an empty beer bottle off the ground. He threw it with an accuracy that he'd never possessed, hitting the other mugger in the temple and sending him to the ground. The woman screamed and bolted and Izuku jerked away, breath rasping, mind torn between helping the unconscious man and making an example-

He yelped as the mugger who had grabbed him swung blindly at his feet, jumping away. He saw the man reaching for his knife and the sudden anger flared in him again. Izuku was no stranger to anger, but when it came to it he never acted, was too much of a coward too-

Izuku's foot came down on the mugger's hand, three fingers breaking. The man shrieked like a child and Izuku jolted away, suddenly panicking. He had to get away, had to go before anyone came, before a Hero came and saw and Izuku jumped into the air, springing off a dumpster, grabbing a fire escape and hauling himself onto it with one smooth motion, making his escape onto the rooftops. That was the plan, anyway. He made the jump, but almost fell from the fire escape, fingers screaming and muscles protesting loudly, the breath huffing out of him as he impacted it. He kicked wildly at the air, somehow managing to keep hold of the cold metal and drag himself up, taking the steps up to the roof three at a time before falling to his knees on the roof and gasping for air. His mind still swirled and twisted with thoughts- he shouldn't have left, he should have broken more bones, he should have paid more attention and not gotten caught and Izuku doubled over, dry heaving as the headache came back, pounding at his skull. He couldn't stay there though, he was too close, Bruce would know- who was Bruce- and he dragged himself back up and across the rooftops, sliding back down to ground level with all the grace of a duck with one leg and hurrying home as quickly as he could. He made it in, locking the door behind him with a trembling hand and stumbling to his room. He dropped his bag on the floor, wincing at the thud it made.

"A note. Gotta- gotta tell Mom not to wake me up," he mumbled. He wasn't sure why, but he just knew that it was important. He knocked half the pens and paper off his desk as he found a post-it note, scrawling a note with fuzzy eyes and shaking hand before sticking it to the outside of his door- something about being ill and going to bed early. It wasn't a lie, after all.

Izuku was too tired to do more than drape his blazer over his desk chair before he collapsed onto his bed, face smushing into his pillow and sleep crawling over him, a thick and irresistible blanket settling over his limbs. With a soft, exhausted sigh Izuku let his eyes close and the tiredness claim him.

And in the darkness, he dreamed.

And that's the first chapter of my first new story in a very long time. I hope you all enjoyed- there might be a better update schedule at the moment, since I've gotten several chapters of this up already and I'll be publishing them over the next few weeks, hoping to keep a buffer of chapters up just in case. Empress Ascendant, if anyone is worried, is also going to be included. Maybe I'll try for a publish every two or three weeks, I'm not sure yet.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed and, as always, reviews are appreciated. I'll see you all in the next chapter.