Gotham's Dead End Bar

Step 1: Be a serial reincarnator. Step 2: End up in Gotham with Death of the Endless. Step 3: Open a neutral-ground bar for heroes and villains. Step 4: ??? Step 5: Profit. Don't go into this story expecting something serious or (grim)dark. This isn't that kind of story and that's not what I'm trying to do here. This is a story about a bartender telling crazy stories about his time in the multiverse to the villains and heroes of DC. It's practically crack, about two steps removed from a fix-it fic. There is a plot (eventually, the beginning chapters are pretty slice-of-life heavy) but it's never going to be some grand tale of tragedy. In the same lane, don't expect the same Batman/Bat Family that you might be used to. No paranoiax10, dark, and gritty 'Batman can't be/have fun!' Batman. My Batman is more in line with the 'Batdad' concept or the animated series Batman. Also, this is kind of an AU. Not in any major way but some of the story might not match up perfectly with the DC canon continuity. I'm going for a static DC universe. So characters and their backstories are set but I'll be avoiding the major plot points of the comics (Dark Multiverse, Infinite Frontier, etc.) Pat reon.com/dryskies_btb for early chapters. 370k words are already available there.

Daddy · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
64 Chs

52: Date at Sunrise, Arrival at Dusk

"What a night," I sighed contently, shaking my head.

Kara gave a little smile beside me, "It was certainly something. I had fun though, even with the story that started tonight off."

"I'm glad," I returned her expression. "Everyone dealt with Yharnam much better than I expected."

"I don't know if I'd go that far," Kara giggled. "There's going to be a lot of repression in all of our futures. Just not as much as there probably should be. And Barbara seems determined to keep the Eldritch horror contained to the Dead End where it won't cause a sudden… incursion."

"That's good, at least," I hummed. "It's not one of my stories that should be widely shared, even in classified files."

Kara bit her lip as her giggles threatened to go out of control, "I have a feeling Kal won't even begin to know how to react if he learns about it. Even Diana would probably have a fit from some of the things in Yharnam."

I laughed as well, "Maybe. I'll bet Bruce already has a plan in place for Great Ones, Old Ones, and Outer Gods though."

"Almost definitely," Kara nodded. "I think it'll be best for his mental state if he doesn't learn about Yharnam anytime soon. The League will already have its hands full with all of the visitors you received tonight."

"Ah, the girls won't cause any trouble," I waved dismissively. "You already saw how difficult it was to get Simmy to leave me alone so we could be alone right now. Thankfully, Didi was there to distract her with [Data]. And Ophis is practically a non-issue. Despite her power, she's really rather simple. Give her sweets and Silence and she's as happy as can be."

"She's still a-… what did you call it? Infinite Dragon God?" Kara gave me a 'look'. "That's not a confidence-inspiring title for the rest of us, Sean."

"Really?" I blinked innocently. "No one seems to have a problem with Lucifer, Didi, or the rest of the Endless. Ophis is technically less powerful than any one of them."

Kara couldn't stop herself from giggling, "That's not saying much. And trust me, A LOT of people have problems with your powerful guests, Sean. Almost entirely because just knowing about them shatters any worldview they come into contact with. There's just something about knowing the literal personification of Death is moonlighting as a simple bartender that isn't healthy for most people."

I scowled slightly, "I hope those 'problems' don't become problems. I might have to have words with some people. Didi is the best person I've ever met. I would hate for some of your colleagues to get some particularly stupid ideas in their heads."

"You know she is. And I know too," Kara nodded. "But for people who haven't met her, 'Death' can make them… nervous."

"I'll give 'em something to be nervous about…" I muttered darkly.

Kara shot me an amused glance, "Please don't. I'd very much prefer for you to stay 'mostly' on the right side of the law. It makes what we have much more simple."

"Oh~?" A roguish grin dawned on my face, erasing my scowl. "Are you saying you wouldn't like me as a villain, Kara~? I'm almost hurt~. Think about the spice it would add to our relationship~…"

Kara blushed and looked away, mumbling, "I wouldn't say 'that' much… It would just make things more difficult, is all."

Chuckling, I put an arm around her shoulders, "Don't worry then. I quite like my current 'neutrality'. It's simpler for everyone if Didi and I aren't seen as 'pieces on the board', so to speak."

Kara gave a little squeak at the contact. It didn't take any prompting for her to relax into my side though. She was a cuddly kind of girl. Even when her cheeks were burning bright enough to shine.

We sat in comfortable silence for a few moments, content to enjoy each other's company there on the roof of the Dead End. It was nice up here. We even had a proper picnic going on with the very soft and fluffy quilt I'd conjured up. It was rather pleasant and peaceful as far as dates went.

And there was no denying that this was a date. Neither Kara nor I had called it that, fair enough. But we were alone on a roof with a blanket beneath us, set to watch the sunrise. I'd even brought a few treats from my seemingly unending stash to add to the picnic vibes.

Kara nibbled on a cookie to distract herself from just how closely she was leaning into my side. Her tiny, almost absent bites were adorable. I leaned us both back. The roof of the Dead End shifted to match my unspoken will, providing us with a nicely reclined surface to lay against as we looked up at the dawn sky.

The Dead End wasn't anywhere close to the tallest building in Gotham. We weren't even the tallest building in our neighborhood. But we had a nice, clear view to the east. Gotham had a wonderfully unique skyline. We watched it light up with sparkling glass, steel, and warming dark stone as the sun came up over Gotham Bay.

Kara let out a sigh as the first rays of dawn light reached us, drawing strength and rejuvenating energy from the sun. It seemed to do wonders to put her at ease. I had a feeling that dawn was special to Kryptonians. It just made sense for a people so closely tied to the sun.

The new day of light seemed to coax Kara's thoughts in a certain direction as she asked, "Sean? Can you explain what that 'new Age of Magic' really means? Kori seemed excited about it but she's always excited so that didn't really tell me much. Klarion and Raven were… well, they didn't seem to know how to feel."

A small smile ghosted onto my face, "I doubt anyone knows how to feel. It's kind of a big deal. It'll Change… well, everything."

"How so?" Kara asked, turning her head to look up at me.

"Magic was…" I began. "Restrained. Before I got to it, it was set into limitations that didn't make much sense. I mean, really, constants? In the literal concept of Change?"

Kara giggled, "Yeah when you put it that way, I can start to see the problem."

I shook my head, "It was all too reliant on mortal influences that didn't understand it or even understand that they were influencing it. That's what tends to happen over time. The people and beings who use Magic prefer something they can consistently rely on. Over generations upon generations, species upon species, those unconscious desires begin to stick in Magic. It's understandable from a mortal perspective but it leaves Magic much less powerful and true to itself.

"What I did was… shake things up a bit. I returned Magic to how it was supposed to function. Free to Change. I didn't give it a direction to Change into. Just… unclipped its wings and let it fly free."

"That's nice," A small smile graced Kara's face, and then she shook her head. "People are going to notice, aren't they?"

I laughed, "Oh, Hell yeah. They won't be able to 'NOT' notice. The mages especially but everyone's going to notice that reality feels a bit more… fluid and natural now."

I shook my head fondly, "It'll mean some very strange things. But that's how reality is supposed to be. Things are supposed to Change. For the better? For the worse? Probably both. Mainly, things will just Change 'for the interesting'. And Life will keep chugging along as it does best."

"So Change is more natural than 'staying the same'?" Kara asked.

"For Magic, yeah," I grinned as I elaborated. "Because Magic is Change and Change is Magic. For other things, it depends. Didi and her Endless siblings exist because they are constants. Islands of 'sameness' in a sea of Change. Most things in existence are a balance of both constants and Change. Like Life. Which is part of what makes Didi unique even among her siblings. She's just as much Life as she is Death so she's an island of 'sameness' as I said and a balance of constants and Change at the same time."

Kara furrowed her brow as she mulled that over, "… Metaphysics can get quite complicated, can't they?"

"Without a doubt," I nodded. "Hell, normal physics can get complicated, as I'm sure you know. Metaphysics just adds concepts, interactions, and information that don't quite fit right with purely physical reality. To fully explain and comprehend existence, you need both sides of the proverbial coin."

"And… that Kryptonian 'sci-superstition' collection you told me about earlier?" Kara asked slowly. "Where would that fall?"

"I don't rightly know just yet. I haven't looked at it. Wanna find out?" I offered with a grin.

Kara nodded eagerly, "I'm terribly curious. It's a piece of my history. Multiple pieces, if the 'collection' part is any indication. And even more than that, it's a part of my history I didn't even know existed! I've never heard anything about Kryptonian magic before."

"It does seem to be something special," I chuckled. "Kryptonians are about the last culture I expected to dabble in magic. But slap a 'science' label on it and yeah, I can see it."

I began producing the collection from the depths of my pocket space. The items were separated into the stuff I could immediately feel was non-magical and the stuff that had a bit 'more' going on. The non-magical items came out first, just to get them out of the way.

"A Sunlight Crown of Rao," Kara hummed, absently identifying the Kryptonian history with a glance. "Another Crown of Rao. Another… Goodness, I realize religion is the most common example of superstition but this seems somewhat redundant, doesn't it?"

I shrugged, "Eh, it's like finding a bunch of Christian crosses in a collection from Earth. I'm correct in assuming Raoism was the most dominant religion on Kryption, right?"

"It was," Kara nodded. "But even then, it was mostly… I don't want to say 'for show' but the description does fit. The vast, vast majority of Kryptonians had no contact with religion outside of once-in-a-lifetime events."

"Well, these crowns aren't entirely mundane but they're also nothing special as far as religious artifacts go," I said. "There was a very distant connection to a deity there at some point. But I think we'd have to conclude that Rao died with your planet, unfortunately. And that he likely wasn't all that powerful for a long time before that too."

"That does make sense," Kara agreed. "I've never been intensely religious. More just… culturally religious? As were most modern Kryptonians. Very few people actually practiced Raoism."

It didn't take long for us to get through the religious artifacts and into the good stuff. I produced a series of vaguely esoteric devices, showing them to Kara. They looked diverse in function but a similarity of form ran through all of them. Roughly handheld in size and hand-shaped, they looked like tools of some kind.

"Any idea what these are?" I asked.

Kara slowly shook her head, "I haven't the foggiest. Some sort of scientific instrument, perhaps?"

"I think you've got the right of it," I mused. "They look like handheld scanners and maybe even variable manipulators. They've got screens for displaying results and I can sense an element that I know to be magically reactive in a specifically quantifiable way inside all of them."

Kara let out an impressed hum, "Huh, it does make a kind of sense. Is it even possible to scientifically quantify magic?"

"Kind of?" I waved my hand so-so. "More than you'd think. At a certain level, you're just measuring Change. Actually discerning the reasons behind those changes — which is kinda what you want with science — is almost infinitely more difficult and subject to, heh, 'change' at any time."

An adorable, involuntary snort answered my pun. Kara blushed and quickly tried to pretend it didn't happen, "A-Ahem, well, that certainly fits with the Krypton I know."

"Yes, you are an inherently curious bunch, aren't you~? Even when you don't seem to realize what you're messing about with, it seems," I teased lightly.

"Like humans are any different," Kara pouted.

I chuckled, "I can't argue with that. Almost every sapient species I've encountered is naturally curious in some way. It's something of a requirement for any type of advanced society."

Kara nodded firmly, "Exactly. It'd be hard to progress if no one wanted to learn or innovate."

"Indeed, it would," I agreed, taking out another item from the collection and pausing as I processed what it was. "… Oh, now that's clever."

"What is it?" Kara asked with interest. "Other than a practically ancient pair of gloves, of course."

The pair of gloves were more appropriately described as gauntlets. They were crafted from some sort of bronzed alloy and leather. Lines of the alloy crisscrossed out from the center of the palm like spiderwebs. It was an impressive bit of craftsmanship. But what made the gauntlets truly special was the elementally opposite gems set into each palm.

"They seem to be some kind of forging gloves," I explained. "Likely used to heat up and cool off materials without a forge or traditional coolant. And to look stylish as all Hell while they do it. I didn't know Krypton had a steampunk era."

"Neither did I," Kara said. "They're in remarkably good condition for something that has to be more than a thousand years old. How do they work?"

"See those gems? The blue and the red?" I asked. "They're elemental conduits, enchanted with connections to the concepts of heat and cold. Power of some kind — be that magic, electricity, steam, or even clockwork kinetic energy — is channeled through them, and then the enchantments use the gems to transform whatever energy into the magical concepts of 'heat' and 'cold' which can be easily controlled and directed for more mundane effects. Magic and steampunk craftsmanship rolled into one nifty little package."

"That… is fascinating," Kara marveled. "What I wouldn't give to experience Krypton during an age of both steam and magic…"

"It's an intriguing concept. You can never have too many good steampunk settings. Steam-Magic-punk on top of that?" I chuckled. "Now, you're cooking with gas."

There were a few more examples from Krypton's apparently colorfully steampunk past in the collection. A very nice, steam-powered wand, using the magic it could cast to boil water and convert the additional thermodynamic energy into magic to feed back into the casting process. Clever bit of work, that one.

A few… eccentric… firearms, everything from a handheld gatling gun to a mounted shotgun that acted more like a cannon. They utilized attuned elemental dust — similar to the gems in the gauntlets — as a form of pseudo-gunpowder. Finally, a clockwork animatronic dragon that was simply beautifully crafted. Its intricate inner mechanisms were unfortunately far beyond repair.

It all painted a positively awesome picture in my mind of what Krypton was like at one point in its history. Steampunk was one of the best technological eras, just based on the sheer vibes it brought. Few other settings could compare, in my opinion. Add in magic and the aesthetic to be found there was utterly unmatched. And woefully unexplored, at least by me personally.

Eventually, though, Kara and I came out of that era of Krypton's magitech history. There was only one item left in the collection. And I could tell it was a doozy. Easily as interesting as the steampunk magitech, if not in its aesthetics than in its implications.

I took it out of my pocket space, paused, and laughed, "Now, 'that' is good."

Kara stared in shock, "Is that… a power ring?!"

"So it seems," I agreed. "Technically, it's more emotional than magical. But to the person who put this collection together, the difference was probably inconsequential."

"It's blue," Kara observed. "I've only ever seen green rings before."

"And look at this," I said, smirking slightly. "Does that symbol on top there look familiar?"

"The El Shield…" Kara murmured with clear awe in her voice. "This… Do you think it belongs to the House of El?"

"I couldn't say for certain," I demurred. "Blue rings are conduits for the Hope 'section' of the emotional spectrum. So it could just mean 'hope'. But it's possible there's a double meaning hidden in plain sight there."

I examined the ring more closely, "This one isn't like the usual blue power rings you might come across. It's connected to Hope but not a direct conduit. Some clever Kryptonian scientist — probably one of your ancestors, considering the symbol — must have partially cracked the code and created it as a connection to Hope. It's not perfect. But it's a damn good attempt."

I nodded to myself in satisfaction, "Here. You should have it. As far as I can tell, it's safe. And I have a hunch you might just be the rightful inheritor. Well, you or Clark. But he isn't here right now. So…"

"Sean…?" Kara gaped at me for a moment at a loss for words.

"Here, allow me," The hint of a smile graced my face.

Kara absently allowed me to take her hand, still struck speechless. I slid the ring onto her middle finger, the gesture teasing with its implications but not too teasing by sliding it onto her wedding finger. It still got a strange little noise out of Kara as her mind naturally went to more romantic places.

"Mrrrmmmm~," She shuddered slightly, staring down at the ring now on her finger. "… How can I accept this, Sean?"

"Just say 'yes'," I shrugged. "I'm almost positive it originally belonged to your family. If not, I'm giving it to you now. 'Finder's keepers' means it's mine to do what I please with. Trust me, it'll help more than you can possibly realize. Power rings are shockingly versatile."

The ring vibrated on her finger and a robotic voice rang out from it, "[Standby mode deactivated. Charge at 86%. Passive charging: active. Suitable source of Hope generated by User. Scanning User. Genome recognized. Greetings, Daughter of El.]"

"And that settles it," I nodded. "It's yours, Kara. A conduit of Hope for a symbol of Hope."

"This is amazing," Kara muttered, reverentially running her thumb over the ring's surface. "A lost piece of our history… I don't know how I could possibly thank you, Sean."

"Your company is more than enough thanks for me," I chuckled. "Also, freely giving away the ring seems ironically appropriate for where I found it."

With our little stroll through the collection done, I leaned back and simply stared off into the distance. The sun was a few 'inches' above the horizon now, and the sight of Gotham lit up by its morning rays brought a smile to my face. It was especially cathartic after last night's reminder of Yharnam and the night that seemed as if it would never end.

Beside me, Kara also stared out at the scenic view for a moment. Then she glanced at me. I let her stare at my profile until something seemed to firm within her. She huffed a fortifying breath, psyching herself up for something.

She muttered to herself under her breath so quietly that even I had to strain slightly to hear it, her words blurring together with how quickly she spoke, "You can do this, Kara. You can do this! Nothing to it. Just like Harley said. Just a quick… So quickly you can't second guess yourself! It's not that scary. Not at all! Just… have to…!"

Kara suddenly forced herself into motion, practically blurring across the scant inches that separated us. I turned to face her. I didn't get far. Soft lips gently pressed against my cheek. Kara kissed me. On the cheek. Mostly…

My partial turn was just enough to throw her aim slightly off and half of her kiss ended up planted on the corner of my lips. Her eyes were screwed shut tightly for courage, her brow furrowed in a way that was simply adorable. Her kiss lingered for a long, blissfully sweet moment before she pulled back with an almost relieved sigh.

"Thank you, Sean," She whispered, not even daring to open her eyes in her flustered embarrassment.

For a brief instant, I was actually struck speechless by the tooth-rotting sweetness — the sheer wholesomeness — on display, "I… You're welcome, Kara."

Her eyes still closed, her cheeks blushing a flattering shade of pink — Kara nodded and made a little satisfied sound, "Meep."

The tension drained out of her as she cuddled in close again and leaned her head onto my shoulder. Only then — once she didn't have to worry about staring straight into my eyes — did she open her eyes again to continue watching the sunrise. A silly smile danced on her beautifully blushing face as she settled herself into adorable contentedness with what she'd accomplished.

Instead of the sunrise, I watched her like that for a moment, still slightly shocked by something so simple. It wasn't as if I'd never been kissed on the cheek before. Yet it still took my mind a second to catch up with what had happened. Kara was almost dangerously innocent and adorable… ENTIRELY too cute for her own good…

I eventually shook my head with a fond chuckle. It was practically unfair how wholesome that just was. Especially with how proud she now seemed of her 'victory'. I'd let her have it for now. Incremental progress was still progress. Paying her back with lewd corruption could wait for our second date. 'Cause no matter what, this cinnamon roll was as good as conquered in my eyes. She just didn't know what adorable lewdness lay in her future yet…


The first time she felt something mortal on her trail, Hecate thought nothing of it. There was something a bit strange about a mortal walking her same path but nothing that a coincidence couldn't explain. She shook the mortal off soon enough anyway with just the natural flips and turns of her Magic-coaxed direction.

The second time it happened, Hecate felt it was a bit more suspicious. More worthy of taking note of, especially considering that it was the same mortal as far as she could tell. She put a bit more effort into shaking them off that time.

When the mortal impossibly kept coming back, Hecate knew something fuck-y was going on. It didn't take her long to discern what, the hints laid bare before an Avatar of Magic.

A prophecized quest hounded her. The kind the Olympians were so infuriatingly fond of. The mortal was merely the instrument of fate. Unfortunately, Hecate could tell that this particular mortal was also acting with enough divine backing to baffle even her.

It didn't matter what she did to shake them. They always found her trail. Hours upon hours of walking an impossible, Magic-derived path meant nothing to this mortal. Every time Hecate escaped their pursuit, the respite was brief. Familiar divine blessings and fate pushed the mortal past reasonable tracking abilities.

The Maiden freely cursed the bastard Olympians. Even the Mother couldn't hide her frown. Hecate as a whole should have expected something like this. The Olympians were stubborn even for gods. They didn't know when to give up and it only made sense that they'd set one of their mortal thralls onto her trail.

Worse still were the Greek Fates who made Hecate's discovery inevitable. Those old bitches were entirely too meddlesome for Hecate's tastes. They weren't above twisting fate to their benefit at all, thinking themselves at the top of the world — beyond reproach. It was disgraceful and they'd gotten away with it for much too long.

Scowling, Hecate picked up her pace. She wouldn't be able to avoid this prophecized quest forever. Anything she did now was just prolonging the inevitable. Even to Magic, fate was a constant. More accurately, DESTINY was a constant. An Endless one.

And while Destiny of the Endless had not taken interest in Hecate's situation, he was remarkably hands-off with those below him for a fate-weaver. Thus, Hecate couldn't rely on the Greek Fates suddenly being censured or chastised for their selfish meddling. After so long of the same, there was a tacit understanding that they wouldn't face any consequences.

It didn't make much sense to Hecate. The Greek Fates — and the Fates of other pantheons — were making Destiny their bitch in her opinion. Yet Destiny didn't simply take control of his concept as Hecate would in his place. There had to be some sort of long game there that she wasn't privy to. With fate-weavers, there always was…

Hecate didn't particularly care about any game of 12-dimensional chess going on. All she cared for at the moment was the fate-weavers who'd made themselves her enemies. Entirely out of arrogance, pride, fate, whatever. Stubborn Greeks, Hecate grumbled to herself, both mantles completely agreeing on that.

There was no help forthcoming. Only the promise of sanctuary at this Dead End that Sean had given her. Hecate could have turned and fought. But she didn't particularly wish to harm the (potentially) poor soul who'd been drafted by the Olympians. Her vengeance was reserved for those at the top.

Still, none of her efforts to dodge her pursuer were very effective at all. Her concealing spells faded more quickly than they should have. Her stealth matrices eventually went up in so much smoke. The only thing that seemed to do anything was keeping distance between herself and the mortal fated to find her.

Upon her first realization, Hecate had been somewhat concerned about being followed. After a few hours of failed evasion attempts, it was much more of an annoyance than anything else. She knew she wasn't in any true danger. Even with the divine backing of the Olympians, there was only so much a mortal could hope to do to an Avatar of Magic. That didn't mean the persistence was any less… vexing… though.

Eventually, Hecate just huffed and ignored the fated fool on her trail. Magic urged her on, weaving in and out of the Sphere of Gods and the mortal realm in a circuitous path that should have led nowhere at all. Yet somehow, Hecate found her destination at the end of that irrational path.

She dipped back into the mortal realm to find herself in a city built atop tainted magic. The curses within Gotham's foundation whispered to Hecate. She mostly ignored them in favor of the oasis of magic she now stood in front of. 'The Dead End', or so the sign claimed. Hecate suddenly realized that Sean's cryptic hints were all too literal.

The magic of the Dead End beckoned her, an island of peace and friendship in a city that was practically inhospitable otherwise. It carried none of the cursed taint that she would have expected from its surroundings. Just pure magic and a blossoming intelligence in the form of a locational spirit.

'How curious…' Hecate mused to herself as she walked up to the threshold and politely requested entrance from the Genius Loci. 'How very curious…'

The Genius Loci granted her entrance as if it'd been expecting her, warmly welcoming her like an old friend. The feeling brought a smile to her face. Magic was content here. The whole Dead End was alive with a buzz of Change. Hecate could tell that nothing had been the same since this establishment opened its doors.

Hecate walked inside. Immediately, she blinked at the unique scene presented to her. The Crone — when she still existed — had kept quite up to date with the hero and villain scene of the world. All the better for her to inflict harm and pain.

What Hecate saw now went against what she thought she knew. Heroes and villains both made themselves at home in the Dead End. Mostly locals to this cursed city: Batgirl, Black Bat, Red Hood, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, Black Mask, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Solomon Grundy. But the hero team known as the Teen Titans were also there, relatively comfortable with their surroundings.

The real surprise came from those Hecate didn't immediately recognize. A woman at the peak of her prime, monotone and infinite in a way that didn't quite 'fit' with the rest of reality. Another outsider, a statuesque false angel that observed anything and everything with eyes that didn't see the present. A young man who the Dead End itself seemed to swirl around, safely ensconced in the angel's embrace as if she would never let him go again.

The only one she did recognize behind the bar was Lady Death — a curious sight that made Hecate do a double-take. Yes, that was undeniably Death of the Endless, alright. She was here, in this unique Dead End of a cursed city, and she was turning to smile at Hecate as she noticed her. It was a kind smile, a familiar one from uncountable eons ago that Hecate just barely knew before her birth.

Yet, even with Lady Death and her kind smile, Hecate found her attention returning to the man in the angel's embrace. She didn't recognize him but she knew him anyway. Somehow… Magic sang praises around him, fangirling in a way that Hecate remembered from the ringing in of this new Age of Magic. Yes, he was who she came for. The man who'd Changed things so drastically.

The Maiden drove Hecate forward, holding her head high. The Mother settled into the background to simply watch. She approached the bar and Magic's newly most favored behind it. Somehow, she didn't feel jealous of that distinction. There was a certain amount of 'rightness' to be found with the man who'd rang in a new age for reality.

Sean casually finished handing out a drink and turned to Hecate as if her presence wasn't a surprise at all. She could only hope that was true, a certain sense of jittering nerves setting in now that she was face to face with the one who'd flipped her existence on its head. He smiled at her. Hecate found her lips twitching upward in return.

"Greetings," She said, settling herself at the bar as if she belonged. "You are Sean."

It was said as a statement, not a question. Hecate knew it to be true. Even if Magic wasn't all but screaming it in her ear, she could FEEL it. This was the man she'd spoken to through Magic in that language of Truth.

"I am," Sean nodded. "Hello, Hecate. You made good time."

A young woman gasped — Starfire of the Teen Titans, Hecate identified — at the mention of her name, "Friend Magic Hecate~! You came!"

The other person she'd spoken to through Magic made herself known as quite the friendly soul. Hecate could barely react as she was glomped and thrown entirely off balance. Any sense of dignity Hecate tried to present herself with was blasted away by Kori's sheer FRIENDSHIP.

A blunt male voice — one of Kori's teammates, Robin — came to Hecate's rescue, "Kori, let her breathe."

A catlike voice rang out as Catwoman chortled, "How adorable~."

The smothering friendship hug was loosened a touch and Hecate was allowed to sit up straight again, "T-Thank you. I suppose you would be Kori…?"

"Correct!" Kori beamed a smile, still practically hanging off Hecate. "It is of the good to finally meet you!"

"L-Likewise," Hecate smiled shakily in reply, slightly overwhelmed by the young woman's energy.

"Who's this then, Gothboy~?" Harley Quinn practically popped up on Hecate's other side. "She's cute~! Real hidden MILF energy~!"

The Mother blushed brilliantly in the back of Hecate's being, "That-…"

Sean thankfully introduced her to the rest of the immediate audience, noticing Hecate's loss for words, "This is Hecate. 'Former' Greek Goddess and the first Avatar of Magic."

"Hello, Hecate," Lady Death — Didi — smiled at her with an expression that set Hecate utterly at ease. "It's good to finally meet you again after so long."

"(~_^)" Black Bat — Cass — raised a questioning eyebrow. 'Former Greek Goddess? You can do that?'

Hecate blinked at her in surprise. How…? Even over the silent hero's mask, Hecate understood Cass' expression perfectly. 'Hearing it' as if she'd actually spoken. Was that not magic? How curious…

"Yes, 'former'," Hecate confirmed, absently pondering the curiosity of communication as she did. "I no longer wish to associate myself with them. Truthfully, I haven't for a long, long time. But my hands have been tied until very recently."

Poison Ivy nodded, "With some of their reputations — especially Zeus — I can understand that desire perfectly."

Hecate scowled, "He is so much worse than you'd believe in the flesh. They're all bastards but he's the king bastard…"

"That," Batgirl — Barbara — paused. "Sounds like there's a story there."

"Not a good one," Hecate replied. "I was hasty, irreverent, and foolish, and agreed to an ancient pact that they held over my head for far too long. Even after… a persona of mine… turned against them completely, they still claimed me for the reputation I could give them."

"Ah, divine clout games," Harley nodded knowingly. "You're a catch and they don't wanna let that go, even when 'keeping' you does more harm than good~!"

"That is one way to put it…" Hecate agreed slowly.

Raven of the Teen Titans deadpanned a question, "Then, I'm assuming, Sean did what he does best and swooped in at just the right time to set everything right in dramatic fashion?"

"Yes?" Hecate cocked her head curiously. "How did you know?"

Raven shot her a flat expression, "I'm pretty sure we caught the tail end of that — Sean's half of it, at least — last night. The part where he turned all of Magic into something almost unrecognizable."

Despite Raven's dead tone, Hecate couldn't help but smile at the reminder, "Oh, it's wonderful, isn't it? Magic hasn't been this happy since I was still young! So many new Changes to explore and play with!"

"And the rest of us are left trying to compensate at a dead sprint," Raven pointed out dryly.

"Ah, I can see how that would be… concerning," Hecate blushed slightly. "At the very least, you may take heart in knowing that Magic itself has not been in better health for eons…"

"So… Avatar of Magic. How's, uh, how's that working out for you?" Beast Boy asked somewhat awkwardly.

"It sounds like a rather important role in the universe. I would hope you're having no concerning issues that the rest of us should worry about?" Black Mask added to the 'small-talk' inquiry, his question much more shrewd and telling.

"Nothing worth mentioning after the most recent Changes," Hecate shrugged. "I wouldn't call it a 'role' though. It simply is what I am. At the beginning and the end of my being, I AM the first Avatar of Magic. I could not cease my 'role' any more easily than you could cease being human."

"Interesting," Black Mask considered. "So 'Avatar' might more accurately be considered your species than your job and title?"

"It's both. They're inextricably intertwined," Hecate said, always willing to indulge a fellow student of the world.

"So you're not just a goddess?" Riddler asked curiously.

Hecate couldn't help but snort, "Those Olympian bastards wish… I am the first being born of Magic. I was old when the gods were young. They called me the creator of the universe, at one point, you know? Perhaps that will give you a clue as to why the Greek blowhards value me so much."

"Uh, that's… You didn't create the universe though… right?" Red Hood — Jason — asked, his masked face swiveling to stare at her in an approximation of shock.

"I did not. I told them as much. They do not listen," Hecate sniffed slightly.

He sagged in his seat, "Thank God. I don't know if I could handle meeting the creator of the universe tonight along with the false angel from another reality and the Infinite Dragon God who cares about nothing other than sweets…"

"Sweets…" Ophis mumbled, staring forlornly at the space on the bar in front of her.

Sean rolled his eyes, "Not right now. You'll ruin your appetite."

"Preposterous," Ophis pouted back at him, somehow without a single shift of her facial features. "Always have room for sweets…"

Simmy eerily turned to stare at Jason with blank silver eyes, "[Consolation: There, there]."

"That's not actually all that comforting, Step-Simmy," The teenage girl — Alice — beside Lady Death deadpanned.

"You're entirely too used to her already, Alice," Jason shook his head.

Alice shrugged, "What can you do? It's the Dead End. And Dad. And Mom. And new step-moms from Dad's past or whatever. You adapt or you lose your mind and die screaming."

"Thank you," Jason drawled flatly back at her. "For that wonderful mental image."

"(¬з¬)" Cass pursed her lips in a slightly judgmental expression. 'It's not that bad, dude. Just don't die.'

"Didi can help with that~!" Harley interjected with a cackle. "Probably can't do much about you losing your mind though, hehehe~!"

Hecate sat back and watched the exchanges with a small amount of awe. For one, the two impossible women who seemed very closely tied to Sean. The Infinite Dragon God (Goddess?) and the false angel were like nothing Hecate had ever seen.

Ophis was infinite and curiously simple in that infiniteness. Few desires with infinite depth…? And Simmy was 'almost' a divine but not like any divine spawned from mortal minds. In a way, she was more similar to the Source's angels that she took after in form.

Then there were the mortals in the bar. The 'little folk' as the kinder Olympians might call them. They fit so well with divine-level powers and beyond that Hecate would have assumed they didn't even know. They clearly did though. And she was quite impressed that none of them were bowing their heads in utter deference or worship.

That tended to be Hecate's experience among the mortals. Even when she loved them so, she could never get them to treat her as a person before treating her as a goddess. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that her visits to the mortal realm were usually accompanied by 'blessed' gifts of Magic…? Not that she would stop if that was truly the reason. Hecate quite liked sharing the fruits of her domain.

The Mother smiled fondly as the Maiden watched on in fascination. Already, this Dead End felt more like a home than Olympus ever did. The people were kind, Magic was happy, and Hecate had been offered a place to belong. After so long and so much, she couldn't ask for much more than that.

Which, of course, was when the scene was ruined, fate catching up to Hecate in the form of a slammed open door, "My quest shall face no dead ends!"

The man behind the slammed door rudely barged his way into the Dead End, declaring his intent for the whole world to hear. As the man made his rude entrance, Hecate felt subtle magic being weaved around her, hiding her from fate in a way even SHE didn't know was possible. Curious, she looked to the source. Sean shot her a discreet little wink.

The sudden intruder was a tall, well-built man, clad head to toe in a style of armor that Hecate unfortunately recognized all too well. A part of her was almost impressed to see a Hoplite — all be it, a heavily modified and modernized one — in the current day. The rest of her scowled at the unmistakably Greek influences upon her pursuer.

"I am Hercules the XIIth!" The man introduced himself to the bar, utterly heedless of the fact that NO ONE ASKED.

'Of course, it would be that name,' Hecate fumed. Surprisingly, a few of the others in the bar also expressed discontent with the hero the man was named after. It seemed that bastard hero's ancient reputation still proceeded him. Hecate's pursuer gave no thought to the poor reaction his introduction garnered, feelings that only grew poorer as he continued.

"Son of Zeus! Foster of Ares and Athena! Fated of Apollo! Blessed Champion of Olympus!" Hercules XII listed off his 'accomplishments' as if they were going out of style. "The one tasked by the Fates themselves to reclaim Olympus' lost goddess! You! Barkeep! You will aid me in my quest!"

"I will?" Sean raised a single, unflinching, and quite unamused eyebrow.

"Excellent!" Hercules XII exclaimed, ignoring the obvious, rhetorical question in Sean's words and bulling his way forward as if it was an agreement. "You will be rewarded handsomely! After I take my cut, of course… A finder's fee, yes… Regardless! I require information! Rejoice, mortals, you aid a demigod's quest tonight! Where may I find the goddess Hecate?!"

"Oh, he sucks," Harley's face screwed up in disgust at Hercules'… everything.

"Like Savage with somehow even less tact," Raven deadpanned.

"No manners at all," Penguin tutted.

"Inefficient as well," Black Mask casually commented.

"Was he raised in a barn?" Catwoman half-jokingly, half-honestly asked.

"Rude… rude… little bug…" Solomon Grundy rumbled, standing partially out of his seat.

"What does a slow-witted giant know about a demigod's worth?" Hercules XII scoffed harshly, still holding himself as if he was the only one in the room that mattered.

Alice scowled, "Grundy's morning dumps are smarter than you, asshole."

"( ̄x ̄)" Cass joined Harley in disgust. 'Didi… I don't even want to fight him. And that's saying something.'

"Guy's got a death wish," Cyborg snorted.

Sean shook his head, his patience quickly running out, "Alright, you don't get to come into my bar and insult my workers. Also, I think I hate you. Like, a lot. Run along before I decide you deserve my personal attention."

"Ohhhh, you definitely don't want that, buddy," Barbara said, playing up the 'ohhhh' with an amused smirk.

Hercules XII visibly fumed at being so blatantly dismissed, slamming the haft of his spear into the floor in an attempt at intimidation, "Know your place, mortals! I am the Son of Zeus! The Champion of Olympus! Hera's most favored! You will aid me on my quest or you will all die!"

Ivy snorted, "Son of Zeus AND most favored of Hera? That's almost impressive. I always thought the former precluded the latter considering Hera's mythical hatred for Zeus' infidelity."

"Yeah, I'm callin' cap," Harley nodded. "I bet he's just saying shit now. No way that legendary dysfunctional couple agreed to sponsor a bastard child."

"W-Wha-! No! I would not m-make up titles to make myself sound more important than I actually am!" Hercules XII sputtered tellingly.

The entire bar stopped and gave him a deadpan look at that. The knowing silence was deafening. Hercules XII shifted awkwardly on his feet, a novel sight for a man in full armor. Eventually, he decided to just push forward as if he hadn't said anything.

"This establishment is harboring the purpose of my quest! I can feel it in FATE!" Hercules XII exclaimed. "You will all spill your secrets, even if I must force them from you at spearpoint-!"

Suddenly, Ophis spoke up in a whisper that echoed impossibly loud within the Dead End, "You are too loud. Too annoying. Too stupid. As bad as Baka-Red… Shut. Up."

Ophis' glare could have smothered the sun like a candle flame between two fingers. The very concept of Silence rolled out from her Infinite being like a tidal wave. Hercules XII alone was caught up in it, drowning on dry land. His voice was stolen, his half-granted divinity quelled, and any protest he could make was utterly Silenced. The fool clutched at his throat, dropping everything in desperation and pleas that were never heard.

Sean just chuckled, the sound a touch darker and more satisfied than his usual tone, "Maybe — just maybe — you'll realize that you're a bit outmatched here now, boy. You have no clue what you walked into. Since you were drafted into this by your divine father, I might feel bad for you… if you weren't a complete dick."

Sean stepped down from his false angelic Simmy-throne, his sheer presence filling the Dead End and looming over the Silenced Hercules XII, "But you are. And I don't. So you're going to run along now. I'm not asking anymore. Go tell Daddy how you failed. How you offended people you should have never met."

Hercules XII fell to his knees, terror painted on his face beneath his helmet. Sean came to a stop, standing over him with an almost casual smile so at odds with the weight that must have been crushing down on the deserving demigod. His expression twisted into a disgusted grimace as Hercules XII… lost control of his bladder.

"Don't fucking piss on my floor," Sean snapped, his voice more of a primordial growl than anything mortal.

Miraculously, the waste streaking down Hercules XII's thigh reversed course at Sean's command. Hercules XII frantically nodded as he un-pissed himself. The rest of the bar watched with disbelief and shocked humor in their eyes. Even for Sean, that was ridiculous. It couldn't have happened to a better target though.

Sean scowled at Hercules XII, a portal opening beneath the demigod as he did, "If I never see you again, it'll still be too soon. Get the fuck out of my sight."

It was with almost palpable relief that Hercules XII dropped through the portal beneath his knees. Hecate was left gaping at the events that had just taken place before her eyes. She could feel Olympus on the other side of that portal before it closed. The throne room at that. The OCCUPIED throne room…

Ophis casting the demigod into Infinite Silence was incredible enough. But then Sean had scared him into UN-PISSING himself and dropped him directly into the Olympians' throne room where he would undoubtedly proceed to RE-PISS himself in front of his divine father and bastard gods. It was… beyond incredible. Hecate had no words.

Sean clapped his hands as if shaking them free of dust. He cast a cleansing flame upon the area Hercules XII had been kneeling — just in case. Just as suddenly as it appeared, the intimidating presence that filled the bar was gone and Sean was back to 'normal'.

He turned to Hecate with a carefree smile, "Well, that's that dealt with. Hopefully, the Olympians will get the message but I honestly don't have much confidence in that. Oh well, we'll deal with them after they decide to dig their own graves. Hecate? Do you want something to drink? My treat."

She stared at him for a moment. Just… stared. Disbelieving laughter bubbled up in her chest. Hecate quickly found herself unable to help but dissolve into a fit of cathartic giggles. She laughed freely and openly at the sudden Changes to her existence and decided, yes, this fascinatingly curious Dead End was very much worth sticking around for.