The sound of the ship racing through the atmosphere roared in Henry's ears as he was frantically trying to understand the controls. He could remember a few of the basics taught in school, but that was for smaller vessels, designed to harvest food and pick up production shipments. This fighter was different in design, but Henry could figure out a few of the controls. By the time he learned how to fly the vessel, he was too close to the ground for it to be of any use. As the earth came into focus, Henry braced himself.
As his body hit the ground, pain tore through his body. The sound of his bones cracking echoed in his ears while the smell of smoking flesh wafted into his nose. He gaped for air, trying to breath but failing, suffocating in misery. As his heart began to flutter without rhythm, a broken shard of one of his ribs pierced the organ. His eyes glanced down to see his legs twisted and shattered, contorted like limp string. What skin had not been torn off in the impact was charred black while his exposed flesh was a jelly of muscles, sinew, and bone fragments. His vision blurred, slowly growing dark as he prepared for the worst.
Then they opened to a bright light.
The pain had vanished like the morning mist. His heart beat regularly. His bones were whole. His limbs were straight. Henry stood, bewilderment written across his face. As he examined his body, he found everything in tact without any sign of any injury ever happening. The smoking remnants of the fighter lay almost thirty feet away from him, in the center of the abandoned street. Skyscrapers towered around him, the glass from the windows gone or cracked while the rubble and forgotten cars were littered around him.
Henry began to walk about, glancing into the cars perpetually stuck in traffic. Trash filled some of them while others had fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror. In one minivan, a little stuffed dog's leg was caught in the door, dirt clinging to its ears as its eyes gazed sadly into nothingness. Henry's hands acted on their own, pulling the dog from its trap. Its fur was crusty, hardened from years in that door. It was then that Henry understood what all of these cars had in common.
They had been here since the Reach took over.
The exodus had taken place two years ago after the Reach's intentions were revealed. The masses left all the cities as they were brought down and rebuilt into production plants. This city had seemed to escape "repurposing," but Henry was proven wrong as he saw the familiar vomit yellow smoke rising into the sky. A factory was nearby.
Distracting him from the sky, a blur of red and white ran past Henry, but came back and stopped. Henry recognized the form instantly as Impulse, aka, the newest member of the Flash family. His eyes grew wide, an old gleam of amazement shining.
"You're Impulse," Henry stammered.
Henry glanced down, at last noticing that the crash has shredded and burned what little clothing he had away. Feeling uncomfortable in his pubescent body, he tried to cover himself only to have impulse dash off and come back with an old and worn pair of shorts that smelled as if they had been in a locker with dirty gym socks since the Reach invasion.
"Sorry," Impulse shrugged. "It's the only thing in a five mile radius.
"Thanks," Henry smiled weakly, taking the shorts with a grudge. As he slipped them over his legs, his skin crawled as the rough tained fabric dragged across it.
"What are you doing here, kid?" Impulse asked.
"Looking for you," Henry replied, wonder and awkwardness still in his voice. "You're part of the Young Justice, right?"
Impulse's eyes narrowed and his feigned lightheartedness disappeared. He grabbed Henry by the wrist, pulling him along as he ran off, faster than the speed of sound. His body was thrust backwards, but before his neck could snap, Henry placed his feet on the ground and ran. Impulse's eyes widened from the surprise, but not before Henry picked up the pace with a mischievous smile. Impulse's feet struggled to keep up until he lost his footing all together and fell to the concrete. Henry skidded to a stop.
"Can't keep up, Impulse?" Henry called out with a laugh, hiding the fear in his voice.
"You're a metahuman?"
"I guess," Henry answered.
"You need to come back with me," Impulse ordered as he stood up. "You need to talk to Nightwing."
"Nightwing?" Henry asked, his racing heart slowing. "Does that mean I get to see Joan?"
Impulse froze. His eyes narrowed at Henry who had the tiniest sliver of hope in his smile. "You know her?"
Henry nodded vigorously. "She's my sister."
Before Henry could flinch, Impulse launched himself at the boy, knocking him out with a quick blow to the jaw.
When Henry awoke, he was in a cell with a girl of his own age, perhaps a year or two older, judging by her changing body. Her brown hair was filled with frizz and knots. Her tired eyes looked over him with quizzical eyes as she leaned over him, a hand on his chest. As Henry slowly sat up, she backed away with a smile dancing on her lips.
"I'm Charlie," she said. "
"Henry," he answered, gazing into her crystal gray eyes. "Where are we?"
Charlie shrugged. "Young Justice, I think. I saw Nightwing and Aqualad and Miss Martian and-"
Before Charlie could confirm or deny what was running through Henry's mind, a young woman with short green skin floated over to the cell. Literally floating. Henry stared at her feet, hovering a few inches above the ground while Charlie stared at the woman's skin. The woman, her eyes glowing, opened the door with a raised hand. "Charlie, come one. It's time."
"For what?" Charlie backed away slowly.
"Charlie, please, come," the woman begged. Henry recognized her as Martian, and assumed she was the Miss Martian, but he had never paid attention to many superheroes aside from the Flash.
"Why?" Henry interjected, gradually standing in between the two females. "Isn't this Young Justice, the resistance? Isn't this the place where people come to fight the Reach? Or hide if they're metahuman? Isn't this where Joan came?"
Miss Martian's face, already pained, winced.
"What happened to my sister?" Henry demanded, his body beginning to vibrate as his fists clenched.
"You're Henry," she muttered.
"What happened to her?!" Henry screamed as he ran at her, ramming his body into Miss Martian. She screeched, but Henry passed straight through her. An alarm began to sound, its nail-against-chalkboard wail blasting throughout the hallways. Henry froze, then turned around. Time slowing down, he darted over to Charlie, lifting her into his arms before racing through the hallways, searching for his sister.
He skidded to a stop where Kid Flash, in full uniform, stood an barred his way from a large room Henry assumed to be the hangar. If it was under any other circumstances, Henry would have geeked out at having met his lifelong hero. Instead, he watched KF for any sign of movement. Charlie's nails dug into his skin as she hung on, drawing only a drop of blood before his skin knitted itself back together. Nightwing emerged from around the corner, backing his friend with his eskrima sticks. Henry swallowed, fear clutching at his throat.
"What happened to my sister?" he cried out.
"Joan betrayed us," Kid Flash called back. "Joan joined the Reach."
"That's impossible," Henry denied. "Joan hates the Reach. They destroyed everything. She had a future until they came. She wouldn't join them."
"Henry," Nightwing said, "I want to believe you. Joan would have been a valuable ally and a good friend. But the Reach have technology to brainwash you. Look at Blue Beetle."
"I know all about that. He had Reach technology fused into his back. Joan had none of that. And their other methods takes weeks to take affect. If anything, you forced her into their control," Henry shouted, taking a step forward.
"Henry, don't come any closer. I don't want to hurt you," Nightwing warned. "You and your family helped me."
"No, we saved you." Henry took another step, his hands tightening around Charlie who was silent throughout all of this. "And you want to lock us up. Or worse. You're not a hero anymore, Nightwing. You're just as bad as the Reach."
Henry blasted past them. Kid Flash tried to stop him, but Henry was faster, a thought that surprised everyone. Kid tried to keep up as the two kids took off, but he was slowly losing them. They tore through the mountainside, dodging trees and loose rocks until Kid Flash tripped then tumbled down the mountain. Henry glanced back, but turned away. He could not afford to go back, not with Charlie hanging onto him for her life. He needed to find his sister. Even if it meant leaving the hero from before tumbling down the mountain without at least making sure he was okay.
Come on, Joan. Where are you?
Author's Note: Hey guys! I won't lie and say that I suddenly have more free time and will be writing more often. The truthisthat I am working on my own original novels and have lost interest in fanfiction. However, lately it's been bothering me a lot that several of these are unfinished. I know how much I hated it when that happened and I won't do that to you.
Therefore, after posting this chapter, I will proceed to plan out all of Young Justice. From here to the end. Then I will write all of it. I hope to post maybe once a week or twice if I'm lucky, but I can't promise anything. However, I can promise you that by the end of June, this particular piece of fan-written fiction will be completed. I might end up waiting until the last few weeks of June and posting everything at once, because truth be told, by standard of writing has improved. I know it doesn't look like that from this chapter, but fanfictions is different that regular fiction and it might take me a while to get back into the swing of things.
I don't know what sort of news you were expecting, but this is news. [Also, reviews, follows, and favorites will help motivate me. Either through guilt or happiness.]