Aaron never understood his world or his place in it. He never understood the hand he had been dealt and he certainly never understood the rules of the game. He only knew a handful of things as certain and the rest was not important to him. He was raised by his father, Nolan, of the Hell Squad. He never called his father "Dad" as that would suggest weakness, both in him and his father. Four years ago, when he was thirteen, an explosion caused by Batman had nearly killed him. He owed his life to Nolan who had saved him using Dr. Mani, or as Aaron like to call him, Dr. Maniac, who made him into a cyborg. He had served his father faithfully as long as he could remember. This was all that mattered.
He also knew that his father had taken an apprentice six months ago who had taken the name Malice. Aaron never asked his real name for the simple reason that he didn't cared. It would also lead to Malice asking Aaron's real name which he would have forgotten by now if he didn't say it every morning in the mirror.
That was one more thing he knew. His real name was Aaron Nolan. Not S.I.N., the name his father called him because Dr. Maniac had said that that was what he was. Systems Inorganic Neutralizer. Aaron thought that it should have been Inorganic Systems Neutralizer, but the doctor was from Columbia and he supposed it was a translation error or something to that effect. Again, he didn't know for certain so it didn't mattered.
Today, though, was the day. It was the day that he might finally know a few more things for certain.
Malice walked up to Aaron where he was testing the new upgrades his father had gotten for him. As the testing dummy exploded, Aaron grinned at Malice who stood there as stoically as ever. It almost irritated Aaron how Malice never showed any emotion. He supposed it was because like most of the Hell Squad-forced to join. And Malice was one of the best additions to the Squad. He was much more brilliant than the others who joined and had a knack for causing pain. Aaron knew his father only wished Malice had the bloodthirst that he had. It was a fault that bound the two boys, though they probably would never know it.
"Come on, S.I.N. It's time to go check out the new recruits." Even his voice was emotionless. Aaron wondered what had caused such a stillness in Malice as he followed him. The new recruits were, of course, an idea Malice had proposed to Nolan in order to combat the gang of hero wannabes. The idea was to find others who would fight for them and be a team that would deal with the little team while the Squad did the real work. Aaron was frustrated that his father would not involve him with real worthwhile missions, but this was as important as any other task that Aaron was required to do.
When Aaron walked into the room, he saw five cells, each one slightly different to focus on cancelling out the subject's powers of any were present. He studied each of them carefully. Four boys and one girl. He looked at the girl curiously; she was beautiful, even if it was obvious that she was not fully human. Actually, as Aaron looked down at their stats, none of them were fully human with the exception of two.
The girl was Angelica Torres, though she now went by Angel. She was 28 though she looked like she was Aaron's age. Aarong winced slightly seeing her real age. So much for wishful thinking. Her birthday was December 30. She grew up in Columbia with her mother and father and younger brother. She had wavy honey blonde hair with icey blue eyes. She was a cyborg, like Aaron, apparently created by the same scientist, Dr. Mani. Aaron was resentful for a moment with the fact that she could still blend in at least with humanity while he had given up on that long ago. She glared at Aaron and Malice with pure hatred. Aaron smiled at her. She had no idea how much she would hate him.
The first boy was Vincent Serano, half demon, half human. He was the son of Alistair, a high ranking demon. Aaron remembered the demon from his father. Nolan was vastly opposed to demons, so Aaron was surprised that he had agreed to have the offspring of one on their side. His hair was black, curly, and more messy than usual due to him been sleeping on the floor of the cell for the past week. His eyes were brown, appearing human, but they flashed red as Aaron made eye contact, revealing his inhuman side. He was the son of Alicia Serano who had willingly kept the boy despite his sire. Aaron looked for as to how the boy was conceived, but there was nothing on that. He supposed that not even Vincent knew.
The second boy was Jackson Argueta. He was born in Mexico and short of having quite the killing record, he was rather unremarkable in Aaron's eyes. He was the only one fully human. He became the hired killer he was for the money and to help support his family. His family was killed when he refused a job, and his most prized possession was a rather nice motorcycle. He was rather skinny with your typical, dark skin, black hair, Mexican appearance. Aaron glanced at the boy who was sulking against the back of the cell.
The third boy was someone who showed promise. His name was Jared Brenton. He was over six foot with light blonde hair and blue eyes. He had the metagene; manipulating light waves was his power. According to his stats, he had had a knack for mischief and trouble since he was a kid. He ran away when he was thirteen and became one of the few Crossroad fighters who was not in direct contact with the Hell Squad. Until about a week ago when he walked straight up to the front door and asked Nolan to take him on as an apprentice. Nolan said he would be trained, but his fate in the Squad would be decided later. Aaron sighed. He guessed now was later.
The last boy and the farthest away from Aaron and Malice was Avon Hall. As Aaron looked at his stats, his jaw nearly dropped. The kid was someone who had literally teleported straight into Nolan's office. He had been dripping with Void energy, so he had come from a parallel universe. Nolan had seen his chance and grabbed the kid. He was half human, half warlock. And from the test results, he was a very powerful warlock. He had blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. And if Jackson was skinny, this guy was plain anorexic. He was nothing more than skin and bones. Avon still seemed confused as to where he was; he was simply staring at everything and everyone else around him. Aaron could understand his father's desire to keep this boy. After that one Crossroad fighter left, they had been strangely lacking in Void testing.
"What do you think, S.I.N.? Think they'll work out?" Malice asked, his voice suddenly having a strange tone. Aaron recognized it as mischief.
"I think that they'll work. We still have to train them, but that should be fairly easy. It appears from their records that they have been training for years." S.I.N. understood the game Malice was playing at and wanted to laugh. Ever the genius, Malice was playing the prisoners to see their personalities.
"What do you think of the girl? She's pretty cute and date-worthy. If you take into account that she's twenty eight and emotionally scarred."
The woman nearly vomited at the thought of dating either of them, making Aaron laugh out loud. He could understand the girl. He had white hair and most of his right side was machine. He had one red eye, one blue with tanned skin. He was small for his age, and due to the machinery in his body, he couldn't grow up like others. He would always be shorter than other guys.
"Well, S.I.N., I think you got the short end of the stick with Dr. Mani. It looks like he did a better job fixing her up than you."
The woman stared before exploding. "Dr. Mani is dead! I killed him myself!"
Malice smiled. Aaron knew that this is what he specialised in, causing emotional damage. "You thought wrong, pretty lady. He survived, but only barely. You should have seen his face when he heard that we brought you in. It was so special. He wanted to see his dear Angelica again. Not to mention give you his special treatment as payback for nearly killing him. Would you like to see him again?"
Malice made way for the doctor. Aaron shivered whenever he saw Dr. Maniac. Since his incident with Angelica, he was paralyzed from the chest down. This caused several issues to arise in him and whenever he wheeled around, he had several bags and tubes coming from his body to the point that he looked as if he was the cyborg. His neck was in a perpetual crook and he rarely moved it. Aaron wondered if he even could. The doctor had an uncanny ability to see everything you were feeling. He freaked Aaron out more than anything and he quickly made way for the doctor.
"Angel," he croaked out in his raspy whisper voice. His head didn't move. He didn't even blink. Aaron saw the pain and fear in Angel's face and almost felt pity for her. She screamed and covered her ears and closed her eyes tightly. Dr. Maniac tried to smile, though it looked more like a grimace. He croaked something out that only Malice could understand. Malice smiled devilishly and pressed the button on a remote he had. S.I.N. instantly understood. A sonic wave went out, causing him to fall down to his knees in pain, but the effect was much worse on Angel. She fell down all the way screaming and began to convulse in agony. S.I.N. watched in horror as the effect slowly wore off on him, though it didn't end for Angel. He wanted to look away but was raptured by her suffering like the others. When S.I.N. eventually tore himself away from Angel and her pain, he glanced at Malice.
"It's a frequency that only affects robotics," Malice whispered. Aaron could see that even Malice was a little scared of the doctor. "It was installed in all of Dr. Mani's experiments so that he would always have some control over them. It doesn't affect you quite the same because you have an adapting system. If the doctor wanted to hurt you, he would have to constantly and randomly change the frequency in a range that would hurt you. Doctor, we're done."
Malice pressed the button once more and the wave silenced itself. Angel lay on the floor, gasping for breath and unconscious. The doctor, clearly sad his fun was over, rolled away and left the group. Malice sighed, and looked at the rest of them. "You are here to join a team. Our purpose is to destroy the League's brats that they think actually have a chance of defeating the Hell Squad. Training will-"
"What makes you think we want to join?" Angel had waken and slowly gotten herself up. Aaron saw in her eyes the anger and hatred that she was feeling. She slowly stood up and Aaron felt a great deal of admiration for the woman. Her bionic implants were still spazzing and he knew that she was still in obvious pain. But she still stood up, trying to even herself with Malice and himself.
"Because if you don't, you will receive similar treatment as what you just experienced. If you do, you can see Javier again."
Angel's eyes were suddenly confused. That was obviously not a possibility she had considered before now. Aaron glanced at the notes once more and read that she had her brother had been especially close. He smiled with Malice. She would join now, if only to see her little brother one more time. She sat down defeated before giving a slight nod. She was on the team.
It was Jared who had sparked Aaron's interest and Malice's as well. He looked at them with a certain relish that unnerved Aaron. He would join the team without a doubt. The way he smiled reminded Aaron of his own father. Malice took advantage of this and Aaron had hoped that he wouldn't have. As expected, it conversation was unnervingly disturbing.
"What about you, Jared? You want to join the darkness?"
Jared smiled. "No. I want to show people the light." Aaron was confused until he remembered Jared's powers was to bend light waves. Aaron had to smile at the wit the boy was starting to show.
Malice likewise smiled and unlocked the door. Almost immediately, the boy attacked Malice and Aaron. Aaron wondered how stupid this boy really was. Within a minute, Aaron had his arm transformed into a sonic weapon and Malice holding Jared tightly, ready to be shot. But as Aaron was about to fire, effectively ending Jared-or his hearing at the very least- a memory flashed through his mind's eye.
He was at his school with his mother. She was only a vague, shadowy figure. She was showing him the new preschool he would be attending. It was the... sixth one since he started preschool. He thought it was six anyways. He couldn't keep numbers straight in his head. They all turned around so he had no idea if he was looking at a 4 or a 9. Or a 3 or an 8. They all jumbled around so he couldn't understand them. He wasn't sure why he and his mom kept moving around, but all he knew was that he was happy. His mom gave him the best peanut butter cookies ever.
His first thought of the multi-colored room was that it was way too bright. It wasn't nice and calming and all of the other kids that his mom encouraged him to play with were way too loud and hyper. They scared him honestly, so he never left from behind his mother's long black dress. She had a music performance later. He knew that because she played the violin. She always played him a song before he went to sleep. He never tired of hearing her practice. He always heard her, even now, in his head, he could hear the music of the Nutcracker Suite playing right now in his tiny head.
As his mother tried for the last time to tear him off of her dress, there was a loud crash outside. The room began to shake violently. An alarm went off, loud and shrill that hurt his ears. He screamed, but he could no longer hear himself. His mother wrapped his arms around him as pictures and shelves fell off the walls. She held him close. The lights shattered and glass fell around them. He was acutely aware of the slices and cuts he was feeling. He screamed again, but he still couldn't hear himself. His mother grunted, taking the brunt of the earthquake.
He wasn't sure how long the room was shaking, but all he knew is that debris was everywhere when he and his mom slowly rose up, miraculously unharmed other than some cuts that would need obvious stitches. His hearing slowly began to return and that obnoxious alarm that sounded like a dying animal was still ringing and showed no signs of stopping. Then, as soon as his mother let him go, part of the roof caved in and struck her on the back and neck.
He ran to her and screamed, this time barely hearing himself. However, some part of him knew that she was dead. It wasn't the fact that her body was contorted in such a way that it no longer looked human with her neck almost facing her back or her back crunched to an almost 90 degrees. No, he knew his mother could survive that. What told him that she was dead was that the music in his head stopped playing. He could no longer hear any music, only that awful, ear splitting, terrible screaming of the alarm that burrowed into his head. He wanted it to stop, for the music to come back. But nothing came. Only the sound of dying.
Aaron lowered his arm and turned his back on Jared and Malice. He would not show the weakness in his face. He walked away, leaving everyone behind. He walked back to his quarters, all the time, the smile on his face was growing bigger and bigger. He was almost laughing by the time he reached his room. As he shut the door and turned off Nolan's secret cameras, he was crying with bliss.
He could remember his mother.
For so long, he had had no recollection of his mother. For years, all that he knew of his family was Nolan who never showed anything more than a disapproving grunt towards him. But now, he had something more. Albeit, his mother was only a shadow in his mind, but she was there. Aaron could remember a time when he thought his mother was only something Nolan made up, or that other people had, but not him. But now, she was real. Now, there was something more.
Now the music had returned to him.
He was lying there, trying to see if he could remember anything else of his mother when he heard a knock at the door. He sat up quickly and wiped away tear stains on his face. He got up, knowing he would have to make up a good excuse for not killing Jared for his insolence, but Aaron also knew that he could no longer kill anyone. He was useless to Nolan now.
He opened the door to see Malice there. His eyes were confused and instead of his stoicness, Aaron saw a vulnerability in Malice that he had never seen. Malice walked in, and looked around as if he had never been in a room other than his own before. The more Aaron studied him, the more he realized that Malice has probably never been in his own room for more than one or two nights. Aaron suddenly felt a stab of pity for the boy with no home.
"What did you see?"
The question took Aaron by surprise. He had expected a reprimand or a request from Nolan. Aaron answered, "I saw my mother."
Malice smiled, slightly with hope. "Back at the warehouse, you saved the girl, Deadshot, from al Ghul's mind control. That was more than just beating the competition."
"Why?" Malice's eyes were now shimmering with something that Aaron had never seen in Malice. It was something that Aaron could only remember from his mother. It was pride.
"My father hates me. The only reason he knows about me is because his name came up on my birth certificate. I am not the son he wants. I never will be. When I saw Deadshot, I wanted something from her. Something I can never have. I wanted a relationship. A real one. I knew I would never get one with her, but I want something so much more than what Nolan gives me. Call me soft, but I want to love someone and to be loved by them."
"S.I.N., do you know why I'm here?"
Aaron shook his head.
"Because I loved someone. Her name was Sophia. She was great." Malice got a dorky smile on his face and his eyes began to well up with tears. He looked happy. Genuinely happy. Aaron knew that that was what he wanted some day. "She was the only one who saw me for me. She didn't see the nerd, or the shy kid, or the guy who only found peace in my contraptions. She saw me. And no one ever did that before."
Malice looked over at Aaron. "Your father knew about my genius long before I did. When I reached high school, I got a couple of vague offers from him, though I never knew it was him at the time. After saying no once too much, he blew up my school. I nearly died. But during that time when I was in a coma, Sophia never gave up hope on me. When I woke up, she was standing there right beside me. She had fallen asleep. I tried not to wake her up, but I did on accident. Her eyes were red and puffy. She'd been crying for a long time, I could tell. I knew then that I loved her. We had only been dating for a couple months, but I loved her nonetheless and knew that I could never be happy with anyone else.
"So after I recovered, I faced your father, literally. He came to my house one day as I was leaving for school. He showed me a picture of Sophia. He said that I would have to join if he wanted her to live. So I joined. I took the name Malice."
"And Sophia?" Aaron wanted to know what had happened to the girl who could cause Malice, the prodigy as Nolan called him, to fall in love.
Malice was crying now, though it was silent. It was painful, Aaron realized. Not because it was sad, but because Malice had been broken. He would do anything to keep Sophia alive. He was bound to Nolan in a way that Aaron had never known. Malice would never be free. "She became the Phoenix."
Aaron's mouth dropped. Sophia was the Phoenix. Every day, Malice had to fight against the girl he loved in order to protect her. He had nearly been forced to take her own life all in an effort to protect it. Aaron wondered if really wanted something so powerful that he could be broken like Malice. But as Aaron saw the joy in Malice's face as he took out the picture of Sophia that Nolan must have given him, Aaron knew that he wanted that. More than anything. Aaron knew he wanted to have a force so powerful in his own life that he would stop at nothing to protect it.
Malice gave Aaron a remote controller. It was the key to the prisoner's cells. Aaron looked up at Malice. "I can't leave, S.I.N. But you can. You still have a chance to live and be free. Take it. Take it and leave. And take those prisoners with you. Give them their chance."
"What about Jared?"
"He's meeting with Nolan about recruitment. He won't get in your way. Now go."
"I'm sorry, Malice." The two boys both knew what would have to happen.
"It's Steven. And good luck, S.I.N."
"...Aaron. And... thank you," he said as he punched Steven in the jaw with such force that it was sure to be broken. Steven hit the floor, knocked out. Aaron gave the closest person he could dare call a friend one last look before running.
Aaron knew very few things in his life. He never understood his world or his place in it. He never understood the hand he had been dealt and he certainly never understood the rules of the game. He only knew a handful of things as certain and the rest was not important to him. He was raised by his father, Nolan, of the Hell Squad. He never called his father "Dad" as that would suggest weakness, both in him and his father. Four years ago, when he was thirteen, an explosion caused by Batman had nearly killed him. He owed his life to Nolan who had saved him using Dr. Mani, or as Aaron like to call him, Dr. Maniac, who made him into a cyborg. And he knew one last thing.
He was finally free.
Author's Note: Hey all! I hope you like the chapter! So not on hiatus. Inspiration suddenly came and now I'm a madman! It was pretty fun to write. I remember Aaron was one of the first OCs submitted to me when I first tried this story almost a year ago. He is proudly owned by Flying Jay who also owns Avon Hall and Atla-Un, but the latter won't come in until , also, credit to Flying Jay for the Hell Squad. In Aaron's original outline, they were barely mentioned, but slowly they became my evil supervillain group, so thanks, Jay!
How did you guys like Steven? I felt that I showed his change in the last chapter as well, but showed no reason so I thought I might show you guys. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do. I love a good person forced to do horrible things (Sorry, that's the tragedy writer in me. I love killing my characters off. Don't plan on it... At least, not without permission...)
Wow, this is long. Like, really long. So one last thing. I recently got a tumblr thingy. I still have no idea how to work it. But anyways, it's .com. I also have a bloggy thing I want to start up showing you guys a bit more about who I am. That's .com. I know, original, but I couldn't think of anything else at the time.
As always and with my adieu, review, follow, or favorite!