The Death of the....
For Xander at least the next week was quiet, Dick still came by for his nightly training, but by silent agreement neither of them mentioned what had happened that night with the spandex club.
For the rest of the League the next morning started off with a bombshell being dropped by the three leading members of the league. Flash read it first when he noticed an email had come in from Batman, that in itself was rather unusual, but what it said caused even the normally ebullient man to stop in his tracks, then after re-reading the letter three times, called an emergency meeting.
The strange sound of Flash’s voice, as well as the timing had most of the members show up, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), J’onn J’onzz, Aquaman (who was the only one who had not met Xander), he also chose to invite Zatanna guessing she might have some insight into this, then of course Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, though from the last he received a terse message saying “I’ll show up after this has been discussed.”
Everyone showed up, but much to Flash’s discomfort neither Superman nor Wonder Woman seemed surprised by the meeting, nor were they much surprised when he started to read the email.
“Okay guys I called this cause I just got the strangest email from Batman, and I am not sure what this means or what caused this but I figured it was serious enough to share immediately.” Flash was quiet, his voice grave, and this caused a shiver of concern in Zatanna and Kyle, both who knew Flash was rarely serious.
With no more lead in Flash pulled out the print out of the email and started to read.
Justice League –
Often over the years we have had severe disagreements with how to handle the dangerous beings we have run across in our mission to protect the earth, and I have always been secure in my belief that not taking a life, any life was the right path.
I had it pointed out to me last night, that the path I chose and the path I have forced on everyone associated with me has had dire consequences, to the count of over a quarter of a million deaths because of what I deemed to be right.
I will not deviate from my path, it is what I am, however I believe that perhaps it is time the League took up the roll we have avoided for so long. The league lead by Superman, Wonder Woman, and myself have always let the “proper” authorities for each creature choose how to deal with them, and we bowed out letting them deal with their citizen. I believe that we can no longer do that in good conscious.
I propose that in situations where we know that the being which we face cannot be dealt with appropriately by the proper authorities, either due to the dangerousness or sheer power of that being, that the League makes the conscious choice to be Judge, Jury, and Executioner. While I will not change my path, I am willing to abide by a vote by the members of the league to execute those that cannot be allowed to live because they will not respect the life of any creature.
How the League decides to deal that death will be up to all of us, however I will never be the one to be executioner, I have lived too long behind my hood, and will not change my path, but I will not offer any dissent and will vote as to whether any creature can be honestly dealt with by the authorities.
This must be your decision and I will not be there to participate, let me know when you have decided.
When Flash finished reading, there was stunned silence, then a variety of reactions across the league.
Aquaman grinned, his white teeth flashing through his beard, “Finally, now we don’t have to keep facing the same stupidity time and time again.”
Kyle was shocked, “But we are suppose to be protectors, not killers.”
J’onn simply shrugged, “Death comes to all of us, some choose a path that makes it come sooner than later.”
Zatanna kept her thoughts to herself, wondering what the hell happened, and vowing to talk to Alfred as soon as possible.
Flash was at a loss, “But heroes don’t kill do they?”
Finally the babble died down, and everyone turned to look at Superman and Wonder Woman, who had said nothing, simply watching and listening to everyone.
Diana spoke first, “I agree. We are either police or warriors protecting our homes, both adopted and native. Police arrest and turn criminals over, warriors kill that which would harm those they love. Amazon’s are warriors, I have no problem killing those who have proven they will not be stopped by any other means.” Her voice was calm, she had already come to this decision during the long night with her mother, and her heart was easy with the idea of killing some of those they had fought with.
Shock reflected on most faces than Aquaman, he and Diana were both royalty and had always understood the price you pay for leading a people better than most of the league. Everyone else turned to Superman, wondering if their world was about to change.
Superman took a breath then nodded, “I agree if a full unanimous vote is called and it is decided to…,” his voice caught for a moment, “to kill any creature, I will support it and if absolutely necessary, I will carry it out.” Part of Clark broke at that moment, but remembering the numbers that Barbara had given them, and the story Jo had told, it had been hammered home that the consequences of his actions were like ripples in a pool, you didn’t always realize how far those ripples could reach.
The debate raged into the night, and not until Barbara sent death counts on every being they had ever faced did they die a shocked death, when the true totals were laid out, even Flash agreed that maybe elimination of the threat was the correct choice sometimes.
It was three days before Zatanna could get to Alfred, and their lunch was very interesting, especially when she learned it was Xander who with his questions had started it.
By the time she got over to the school a full week had passed, and ramifications were still being felt by the League and some of the other heroes they worked with.
“Zatanna, hi!” She was over there pretty regularly, and since she had never been much for the publicity few realized she was a member of the League most of the girls just thought she was a friend of Xanders, a really pretty one, but just a friend.
“Hey Xander… so, I hear you shook up the world again.”
A lopsided smile and a shrug, “Not me so much as they heard from someone just how far the ripples of their actions can go, and it hurt. I wonder sometimes if me coming here was good, I seem to cause chaos everywhere.”
Zatanna smiled, “Chaos no, but you do cause change, and for most people change is usually painful. But I think these girls are glad you are here, otherwise I think the future would have been much darker for them.”
Zatanna spent the afternoon there, helping with homework, and cooking, and just enjoying the life and laughter that infused the place, all of it circling around Xander, the heart of most of the people here. Near the end Xander caught her, “Hey do you remember that other favor I asked you about, that I needed you to create something for me?”
“Yeah, I was wondering about that, what is it?”
Xander dug out the Harry Potter book and showed her the penseive, once she got the idea she grinned, “This is great, in fact, would you mind if I make some for the league, this would be WAY easier than trying to share visions.”
“No of course not, I just figured this would help Kassie with her dreams or if someone encounters something, they can show us, but it would have to work more as a shared view, since we can’t really pull the memory out.”
“No problem, I’ve got an idea of how this would work for anyone, I get back to you in a week or two.”
“Thanks Z.” Xander flashed her a big smile and hugged her tight, and once more Zatanna wished she was a good ten years younger.
The League was still working out how to deal with this change in ideals, and how and who should be the one to cast judgment, and then execute, when something happened that reminded all of them, they didn’t always get to choose.
Xander had been doing some paper work when one of his girls came tearing into the house, tears streaming down her face. “XANDER!!! XANDER!!”
The sheer terror in her voice had Xander up and out of his chair, grabbing her and wrapping her up in his arms, “What is it, Melissa? What’s wrong?” Fear and worry lacing through him, none of his girls were easily scared and they rarely cried.
“He grabbed her, and stung her with something and she just went limp, and he was gone before I could do anything, he just took her.”
“Melissa who is her, and who is he?” Xander was really worried, but kept his voice calm, his hands gentle, while his mind began turning very fast.
“Joker, he took Lauren.” Melissa was sobbing in his arms, and didn’t notice his heart skip a beat or his eye become dead.
“PAT! I need you.” Xander’s mind was racing as his voice echoed through the place, and brought everyone running, Xander never yelled or got upset by anything.
Pat came tearing down the stairs, shocked at the girl crying in Xander’s arms. “What happened?” Taking Melissa in her arms as Xander handed her over, actually scared at the dead look in Xander’s eye.
“Joker, he took a girl.” Xander’s voice was flat and dead as he moved through the room to the small office down stairs and opened a safe, taking out two 9mm guns, a flak jacket, and a bowie knife. He quickly loaded, checked and holstered the guns, then strapping them on over the flak jacket, the knife he slipped into his boot. “Zatanna’s number is by the phone, call her and let her know what happened, I have something to take care of.” With that he grabbed a headset, slapping it on and was out the door before she had time to react.
Pat was stunned, never had she seen death in someone’s eyes before, but before she could call anyone she had to get Melissa calmed down. “Lateshia can you go grab some water. Melissa I need you to relax your grip a bit, you’re leaving bruises child.”
Xander didn’t question how or why he knew where Lauren was, her presence called to him like a beacon. He didn’t bother with the car, it would require too much distraction, he just ran, setting himself into a lope as he followed the quickest path to that beacon that was pulling him like a magnet. She was still unconscious he knew, but that was all he could tell.
People were knocked over by the man tearing by at a dead run, not looking right or left. The look on his face coupled with the gun and flak jacket had more than a few calling the police. Even more were glad down to their bones that the look on his face was not directed at them.
Xander had no awareness of how far he had come or even how fast he was moving, all he knew was Lauren, one of HIS girls, was in the warehouse ahead. He checked his gun, making sure the safety was off, and pulled open the door.
Joker was standing over Lauren, who was strapped to a table with chains that not even Buffy could have easily broken, preparing to insert a large syringe full of something into her. He spun as the door pulled open, seeing a young man standing there. Jokers maniac grin got wider, “Well well Harle, lookie here, we have a superhero here to rescue the girl. How nice, and it isn’t even the Bat, I am so excited, a new toy.”
Harle who had been lounging on a dentist chair next to the Joker, sprung up, the two hyenas laying at her feet stiffening and growling. “Oh snookums, we’ve wanted a new toy to play with, this will be fun.” Harle pulled up a machine gun that was almost too big for her, pointing it at Xander. “Don’t you want to come play, come on, rescue the girl, it’ll be fun.”
Joker looked at the man who tilted his head a bit saying nothing but looking at him, and felt the slightest fission of something being wrong, but he laughed holding the syringe near Lauren’s neck. “Come on, I can stick it or, or I am sure I have some laughing gas around here, we can use that instead.” He didn’t notice that there was a shield around her and the needle of the syringe was bending as he pressed down.
Xander spoke, his voice harsh and so very very cold. “You just made one mistake. I’m not a superhero.” With those words his gun snapped up and placed a round between Harle’s eyes and before Joker had time to do more than gasp, he felt his own head snap back, and everything went dark. Xander growled at the two hyenas who instantly took submissive positions, and moved up to Lauren, dialing his phone as he went. Speaking into his headset, as his hands worked to free Lauren, checking her pulse, and trying to figure out what she had been given. “Hello police, I need to report two deaths. I also need an ambulance. Location is “ he gave out the address where he was. “Yes I’ll wait.” He hung up the phone his hands checking Lauren for any other wounds, worry coursing through his veins.
Finally had her free and was holding her, talking to her softly when a figure in black and one in red and blue flew through the door, and came to a halt, as they saw the bodies of Harle and Joker laying on the floor, obviously dead. Batman stalked over to him, barely noticing the girl Xander held in his arms. “What the hell have you done?!” Batman’s voice was icy cold, as he looked at the dead bodies. He was not prepared for the answer.
Xander looked up at him his voice just as cold and dead, “I eliminated the ones threatening one of my girls, permanently. This is something that should’ve been done years ago.”
“And how do you think you are going to get away with this? You can’t just kill someone in cold blood and walk away.” Anger at this man who had done what he would not do, and rage at the conceit that he could just kill, so easily and just walk away filled Batman. After all the worry and the choices the League had made, this man had just done it by himself.
“Who said I was getting away with it?” Xander nodded to the open door where you could see police cars and an ambulance lights flashing heading towards them.
He stood carrying the Lauren towards the door, Jim Gordon was the first person in, stopping as he saw two bodies laying on the floor, and a man walking towards him, with Superman and Batman just glaring at the man, but making no move to stop him. “Chief Gordon. I need to have Lauren checked, she was given something that knocked her out. You will need to contact Pat Savage, you can reach her at,” he rattled off a phone number, as the paramedics took Lauren. “I am turning myself in for the deaths of the man known as the Joker and one Harle Quinn.” Xander held his wrists out to Gordon, who dumbly, still focusing on the bodies, handcuffed Xander and quietly read him his rights.
Batman was livid, ignoring the feeling of having lost something that was his, and that just pushed his rage, “How dare you take that life, who do you think you are?”
Xander turned and looked at Batman, his voice like liquid nitrogen as he took two steps towards him, and not a cop in the room even moved, “I am someone who would walk through hell and back to save one of my girls, and if you hurt them Death himself will not stand in my way to destroy you. I am theirs and not even the forces of heaven and hell will prevent me from protecting them.”
Everyone in the room felt the power of the words wash through them, and many cops took a step backwards, feeling the threat of his words. Batman swallowed and finally realized something, they had wanted someone to help these slayers to guide them, and they got exactly what they had asked for, someone who would kill for and die for his girls, no matter the cost to himself.
Then the spell was broken as he turned around and smiled the lopsided grin at Jim Gordon, “Well let’s go get me booked.”
The actual mechanics of it were very anti climatic, he taken in and sat in Jim Gordon’s office for about an hour, with a lot of yelling going on outside that was very hard to not hear every word.
“He did WHAT?” The current DA all but shrieked when Jim explained to him what happened, “He killed the Joker and Harle, then called you and let you know. Was there any doubt that the Joker had taken the girl?”
“Not one, multiple witnesses, plus the situation at the location, the Joker was up to his usual tricks.” Jims’ voice was quiet but confident, he wasn’t even sure he should have arrested the young man, but Batman’s anger and the strange confrontation made him think that for the moment the young man was safer here.
“So exactly why is he arrested, hell we should be giving him the key to the city that maniac is finally dead.” There was a sound of sheer relief in the DA’s voice, then quieter half joking, half serious, “I don’t suppose we can salt and burn the body?”
Jim’s voice wasn’t joking, “Already being done.”
A moment later the door opened and Jim Gordon walked in, “Sorry about this young man, you are free to go with our deepest appreciation.”
Xander blinked, he really hadn’t thought about the ramifications of him killing someone, just that a threat to his girls could not be allowed to live. “Oh, okay, anything I need to sign?”
“No, and thank you.”
Xander walked out of the office to a standing ovation from what seemed like the entire police force as he walked out. Lamont Cranston was waiting for him with the car, “thought you could use a ride home.”
“Is Lauren all right?”
“Just fine, she was already released and is very upset she didn’t remember a thing about you rescuing her.”
Xander blanched, “Hero worship crush?”
“Oh god, dance we need to set up a dance with lots of cute boys, hopefully non-breakable… wonder if the Teen Titans want a dance. Can you think of any other non-breakable teenage boys?” Hope and worry in his voice.
Lamont just laughed, this man had killed one of the greatest threats in Gotham and he was stressed over some teenager girls having a crush on him. Lamont thought for a second, on the other hand super powered teenage girls having a crush on you, yeah that was much scarier, and started tossing out ideas for a dance.
That night Xander went up to the roof, and Batman was there waiting for him, and Xander tensed ready to be attacked, but Batman just waved him to a garden box, “Sit.”
Cocking his head he did, looking at Batman, “So you here to yell at me more?”
Batman didn’t answer for a long moment, “You brought a lot of change with you, change I was not ready to deal with, but… I think you were right. We couldn’t continue they way we had been, but you forced us to face that and it is never easy. We are working on changing and will be soon, your hand was forced before we could finish adapting, and I think you did the right thing, we brought you here to help and protect these girls, without fully understanding what we were asking for. We got someone who will protect these young women no matter the cost to himself and will die to protect them, we couldn’t have asked for any more.”
Batman took a breath and then looked at him, “I still don’t like you, you know too much and you cause chaos by existing. But I trust you with the lives of all that I love, because you don’t know how to give up, you don’t accept that any price is too high to pay for those you love. That I can respect. I don’t know if we will ever be friends, but if you ever need anything, just ask, you aren’t capable of asking for what you haven‘t truly earned or that those girls don’t need. Good night Xander.”
With that Batman was gone, and Xander sat up on the roof looking at the faint stars in the sky. The comic book world wasn’t perfect anymore, and he wondered if this was their fault, if the awakening spell did more than call the girls, if it changed how things worked, made them real. The girls, Pat, Lamont, Zatanna, Diana, Barbara, Dick… he had real friends, people who loved him and others who even if they didn’t like him respected him. He could live with that, even more than that, he was home.
Well that is it, the story is done. I know there are still questions about what is going on in the other reality, and what happens with the girls, but those are other stories that may be told in the future. For now I need to finish SN Team, and finish a few other bunnies. I hope you enjoyed the ride.