A/N: Sorry for the wait again, still getting into the hang of this. Big update. Not exactly the curve you'll be expecting but while at work a couple of days ago, I realized where the story's going and why I wasn't getting there (writer's block sucks.) Some shoutouts to some long-time friends of the story so I hope you enjoy. It gets really ramped up half-way through but right now here's the finale of "I Feel Fear for the Last Time..."
Redux 3: There Goes My Hero
"I Feel Fear for the Last Time…"
"You see, in Sudoku, there's nine sections of nine. Usually each section has at least one number already exposed; this is the start of the clue."
While Void starts pacing about the darkened room, Madame Rouge's attention can't seem to take itself away from the replay footage of the vault raid. The way the Xavier machines move on the attack is nothing less than incredible, their ability to spread out and attack as opposed to just standing there like sheep speaks volumes of the designer's genius. "Are you still going on about that silly game? It is only a puzzle, Void, not a philosophy."
"Chess is only a game, Rouge, and the world respects it as an instrument of strategy." Snapping his fingers as his thought returns, he turns on a dime and paces the other direction. "Without knowing it, you can control the entire game by knowing the key to one section. If one knows the key on the top left, the bottom right must conform or else the game is thrown off. It's not like chess where you're limited to one set of movement. In a game of numbers, you can control the entire plan because everything must conform; there is no room for change."
Looking up from her screen, the scarred villain quirks her tired eyebrow skyward, surmising his train of thought. "By hitting the Illuminati's bank account, you plan to hit their power structure?"
"Exactly! By damaging their finances, their loyalty becomes shit. You dictate a company through its earnings potential; you can control the flow of the market by even suggesting something might not reach its profit margin. Even if the Illuminati succeeded in removing the Titans, which I've already predicted is impossible, the loss of financial support will cripple them with or without a victory." Sitting down to lean in towards the supervillain, Void can barely contain himself at the thoughts bubbling up in his mind. "Can't you understand, Rouge? The key to controlling these so-called "super-criminals" isn't to match them fist for fist, it's to control the one thing that keeps them motivated: Control their greed. If we possess the resources, we possess their loyalty."
Impressed but wise to the game of high-level villainy, she needs to know the answer to the most pressing question in her mind. "And what of those who do not covet wealth or power? There are variables out there that cannot be bartered with. People like the Watchman cannot be controlled through greed."
"That which cannot be cowed through greed can always be humbled through weakness."
As that statement closes, the sound of Void's cellphone snatches his mind away from his speech and onto the matter of one particular underling named Bulletface. "Hello Bryson, I trust you're in good health and good financial security?"
"The Xaviers pushed back the few guards they kept behind. There's a lot of cash here as well as a large stockpile of jewels. There's no way to guess how much they've stored here but most of what they've seized from us on Christmas should be here."
"Music to my ears, Bryson. What about Daiyu, is she on schedule?"
"Doctor Light committed most of his force to attacking Titans Tower, she says security at their home shouldn't be too difficult. Giving her a wingman certainly helps things along."
Chuckling to himself, Void needs to remind Bulletface that some things aren't what they seem. "He's not ordinary wingman, Bryson; he's a very important key to the success of the future."
"So I've heard, shame you haven't said who this someone happens to be."
"Patience, time will reward you. Keep me informed."
At first the battle had been something out of a war novel, all brawl and little tactic. While the bodies and power bolts were flying, it seems the Illuminati have been plotting the downfall of the Titans. To this end, Doctor Light has ensured his attacking forces continued to widen the gap between teams of the Titans. While the defending heroes do their best, it would seem that the circles around each group appear to be growing tighter and tighter, driving wedges between them and a solid defense. In fact, given the distance, Doctor Light is more than willing to walk amongst each ring, dictating the battle as he enjoys the fruits of his labor. "Take your time" he calls out, safe in knowing the Tower is safe from outside interference. "Any choppers that come will be shot down from the landing craft, any would-be heroic reinforcement will take time to arrive. Wear them down before we commence with the execution."
It's hard to smell in the Tower's hallways, it feels like there's something blocking up his nostrils but he can't quite tell what it is. There's the persistent smell of antiseptic, maybe from his time in the bed or may from something else, anything could be why. With each footstep the vagrant takes through the halls, his trusty shotgun isn't pointed away from anything other than forward, waiting for something or someone to make contact with. Of course there's the question as to why the ground keeps shaking or the walls thundering with impacts but this is nothing compared to the nagging sense of familiarity with this place.
At the end of one hallway, his instincts point him in the direction of a pair of doors which spread apart as he nears. What awaits inside aren't the tools and décor of a hospital but rather the plush, inviting evidences of a living room and kitchenette. "Must be for the doctors to stay in between their shifts. Think they could've made it ritzier?"
Stepping onto the red rug leading to the giant TV, Gar stops for a moment and stares up at the black screen, tilting his head to the side at the nagging thoughts in his mind. "They must've spent a fortune on a screen this big." Slinging his gun over his shoulder, Gar moves for the controller to turn on the device. "No sense leaving the big thing off, maybe I can find out what's going on outside."
Before his fingers can adjust the power button on, the sound of the doors opening and closing force instincts to turn away from the TV to bring the shotgun back to its initial aiming position. When presented with the sight of, well, nothing, his mind reaches out to look for any would-be intruders. "Someone's there, don't think I can't feel it."
"Are you the one named Watchman?"
No sign of origin from the voice, the sound simply bounces off the high walls and ceiling. "Who's there?!"
"Are you the Watchman or not?"
Cocking the gun once, Gar's eyes narrow sharply up and around the room. "Once, a long time ago, but I'm retired now. Show yourself!"
"You haven't learned the truth yet, have you?"
Teeth gnashing, finger growing itchy, Gar spits back into the emptiness of the room. "You'll have to be more specific, I've learned a lot of truths these past years."
Starting to form a vortex around the center of the room, a figure of black smoke and vapor starts to take shape. Far taller than a human, it seems more like a spinning tornado than a human being. "You are awake but not awake. You are cognitive but not conscious. You are the Watchman and yet not the real one."
The slug already chambered into his gun, Gar unloads two rounds into the swirling mass of blackness. While neither finds its mark, the shots do have the benefit of jarring his mind back to the present problem. "Are you some sort of wraith, some criminal I fought in my youth? Whatever it is you want, leave me in peace!"
This mist begins to take form, wrapping itself tight into the object of a woman of Gar's age but lesser height. Long, flowing raven hair of matching eyes, she stands wearing only the outline of a sleeveless, flowing dress painted black as the night. Standing in the center of the room with her wrists out and up, Black Myst reveals her true nature of the Watchman. "I am a wraith but I am not of your imagined past."
Gun stilled aimed at her head, Watchman stares down the iron sight at her coal-shaded almond eyes. "I'm not imagining anything, wraith, I'm alive AND awake. Now tell me what you want!"
Taking a step towards Gar, she turns a hand away almost as though reaching out to him for his own hand. "Do you remember who I am? There was a time you worked alongside my past employer but it seems you forget who I am."
"A nightmare perhaps, some sort of dream I've had a long time ago. One I'd rather not go back to if I can avoid it."
Hair flowing about her face, the misty vision of a woman presses her charred lips together before speaking to the wayward hero. "I am the Black Myst, a former criminal for hire working for Madame Rouge. Presently I work for Doctor Light of the Illuminati."
Pressing his gun forward in anger, Gar's bark of hate slashes through the air swirling about her. "Doctor Light is dead. That monster was executed for that car bomb in Downtown Jump City. That was years ago, there's no way he can still exist!"
Stepping towards him through the air, Black Myst reaches still for the Watchman. "He exists in our world but not in the one you've been trapped in. Have you not rid yourself of the Black Mercy strain?"
His anger stopping for only a moment, he breathes the words he never thought possible on his lips. "Black… Mercy…?"
Swirling her body into that of an alien with tentacles and teeth centered on the body, she begins to tell him the tale he feared to hear. "You were infected with a strain of Black Mercy, a creature capable of bringing your dreams to life in a form of an illusion. You have spent weeks under its sway, believing yourself to be a different you. This world you believe to inhabit is false; you are neither retired nor old. You are a man who bares the name Watchman, who fights Doctor Light even as we speak, and who is the city's best hope of bringing the city out of darkness."
Staggering back, he falls rather sharply onto the carpeted floor, using his gun to ward off the mist. "No, I don't believe this. You're lying, I AM retired. I gave up that life when I met Rachel, I have a DAUGHTER! CAN'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, I AM NOT THE WATCHMAN ANYMORE!"
Her face formed once more in the mist, she dares him to test that thought. "If you don't believe me, take a
look at the security cameras looking outside. You will see the truth, Watchman."
Standing back to back like sisters of war, Livewire deflects incoming bullets fired by Rampage while T&P uses her custom firearms to fire diversionary needles at the approaching Scorpio. Given a second chance at proving themselves after the fight with the Titans, both criminals seem hell-bent on getting back into their boss's favor. Cyborg's not much better off given that he has to contend with both Overload and Baby Doc, the former using his energy attack to weaken Cyborg while Baby Doc uses his bouncing ability to smack the metal Titan off his feet. And any attempts by Wonder Girl or Red Star to assist Cyborg are felled by large-scale impacts from Cinderblock and the powerhouse known as "The Hammer."
"Nightwing, this isn't looking too good."
Through his own gnashed teeth, Nightwing does his best to avoid incoming swipes from a female human/panther hybrid, using his weapons to stun and gain distance whenever he can. "We hold them here. Keep trying to push them back so we can regroup. Titans East won't be here for some time, we need to hold out until then."
"Easier said than done." Using her psychic energy, Raven lifts sections of rocks into the air to throw at a mutant criminal known as "SharkMan", a man with a human body and a hammerhead for a head. While he dodges some of the rocks, one large boulder smacks him square in the nose, flipping him backward in mid-run. "Any chance we could get some additional help?"
"Like who? If we had teleportation built into the Tower, we could call the entire Titans to help defend the Tower."
Looking over her shoulder but a moment, Raven knows the remark is worth a shot. "The only group that has a teleporter happens to be…"
"We still have a chance. Titans, don't let up, we will beat them."
Looking at the screen in the living room, Gar watches as the Titans valiantly attempt to hold back the growing tide that is the Illuminati. While his beard and long hair might hide some of the numbness spreading across his face, his glasses are pulled off to reveal glistening green eyes. Staring into the screen, he asks the wispy apparition if what he thinks happens to be fact. "I'm not married, am I?"
Nodding at the screen, Gar asks again. "She's not my wife?"
Pointing at the members in sequence, the Watchman proposes "They are… or were… my teammates?"
Slumping his head as the memories start to file into his mind, Gar finally asks the last question. "How long have I been in that dream world?"
"Sixteen days. Today's April first, 2011."
Sighing at both the date and the length of time, Gar painfully remarks to himself in jest. "I've been in a dream for over two weeks…married, daughter… an entire lifetime in two weeks… and the day I finally wake up happens to be April Fool's Day… What are the odds of that?" Eventually stepping back up to his full height, the fight behind him takes a backseat as he observes the woman in full. "You're the Black Myst T&P told me about. She said you were into some violent shit but I never thought you were a full-blown wraith."
Nodding, she extends her hands outward to evidence her own abilities. "I take the form of a human in order to blend in although I'm quite capable of using the shadows and air. It's aided me in getting close to you even as the Tower's in lockdown."
Heartbroken and numb, Gar's shoulders drop as he meets her eye for eye. "Then this is my time, isn't it? I can't complain, it's not like I haven't already died before. If it's my time, it's my time."
Surprised, she inches closer to him. "You seek your death?"
"You're Illuminati… You can't be here to do anything but kill me. I'm so sore right now I don't think I can transform and right now you have me cornered. So do me a favor, Black Myst: If you're going to kill me, make it fast. Right now I don't think I can handle being awake another day."
Finally reaching Gar, she takes both of his cheeks into her chilly hands. Making sure he can see her, she calmly tells him what she's come to do. "I'm not here to kill you, despite what Doctor Light believes. I'm here to help you."
The longest pause is often filled with, perhaps, the shortest of noises. In Gar's case, it's the simple sound of a "…wha?" that comes through his throat. "You're here to help me?"
Looking into his eyes, she wonders just how deep the green orbs go but for now there's business. "I am. Before I worked with Madame Rouge, I was made a promise by a woman who could set free my brother back in Gotham." Confused but, well, intrigued, Gar urges her to continue. "I was promised that if I succeeded in my mission, my brother would be released from prison."
"And who would that be and what does he have to do with me?"
Her wispy eyebrow rising, she asks a question that sends chills up Gar's spine. "You don't know?"
"YDK, You Don't Know. He's your brother?"
Agreeing in the affirmative, Black Myst asks of the Watchman. "He is. With your help, perhaps I could arrange my employer to set him free. Would you be willing to help?"
Grateful at this turn of events, Gar shakes his head in approval several times. "Of course, he was the one guy in Blackgate I could trust. The only problem is your employer might not be willing to let him go just like that. It depends on who that person is."
"Have you ever heard of an Amanda Waller?"
Several thousand miles away in a secure location outside of Washington, Amanda Waller's eyes scan the video screens showing scans of Titans Island. With her staff on hand to describe the information, it appears to her that the battle isn't going to end well. That is, of course, until a call she had hoped for but wasn't expecting decided to interrupt the situation. "Ms. Waller, we're going a call from Titans Island. It's on videoscreen."
"Put it through, the Titans must be desperate if they're calling us for support."
It takes a moment for the connection to become established but once it does, Amanda Waller's serious gaze turns to stunned amazement as Black Myst and the Watchman stare back. "Good morning Ms. Waller, we have catching up to do."
"Glad to see you're awake again, Watchman. I presume Black Myst informed you of her mission?"
Turning to glance at Black Myst a second, Gar returns to the screen to warn her. "This line needs to become private, fast. We don't have a lot of time."
"The Titans are becoming more and more separated as the battle continues. It's only a matter of time before they collapse. Batman, please reconsider your decision and allow us to send relief forces."
Batman does look back at the screen but looks less agitated than their last contact. "Nightwing won't put his team in too much danger before he makes the call. J'onn, trust me, we'll move in but only when he needs it. We can't…"
"Batman, stand by, we have a message from Earth coming in on priority channel."
On the Watchtower screens appears the dual image of Garfield Logan and Amanda Waller, both looking rather irritable and, in Gar's case, not in the mood for the usual pleasantries. "Watchtower, this is the Watchman on Titans Island. You better have a DAMNED good reason for your absence."
"Watchman, I'm relieved to see you've returned to normal. The Justice League is preparing to assist the Titans but we need Nightwing's approval as per the pact between the League and the Titans."
"Bullshit! You mean Nightwing's pact with Batman. The League would never put innocent people at risk over some fucking squabble between two non-name Leaguers. But because both of the parties involve Batman, the League stands by, cowering behind some handshake agreement!"
The argument in his voice sounds less credible given his agreement with Gar in principle. "The League will move only when given the approval of Nightwing. Until then, we must…"
Waller's turn to negotiate arrives when she declares her intention to join in the battle. "Then the League would have no trouble allowing us to use your teleporter technology. Washington has several costumed heroes who are waiting in standby to assist the Titans. We need your technology to transport them there. If the League won't assist their brethren, then the United States Government will step in."
"J'onn, the League could also teleport the other Titans stationed around the globe for support. The League keeps their hands clean while getting the support they need. There's not a lot of time, J'onn, you need to think fast."
Batman's voice finally cuts into the three-way conversation, illiciting a snarl from Gar's lips. "The League isn't a planetary taxi service you can just call up whenever you please. If you trust Nightwing, trust him to do the right thing and don't force him into something isn't prepared to do."
Thrusting his face up into the camera so his face appears to take up the whole screen, Gar shouts into the mouthpiece so loud all the parties wince at the volume. "As someone who's worked for the Doom Patrol, the Teen Titans, the Justice League, and for the U.S. Government, I'm fully-fucking qualified to tell you when the Titans need fucking help! Quit the fucking bitching between the two of you and call in that support! Waking up already cost me one dream family, DON'T TAKE AWAY MY REAL ONE!"
Pausing a moment at hearing Gar's plea for family, J'onn can sympathize and eventually take action in this matter. "Attention, all members of the Justice League on standby. This is a Theta-level alert. Prepare for transport in three minutes. The Justice League will assist the Titans on Titans Island." Looking back to the screen, Batman's glare is contrasted against Amanda Waller's smug grin and Gar's proud smile. "Batman, as you know I have the authority to deploy our personnel to wherever they may be needed. I'm sorry if this breaks the deal between our two organizations but this isn't the time for debate. Watchman, we'll standby for transport but first we'll be sending in the other Titans and Amanda Waller's volunteers. Transport in two minutes."
Nodding one last time, Gar looks into the red eyes of the Martian Manhunter. For the first time in a long time, he can feel something of a gratitude to someone other than Question in the League, at least for this one moment. "Thank you J'onn, this won't be forgotten."
Surrounded and shrinking, the Titans seem like empty shells of themselves against the numbers now stacking up against them. Doctor Light takes center stage again, looking down upon his prey and offering them a paltry attempt at mercy. "Titans, you are defeated! Pledge to serve the new order or burn in the brilliance of our victory!"
"The Titans would never serve you, Light. We'd rather die than give in to you."
Smiling with a sense of pure malice, the master of illumination readies his troops for the slaughter. "Nightwing, your words, while heartfelt, are no longer relevant. Your deaths will light the fire of our destiny for years to come. So let the bloodletting begin! Bring me their heads!"
Before the massacre can be undertaken however, the sound of teleporter beams and incoming bodies stops the advance of the Illuminati. At first the number is small, a dozen or so, but soon others appear. The Titans East, Thunder and Lightning, Green Arrow, the Flash, Metamorpho appear followed by more and more League and Titans alike. Then, following the first few waves appear more, this time different than the others. One warrior-looking brute brandishes a mighty axe in hand, another woman wraps a brown trench coat about her body, three brothers stand together with shields and spears, and still a hulking teenager with eight arms to flex appear in tandem. What was originally a battle of 100 against eight has suddenly become a battle of one hundred facing eighty five.
Taken back by the sudden display of numbers, Doctor Light stammers at the revelation than his great plan may just fallen apart in less than five seconds. "This isn't possible. The League would never deploy reinforcements, they just wouldn't break the treaty!"
Nightwing stands up, cracking his neck just a bit before looking about the suddenly frozen battlefield. "Maybe just this one time it'll be enough to finally break the Illuminati. Titans, Justice League… GO!"
"NO PRISONERS!" shots the three brothers as their armor joins their shields and spears in Phalanx position before charging an enemy group.
Hoisting his great Axe, the burly warrior takes aim at the equally burly Hammer, dashing towards him in a challenge of hand-held weapons.
A woman burning with inferno's heat tries to burn her fist through the woman in the brown trench coat only to find her falling through flesh. Turning back, her flames appear matched by the sight of herself staring back, the former human woman now an inferno all of her own.
While the battle had originally seemed to be more of an organized ring of conflict, this present field now seems more like a battlefield of old with fighters of all types scattered throughout the melee. Kid Flash and the Flash move from target to target, taking out those that were supposed to protect the boats. Green Arrow's perfect aim takes precision once more as one of his arrows punches into the face of Overload's chip. While Doctor Light and Firefly repel an attack from the eight-armed teenager, they find themselves starting to consider the futility of staying behind on an island of superheroes wanting to tear their group apart.
As quickly as the melee seemed to go from bad to worse, the sound of the door leading into the Tower blasting open startles several fighters in their step. Cold and shrieking, the Black Myst emerges into the world, wrapping her fingers around the throat of one Illuminati fighter. From the exit emerges Garfield Logan, free of his gun, coat, and glasses. For this battle he cracks his knuckles and scans the crowd for something in the distance. Alas his sharp eyes pick out the man in the white suit against the rising Eastern sun.
Looking upward at Arthur Void, Madame Rouge finds the new development something of a foil to Void's unfolding plan. "It seems the League has sent help to Titans Island. They're turning the tide against the Illuminati."
Finger on his lip, the cold CEO stares into the screen and ponders this change in fortune. "I didn't expect a Titans victory but the League's arrival can mean only one thing."
"An alliance between the League and the Titans."
Pointing at the screen, Void singles out various non-Titan, non-League members as proof of something worse. "These aren't known associates of either side. They must be new recruits of members of a third organization."
"No doubt recruits from a group who would benefit from the fall of the Illuminati."
Standing up, Void closes the laptop and looks to Madame Rouge. "We have some work to do; our enemies have decided to up the ante. Let's just hope Daiyu and our friend happens to have control of the base before they arrive."
Walking through the battlefield, Gar has to stop time and again to punch or cast aside an Illuminati soldier or evade one of the superpowered ones. His eyes remain fixated on Doctor Light though; all his mind can comprehend at this moment is the face of his daughter and the love of his wife. Memories or not, this man stole the happiness he believed himself to have, he took something precious he could never have back. "LIGHT!"
Snapping their eyes over at the voice, Firefly aims his flamethrower before Light orders him to stand down. "Sound the recall to base. Black Myst betrayed us; the Watchman's alive and awake. We failed here. Firefly, get them moving now, we don't have much time."
Still advancing, Gar prepares his claws. While his body screams at him not to, he can feel his bones beginning the process of changing and shifting. It's been two weeks since he's taken the form of something other than human and this time he'll be doing more than hiding as a fly or skulking around as a rat. "You WON'T hide from me, you coward! FACE ME!"
Bold and proud, Light declares at the hero from twenty feet out "Come and get me then, you pathetic little worm! I'M RIGHT HERE!" At about ten feet away, Punk Rocket appears in front of Gar and aims his guitar. Slamming down on the instrument, the waves of energy push back the Watchman enough to warrant him to drop to one knee. "THAT IS IF YOU CAN STAND UP!"
Glaring through the noise, the locks retaining back the dreaded nightmare begin to unseal, the power he exuded in Gotham, on the Farallon Islands, in that church in North Jump, all of it starts to surge forward.
Raven, sensing the change in energy, repels one of her attacks before turning towards the vengeful hero. Alas it's too late as Gar's eyes change from his normal green orbs into a solid glow of emerald light. Time feels slower for the hero as does the time it takes for his body to react. Leaning into the vibrating energy of the guitar, spinal plates of a Stegosaur begin to punch through the back of his coat with his face sheds into the form of a bear. Arms elongating into long, spiny limbs with clawed fingers, his lower spine sprouts the slender form of a lion's tail. And for the first time in the battle, it seems the winds have shifted from the West to a cyclone about the Island.
All sides retreat from the hideous chimera, especially the Illuminati and Doctor Light. Roaring in hateful overtones, Gar lurks forward, ignoring the guitar wail. Standing before Punk Rocket, the teeth of the bear come down upon the guitar, crushing it in his mighty jaws. Shaking in his boots, the terrified Punk Rocket looks into the depths of the creature's eyes and despairs as the beast replies with a growl in his throat. "Flies…" As on command, millions of flies arrive from the city, overtaking the crowd with the nonstop buzzing of the endless creatures. Gar continues once again. "Bees…" This time the endless hives move towards the Illuminati, leaving alone the defenders of the Island but inflicting their venomous rage upon the criminals. Stepping past Punk Rocket, Gar looks down towards Firefly and Doctor Light as they approach their landing craft. "Sea creatures…"
Below their feet the horrified criminals see crabs, lobsters; even fish appear up through the surf by their feet. No more time is wasted on this endeavor, the men and women of the Illuminati make for their ships and begin to evacuate. As the mass of flies, bees, and creatures continue to swarm, Gar looks out as Light and Firefly retreat. With a roar of malice, his bear-like head changes once more into a dragonesque visage complete with the fins of a fish, almost like the face of Gyrados of Pokemon fame. Leaning back, an energy stream of particles starts to form in its mouth.
Cyborg detects the rising particles and shouts out for the others to stop this mess. "If Gar fires that thing, it'll fire at the city. He'll kill anything that comes in contact with it!"
Flying in front of Gar, Raven extends her hands out into an energy shield. While it might not stop the charged attack, it'll do enough to blunt it. "Gar! Snap out of it! If you shoot at Doctor Light, you'll kill innocent people. I know you wouldn't risk killing him if it meant someone else had to suffer! Get control, fight it!"
Still the beam charges but there's something desperate in the roar in his throat. Where at first the roar felt raging, aggressive, now it sounds pleading as if the monster doesn't want to fire the blast but is unable to stop.
"Everybody, try and turn Gar around! Aim him somewhere else or he'll hit the city!"
Nightwing's call would be answered in kind but suddenly Gar faces them all, beam charging and eyes glowing even stronger. He will not be moved it seems and anyone who stands in his way will be vaporized. The distraction is just enough time for Raven to leave her body behind and use her soul-self to enter the mind of the creature. Deep within the subconscious is the struggling form of Garfield Logan, desperate to escape the shell he's trapped himself within. "Gar!"
"Raven, I can hear you! Where are you?"
"Gar, you're beast form took over! You have to reverse it or it'll fire a charged beam at the city and kill more people!"
Looking around frantically, it seems the control she'd hoped he'd have isn't there. "I don't know how! I couldn't stop it the last time with Ripper or in Gotham… I can't stop this creature!"
"Yes you can! Concentrate; bring the creature under your control. You're the master, you're the one who powers it, you have to assert yourself and bring yourself back!"
Eyes moist and frantic, Gar looks up at Raven and seems at a loss for sanity. "He took them away from me, Raven. He took away my wife, my daughter… he took away what I always wanted… I… I couldn't let him get away with it."
He can explain later, right now there are lives on the line. "I'm sorry Gar, I am, but right now if you don't stop, more people are going to get hurt and Light won't even be touched. Please, take control."
Floating up to Raven's soul-self, Gar reaches out for his friend with tears freely moving down his face. "Raven… Rachel… I'm sorry for what I've done. I'm sorry I've killed people; sorry I couldn't give you the life you've wanted, sorry I haven't given you the daughter you deserve."
Holding him tight, the two aspects of two souls seem bonded by their mutual desire to help the other, so much so that Gar feels the body start to withdraw while the mind begins to reassert dominance. "I didn't mean to scare you, Raven. All I wanted to do was punish him for what he did."
Whispering as his body starts to black out into sleep, Raven reassures him softly. "And we will. Gar, you'll be alright, I promise you everything's going to be alright…"
Sometime later Doctor Light and Firefly stagger into the doors of their headquarters. The mission a total failure, most of their hired help is either scattered throughout the city or captured, all seems to be at a total loss for the vaunted Illuminati. But when it rains, it pours. And in the case of one Doctor Light, that rainstorm just became a hurricane as a man steps down from the fore of the room.
"You take one hundred men and women into Titans Tower and you couldn't even defeat eight young adults." Glaring at the two through his single eye, Slade Wilson is anything but amused. "Doctor Light, I'm afraid you're no longer capable of running the Illuminati in the proper fashion it requires."
"Deathstroke the Terminator, what hole did you crawl out of?! And what's this, some sort of futile attempt at capitalizing on one failed mission? You sicken me with your blatant opportunism!"
Hands behind his lower back, Slade maintains his air of confidence. "Charming to the last. I'm afraid your words have little meaning once you discover the financial status of the Illuminati. You shouldn't leave your assets so lightly guarded; someone's liable to come looking for their share of the pie."
Raising his palm projectors, Doctor Light calls out Slade's name in disgust. It's only with a flick of a finger that the lights of the room spark to life, revealing the horror that is all fifty Xavier soldiers. Each holds automatic rifles at Light and Firefly, commanding respect and terror all the same. Sensing the end of negotiation has come, Slade makes the simple remark to the two Illuminati leaders. "What'll it be gentlemen? Serving the new order or death by firing squad?"
A/N2: The League, Titans, and Waller seemingly have the building blocks to a workable future while the Illuminati's under new management. Gar transforms in front of his friends for the first time and I'm sure that's terrifying as shit. Black Myst was never explicitly described as "evil" just that people thought she was crazy. Doesn't meant that Gar was the only mole.
- The woman in the trench coat is a shoutout to longtime reader Renting based on a character proposal. More will be coming.
- The "Axe Man" is a shoutout to KingofRandom117, more to come.
- YDK is reference to Gar's jailhouse friend and longtime reviewer/reader You Know Not
Wait until you read the "negotiation" scene between the League/Titans/Waller/Gar, it'll be the Redux 3 1/2 story before we hit Redux 4