Young Titan (DC)

(The quest/fanfic is currently 166,986 words long and ongoing) This quest is written in the 2nd pov ('you') One of your parents is an immortal being of immense power and an ego to match, a god. Luckily you only inherited the former. Okay, maybe only just a bit of the latter. ______________________________________ I'm reposting this quest by aerion78 on Fiction.live, and if you like this story, be sure to check out the author's profile there. ______________________________________

DevionKing · Anime & Comics
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45 Chs

Apotheosis part - 4

Words 1.936


A blanket of suffocating tension falls over the room. A muscle twitches visibly in Batman's jaw and his eyes swivel to Superman.

"Thank you for bringing him," he says with just the slightest undercurrent of irritation breaking through his dispassionate facade. "please take your seat so we may begin."

Superman pays you a last glance before striding to the empty seat beside Batman, leaving you all alone at the head of the table like some kid at their parent-teacher conference.

Ironic, considering Batman is responsible for tearing you away from - No. You're not going down that route again.

You meet each of their gazes levelly and with the arrogance of only someone who knows exactly what's going to happen in the next five seconds at any given moment. Seeing as only one of the million or so probable paths ahead led to an all-out brawl, you don't pretend to understand the concept of humility.

"So," your hands come together with the force of a thunderclap that draws not a single reaction from the gathered heroes. "I'm finally here. By the way, thank you so much for the hospital care, I really appreciated the handcuffs. Nice touch."

"Does he always talk this much?" Aquaman's voice is low and rumbling, like waves rising up in a tide to crash against the sands, appropriate for the King of the Oceans.

Most would cower at the lord of the seas' annoyance. For you, pride rears its ugly head, and the overwhelming urge to teach this jumped land fish his place on the food chain, preferably in a violent spectacle, rises up in the back of your mind.

A scathing remark rests on the tip of your tongue, but then you realize that if you wanted to get underneath his skin, simply ignoring the king's words, as though they're as inconsequential as a soft gust of wind would be far far more effective.

Heroes. They can't stand it when they're not the center of attention.

"You know," you continue. "I was expecting a lot of things when I woke up. A couple of bouquets of flowers, some chocolates, maybe a pretty nurse. Why I even hoped maybe for a word of thanks from you most vaunted heroes for helping to save the day."

"Sit down," The Dark Knight demands from his seat.

You round on him with teeth bared in a grimace of a smile. "And who'll make me, you? No? Thought so. Stick to your shadows and rooftops, Bruce."

Wonder Woman's knuckles tighten to a bone-white around the hilt of her sword. "He may not be able to, but we can."

"Enough!" It's a miracle that the table doesn't shatter into two under the force of Superman's closed fist. "I didn't expect anything from him, but I expected from you of all people to behave with some manner of decorum, Diana. There will be no fighting."

You can't decide whether to be offended or vindicated. So you settle for both.

"Superman is right," Batman finally says after the tension lessens. "no more fighting. There's been enough of that. Cadmus, take a seat."

You do so without any glib response, mostly because of the glare you face from the Man of Steel.

"J'onn," the Man of Steel says. "please begin."

The Martian Manhunter turns to you. "Cadmus Othrys," he says your name like it's that of a condemned man. "the Justice League has deliberated for a significant length on the subject of your...detention. We have but one question for you. Were you responsible for actions in Gotham City on December 17th, which are not limited to the killing of Oswald Cobblepot and his many associates? Please answer truthfully. This may determine our decision."

"Phew," Green Arrow whistles from where he's reclining in his chair. "Get the kid a drink before you ask a loaded question like that." His voice tapers off under the wave of glares that fall on him. "Sorry serious topic, shutting my mouth now."

Maybe this should have been a cataclysmic moment in your life, when you came to fully grasp the severity of your actions and begin the long and difficult path to redemption. You can feel the weight of each pair of eyes on you, searching, examining, judging, you. Warning buzzes in the back of your mind that lying would get you nowhere here.

But none of that matters to you. All you can think about is why the fuck does everyone and their cat care so much about one no-good gangster who's better off as dust lining the sewers of Gotham than he ever was alive.

You turn to Bruce and can almost physically feel how much he wants to jump over the table and pummel the truth out of you. You smile and meet his glare head-on.

"Yes. He got what he deserved."

Silence meets your declaration. You swear you can hear crickets somewhere in the background.

"He is not lying," The Manhunter finally says.

"At least the kid's honest - for a mass murderer I mean!" Green Arrow hastily adds.

Batman leans forward in his chair, fingers splayed across the table. "And you have no remorse for your actions?"

"Remorse implies I did something wrong, doesn't it?" you ask rhetorically.

"So were all the others also deserving? All forty-six of them?"

"Throwing out a number won't make me change my mind."

"We're not trying to change your mind," Hawkman speaks for the first time. "it's clear you have no regrets. All this now is a pointless exercise in rudimentary psychology."

Huh, the rooster talks the most sense.

"It didn't end well for the last person who tried to get in my head, just ask the Manhunter. How is your niece by the way?"

The Manhunter eyes you with a gaze filled with very dangerous implications for your health. "Convalescing."

"I'll make sure to send some flowers." You return to your attention to Batman. "So is this it, Bruce? You drag me up in front of all your superhero friends because I did what you were always too weak to do?"

You've always been able to antagonize him, it's one of your natural talents, and it holds true even now when Bruce's mouth shifts into a snarl beneath the cowl.

"Refusing to kill is not weakness."

"No," you chuckle blithely. "it's just a lack of conviction."

"And what convictions are those?" he asks. "that the only answer is a permanent one? To play God with someone's life, and act as judge, jury and executioner?"

"Isn't that what you're doing right now?" you ask quietly. "Standing on your moral high ground? If you can't see the hypocriscy in those words when you sit by side with Amazons and Thanagarians, then not even God himself could convince you that some people are beyond redemption."

Wonder Woman averts her eyes from your searching gaze, though it's not from shame. The Thanagarian pair and Aquaman at least don't.

"It's not for you to decide," Batman says through gritted teeth.

When you turn to look at Batman, the room flickers and the golden walls come apart at the seams reforming into grey grimy brick and a narrow rain-stained alleyway. The light warps from bright and warm to a dull flickering fluorescent. And Batman, the Dark Knight of Gotham turns into a young little boy with the blood of his parents stained across his shirt.

All you can think of at that moment is the ashen remains of a small unforgettable pizza diner and the sickening warmth of its still burning embers on your skin.

"I didn't decide it, Cobblepot did when he killed someone I cared about."

But before either can speak again, another interjects, and his words are not filled with rapprochement or condescension as so many others.

"Sometimes taking a life to save another is necessary," Superman says with unwavering sad eyes and a voice laced with an undertone of long-held grief.

"Sometimes, to protect innocent life, you have to do something that can never be taken back, something that'll eat at you for years afterward and leave you thinking about what you could have done differently, and you'll always come back to the conclusion that what you did was the only solution, and it'll still leave you sick of your own skin.

"Many around this table have taken a life. But, it should never be enjoyed, never looked forward to. Never. Killing is only the answer for people with no recourse. What happened to your friend was terrible, and Cobblepot did deserve justice, but all the others? I can't speak for Batman or anyone else, but the worst thing you did that day, Cadmus, was you chose to kill, you weren't forced to."

When you look at Superman, the Man of Steel reduced to just a normal man overcome with regret, all your eyes can see is a star plummeting through the infinite darkness of space and the ruins of a subway station, broken corpses scattered about, and the Man of Steel sobbing over the body in his arms.

A life taken to save another.

Maybe you could have been like them, filled with optimism about the chance for redemption, but you'd been born in Gotham. Your mentors were a kindly pizza shop owner who died alone and without justice, a mal-adjusted kleptomaniac who used you for her heists, a billionaire failing to cope with the ghosts of his past, and one of the deadliest mercenaries in modern history.

The cards had been stacked against you from the very beginning. You could understand Superman's point of view, and equally, you could also reject it outright as well.

"That's some heavy stuff," Green Arrow whispers under his breath.

You turn from Superman's beseeching gaze. It was a nice speech but far too late to do you any good. You would have done what you did a thousand times over.

"Is that the last of your bloviating?" you finally ask. "You've judged me already, and now you pass the sentence, don't you? Go on, already, I don't have all day."

The League shares silent meaningful glances with one another. Finally, and perhaps most appropriately, the one who set you down this path is the one to announce the verdict.

"Cadmus Othrys, we have decided you pose an extreme risk to those around you and one that can't be effectively addressed through normal institutions. As such, the Justice League, as a body has decided that..."

"You will be placed under the care of Wonder Woman on Themiscyra, until it has been decided you are no longer a threat to those around you."

Meaning never.

They look at you expectantly, as though waiting for you to break down and beg for forgiveness. They'd be waiting a long while to get that out of you. You don't feel anger at the declaration, no burning need to fight for your freedom overtakes you. You simply meet their gazes levelly one by one, before turning to your new warden.

"And when will we be leaving?"

"Immediately," she says curtly. Well, that's going to be a fun space ride.

"Good, the less time I spend on this flying piece of junk the better. Oh and Bruce, I have one last thing to tell you."

Batman's eyes widen by the barest fraction when they meet yours, and for the first time since Klarion, you can feel Time's threads reaching out to you like an old friend, filling your mind with visions of a thousand different futures.

"You should know more than anyone else, that the worst villains aren't born, they're made."

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