Disclaimer: Don't own Young Justice or any of it's characters.
SUPER IMPORTANT!: I have updated the first chapter of this fic! I have changed quite a few things so I would suggest you go back and re-read it, otherwise you might be a little confused!
Hey look, I'm actually updating! Phew, sorry guys but this is going to be a long and slow project, so you'll have to bear with me through month-long waits between chapters. I've got a big ass document full of notes and just... biggest fic I've ever attempted! Gonna need a lot of support to stick with it.
Big big big big BIG thanks to my partners in this whole ordeal, Damnsmartblueboxes, IronicVeghead, and Geekytheartchick! Without them this story would not be going anywhere at all, so just remember that!
Okay so this chapter is in Conner's POV which I have NEVER done, so I really hope I did both he and M'gann justice. This takes place during the previous chapter. A sort of flashback, if you will.
This story will, within the next few chapters, be changed to an 'M' rating for things to come. Don't run away on me, I'll be warning about sexual scenes and sectioning them off for those of you who'd rather skip over them! ;)
Next chapter will be in Rob's POV.
Read and (I sincerely hope you)enjoy! :)
Artemis' ship is long and winding, every corridor lined with twisting, rusted bronze pipes that hiss with steam at random intervals. Some of them are broken and dangling, a mess waiting for an inattentive or otherwise lazy engineer to fix when he isn't stealing unwarranted naps in the barracks. Always the deep rumble of the massive cogs working in tandem can be heard from where they bump, grind, squeal, and turn in never-ending sequence in the sweltering engine room at the belly of the vessel.
Wallace's ship is something of a conundrum to Conner. It is... quiet.
The Kryptonian has grown used to the clanks and whirs of his captain's ship, an irritating buzz in the back of his skull, like a swarm of relentless, angry wasps that can not be swatted away no matter how hard he tries. Even the very floor beneath the crew's feet vibrates and thrums and rattles the teeth, knocks the bones, jars their brains. The only reprieve is the barracks, where the noise is somehow mercifully muffled enough to allow for a healthy cycle of REM.
But not for Conner.
His enhanced senses do not permit him the same luxury. He has become something of a menace to the hapless engineers aboard the Huntress, storming into rooms and yanking them awake from their impromptu trips into dreamland, demanding that they fix the incessantly spitting broken pipes or squeaky, un-oiled gears before they drive him into madness. Artemis has never lifted a finger to stop the rogue superboy when he goes on one of his rampages; if threats are what it takes to keep things up and running, then she has no qualms about his actions. Kaldur disagrees.
The relative quiet of Wally West's ship almost irks Conner. There is only a faint, barely discernible hum from the engine room, all the pipes are seamlessly welded together, and if he listens hard enough he can actually make out snatches of conversations in other rooms, an act that would be impossible aboard Huntress.
He supposes that, being a fancy Alliance ship, it has been built with all the top notch technology, more streamlined and quiet and better taken care of by certified, trained engineers.
Needless to say, Conner enjoys his trip down the noiseless halls, the only sound that of his polished shoes tapping against the grated floor beneath his feet. He even allows the barest of smiles to tug up one corner of his thinly pressed lips, scaring a few chatty shipmates passing nearby into abrupt silence. They give him a wide berth as he passes, but he is used to people acting this way around him.
Even after being rescued from the frigate Cadmus, even after being part of the ragtag band of space pirates for sixth months, a large chunk of the crew isn't entirely comfortable or used to his presence. He is the superboy; the strange, angry by-product of very illegal experiments involving the newly explored science of cloning and bio-organic weapons among other things.
Nobody is quite sure what his deal is or what his original purpose of creation had been intended for, but Artemis and Kaldur have liberated him, and for that he will be eternally in their debt.
Not to mention the fact that he gets to routinely go around wrestling defiant foes down or punching them in the face is an added bonus.
Conner passes by a door that must lead to the mess hall, judging from the sounds of raucous, drunken laughter emanating from within. He rolls his eyes, because in true pirate fashion, alcoholic beverages tend to be the first thing his shipmates seek out aboard a taken vessel, much to Artemis' chagrin.
With a sigh, the Kryptonian halts, realizing very suddenly that he has no idea whom exactly he's looking for. Some girl named Megan, as best as he could recall.
Grunting, he shuts his eyes and lets his super senses broaden, until at last he's fairly certain he can hear the pitter patter of a rodent's sharp little claws from somewhere deep inside the bowels of the Aster. He smirks at the irony of dirty vermin on a clean, well-taken care of Alliance fleet, amuses himself with the image of some stuffy publicist's face turning red at the revelation.
The silent mechanisms Conner had previously appreciated for being so peaceful are now just as loud and obvious as the one's aboard Huntress. He grimaces, tries to focus on other things, like the various conversations of crew members and captives alike, including Kaldur'ahm's calm voice from all the way up in the admiral's cabin.
Overall he hears nothing of particular importance, is about to give up on his aimless search(and really, what is he hoping to find?), when he hears the most beautiful sound. If his ears were more versatile like an animal's, they would've been straight up, rigid, tuned in fully so that all other noises melted away to nothing.
Someone is humming on the floor below. It's surprisingly happy and upbeat considering everything that's transpired in the last hour, and he can't help but smile a little at the melody. It's unfamiliar, not anything like any song or tune or instrumental he's heard on the old banged up radio Kaldur provided him with.
No, this is much prettier, clearly a feminine voice.
Megan is a girl, he thinks simply, and with that logical line of thought, decides to locate the source in the hopes he will find her at the end of it.
He knows his way to the cargo hold by now, having caught the clammy white alien loitering suspiciously near it earlier, and heads that direction, partly guided by his own memory and partly by the trill of his mysterious serenader. Music is one of the few things in life he's found that he truly enjoys(besides pummeling his foes). The tune gracing his sensitive eardrums at that moment is the sweetest sound he's ever discovered, enough that for a moment he actually catches himself humming along off-key.
The singing dissolves into an amused titter by the time Conner rounds the corner, bringing the bay doors into view. He frowns at the loss, but it's quickly replaced by a disgusted grimace aimed at the two useless heaps lying slumped on either side of the door. He jerks one up by the collar and shakes him awake until two blurry, unfocused eyes lock onto his enraged face.
"You're supposed to be guarding the cargo hold!" Conner barks out, pushing the guy into the wall. "Someone's in there, why did you let them pass!"
The dude freaking reeks like old cigars and some kind of cheap vodka, forcing the Kryptonian's keen nose to wrinkle at the offensive smell.
"We was!" he blubbers weakly(god, Conner's never liked this guy), looking around the area as if he's never seen it before. "Someone musta knocked us out!"
Conner snorts, drops the guy so he slides down onto his wide ass. He walks forward with his fists clenched, stopping to press the button and point a threatening finger at him.
"Artemis'll hear about this," he growls, taking satisfaction when the guy looks about ready to soil his trousers. Conner knows for a fact that captain Crock hates some of the sleazeballs on her crew(hates being the captain, really) and so takes it up as a personal task of his to help her find excuses to ditch some of these losers.
As soon as he enters the spacious cargo hold and the door shuts behind him, there's a loud, panicked gasp, followed by a quick white blur of motion that he barely registers before one of the numerous crates marked with the symbol of the Interstellar Justice Alliance topples unexpectedly from its perch.
"Hey!" Conner stumbles hastily, catching it as easily as if it were a thrown pigskin and setting it on the ground beside him. "Wait."
Well, got my crate, at least... he adds as an afterthought.
Rapid, shallow breathing from behind a tower of those wooden cases is his only answer. He's sure it must be the girl, her voice had led him to this very place.
"Uh... you can come out," he coaxes uncertainly, shuffling closer to the cargo as he rubs at the back of his neck. He's never been the best with words. Hell, sometimes he can barely string a coherent sentence together, so he's unsure of what exactly to say to let this girl know he's not here to harm her.
He settles on the blunt truth.
"I heard you singing. It was... uh, pretty."
Gradually the breathing slows to a normal pace, and Conner is digging deep into his shallow little well of patience when a head pops out around the boxes.
Her eyes are stunning to him, deep brown around the edges of her irises, more amber towards the center, and they are wide and strong and curious even in the face of the embarrassment spreading impetuously across her distinctly green cheeks. Auburn hair cascades neatly over one shoulder, her rosy lips are lightly parted beneath a spattering of freckles that seem oddly out of place. There's a nasty looking gash on her jawline.
"You... heard me singing?" she asks in a shy voice, getting to her feet. His attention is drawn to a beautiful yellow dress fluttering around her knees as she moves toward him apprehensively, one hand holding her arm behind her back. "I didn't know I was that loud."
She reaches down absently to brush some dirt away from delicate kneecaps, and he takes sudden notice of a small patch of white centered just above her right shin, reminiscent of the way a human's skin looks after being subjected to the unforgiving harshness of a sidewalk or carpet. His brows furrow deeply, and he's skeptical of whether this is a natural occurrence in her particular race.
He wisely opts not to mention lest he insult her, instead answers her previous inquiry.
"You weren't. Uh, loud that is. I... hear good."
The awkwardness of the silence that follows is palpable, thick enough that a knife could cut through it. Conner's blue eyes shift to the insignia of the Alliance crate near his shoe in a reminder of what he was sent here for.
"Are you Megan?" he blurts out.
She starts at his raised voice, tucks a lock of hair behind her ear as she stares pensively at the crate that had tumbled down upon his entry. She looks back up at him, frowning, a relatively blank expression on her face, as if she's not entirely there with him anymore. He wonders if maybe he should snap his fingers or something when her eyes finally refocus on his face.
"Are you Conner?"
"How did you-" he starts to splutter, but she points down at the box of supplies, voice confident and even.
"I know what you're down here for, and I already checked the crates. There's no Venom on this ship," she says calmly.
Conner scowls, infuriated and frankly a little disturbed that she knows so much about him, had somehow figured out his intentions without him saying anything. Without warning, he reaches down precipitously, digits biting into the planks like they're nothing more than wet paper puncturing inward beneath his nails. A yell rips from his throat as he gives a single tug and the boards yield, snapping off with loud cracks like fireworks.
He peers in, expecting to find vial upon vial of fresh product, but instead...
"What is this?" he demands, reaching in to pull out a long, thin object covered in red wrapper. There's a small lightning bolt logo on the front.
"Protein bars," Megan answers, rolling her eyes skyward. There's a thinly veiled quirk of amusement tugging at the corner of her lips, forcing a shallow dimple out of hiding on her cheek. "The only one addicted to anything on this ship is Wally to those Lightspeed bars."
Conner drops the candy and whirls with violent force, fist smashing through the bottom box on the precarious column teetering next to them. He's not sure what he anticipates will tumble out of this one, but it sure as hell isn't an explosion of canned soup spraying out all over his clean white shirt and shoes, followed by several other cans pitching into the floor and rolling away.
Megan looks personally affronted by the attack.
"Hey! That food is going to people who desperately need it!" she berates harshly, and he watches in slight awe as the escaping cans levitate into the air in sync with a single hand movement from her. Seemingly of their own accord, the soups return into the decimated crate and remain there.
Conner plunges a hand into his pocket and pulls out the vial of Venom, swirling around the dark blue liquid inside so that it catches the light. Her eyes widen.
"I found this on one of your crew! There's Venom somewhere on this-"
"Conner?" Megan asks doubtfully, but he's not listening to her anymore.
His ears twitch at the miniscule voice, for he's sure it's a voice, and it's loud and worried and horrified, so he once again lets his enhanced senses take over, listening intently. He barely notices the way Megan's body tenses stiffly with the next yell, heard by him as clear as if the person were standing right next to him.
It's Wally West's strangled cry drifting down from the admiral's cabin, penetrating his eardrums and reminding him with potent clarity that Kaldur'ahm and Artemis are in that room, too, so if he's in trouble they must be as well. Without so much as a glance at his green companion, Conner turns and races to the exit, bending it outward off it's hinges to bounce against the far wall. He ignores the startled yelps of the two useless guards outside, thundering down the halls as fast as his legs will carry him.
That one, resonant word is so vociferous and intrusive that it brings the superboy to a skidding halt mere feet away from the room. He collapses onto one knee, clutching at his skull. His teeth grind together, waiting for the pain to pass, yet as soon as it does another unwelcome voice enters his mind, soft and urgent.
'Conner, don't move! Let him go!'
It's not the time for him to rudely question how the hell she's in his head, but rather to question her clear loss of sanity.
'Are you crazy? That bastard had-'
'He's too powerful! Besides, I think our friends are more important right now...'