Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

Disclaimer: I do not own any DC characters or locations. All rights belong to DC Comics. I do, however, retain the rights to all characters and locations of my own creation, which include: Rebecca Chavez, Holly Sanders, Apathy/Ruby, Jeremiah Belmont, Michael Kubrick, Zaria (as well as her Celarian race), Shao Shen, Trance, Police Chief Gerald Palmer, Officer Stevens, Officer Harrow, Emilia Marconi, Francis Baldoni, Arnold Pavoni, Senator Thomas Greene, Agent Croft, as well as Silverstone City and all its interior locations of my own creation.

Rating: T+

Note: This is it, the epic, final showdown between Ravager and her greatest enemy!

Side Note: Just two more story arcs left to go. As a little preview, the next story arc will focus on Holly, while the final arc ties up some loose ends concerning Rose's family. After that, there'll be a couple more final chapters to end the series.

All Chapters: http://www.comicvine.com/forums/fan-fic/8/ravager4s-fan-fic-archives/660884/#1

Chapter #83

Ext. Silverstone Loading Shipping Docks – Night

The night is uncharacteristically cool for summer, especially considering that the last few nights have been unbearably humid. That makes it the perfect night for criminal scum to come out and do their dirty work. For example, the weapon smugglers currently unloading a huge shipment from a nondescript cargo ship down at the docks. While some of the smaller creates are unloaded by hand, most of the larger containers are being hoisted down by a crane to be moved by loading trucks into the nearby holding yard.

The smugglers have come well prepared for any surprises, too, every one of them armed with an automatic weapon of some sort. Should anyone be stupid enough to stop by and try to uncover their operation, they will simply make that person disappear, doesn't matter who it is. With hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cargo, they aren't about to let themselves get caught. Of course, the most they figure that they'll have to deal with is a wayward cop or two coming to check out suspicious activity.

Smuggler: Easy, easy!

The man standing down at the dock directing the crane throws his arms up as an urge for the man operating the crane to slow down. If the guy isn't careful, he could drop the massive shipping container and do who knows what kind of damage, not only to the dock but also the only truck that they have to move it.

Smuggler: Alright, take it down nice and slow! Slowly... slowly... alright, good. Set it down and release.

When the container comes to a firm rest on the back of the truck, the crane releases it and then moves on to the next one, as the truck drives off to the yard to be unloaded by a second crane. Releasing a small breath, the smuggler adjusts the strap of his uzi around his shoulder and waits for the next container to come down. He doesn't wait long, though, before someone suddenly interrupts him.

Apathy: My, my, what's this? A party I wasn't invited to?

The smuggler, along with the several other men standing nearby, all suddenly turn towards the cloaked woman and raise their weapons at her.

Smuggler: Who the hell are you supposed to be?

Apathy: Just a concerned citizen, that's all. Kinda wondering what all the suspicious activity is about. A little late to be unloading cargo, wouldn't you say?

Smuggler: Big mistake on your part, b*tch! Take her out!

The men all briefly pull the triggers of their weapons, unloading a small burst fire. However, their bullets hit nothing but air, as the woman vanishes instantly in a puff of smoke.

Smuggler: The f*ck? Where the hell did she go? Tell me I'm not the only one who saw that!

Apathy: Nah, you all saw it.

The group turns around behind them now to see the woman standing there. They try to bring their weapons up again, but for some reason they can't. For some reason, they start to feel themselves relaxing.

Apathy: Feeling good yet, boys? Nice and calm?

In seconds, the men are standing there straight with their weapons lowered and eyes drooping. Apathy comes forward, raising her hands and tapping each of them on the forehead.

Apathy: Go on, take a nap. You guys deserve it, working so hard.

They drop one by one, so incredibly relaxed and at peace that they begin to drift off into a calm, dreamless sleep. Apathy waits a moment, holding her hands to her hips, and then nods to herself in congratulations.

Apathy: I'd say that does it.

A short moment later, another figure appears, coming out of the shadows of the shipping yard.

Ravager: It's like you don't even need me.

Turning her gaze, Apathy smirks from behind her darkened mask.

Apathy: Nah, of course I need you. Who else is gonna be my lookout?

Ravager: Very funny.

Apathy: I take it you took care of the stragglers, then?

Ravager: All the ones I could find. A couple over in the yard, the guy working the crane, and a few more up on the ship. They won't be waking up for a while.

Apathy: Ha, that'll teach these loonies to bring illegal weapons into our city, ain't that right?

Folding her arms across her chest, Ravager tilts her head to the side a little and shifts her weight.

Ravager: Well, it might be good to at least check and make sure they were smuggling weapons. I mean, you took a bit of a leap of faith in making that guess.

Apathy: Please, have I been wrong yet?

The two head over to the nearest shipping container, remove the chains holding the doors closed, and then open it to take a look at the contents inside. Inside, there is a large assortment of various weapons, including rows of assault rifles, boxes of grenades, RPGs, plastic explosives, and a whole lot more. Apathy slowly turns her head and gives her a knowing look that, even without seeing her face, Ravager can feel exuding a playful smugness.

Apathy: So, you were saying?

Ravager: I was saying, let's give Palmer a call and get a squad down here to clean up the scene.

Apathy: That's what I thought.

Closing up the container again, Ravager and Apathy walk back towards the street together, where Ravager's bike is waiting. She can't exactly recall what number bike this is... something like the fifth one she's been through. At least Batman never questions it whenever she needs a new one.

Apathy: So, you about ready to call it a night?

Ravager: Yeah, I think so. I've punched enough thugs for one day.

Apathy: Ah, good. Then we can head over to that 24 hour coffee shop and maybe grab something. How's that sound?

Slowly turning her head, Ravager considers the suggestion for a moment before making a counter.

Ravager: Or we could just skip the coffee and head back to my place.

Apathy: Hmm, I don't know. It is rather late, and if we're going to be up for another couple of hours, I may need the caffeine first.

As Ravager mounts her ride and takes holds of the handlebars, she lets out a small chuckle.

Ravager: There are other ways to keep each other up than caffeine, you know.

Getting on the seat behind her, Apathy moves forward and holds her arms around Ravager's midsection, pulling herself tightly up against the woman.

Apathy: So there are. Alright then... skip the coffee. Straight to the fun stuff.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite – Night

Though the clock reads past four in the morning, Rose and Ruby are still wide awake, both lying in bed atop the covers and breathing heavily, sweat beading across their bodies. The night might be cool outside, but the inside of the bedroom is stifling.

Ruby: Alright, so maybe you had a good idea in skipping the coffee.

Rose: I told you. Who needs caffeine when you have... well, that?

A small laugh finds its way out of Ruby's throat, as she rolls over on top of Rose and gives her a gentle kiss.

Ruby: True enough, I suppose. But, you're sure that Holly couldn't hear us? I mean, I'd hate to wake her at this hour. Especially with what we were doing...

Rose: Relax. Like I've already told you three times, the walls are completely soundproof.

Ruby: Well, if you say so. I still can't help but worry a little bit, though. I mean, have you even had the talk with her yet?

Lifting her eyebrows, Rose raises one of her arms and holds it around Ruby's waist.

Rose: Are you kidding me? I didn't have to have the talk with her.

Ruby: What do you mean?

Rose: The thing about Holly is... well, she's very smart for her age. Mature, too. She sort of figured out a lot of it herself. I mean, sure she still had some questions, and I answered them, but you'd be surprised at how naturally she acquired in the information.

Ruby: Really? So she learned about the birds and the bees all on her own?

Rose: And the birds and birds. And the bees and the bees. Then again, being around Rebecca and I probably had some influence on that part.

Ruby chuckles again, holding herself up on her arms and looking down at Rose.

Ruby: And she learned this from... what exactly? Television? Magazines? Oh god, not the internet, I hope.

Rose: Books, mostly.

Ruby: And do you often keep books about sex lying around this place?

Rose: I honestly couldn't tell you what books or from where. All I know is that when I asked her where she learned all of it, she told me she read it in a book.

Ruby: Ha, you don't say. Saved you from some awkward conversations in the future, though, didn't it?

Rose: You see, it pays to have a smart kid.

Of course, there is another reason why Holly knows so much about it, a much darker reason concerning her past with Pavoni. Rose doesn't mention any of this, though. It's not something she wants to bring up right now, and it would just ruin a good moment.

Smirking, Ruby leans down to give Rose another kiss, then gently rests her head against the woman's chest. She closes her eyes, taking in a deep, steady breath.

Ruby: So, got the day off tomorrow, right? Any plans?

Rose: Yeah, actually. Holly and I are taking a trip up to Whitmore Cemetery in the afternoon to visit Becky's grave. We go there every month.

Ruby: Ah, that's sweet.

Rose: You're welcome to come along if you want. I mean, if you have nothing better to do.

Opening her eyes again, Ruby calmly glances up at Rose and smiles.

Ruby: Please, there's nothing I'd rather do.

Rose returns the smile, then lifts her head forward to kiss Ruby's forehead.

Rose: Thanks.

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant – Night

Sitting at the desk in one of the plant's offices, Jeremiah Belmont holds an old pocket watch and stares at it, watching the second hand tick away. The time now reads 5:55 a.m. Five more minutes and the final step in Rose Wilson's destruction can begin. Normally, he wouldn't be this anxious for things to start. Normally, he's quite reserved in his eagerness. But this is different. This time, he beats her, once and for all. She's been a thorn in his side for far too long, and that cannot go unpunished.

As the minute hand inches closer, the door to the office open. Slowly, he glances up at the woman standing there and lowers his pocket watch.

Jerry: Well?

Woman: Just set the last one. It only took three months to spread them across the city, but they're all wired up and ready for the signal now.

A small smile curls its way across Jerry's face.

Jerry: Good. Just another minute now and I begin the countdown. Then, you're free to do your part.

Woman: I look forward to it.

Jerry: As well you should. Now...

Glancing back down at the watch, he straightens out the glasses on his face and then reaches towards the desk to push the button on a large wireless radio transmitter.

Jerry: Let's put Rose to her final test, shall we?

Int. Unknown Location – Night

The location is dark, quiet, somewhere beneath a building. Maybe the boiler room. Near the back corner, engulfed deeply in shadows, is a very large, two cylinder device, with wires connecting the tops of them. A small electronic panel sits between them, two tiny lights blinking on top of it. Suddenly, the lights stop blinking and instead light up continuously, a solid color. The panel on the front lights up as well, displaying numbers on it, numbers that read: 36:00:00. After a brief pause, the numbers begin to count down. Thirty six hours to go.

Ext. Whitmore Cemetery – Day

It's pretty warm out by the time they arrive at the cemetery the next morning, though the breeze keeps it from becoming too hot. A thick cloud cover starts to drift in as well, soon casting the area in a nice shade. Rose, Holly, and Ruby, walk across the grass from the pathway behind them, making their way to the large headstone near the back of the cemetery. The inscription reads:

R.I.P.
Rebecca Anne Chavez
March 3, 1987 - February 9, 2013
Loving Daughter, Loving Friend, Loving Spirit

Holly: Can I put the flowers down?

Rose: Sure, here you go.

Rose passes off the bundle of water lilies, which had been Becky's favorite flower, then watches as Holly walks forward to the gravestone and sets the flowers down in front of it. For a few moments afterward, the girl just stands there, staring at it.

Rose: Is there anything you want to say to her?

Holly: Well, I... I just want to say that I miss her. A lot.

Rose: Don't tell me, tell her.

Holly: Oh, right.

Clearing her throat, Holly holds her hands down in front of her and takes in a deep breath.

Holly: I really miss you, Becky. We all do. It... hasn't really been the same with you gone. Um... oh, I got almost all A's again this year. Except for math. I don't really like math... you always helped me out with that. Rose really isn't as good at it as you were, either.

Rose: Hey now, I know enough.

Leaning in close, Ruby laughs out a small whisper.

Ruby: Enough to get her a C, anyway.

Rose: Oh shush.

Holly: I wish you were still here... but Rose says you're watching over us, so I guess that's pretty cool. I promise I'll do better at math, if I can just remember those tricks you taught me.

Lifting up a hand to her face, Holly briefly wipes away the tears beginning to form in her eyes and sniffles. Rose takes a step forward, holding a hand on the girl's shoulder and offering her comfort.

Rose: That was good, Holly.

Holly: Thanks...

Wiping her eyes again, she takes a step back and breathes in deeply.

Holly: I think I need to take a walk.

Ruby: Come on, girl, I'll walk with you. Give your mom some time alone.

Taking Holly by the hand, Ruby leads her away, allowing Rose some alone time with Becky. Breathing outwardly, Rose sinks down to the ground, sitting cross legged and leaning back on her hands, just staring at the headstone.

Rose: You know I miss you, too, right? A part of me always will. You changed my life in so many ways... and I can't thank you enough for it. I mean, who knows where I'd be if I never met you? Probably the same old angry, disgruntled b*tch I used to be.

She pauses briefly, chuckling quietly to herself.

Rose: Well, okay, maybe not quite that bad. I mean, hell, Holly changed me a lot, too. But you... you showed me how to really enjoy life. That's something I never thought I'd be able to do again. You helped me grow into a person I never thought I'd be, Becky, and I'll never forget that.

Uttering another small sigh, Rose bows her head for a moment and smiles a little.

Rose: I, uh... I met someone else, you know. Her name's Ruby. I told you a little bit about her last time, you remember? She's really great. Fun, happy, free spirited... you'd like her.

Another soft chuckle then finds its way of her throat, as she folds her arms across her chest and stares back up at the headstone.

Rose: You know, it's funny. When we first got together, I told you I wasn't into women, that I was just into you... and yet lately women are all I've been attracted to. Strange how that works, huh? I guess you had a bit more of an impact on me than I realized, in that department. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Rose sucks in a large breath of air, then slowly stands up. She comes forward, touching the top of the headstone for a few moments.

Rose: It was nice seeing you again, Becky. I'll be back again next month, promise.

Before she goes to turn away from the grave, a slow, methodical, mocking clap begins to sting the air.

Voice: Bravo, bravo. That was touching. Can we get an encore?

Stiffening slightly, she slowly turns her head to look behind her. There, a woman leans up casually against a nearby tree, a woman dressed in black jeans, a white tank top, and black leather jacket. Rose's entire body instantly goes numb at the sight.

Rose: What... what is this?

Becky: Just a little reunion is all. Nothing special.

Rose swallows down a hard lump in her throat, but doesn't answer. Rather, she takes a cautious step forward, her body barely responding. Becky merely smirks, pushing herself away from the tree and stuffing her hands in her jacket pockets as she walks forward.

Becky: So, tell me. My funeral - was it heartbreaking?

Chapter #84

Int. City Morgue – Night

Six Months Ago...

Kubrick folds his arms across his chest, leaning a bit to the side as he eyes the man in front of him curiously. Jeremiah Belmont, huh? So, apparently this was the guy orchestrating everything from the start. Not the President, merely an impostor having taken over the President's position. Intriguing. Now the question remains, just what the hell does this Jeremiah have planned? And why the hell are they standing in a morgue late at night, hovering over two dead bodies on two separate tables in front of them, one of Rebecca Chavez and the other of the more recently deceased mortician?

Kubrick: We have work to do? Exactly what kind of work?

Jeremiah's gaze slowly shifts over to look at him from behind those small, round glasses. His eyes are... cold, intimidating. They even cause someone like Kubrick to stiffen up at the glare.

Jerry: I believe we all know of a woman named Rose Wilson, better known as the Ravager, correct?

Zaria: She rings a bell... miserable b*tch tore up my bar.

Kubrick: Among other things. So yeah, we have a history with her.

Jerry: As do I. Quite the intricate one, in fact. Even my dear friend Hugo here has crossed paths with her before.

Standing straighter, Hugo Strange clasps his hands behind his back and takes in a deep breath.

Strange: Yes, I believe my jaw is still sore.

Jerry: So it should come as no surprise that we all wouldn't mind seeing her... out of the way.

Kubrick: Well no sh*t, but what's the point? We've tried killing her before, but she keeps coming back. She's like a cockroach.

Jerry: My friends, I'm not proposing we kill her, not at first. Rather, this time around I wish to utterly break her. To destroy her entire reason for existing. To bring her down so far that she will beg for us to end it.

Narrowing her eyes, Zaria leans forward slightly, hands resting against the edge of one of the tables.

Zaria: And how exactly do you intend to do that?

Jerry: Ah, the details will come in time. First, we must finish up here, though I assure you this is part of my plan.

Kubrick: It had better be a good plan.

Smirking, Jerry moves forward and holds his hand against the face of the dead mortician. Almost instantly, the flesh from his palm begins to replicate and liquify, melting over the woman's pale visage. Within moments, that putty-like flesh spreads from her face and to the rest of her body, even her hair, then starts to reshape itself into a different image altogether. By the end of it, the mortician's body has become an exact duplicate of Rebecca's.

Kubrick: What the...

Jerry: Now, Hugo, go ahead and replace the body.

Strange: Of course. Help me with the clothes, will you, Michael?

Glaring briefly at the bald man in the lab coat, Kubrick comes forward to strip the clothes off the corpse, then assists in carrying it over to the open, chilled drawer on the far wall, where they had taken Rebecca's body from. Once the body is in place, Strange slides the drawer in and closes the door.

Zaria: Alright, now what was the point of that? We've replaced her body with a clone, so we can... do what, exactly?

Jerry: So we can do this.

Stepping around the front of the table on which Rebecca's body lies, Jerry reaches forward with both hands and presses either index finger to the corpse's ears. The flesh from his fingers begin to liquify again, draining down Rebecca's ear canals. With that done, he takes a step back and folds his arm.

Kubrick: What did you do?

Jerry: Wait a moment, give the nanites a chance to do their job.

Several minutes go by and nothing happens. Kubrick and Zaria begin to grow impatient, not very impressed with what they're seeing so far. However, their interests are soon peaked, as the massive bruising around the corpse's chest begins to gradually disappear. Not only this, but color begins to return to Rebecca's skin, no longer the ashen shade of death.

Kubrick: What's going on?

Zaria: She is... regenerating.

Jerry: Correct. The nanites are repairing her body's damage, returning it to one hundred percent health.

Glancing upward, Kubrick gives Jerry a confused look.

Kubrick: But she's still dead. Repair all the damage you want, you can't just raise her from the grave.

Jerry: Had we waited much longer, no, probably not. However, she has been deceased for a brief enough period that she can be brought back. Once the nanites fix her physical damage, they will integrate into her body's system, and from there they will self replicate. Her organs will begin to function again, restarting her heart, circulating her blood, filling her lungs with air... and then they will 'reboot' her brain, so to speak. Until...

Several more moments go by, and then suddenly Becky's eyes fly open. Sucking in a deep, coughing breath of air, she lurches upright, swallowing and staring around at the people surrounding her. For nearly two minutes straight, all she does is sit there, heaving heavy breaths of air inward, and holding a hand to her heart. Finally, her breathing begins to steady, and she slowly relaxes.

Becky: W-where... where am I?

A second later, Becky glances down at herself and flinches. She quickly curls up, bringing her knees to her chest and holding her arms around herself.

Becky: And jueputa, where are are my clothes?!

Hugo comes forward, as if on command, holding up a large blanket. Becky immediately takes it and wraps it around herself.

Kubrick: I don't f*cking believe it...

Zaria: She's... you really brought her back.

Turning her gaze, Becky stares at them in confusion.

Becky: Brought me back from from where? What the hell is going on?!

Jerry: From death, my dear. I brought you back from death.

Becky: I was... I was dead?

Jerry: Quite. You won't remember a lot of what happened at first, but give it time and your memories will come back to you. In the meantime, come with us. I have much to explain; like telling you all about the person who did this to you.

He extends his hand, offering it for Rebecca to take. For a long moment, Becky just stares at it. Eventually, however, she slowly reaches up and takes his hand in hers, accepting the offer.

Becky: Alright... tell me everything.

Ext. Whitmore Cemetery – Day

Present Day...

Rose briefly lifts her hands up to rub her eyes, as if doing so will make the hallucination disappear. At least, she thinks it's a hallucination. It has to be. How else could Rebecca be standing right in front of her? She's not in Trance's machine anymore, and Becky is dead. They buried her body in grave right behind her, plain and simple.

Wait... no, I know who this is.

Becky: What's the matter, Rose? Cat got your tongue, ah?

Rose: You're not Becky. You're not going to fool me, Jerry, I know that's you.

A small, amused chuckle finds its way out of Becky's throat. She shakes her head and utters an exasperated breath, smirking.

Becky: A good guess, but no, I'm not Jerry.

Rose: Yes you are. You have to be. There's nothing else that could... there's no one else who...

Becky: Oh, come on. I know you're not that dense, right? Alright, look. Ask me a question, any question. A question only I would know.

This is a trap... it has to be a trap.

And yet she complies anyway.

Rose: When you took me out for my birthday, what happened when we came back to my apartment?

Becky: Going with the easy ones, huh? Well, okay then. I came on to you for the first time; kissed you. Of course, you rejected me, because you claimed you weren't a lesbian, even though I was dumb enough to jump to that conclusion. So, I ended up running out in embarrassment.

Rose's heart skips a beat, throat going numb. She still can't believe it, so she tries again.

Rose: When you were in the hospital on your birthday, what did I bring you as a gift?

Becky: A birthday cake; vanilla, by the way, my favorite. You figured it was better than a "glad you didn't die cake" that the force would have given me when I came back.

Now Rose can start to feel her legs growing weak, almost like jelly. Her heart is beating a hundred times a second, it feels like, and her eyes are beginning to water.

Rose: You... Becky?

Becky: I told you, it's all me.

Rose: Then why... why do you seem so different?

Becky: Because I am different, Rose. I'm not the bubbly little pushover you used to know, not anymore.

Rose: What are you-

Becky: And it's kind of hard to look at a person the same way after they go and get you killed.

Rose: That's not fair... don't you say that.

Becky: But it's true, ah? You were supposed to watch my back, and what happened? Oh right, a goddamn building collapsed on me. After I got blown up by land mine.

Rose: How could I have stopped that? Tell me, Becky! If I could have... Christ, if I could have saved you, I would have. No matter what it took, I... I would have gladly traded places with you.

But Becky ignores the response and keeps going.

Becky: And then how long did it take after I was gone for you to start shacking up with another chica? What, three months? And here I thought you weren't into girls, Rose. Here I thought you were into me. Just me.

Rose: I loved you! I'll always love you! Nothing changes that, don't you even think it. But you... I thought you were gone... I was trying to move on, Becky, I was trying to be happy, because I knew that's what you would have wanted.

Becky: And diving between the legs of the first woman you see makes you happy, does it?

Rose: You're twisting my words.

Becky: Just asking a question. Is she good, Rose? Huh? Tell me, how does she taste?

Rose swallows another hard lump in her throat. She raises a hand briefly to wipe her eyes dry, then takes in another deep breath. What the hell is going on here? Why is this happening? This... this is a hundred times worse than Becky being dead. This is... this is torture. Every single word out of Becky's mouth cuts like a dagger.

Rose: So if you've been alive this whole time... where have you been, Becky? What have you been doing?

Becky: Watching. Waiting. Planning. All for this moment.

The revelation hits her like a freight train.

Rose: Jerry... you're working with Jerry. Everything these past few months, everything he's done... it was you, too?

Becky: Si, it was me, too.

Rose: Then he did something to you. Changed you, somehow he... a stem. He must have used one of his stems on you.

Becky: You wish, don't you? No, he hasn't done anything to me, Rose. All he's done is told me truth and opened my eyes to just what a miserable waste of space you really are. Try as hard as you want, but you'll never be anything more than failure.

Before Rose can make another response, their conversation is interrupted by a small, stunned voice.

Holly: Becky?

Turning their gazes, they notice Holly and Ruby, having returned from their walk. At first, the girl just stands their in disbelief, eyes wide and blinking. Then, she suddenly pulls away from Ruby and runs across the grass. She's already tearing up, a large, overjoyed smile on her face.

Holly: Becky!

Rose: No, Holly, stay away from-!

But her words don't make it in time. The moment that Holly comes into range, Rebecca winds up her arm and swats the girl away with a surprisingly powerful backhand. Holly flies backwards several feet, hitting the ground hard and then rolling to a stop.

Rose: HOLLY!

Sprinting forward, Rose comes to the girl's side. She kneels down, taking Holly into her arms.

Rose: Holly? Holly, are you alright?

The girl utters a small groan, glancing up at her mother and blinking a couple of times. A small cut on her forehead oozes a steady trickle of blood.

Holly: She hit me... why did Becky hit me?

Rose: Shh, it'll be alright. Everything will be fine.

Walking past them, Ruby glares at the woman, while raising her hands forward.

Ruby: Alright, I don't know who you are, lady, but you don't get to go around assaulting children like that.

Becky: Ah... so this is the little sl*t you've been sleeping around with.

Ruby: Now you listen to me. I'm gonna need you to calm down a little. Maybe take a nap. You feel that? Yeah, you're getting nice and relaxed.

Coming up right in front of her, Ruby holds her hand up against Becky's forward and stares into her eyes.

Ruby: Just let yourself- oof!

Becky's fist finds its way into Ruby's gut, delivering a stunningly powerful blow. A second later, Ruby coughs out a harsh breath and doubles over, almost dropping to her knees.

Becky: Yeah, don't bother with that empathic bullcrap. Doesn't work on me.

Swinging her leg forward, Becky sends the kick straight at the woman's face. Before the blow can land, though, Ruby teleports away, vanishing into thin air. A second later, she reappears directly behind Becky and sends a hard chop to the side of her neck. Becky doesn't even flinch.

Becky: That was... dumb.

Becky's hand suddenly flies up, grabbing Ruby's wrist and then swinging the woman up over her head. The next thing Ruby realizes, she's lying flat on her back and staring up at the sky, an intense pain throbbing through her chest. The world spins wildly around her.

Rose: Leave her alone!

Gently resting Holly on the ground, Rose stands up and takes a few steps forward, hands already formed into fists. Seeing this, Becky smirks.

Becky: What, you think you're going to stop me, Rose? The whole reason I came here was to put you in your place.

Rose: We'll see. If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to beat some sense back into that head of yours. I don't know what Jerry did to you, but I am going to fix it.

Becky: Hmph, good luck.

Wasting no more time, Rose runs forward, leading with flying kick aimed at Becky's chest. Her foot strikes only air, as Becky turns her body to the side and effortlessly dodges. Landing slightly off balance, Rose follows up with a cross jab, but Becky grabs her wrist, then delivers an elbow to her jaw. Head snapping backward, Rose cringes, seeing bright spots of light flash in front of her eyes.

The next thing she knows, she flying through the air. An explosive pain rips through her body, as she crashes straight through Becky's headstone, the granite shattering apart from the result of amazing force. For a long moment, Rose lies there motionlessly on her back, gazing up at the sky. She tries to move, but she can't. Hell, she can barely even breathe after that. Eventually, though, Rose slowly rolls over and manages to push her way back to her feet. She staggers momentarily, barely able to maintain her balance.

Becky: I can't believe I ever envied you. I mean, what are you, really? A glorified martial artist. That's it. You don't have any real power. Not like I do now.

Her skin suddenly begins to change. A thick, silver ooze begins to flood through her pores, coating her entire body. In seconds, the substance hardens, forming a hard metallic shell around her. As she walks forward, she casually swings her arm to the side, smashing her fist straight through another headstone. The granite blows apart as if hit by dynamite.

Becky: How do you feel, Rose? Scared yet? Today, it's your turn to be the helpless one.

Chapter #85

Ext. Whitmore Cemetery - Day

Rose sucks in a deep breath, struggling to maintain standing on her own two feet. That last blow had been tremendous, considering it put her through a solid granite headstone. Every breath causes a sharp, stinging pain to flare through her, and yet she knows she can't let that hinder her. Somehow, someway, she has to get through to Becky.

Rose: Becky, please... you don't have to do this.

Becky: Oh shut up.

Coming forward, Becky throws a solid punch. Fortunately, Rose sees it coming ahead of time and ducks out of the way. She manages to counter with a kick to the gut, though her shin caroms harmlessly off of Becky's metallic skin. Grabbing onto Rose's leg, Becky swings her around and throws her again, sending her flying over thirty feet through the air. Rose hits the ground hard and slides into another gravestone, a stunned breath of air bursting from her lips.

Becky: This isn't some clichéd story where you use your feelings to get me to see the error of my ways. You aren't going to fix things with a few words, Rose.

Walking over to the slowly recovering Rose, Becky delivers a hard kick to her gut. Rose grunts in pain, holding her arms around her stomach and shrinking inward.

Rose: Then I'll just... have to figure out a different way... to fix it.

Becky: No, you won't. You want to know why? Because there's nothing to fix!

Reaching down, Becky lifts her up into the air by her hair, using only a single hand. The level of strength is astounding, especially for one who had previously displayed no such tendencies of such power.

Becky: Consider this a humbling, Rose. I'm not going to kill you, but I am going to make you realize what a pathetic, useless waste you are. And when I'm done, I have a message to give you.

Int. Silverstone General Hospital - Day

Deep in the basement of the hospital, a timer ticks downward, a timer attached to two very large canisters full of volatile substances. For now, the substances are kept separate from each other, but when the timer reaches zero and the two substances come into contact with each other, well...

3... 2... 1...

Up above in the main lobby of the hospital, doctors, visitors, patients, and secretaries all go about their business. Just another ordinary day for them. None of them are expecting the massive fireball that suddenly engulfs the building, bursting through the floor that cracks apart and rips open with violent force. People run screaming, horrified, but they can't get away. The entire building is consumed in a matter of moments.

Ext. Silverstone City - Day

All around Silverstone, similar explosions go off, in various buildings spread throughout the city. Each one not only levels the building in which it was placed, but the destruction also spreads to several surrounding blocks, claiming countless lives. Within minutes, the entire city is engulfed by pandemonium, hellish flames burning bright as the sun and torching all those caught in its path. The screams of horror are unbearable, and the sheer level of decimation unfathomable. In a single, gruesome moment, all of Silverstone is laid to waste.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite - Day

Snapping her eyes open, Rose leans forward and takes in deep breaths, sweat beading down her forehead and dripping to the floor. She swallows back a lump in her throat, then tries to stand up. Her legs barely respond, as she instead tumbles forward, catching herself with her hands.

Rose: She wasn't lying... I saw it. Those bombs, whatever they are, they'll take out this entire city and everyone in it. Twenty hours, that's all that's left until the timers reach zero.

Sitting across from her on the couch, Ruby leans forward slightly and blinks in surprise.

Ruby: You're serious?

Rose: Why wouldn't I be?

Ruby: Well, I mean I just... I guess I never imagined Becky to be capable of something that horrible, not with how you always described her.

Rose: That isn't Becky. Not really. I mean, it's her, but... it's not. Jerry did something to her when he brought her back. I don't know what, but it's screwing with her head. I know I can fix it, if I can just figure out what's wrong.

Ruby: You mean after we deal with the bombs, right?

Swallowing again, Rose nods and slowly stands up. She cringes at a sharp pain in her side. She's suffering through quite a few bruises at the moment, including a sickening black eye.

Rose: Right. I'll call Palmer, see if he can get the mayor to put together an evacuation or something.

Ruby: Why don't you just get Zatanna to swoop in here and magically transport the bombs to Venus or something?

Rose: She can't help us, Ruby... no one can. You remember what Becky said.

Ext. Whitmore Cemetery - Day

Two hours ago...

Rose lets out a harsh cough, spraying out several droplets of blood, as she lies there on the ground utterly defeated. Try as she might to defend herself, she doesn't have her gear, and fighting against someone with invulnerable skin and super strength with just your fists is really a bit of a mismatch. Taking in a deep breath, she stares upwards to see Becky now hovering over her.

Becky holds her arm downward, causing the metal skin encasing her body to suddenly extend into the form of a long, razor sharp blade. The tip presses against Rose's throat ever so slightly, just enough to draw the faintest trickle of blood.

Becky: Here's how it works, Rose. There are fifty bombs spread throughout the city, bombs destructive enough to take out several city blocks each. When they all go off, the chain reaction they trigger will decimate Silverstone and everyone in it.

Rose: Why... why are you...?

Becky: Because, you're the protector of this city, right? So protect it. Or at least, try. The countdown has already begun. There should be around twenty-two hours remaining by now, until everything goes up in smoke.

Swallowing, Rose slowly raises herself from the ground with one arm, sitting upright. The blade point moves with her, remaining against her throat.

Rose: I mean why are you... telling me? Why not just set them off?

Becky: Jeremiah wants you to feel as though you have a chance. He wants you to try and stop it. And he wants you to fail. He's right of course; we both know you'll do exactly that. Try and fail.

Uttering a tired sigh, Rose collapses back to the ground, lying there motionlessly, as she attempts to absorb this information.

This isn't happening... it can't be happening. I'm dreaming. This is a nightmare.

Becky: Oh, and to make sure you don't cheat...

The point of the blade suddenly liquifies, dripping the silvery substance onto Rose's neck and seeping inside of her wound. Rose flinches, gritting her teeth and clenching her fists tight as the cold sensation spreads through her veins.

Becky: Those nanites will monitor you. This way, I'll be able to keep track of everything you do. If you attempt to call for outside assistance, and by that I mean calling anyone outside of Silverstone, then you forfeit and the bombs will go off immediately. Got that?

Rose doesn't answer, instead closing her eyes and relaxing her head against the ground. She doesn't want to look at Becky anymore; she can't look at Becky anymore.

No, it's not Becky. Don't forget that. This is... something else, one of Jerry's creations. But the real Becky is in there somewhere... and god help me, I'll find her, if it's the last thing I do.

Int. Rose's Penthouse Suite - Day

Ruby breathes outwardly and folds her arms across her chest, slowly bowing her head.

Ruby: Right, no help. That puts a serious crimp in our chances.

Rose: That was the point.

Holding her head in her hands briefly, Rose heads across the living room to the phone.

Rose: Can you go check on Holly for me, please? I have to call Palmer.

Ruby: Sure thing.

Getting up from the couch, Ruby makes her way towards Holly's bedroom, where the girl is trying to recover from both the physical blow to her head, as well as the mental shock from seeing Becky come back as a bad guy. When she's gone, Rose lifts the phone and dials.

Palmer/Phone: Wilson, what is it?

Rose: Chief, we have a problem... a big problem.

She explains things as quickly and as succinctly as she can, while getting all the important information across. It sounds ridiculous even as it comes out of her mouth, and yet she knows it's the truth. A horrifying truth that she wishes she could get away from, but the truth nonetheless.

Palmer/Phone: Now hold on just a minute. Chavez is alive? And she's working with that Belmont psychopath?

Rose: That's correct.

A brief pause, before Palmer speaks again.

Palmer/Phone: In the name of all that's... by god, I really am getting too old for this kind of crap. Okay, forget Chavez for the moment, I'll deal with that nugget later. These bombs, you're sure about them?

Rose: As sure as I can breathe. Is there anyway we can evacuate the city?

Palmer/Phone: In less than twenty four hours? Not a snowman's chance in hell. Maybe if we had a week, but that's not going to happen.

Rose: Sh*t, alright. So then we need to disarm them.

Palmer/Phone: Oh, is that all? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you said there were fifty of them. Even if we even knew where they were all located, there aren't enough members of the bomb squad to get to them all in time. We'd need to call in for outside backup, but we can't do that or we all get blown to kingdom come, isn't that right?

Rose: Yes... that's right.

Palmer/Phone: Well, isn't that just fine and f*cking dandy?

Rose: Yeah, I get it. We're screwed.

Palmer/Phone: If we can't figure out a way to locate and disarm every single bomb, then you're damn right we are.

Rose: I know, I know... just give me a bit. Ruby and I will come up with something, and I'll get back to you.

Palmer/Phone: You do that. Meanwhile, I have on hell of a conversation I need to have right now with the mayor.

When the call clicks dead, Rose sets the phone back down and utters a heavy sigh, lowering her face into her hand. Now, if only she could believe her words as much as she wanted Palmer to believe them. The fact is, though, she doesn't believe them, even though she said them. They have no way of finding the bombs, and they're running out of time.

Ruby: Holly's fine, she's just resting for now.

Looking up, Rose notices Ruby walking across the living room. She utters a long sigh, bowing her head and leaning against the back of the couch.

Rose: If we don't figure out something quick, this entire city is done.

Ruby: Then we'll just have to figure something out, now won't we?

Rose: Just wish I knew what.

She holds her hands to her head and closes her eyes, trying to think.

Rose: God, I wish I could call Batman right about now... he'd know what to do.

Ruby: I'm guessing that's why you're not allowed. But really, you're smart, too, Rose. You don't need someone else to tell you what to do.

Rose: I know, I know, I just... hold on a minute.

Ruby: What is it?

Rose: I had a thought... in order for Jerry to have activated all the bombs at the same time, he would have needed to do it by using a wireless signal, right?

Ruby: Uh, well I suppose.

Rose: So, if we could get to one of the bombs, then we could trace the signal back to its source.

Ruby: If we could find one of them, and if we had a means to do so. But even then, what good would that do us? It wouldn't tell us where the other bombs are.

Rose: No, but it would tell us where the signal came from. In other words, where Jerry is hiding out. I'm willing to bet we can determine where the other bombs are from there.

Ruby: What exactly are you willing to bet? The lives of half a million people? Or more?

Breathing out a heavy breath, Rose slowly bows her head.

Rose: I wish I didn't have to bet that, but what else can we do? I don't suppose you have any better ideas.

Ruby goes silent for a moment, folding her arms and glancing off to the side.

Ruby: No, no I suppose I don't. But we'd still need a way to find one of the bombs first, not to mention a way to trace its incoming signal.

Rose: I already know where one is, I saw it in my vision. The basement of the Silverstone General Hospital, we can use that one.

Ruby: Then while we're at it, we should probably figure out how to disarm the damn things.

Rose: You let me worry about that. Go suit up and get ready.

Int. Silverstone General Hospital – Day

A sudden burst of smoke pops into the basement out of thin air, bringing with it three individuals. The two obvious ones include Ravager and Apathy, both now dressed in full costume and ready to get to work. The third individual is Mark Harris, head of Silverstone's bomb squad. After contacting Palmer about their plan, they had been urged to take Harris along with them in order figure out exactly how to disarm these bombs, once they find them all.

Ravager: Alright, spread out and look. It's down here somewhere.

Apathy: Uh... would that be it?

Pointing across the dimly lit room, Apathy gestures to the large structure near the far wall, a structure consisting of two large cylinders on either side of an electronic device in the middle, connected to each other by a bunch of wires. The countdown timer on the front panel read less than nineteen hours now.

Harris: That... would definitely be it.

The bomb squad expert slowly walks up to the large device and gives it a careful inspection, his expression one mixed with awe and confusion.

Harris: I've never seen a bomb quite like this before. Some kind of... chemical activation, maybe? But that wouldn't explain the level of devastation you described.

Ravager: I'm not interested it what makes it so strong, I'm interested in how to keep it from going off.

Harris: Give me a moment, this might require a few minutes.

Moving up to the bomb, Harris takes a closer look, examining every facet of the cylinders, the timer, and the electronic detonator. After several minutes, he apparently comes a conclusion about the situation and then kneels in front of it. Opening up his box of tools, he takes out a screwdriver and begins opening up a small metal panel on the front of the detonator.

Harris: As best as I can tell, the wires you see on the outside are dummy wires, made to detonate the device instantly if tampered with.

Apathy: And the real wires?

Harris: Right... here.

Popping off the panel, he reveals a neat set of wires on the inside of the device. After returning the screwdriver to the box, he takes out a pair of wire cutters and snips the top wire, then every second wire after that. Once he severs the last wire, the numbers on the front of the timer disappear, as the device switches off.

Harris: And that should do it, for now. I'll have to get the rest of the bomb squad down here later to dismantle it, but in the meantime you two should-

Suddenly, the timer switches back on, displaying a much lower time of thirty seconds. For a couple of those seconds they all stare at the thing, stunned.

Ravager: I thought you disarmed it!

Harris: So did I!

Harris drops back in front of the device in a hurry and starts examining the open display of wires again. He snips another wire, but nothing changes. Trying to retain his cool, he snips all the remaining wires, but still nothing. The timer hits fifteen seconds and keeps going.

Apathy: Running out of time!

Harris: I can see that!

Twelve seconds.

Harris: This doesn't make any sense, there shouldn't be a-

Eight seconds. He suddenly notices something out of the ordinary on the detonator and reaches up, tearing off the front display.

Harris: The thing had a whole dummy section to it!

Five seconds.

Ravager: Well disarm the real ones then!

Three seconds.

Snip, snip, snip.

Three quick motions, three severed wires. The timer freezes at one second remaining. Blinking in surprise, Harris bows his head and falls back to a seated position. An exasperated breath finds is way out of his throat, as he wipes sweat from his brow.

Apathy: Is it... is it good? Are we alive?

Harris: It's disarmed.

Ravager: Cutting it really close there.

Harris: Better than not cutting it at all.

Taking in several deep breaths to still her pounding heart, Ravager moves forward to the bomb and takes out a small, round electronic device. She sticks it to the top of the detonator, presses a couple of buttons on the top, and then folds her arms, waiting.

Harris: What exactly is that?

Ravager: It's a... a wireless bugging... thing. I don't remember what Batman called it. All I know is that it's supposed to trace the last incoming wireless signal received by various devices. It should tell us where the signal came from that started the timer. Just glad I still had some of these things lying around...

Several minutes go by before the 'wireless bugging thing' starts to blink and beep in completion. Removing it from the detonator, Ravager pulls out a GPS device and connects the two with a wire. A short moment later, and the GPS begins to zero in on the signal.

Apathy: You got it?

A quiet, steady beeping answers her question.

Ravager: Oh yeah, I got it. Come on; let's go pay Jeremiah a little visit.

Chapter #86

Int. Silverstone Central Police Station - Day

Police Chief Gerald Palmer stands behind his desk, leaning forward with one hand resting against the flat top and his other hand holding a phone to his ear. He can hear the chaos outside already; the screaming, the panic, the cars honking, screeching tires, the smashing of abrupt collisions. This whole situation is a mess.

Palmer: I know that evacuating the city would be the best course of action, Mr. Mayor, but only if it could be done safely and efficiently. Telling everyone that they have less than a day to get out of Silverstone before the whole place gets blown sky high was not the way to do it!

He pauses, listening to the idiotic justification he receives on the other line. Sighing, he holds his palm to his hand and shakes his head.

Palmer: Have you even looked out your window in the last hour? It's goddamn pandemonium out there! The streets are clogged, people are panicking, stores are being looted, suicide reports are coming in; people are dying, you understand that?

Another pause. Palmer rubs his eyes with his fingers, uttering a frustrated groan. He then turns to his window and pushes open the blinds so he can get a better look. The entire street outside the station is backed up bumper to bumper, several citizens are standing outside their cars shouting at each other, and someone even hit a damn fire hydrant, causing a towering spray of water to shoot into the air.

Palmer: Evacuations take time, it can't be done in a few hours. What you have now is a f*cking nightmare. Yes, I understand the gravity of- No, I've never- excuse me, Mr. Mayor, but don't use this sh*tstorm as an excuse to vent at me. I'm in the same goddamn boat as the rest of you.

The next statement causes Palmer's eyes to go wide, as he turns back towards his desk.

Palmer: No! You contact the Justice League, and those bombs will go off as soon as they get here! We'll be dead before the League even gets a chance to help.

Sinking down into his seat, Palmer utters a deep sigh and rubs his eyes again, tiredly.

Palmer: Two women in costumes. That's who we're relying on now. Yes, I do trust them... I hope so, too

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant – Day

Apathy and Ravager appear out of thin air, popping into existence within the plant. When they arrive, Ravager takes a quick look around. They appear to be in some kind of loading area, a sort of garage structure with an area for dump trucks to back into and unload their waste into a giant pit, which leads into the kiln, where the refuse would be burned to ash. The actual location is unique; she's never seen a villain hide out in an incineration plant before, but then this place has been abandoned for years after it closed down. The only reason it hasn't been demolished yet is because the city can't spare the money.

Ravager: Alright, so where exactly are we right now?

Apathy: Looks like the reception hall, where the trucks would unload their garbage. That means straight ahead is the entire incineration structure, so I'm guessing the offices are in the other direction, probably through those doors.

Turning her gaze, Ravager notices a small set of metal stairs leading up to a door on the side of the hall. Giving her partner a nod, she starts walking towards it.

Ravager: Alright, let's move. We have to find Jerry, or at least find the device he used to send the signal out to his bombs.

Apathy: Which I'm betting is on his person. Of course, that's if he's even still here. The smart thing to do would have been to leave the city once he activated the detonators.

Ravager: No, you see, you don't know him like I do. He wants to watch, wants to see me fail. No way he doesn't stick around to see the grand finale. I'll bet anything that there isn't a bomb single within destructive range of this plant.

Apathy: I hope you're right...

Lowering her gaze, Ravager breathes outwardly. Yeah, she hopes she's right too, because if she isn't, then she's out of ideas on how to save this city in time. As they reach the door, Ravager reaches out to open it. Before her hand even makes it to the handle, though, the door flies off its hinges like a missile and smashes directly into her. Apathy reacts quickly, saving them both from further injury by grabbing onto Ravager's shoulder mid impact and teleporting them safely back down to the floor of the reception hall. When they rematerialize, Ravager staggers on her feet, holding a hand to her head and groaning.

Ravager: The f*ck was... that?

Glancing up, she quickly shakes off her daze and blinks at the figure walking through the now open doorway. It's Becky, already coated in her metallic shell.

Apathy: I take it this means you were right.

Walking down the stairs, Becky glares at them, arms lowered casually down at her sides.

Becky: You shouldn't be here, Rose. You should be looking for the bombs, unless you want Silverstone to go up in flames.

Ravager: What do you think I'm doing? I'm stopping them from the source.

Becky: Please, you can barely stand on your own two feet right now. I know you heal fast, but even you need more than a few hours to recover from the beating I gave you.

Ravager: I'll manage.

Becky: I think you overestimate yourself.

Taking in a deep breath, Ravager straightens herself, watching as Becky continues to approach across the large, open floor.

Ravager: Ruby, you keep searching. I'll deal with her.

Apathy: Are you out of bloody mind? I'm not leaving you alone with her; she practically tore you apart last time!

Ravager: Please, Ruby. This is something I have to do alone.

Apathy: But-

Ravager: Ruby!

Apathy: Alright... just don't go getting yourself killed, okay?

A second later, Apathy vanishes into thin air, leaving Ravager and Becky alone.

Ravager: So I take it Jerry still has you under his control.

Becky: Dios, when are you going to get it through that dense skull of yours? I'm not under anyone's control. This is all me; I'm doing this because I choose to, because I need to settle things with you once and for all.

Ravager: I don't believe that, not for a second. I love you, Becky, and I know you love me, too. When you died, I... I didn't know how I'd live through it.

Becky: Oh it seems like you lived through it just fine. Already got yourself a warm pair of legs to comfort you, ah?

Ravager: Would you stop it with that? God, I hope I'm not wrong, I really do. I hope you are being controlled somehow, because this is... I mean, sh*t, tell me you're not doing this just out of jealousy or something.

Becky: Ha, you think I'm going through all this trouble just because I'm jealous of that b*tch? If that were the case, I'd just kill her and be done with it. No, I've been working on this from the start, ever since Jeremiah brought be back six months ago.

Bowing her head slightly, Ravager slowly curls her hands into fists. She's just thankful that she's wearing a mask to hide her eyes, because she doesn't know if she wants Becky to see tears. Scratch that, she knows she doesn't want Becky seeing it, not under these circumstances.

Ravager: So that's how you want it, huh?

Becky: I think you're finally starting to catch on.

Ravager: Fine-

She brings her hands down to her hips suddenly, grasping at a pair of small sword hilts with curled knuckle guards on them. The handles aren't made of typical steel, though, as they aren't typical swords. Rather, the hilts are electronic, made of lighter materials and outfitted with a small button near her thumbs. She hesitates only briefly before clicking both buttons, causing a beam of energy to extend from either hilt. The beams become solid a moment later, forming into sword blades of pure energy. It's been years since she used these things, not since her earlier days on the Teen Titans, but she had always kept them, just in case she needed them. Holding her energy weapons at the ready, Ravager takes a fighting stance and exhales.

Ravager: -then let's get it over with.

---

Elsewhere in the plant, Apathy finds her way into the offices. She doesn't exactly know what she's looking for, other than Jeremiah himself, if he's actually here. Sure, Rebecca is still there, probably left behind in order to deal with them should they find their way here, but there would have been no reason for Jerry to stay, too. Unless, of course, it's like Rose said and he really does want a front row seat to Silverstone's destruction.

I only pray she's right... we could really use a break right about-

Before she can even finish her thought, she catches sight of something hurtling towards her from the side. Instantly, she teleports away, reappearing nearby and quickly locating the source of the attack. There he is, standing at the other end of the hallway that leads through the multiple offices on the upper levels of the plant.

Apathy: Belmont.

Jerry: Lawson.

Apathy: Well now that we've established we know each other's last name...

Narrowing her eyes, she focuses her power directly towards the man, exuding forth a sense of pure terror and agony. She'll send him deep down into the darkest pit of mental despair that he'd ever been in, and when he begs to for it to stop, ll only amplify the effects. At least, that's her plan. Unfortunately, it doesn't exactly go how she wanted.

Jerry: I hope you're not wasting your time trying to alter my emotions, because it isn't going to work.

Apathy flinches at the proclamation, taking a step backward as Jerry approaches, his hands held calmly behind his back.

Jerry: Do you really think I would have hired you if I couldn't counteract your abilities? If I've learned anything by now, it is to always have insurance.

Apathy: So you went and what, removed your emotions? I'd like to see that hospital bill.

Jerry: Ah, sarcasm. Just like Rose... you two really do make a good match.

Walking closer, he raises a hand and causes it to morph slowly into varying shapes.

Jerry: It's the nanites, you see. They've completely integrated into my body along with the mutated clay that makes up my flesh. You do know what nanites are, yes?

Apathy: Microscopic machines. Big deal.

Jerry: But it is a big deal, Ruby, at least in regards to your power. Machines don't have emotions, and since they're a part of my brain now, they prevent you from altering my own.

Apathy: Well how convenient for you. They still don't prevent me from doing this.

Vanishing into thin air again, Apathy teleports around behind the man and reappears with a vicious kick to the back of his head. The blow barely even staggers Jerry, as he utters a disappointed breath. Almost instantly, a large, sharpened spike extends out of his backside and pierces Apathy through the side of her abdomen. She flinches briefly, coughing up a small mouthful of blood inside her darkened mask, then teleports away again. When she rematerializes, she drops to one knee and holds a hand to the wound, while wheezing in pained breaths.

Jerry: Such a waste... You could have been an invaluable asset to me. I could have even brought back your dear Jeanette. But then you felt the need to have a change of heart...

Apathy: At least... I have one.

Jerry: Not for much longer, once I tear it from your chest.

---

Ravager lunges in for another strike, swinging her energy blades as swiftly and precisely as her body can manage. But yet again, she strikes only air, as Becky seemingly walks around her attacks. Stumbling forward, Ravager utters a surprised groan and collapses to one knee. She feels sluggish, tired... what the hell is going on?

Becky: What's the matter? Lost a bit of steam, ah?

Taking a step forward, Becky delivers a hard kick to Ravager's gut and sends her rolling across the ground with astonishing force. The pain goes right through her armored suit, drives the wind from her lungs. She tries to push herself back up to her feet, but the sudden agony gripping her chest forces her back to the floor.

Becky: Probably wondering why you're feeling all exhausted, right? And that burning in your chest has to be getting pretty aggravating.

Ravager coughs several times, spraying our blood droplets onto the inside of her faceplate. Her arms instinctively curl around her stomach, hugging herself tightly.

Becky: Those nanites I injected into your system weren't just for keeping an eye on you. Right now, they're slowly chewing through your vital organs. Your lungs, your heart, your liver, your kidneys... it'll be slow and excruciating, but eventually you'll die.

Ravager: Nanites...

Groaning out another cough of pain, Ravager slowly shifts herself back up to her knees. Reaching forward shakily with one hand, she grabs one of her fallen energy swords.

Ravager: Like... tiny robots, right?

Becky: That's correct.

Ravager: In that case... I hope this works.

Suddenly, she takes her energy blade and turns it on herself, cutting through the arm of her suit and driving the edge into her flesh. Of course, the bio-sensors disable the weapon from cutting through organic material, meaning her skin is left unharmed. However, the resulting electrical charge that surges through her body is far, far more painful than a little cut on the arm would be, eliciting a horrid, shrill scream from her throat. Becky watches in confusion, eyes blinking.

Becky: Madre de Dios... what on earth are you doing?

The pain only lasts a few seconds, though, and then everything just goes numb. Ravager finally manages to release her hold on the sword, causing it to clatter to the floor. The energy blade part of it deactivates a moment later, as she falls down next to it, motionlessly. Her suit is charred, torn, melted, and smoking as a result, while her fingers twitch spontaneously every now and then.

Becky: Ah, I see... you disabled the nanites with a power surge. Clever. Too bad you did the same to yourself.

Standing over Ravager, Becky stares downward and folds her arms across her chest. Slowly, she shakes her head in disappointment.

Becky: How pathetic... I can't believe I ever had feelings for you.

She stares a moment longer, then reaches down to grab the woman by the throat. However, before her hand makes it even halfway there, Ravager suddenly springs to life again, rolling over and grabbing the fallen sword handle. With a click flip of the switch, she thrusts it forward just as the energy blade extends, driving through Becky's metallic shell and coming into contact with her flesh beneath. Instantly, the same electrical surge that had just ripped through Ravager now rips through Becky instead. Her screams are deafening, at least in the few seconds before her voice abruptly cuts off.

Becky then falls forward limply, landing on top of Ravager. Uttering a long breath, Ravager discards the energy sword and then slowly rolls Becky over onto her back, as the metallic shell coating her body begins to melt off in the form of a thick, silvery ooze, revealing Becky's normal appearance beneath. Swallowing a lump in her throat, Ravager reaches up and removes her faceplate and helmet, then tosses it off to the side.

Rose stares downward at Becky for a few moments, before lifting up a hand and pressing her fingers to her eyes, trying to fight back the growing wetness. After sniffling in a deep breath, she leans down and gently plants her lips against Becky's. It's strange that something she had been longing for so badly, to hold the love of her life in her arm again, to kiss her again, could feel so heartbreaking and numb.

Rose: I don't know what he did to you, Becky... but I promise I'll fix it. You hear me? I'll fix it... I'll fix everything.

Chapter #87

Int. Abandoned Incineration Plant – Day

Apathy crawls backwards, leaving behind a trail of blood as she goes. The wound in her side is beginning to bleed a bit more heavily now, but at least she hadn't severed an artery, otherwise she'd probably already be dead. Breathing in deeply, she watches as Jerry continues to advance towards her, lashing out his arm and extending it in the shape of another long blade. In a puff of smoke, she teleports again, this time reappearing about ten feet away.

Jerry: Your disappearing acts are getting less and less impressive. Finding it difficult to concentrate?

She teleports again, as another attack shoots out at her. Reappearing in the next room, she leans against the wall and tilts her head back. Slow, tired breaths burst from her lips, the onset of pained exhaustion already beginning to take hold.

Jerry: Come now, you managed to make it all the way to the hospital the last time I skewered you, and you were barely alive then. Why not do the same now? Why bother hiding?

Because she made Rose a promise, that's why, and she isn't going to run away from that. Not to mention the whole bomb situation. If they fail here, then they're all dead anyway.

The door to the office abruptly flies inward off its hinges, clattering to the floor. Jerry takes a steps forward, eying Apathy curiously as she sits there against the wall. Slowly, a grin spreads across his face.

Jerry: There you are. Do try to stay still this time.

Raising his arm, he transforms it into the shape of a blade once again. As he goes to thrust it forward, however, his attention is suddenly drawn away by a figure rushing him from behind. Turning, he leaps backwards and ducks his head, narrowly avoiding the bright, humming energy weapon.

Jerry: You almost had me, Rose. Just not quick enough.

Rose: I'm just getting started, you son of a b*tch.

Running forward again, Rose swings both her energy swords at him. She has no idea if his flesh counts as organic material anymore, but she's more than willing to find out. Even if she can't cut through him, though, just a touch should have him on his knees, twitching and helpless. Her strikes touch only air, though, as Jerry effortlessly weaves around the blades.

Jerry: You look a little sluggish. Did your reunion with Rebecca not go so well?

Rose: Shut up!

She thrusts one of her swords at him this time, but he turns his body to the side. Lashing his arm out, he hardens into the form of a blade again, this time slicing through Rose's damaged suit and opening a long gash along her rib cage. Rose utters a pained cry of surprise, as she stumbles backwards. She drops one of her blades, holding her hand to the wound.

Rose: What did you do to her?!

Jerry: You mean aside from bring her back to life? Nothing at all, except for telling her the truth. I showed her exactly what you really are: a selfish, miserable, poor excuse for a human being.

Rose: You're lying... you changed her somehow. You did something to her!

Jerry: Don't you get it, Rose? This facade you wear of a kind, caring, nurturing woman is just that: a facade. Deep down, you're till the same dark, broody, sadistic, frightened little girl that you've always been. You can hide it behind however many layers of happiness and contentment you like, but you can't make it go away. Your friends may not be able to see it, but I see it, and I helped Rebecca to see it.

Rose: I don't believe you!

Uttering a loud, angry shout, she runs forward again, leaving behind a blood trail in her wake. She doesn't care that she's bleeding. All she cares about is cutting this b*stard's head from his shoulders. As she closes in on him, though, Apathy suddenly teleports next to her and grabs her, then teleports the both of them away, returning back to the main reception hall, where they arrived. Becky still lies unconscious several yards away.

Blinking in surprise, Rose looks around and then turns to Apathy. Shooting her hands forward, she grabs the woman by the brooch of her cloak and yanks her forward.

Rose: What did you do that for?! I had him!

Apathy: You were going to get yourself killed! Did you not see him swinging at you from the side? You'd have run right into the attack!

Rose pauses for a moment, then bows her head and turns away.

Rose: You need to go.

Apathy: What on earth are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere.

Rose: You're injured, you need to get yourself treated.

Apathy: In case you haven't noticed, Rose, you're in worse shape than I am.

Rose: Please, Ruby... just go. Take Becky with you. Find Holly. Circe and Lyta, too. Get them all out of the city, get them to safety. Then, find someone who can help Becky... get her back to normal.

Apathy: And just what the hell do you intend to do?

Rose: I'm stopping Jerry, and I'm stopping his bombs. Or I'm going to die trying.

Narrowing her eyes, Apathy takes a few steps forward and reaches a hand out. She pauses her hand momentarily, then rests it against Rose's shoulder.

Apathy: You... you're serious?

Rose: Very.

Apathy: But... but you could just come with us. You don't have to stay here.

Rose: Jerry is my villain, Ruby. And Silverstone is my city. I promised myself I would protect it from freaks just like Jeremiah, and if I run now, then I've broken that promise. So no, I'm not going with you. I'm going to stay here and I'm going to clean up my mess. If I fail, then at least I know I tried, and if this city goes down, then I go down with it.

Apathy: Rose...

Pausing a moment, Apathy reaches up and pulls down the hood of her costume, as well as the darkened face covering. Now, she's just Ruby. With a gentle touch, she turns Rose back around to face her, then leans in to give a tender kiss. Rose doesn't return the kiss, but she doesn't reject it, either. She simply accepts it.

Ruby: Don't fail.

Rose: Just tell Holly I love her, alright?

Ruby: Of course.

Taking a step back, Ruby breathes in deeply and then limps over towards Becky's unconscious body. She hesitates only briefly before touching her hand to the woman's shoulder.

Ruby: Good luck, Rose.

And with that, the two vanish into thin air. Rose stares briefly at the empty space where they had been just a moment before, then turns back around and waits.

Rose: Come on... where are you?

As if on cue, the wall to the overhang extending above the large, open loading area suddenly bursts outward, causing brick and plaster to explode in all directions. A second later, Jerry drops down through the air and nimbly lands across from her. He remains in a small crouch for several moments before slowly rising back to his full height.

Jerry: Now you're just delaying.

Rose: No, not anymore. I'm right here.

Jerry: So you are. Ready to finish this little feud once and all?

Rose: I've been ready. You're not gonna run away again, are you?

Jerry: Oh, no, Rose, no more running. You, me, a final climactic battle to the death... what more could your arch nemesis ask for?

In spite of her predicament, Rose can't help it. She snorts out a laugh.

Rose: My arch nemesis? How conceited can you get?

Jerry: Do you not agree? Who else can say they've put you through what I have?

Rose: So you've screwed with my life, big deal. Plenty of people have screwed with my life. Yeah, you've been a big pain in my ass for a couple years, but get real. 'Arch nemesis'? You sound like a bad Saturday morning cartoon.

Jerry: Sarcastic to the very end. How quaint.

Smirking slightly, Rose raises the sword hilt again and clicks the button, causing the beam of energy to extend once more in the form of a blade.

Rose: Question is, whose end?

Jerry: Let's find out, shall we?.

And then, there are no more words. The two engage in what would be their final conflict, one way or another. Rose knows it deep down, can feel it in her gut; one of them dies today. But she's already come to terms with it. In this instance, she isn't holding back. She will kill him if she can, and she won't bat an eye at it, either. As much as she's come to hate killing over the years, as much as she makes a conscious effort to not be the murderer she used to, some people just flat out deserve it. The last person she came across to deserve such a fate was Pavoni, and that was for entirely different reasons. Jerry had found whole new ways to push her buttons, to place himself at the top of her 'no mercy' list. Any hope he had of her leaving him alive ended a long time ago.

Of course, that's only if she can kill him. The way she's moving right now, the clumsiness of her actions, she'll be entirely lucky if she manages it. Her body is beaten, fried, bleeding, and she can barely keep up with her precog. Jerry, on the other hand, seems to enjoy leading her on, effortlessly avoiding her attacks. Before long, he plays the part of matador, and she the part of the bull. She lunges at him with as swift a strike as she can muster, and he simply steps out of the way. All that's missing is a red cape to wave in front of her face.

Eventually, Rose's condition catches up with her and the beating commences. She can see the attacks coming, but her body is too tired to do anything about it. Jerry could end it with one swift cut to her throat, but he doesn't. He drags it out, takes enjoyment out of her helplessness. He forms his arms into blunt objects, as opposed to bladed ones. A hammer smashes into her chest and sends her flying. She hits the ground hard and rolls to a stop, only to recoil sharply from a solid pole smacking into her backside. Then, Jerry's amorphous limb wraps around her midsection. It becomes solid again, holding onto her firmly, and then swings her around, slamming her into the floor and the walls repeatedly.

After a while, Rose can barely feel her body. All she feels is one large, methodical throbbing, and the warm trickle of blood oozing down her side. By the time Jerry releases her, she can barely move, every single motion requiring an obscene amount of effort and causing her to cringe in pain. There's definitely some broken bones in there, maybe some internal bleeding. Desperately, she reaches a hand down to her belt, fingers shaking and fumbling through one of the compartments. Meanwhile, Jerry casually approaches her, hands clasped behind his back.

Jerry: Are you broken, yet?

Grunting out a pained response, Rose forces herself to roll over onto her hands and knees. She doesn't make it much farther than that, though, unable to lift herself back up to her feet.

Jerry: Now, here's the part where I debate whether or not to kill you outright.

Reaching down, he grabs her by the throat and lifts her up, holding her at arm's length. What he doesn't notice, however, is her hand brushing up against his chest on the way up.

Jerry: Finally being rid of you would be satisfying... but I'm not quite sure if it would be more satisfying than giving you a front row seat to Silverstone's armageddon. Maybe I should let you decide, hmm? What do you say?

Rose: I say... boom.

Jerry raises an eyebrow, then slowly glances downward to see another one of those small explosive devices attached to his chest, the red light blinking faster and faster. Instantly, his expression slackens.

Jerry: Oh, you little b-

BOOM!

When the explosion goes off, a hot fireball engulfs Jeremiah, forcing him to stagger backwards. While the force of the blast had mostly been concentrated in his direction, a smaller, less concentrated shockwave bursts backwards, lifting Rose into the air and sending her hurtling into the wall behind her. For several moments, she just lies there, not having the strength to get back up.

Jerry, meanwhile, thrashes around and falls to his knees, as his malleable flesh begins to melt off his bones. He does manage to escape the heat and flames a few moments later, but he has a little trouble putting himself back together, unable to reform himself as quickly as he normally can.

Jerry: Again... with the incendiaries. This is proving to be an annoyance.

Holding both hands to the floor, Jerry leans over and closes his eyes, breathing in deeply. He's concentrating, trying to restabilize his molecular structure, though he finds it increasingly difficult. Eventually, however, he does manage to reform his flesh around his bones, a slow, agonizing process. He also finds it difficult to retain the form, as every few seconds he can feel his flesh beginning to melt off again.

Jerry: Just a little more... there we go.

Finally, he manages to retain his shape completely, though his body isn't without a few deformities along the way. Much of his flesh still hangs loosely, half melted, but at least it's staying on his bones. Breathing in deeply again, he lifts his head and rises back to a standing position... only to then pause in momentary surprise as he sees Rose standing there in front of him. She may barely be on her feet, staggering and teetering, but she's there, and she's holding the point of her energy blade inches from his eyes.

Rose: These weapons can't cut organic material, you know. They'll still shock the f*ck out of you, though. Now, I'm curious. Does that flesh of yours count as organic material?

Jerry merely glares up at her. He attempts to form his body into some sort of weapon, but it isn't responding to his commands. His molecules are still recovering, and they can't start reshaping themselves again so quickly.

Rose: Nothing? Well then, let's find out. The fun way.

On that note, she takes a vicious swing with the sword, aiming it the man's neck. The edge of the blade slices across his his throat, but doesn't cut through. Instead, it delivers an explosive surge of electricity to his body. In seconds, Jerry is screaming. This isn't just surprise, or mild annoyance. This is pain. True, honest, and utterly excruciating pain. Rose holds the sword against him for several minutes, reveling almost a little too much in the man's agony. Finally, she shuts off the energy source, releasing Jerry from the torture. By now, his clay-like flesh is beginning to melt off again, almost like liquid. She can see his muscles and tendons beneath, a sight that would be rather nauseating were it not actually satisfying at the moment.

Rose: How do I shut off the bombs?

Jerry: You... don't.

Rose: You activated them through a wireless signal. You have to have a way to deactivate them, too.

Jerry: If you really believe... that I would tell you, after all this... then you are a fool.

Rose: No... you will tell me. You have to tell me!

Jerry: I don't have to tell you anything.

A wicked grin slowly forms across the man's decaying face.

Jerry: You may kill me, Rose... but you will still fail this city. In the end, I still win.

A numb, sinking sensation begins to bubble up in the pit of her stomach, as she realizes exactly how hopeless her situation is right now.

I can't deactivate them remotely... he won't let me. And we don't know where any of them are. I can't even contact anyone to tell them it's safe to call for help now. No, there has to be... something I can do. There has to be a way I can save this city!

Jerry: Is it beginning to sink in yet? Just how badly you've failed?

Rose's expression suddenly darkens, eyes narrowing and face scowling. She reaches out and grabs Jerry by the collar of his charred, nearly shredded shirt, and drags him across the reception hall.

Jerry: What are you doing?

No response.

Jerry: I asked you a question, Rose! Where are you going?

Rose: Right here.

She stops at the ledge of the giant pit near the back of the loading area, the pit where the dump trucks would unload their waste. It leads to a conveyer belt down below, which then guides the waste into the incinerator itself, where it would be burned to ash. Without so much as a shift in her demeanor, she extends her arm and holds Jerry up over the void. He immediately grasps onto her wrist, desperately trying to hold on as his legs kick helplessly in open space.

Jerry: You can't do this, Rose!

Rose: You're wrong, Jerry. I can do this. And f*ck, I'm going to enjoy it.

At that comment, Jerry suddenly calms himself, no longer struggling. He merely stares back at her with a grin.

Jerry: You see? I was right all along. Nothing but a sadistic murderer. I win, Rose. I win.

Rose holds her glare on him for several moments longer, her expression not once shifting into anything more than pure, venomous hate.

Rose: If that's what you want to believe, then sure-

Her grip abruptly releases him, causing Jerry to plummet down into the dark, empty pit.

Rose: -you win, Jeremiah. You win.

---

Jerry hits bottom with a sickening thud, rolling down across the slanted conveyer belt until coming to a stop on a flatter surface. He utters a small groan, then slowly pushes his way back to his hands and knees. He tries reforming his flesh again, but at this point it's futile. His body is far too fried to accomplish it, not without an extensive recovery time. Blinking a few times, he looks around and tries to adjust his eyes to the complete blackness surrounding him, not a single spark of light to allow him to see.

Jerry: The fall didn't kill me, Rose... you failed again.

Now, all he has to do is bide his time until he recovers, at which point he can easily break free of of this structure and finish Rose off once and for all. No more messing around next time, either. No more toying, no more dragging things out. He'll find her and gut her, plain and simple. It'll be quick, and it'll be satisfying. A small grin twists across his face, as he contemplates the act of ripping the heart out of her chest and watching her die. He normally isn't one to enjoy such grotesque violence, but given the circumstances, he can make an exception.

A brief moment later, however, he quickly realizes that something is wrong. He can hear something... a loud, shrill hissing. It sounds like... gas? And then, suddenly, he can see, as a dull glow of illumination finds its way into the chamber. It's what causes the illumination that makes his eyes go wide. Small flames, all in a row, ignite on either side of him, as the metal conveyer belt begins to move. When it brings him into the center of the chamber, and the flames around him begin to grow, he slackens his posture and smiles a bewildered, defeated smile.

Jerry: Clever, clever girl...

Not a moment later, the entire chamber fills with a massive, scorching wave of flames. In an instant, Jeremiah Belmont is completely engulfed, as his body rapidly disintegrates into a pile of ash, accompanied by shrill, horrid screams of pain.

---

Rose lowers her hand from the plant controls, then bows her head and squints her eyes shut.

Had to be done... couldn't let him live. Not again. Not after the things he's done.

That's what she tells herself anyway, how she justifies it. Jeremiah may have been quite possibly the man most deserving of such a fate that she's come across, and yet the act of killing him still causes an unexplained sense of guilt. She hadn't been in a blind rage, consumed by anger, as the last time she thought she killed him. This time, it was a premeditated, calculated decision. This time, she flat out chose to murder him. No matter how justified, the consequences of the act itself is still something she'll be dealing with for a long time to come. Contrary to what she told Jerry before she let him fall, she doesn't enjoy it, not one bit.

Pushing herself away from the control panel, Rose stumbles across the floor. Her job isn't done yet; she still has to find a way to disarm the bombs before Silverstone goes up in smoke, before hundreds of thousands of innocent people die. Since she has no way of contacting anyone right now, she can't give the word that it's now safe to call in outside help. If she could just get a hold of Dick, or another member of the Justice League, they could have the problem solved in no time. Instead, she has to do it the old fashioned way. She has to get out of this plant, and she has to physically find someone who can help, or at least find a working phone.

Unfortunately, she doesn't make it very far before her injuries catch up with her. Without any advance warning, her legs give out. She collapses to the floor and lies there, barely able to move. Aside from the broken bones and bruising all throughout her body, the gash in her side has spilled a little too much blood for her body's liking. Her entire body is beginning to shut down, she can feel it. Her arms and legs begin to absently twitch and spasm, while her vision blurs. Finally unable to bear it any longer, she drops her head down to the floor and shuts her eyes.

I... couldn't do it... I failed...

And then, her entire world goes dark.

Chapter #88

Int. Silverstone General Hospital – Day

Rose's mind drifts around in inky darkness for what feels like an eternity. For once, she feels completely at peace. No more pain, no more stress, no more chaos. She almost doesn't want it to end... but of course, it does have to end eventually, as consciousness slowly comes back to her. At first, it's just a tiny flicker of light, accompanied by hazy images. Her eyes flicker again, a little wider this time, until finally they open completely. Several long moments later, her vision begins to clear up, allowing her to take in her surroundings.

Oh god, not another hospital room...

By now, she's come to really hate hospital rooms. They're dark, dingy, and smell of death. The only thing good that comes from the revelation is that it means she's still alive, though from the looks of it she isn't in very good condition. Or, at least she hadn't been. She should be barely able to move, with broken bones, cuts, bruises, and all manner of other injuries riddling her body. Yet, for some reason, there is no pain. Even as she slowly sits up and tears the oxygen mask off her face, she feels perfectly fine, almost as if her wounds have already completely healed.

Before she can contemplate her situation much longer, movement draws her attention. She looks to the side of her bed to see a figure sitting there in a chair, a figure that had, until a few seconds ago, been fast asleep.

Ruby: Hrrmmph... Rose?

The woman utters a long yawn, slowly awakening. She stretches her arms out, cracks her back, and then sits up straighter in her seat.

Ruby: Oh god... you're awake. Thank goodness.

Rose: Ruby? I... what happened?

Rubbing her eyes momentarily, Ruby stifles another yawn and sets her hands down on her knees.

Ruby: Well, after I got Holly and the others to safety, I came to see if I could help you. Found you out cold and near death... you were barely alive when I brought you here.

Rose: How long was I out?

Ruby: You... well, I mean...

Rose: Ruby, how long?

Ruby: You've been in a coma for three weeks.

Instantly, Rose straightens up in her bed, nearly lurching over the side in surprise.

Rose: Three weeks?!

That explains why my injuries have healed, but... but what about...

Rose: The bombs, what happened with the bombs? Are we even in Silverstone right now? Is the city-

Ruby: Relax, the city's fine. We're in Silverstone, safe and sound.

A heavy, relieved breath finds its way out of her throat.

Rose: How did you stop them?

Ruby: Once we found out that Jeremiah was... no longer an issue, we called in help. Zatanna had the bombs deactivated and dismantled with just a few words.

Rose: I see... Good old Z.

As she revels in their apparent victory, however, another thought hits her. Heart sinking, she looks up quickly at Ruby.

Rose: And... and Becky? Is she still...

At this question, Ruby calmly smiles

Ruby: Becky's doing just fine.

Rose: She's... she's fine?

Ruby: Yes, perfectly healthy and back to her old self. I believe she's out with Holly right now, making up for lost time.

A numb, yet elated sensation begins to bubble up in Rose's throat. She smiles, lowering her gaze and lifting a hand to her face, while struggling to hold back her relieved tears.

Rose: Then, I... I was right. He did do something to her.

Ruby: That he did. From what your friend, Cyborg, could determine, the nanites bonded to her system had been given very specific programming. When they integrated into her brain, they changed her, got her to think and act exactly how Jerry wanted her to. Fortunately, Cyborg disabled their programming, and they're no longer affecting her behavior.

A long silence abruptly descends over the pair. Rose continues staring down, lowering her hands and taking in a deep, contemplative breath.

Rose: So now she's... she's back. She's really back.

Ruby: And very looking forward to seeing you awake again.

Rose: But... how do I...

She pauses again, briefly rubbing her eyes and then glancing back to Ruby.

Rose: I mean, what about... what about us?

Ruby: Rose, please. What we had was fun, enjoyable... oh god, was it enjoyable. But we didn't have what you and Becky have. We don't have that kind of love. It really is amazing, the way she talks about you, the way she feels about you... You two are absolutely made for each other, and I'm not getting in the way of that.

Rose takes in the statement slowly, breathing in a steady breath and straightening herself further. Gradually, a small smile forms its way across her face, and she gives Ruby an appreciative nod.

Rose: Thank you.

Getting up from her seat, Ruby leans in close and gently kisses Rose's forehead.

Ruby: My pleasure, dear.

Returning to her seat, Ruby then delivers a playful smirk

Ruby: But hey, if you two ever need a third party to spice things up, just give me a call.

With a surprised look of confusion coming over her face, Rose's eyebrows slowly lift.

Rose: Uh...

Ruby: Kidding, kidding. Anyway, I suppose I should get going, let you get some rest.

Rose: Rest? Are you kidding me? I've been resting for three weeks. I need to stretch my legs, I need some food... and I need to see Becky.

Ruby: Oh, well in that case-

Standing up from her chair again, Ruby reaches an arm forward and pulls Rose out from the bed. Rose stumbles momentarily, her muscles weak from three weeks of not being used.

Ruby: -let's get you out of this dreadful hospital, shall we?

Ext. Silverstone City Park – Day

The days is... perfect. That's really the only way to describe it. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and just the right kind of breeze to keep the heat bearable. Add to that the relaxing scenery of the park, and there isn't another place that Rose would rather be right now. Then again, there is a much different reason she wants to be here right now, a reason that she can see sitting a short distance away.

Becky leans back against the park bench, elbows propped up behind her. Circe sits next to her in a much less relaxed pose, posture straight and one leg crossed over the other. The two are currently engaged in a quiet conversation, as they watch Holly and Lyta just a short distance away on the playground. Taking in a deep breath, Rose steadies herself on her tired legs and gently pushes away from Ruby's supporting hold.

Rose: I got it from here.

Ruby: Careful now, don't want to trip and fall. That'd just ruin the moment.

Smiling absently to herself, Rose takes a few cautious steps forward. When she feels comfortable standing on her own two feet, she starts approaching the park bench. She makes it halfway there before Becky looks up and sees her. Instantly, Becky springs to her feet and starts running forward, her expression one of overwhelmed joy. As much as Rose wants to respond the same, to run into the woman's arms, her legs don't want to obey such strenuous commands, not yet.

When Becky lunges forward into her arms, Rose utters a small breath and sinks into the embrace, arms coming up to wrap around her tightly. She tries to say something, but her voice catches numbly in her throat, so instead she merely closes her eyes and buries her face against Becky's shoulder. She isn't even trying to fight the tears this time; they come naturally, and she lets them flow.

Becky: Miss me?

Rose: You have no idea.

Becky: I love you, Rose. Nothing will ever change that.

Rose: I know... I love you, too.

Leaning back, Rose sniffles back a breath and smiles. A second later, she comes in with a firm, passionate kiss. The moment that their lips touch, an explosion of warmth and elation surges through her, the likes of which she hasn't known in a long time. When their kiss finally breaks, she closes her eyes again and rests her forehead against Becky's.

Rose: Let's take a walk, just you and me. There's... so much I want to talk about.

Smiling broadly, Becky reaches down and takes one of Rose's hands in her own, interlocking their fingers together.

Becky: I'd like nothing better.

After giving a brief wave to the others, Rose and Becky head down the path, hand in hand. It's something that Rose never thought she'd experience ever again. She's almost afraid it isn't real, that she's somehow dreaming, and once she wakes up everything will be gone again. But no, not this time... this time, it's real. No more illusions, no more dreams, no more nightmares... It's just her and Becky.

As the two walk slowly across the pond bridge, Becky leans in close and lets out a long breath. Rose glances over calmly, then brings up an arm to wrap around her shoulders.

Becky: Rose... those things that I said, I... I didn't mean any of it.

Rose: I know, Becky... I know.

Becky: And I'm sorry, for everything. For not listening, for being dense, for... for leaving you. I...

Rose: Shh.

Turning her head, she plants a gentle kiss on Becky's forehead.

Rose: It's alright, really. I'm just glad you're back.

Becky: You and me both, girl. You and me both.

Rose: So, you been catching up while I was out?

Becky: Si, been spending time with everyone. Holly, Circe, Lyta, Ruby... you were right, by the way. I do like her.

A small laugh finds its way past Rose's lips.

Rose: I told you.

Becky: So, you two were really...?

Rose: Yeah... but not anymore. I mean, with you back now, we... well we're just friends.

Becky: She make you happy? When you were together, I mean.

Rose: Uh, well... yes, she did.

A smile curls its way across Becky's face.

Becky: Good.

Furrowing her brow, Rose tilts her head in confusion.

Rose: Good?

Becky: That you were happy, yeah. That's all I've ever wanted for you, to be happy.

Rose slowly returns the smile, turning towards Becky and wrapping her arms around the woman's waist.

Rose: Have I mentioned how much I love you?

Becky: Not in the last five minutes.

Giving another kiss, Rose takes hold of Becky's hand again and then continues walking across the pond bridge.

Rose: So, you gone back to the station yet?

Becky: And do what, waltz into Palmer's office and ask for my badge back? Ha, no, not yet. I figure I should give it a little more time... I'm just trying to enjoy things for the time being. Although...

She takes in a deep breath, slowly exhaling.

Becky: I am going to have to face my family again sooner or later. They'll be... well, to be honest, I'm not sure how they'll react to me coming back. It's not something that happens everyday, you know? Someone you love coming back from the dead.

Rose: Not outside comic books, anyway.

Becky: I want you there with me when I go see them.

Rose: Um... I don't really know if that's the best idea. I'm not exactly their favorite person, seeing as how I got their daughter killed...

Becky: Please, I got myself killed. Never should have run ahead of you guys like that... was just a little overeager I guess.

Rose: I appreciate the sentiment, Becky, but even if you can convince them that you dying wasn't my fault, there's the fact that... that we're...

Becky: That we're what? In a lesbian relationship? Yeah, we are. And so what?

Rose: Well, I just-

Uttering a frustrated breath, Becky lifts a hand to her face and shakes her head.

Becky: I spent such a conscious effort before to hide who I was. My sister was the only one who knew, and that's only because she caught me making out with my ex. But I was so... afraid of what people would think of me, I never told anyone else. Well not this time around. If my parents want me in their lives, they're going to have to accept me for who I am, plain and simple. I don't care how much they hate it.

Rose: You mean that?

Becky: Si, I mean it.

Rose: Well... alright then. I'll be there for you.

Turning her head, Becky leans in and gives her another brief kiss on the cheek.

Becky: Thanks. Now, what do you say we go out for lunch? Then maybe we can head back to the apartment... make up for some lost time?

Rose: Becky...

A large, pleased grin spreads across her face. Tightening her hold around Becky's hand, she quickens their pace.

Rose: I thought you'd never ask.

Ext. Chavez Residence – Day

Two days later, Rose and Becky stand outside on the porch of the small, suburban home. Rose stands slightly off to the side, arms folded across her chest and posture slouched. She takes in deep, slow breaths, trying to mentally prepare herself for what's about to come. This little visit could go either very well, or very poorly. It's all up to Becky.

Becky: You ready?

Rose: Not really. You?

Becky: I wish I could say I was. Here goes nothing.

Raising her fist up to the door, she gently raps her knuckles against it several times, then stands back and waits. Several moments go by before the sound of shuffling feet comes from inside. A short second later, the door opens inward, revealing a short, thin woman with long, stringy hair. It's Emma Chavez, Becky's mother.

Emma: Yes, how can I-

Understandably, words escape her when she sees the person standing across from her.

Becky: Hey, Mom... how are you?

Emma stumbles forward, her legs seemingly refusing to obey her mental commands. When she finally makes it to her daughter, she reaches up with shaky hands to touch her face, as if wanting to make sure she isn't seeing things, or that it isn't a ghost come back to haunt her.

Emma: Rebecca, is it... are you...?

Becky: It's me, mamá. I'm here.

Almost instantly, the woman breaks down, a hand coming over her mouth as she begins weeping with a mixture of overwhelming joy and sorrow. Becky holds her arms forward, hugging her mother warmly. After several moments of silent reunion, Emma suddenly turns back around to shout further inside the house.

Emma: Jorge! Jorge! Come here! Dios mio, come here!

The sound of more footsteps reach their ears, until a man appears in the main hallway, heading for the door. Jorge Chavez, Rebecca's father.

Jorge: I'm coming, I'm coming. What's so important that you need to be shouting at me?

His question is answered when he reaches the doorway and his eyes fall on his daughter, back from the dead. For a moment, he simply stands there, staring at her, then slowly walks forward in disbelief.

Jorge: Rebecca?

Becky: Si, papá. It's me.

Breaking down in a similar fashion to his wife, Jorge comes forward and takes his daughter into his arms, holding her tightly and fighting through his tears.

Jorge: I don't believe it. My ángel... oh my little ángel.

Emma: Our baby has come back to us... it's a miracle.

The three remain in each other's embrace for several minutes longer. Rose continues standing there quietly, not daring to interrupt the tearful reunion. Eventually, though, Becky takes a step back, briefly wiping her eyes before turning her parents around.

Becky: Guys, there's... someone I want you to meet.

The reaction is about what Rose expected. Instantly, the emotions turn from joy to anger. The looks of hate that they give her would almost be unbearable, had Rose not been used to receiving those kinds of looks by now.

Jorge: What is she doing here?!

Emma: We told you to stay away from our family! You took our daughter away from us!

Becky: It's not her fault. If you want to blame someone for what happened, blame me, please. I put myself in that situation, I'm the reason I was taken from you.

Jorge: But Rebecca, she's-

Becky: No buts, Dad. I won't have you talking that way about my girlfriend.

The comment catches them by surprise. Jorge and Emma give each other brief looks of surprise, then turn back to their daughter.

Emma: Then it... it's true? When she spoke at your funeral, we assumed she was lying.

Jorge: Did she do this to you? Did she turn you into... into one of them?

Becky: No, she didn't turn me into anything. I've always been this way. I just never told you before, because I knew you'd react like this.

Emma: How else can we react? It's... it's unnatural.

Becky: The hell it is! Jueputa, this is who I am, and that makes it natural. Just because I like women, it doesn't change the fact that I'm still your daughter, the same daughter you've always known. I'm still me.

Jorge: Rebecca, it's just... I mean, we... oh Dios.

Holding a hand to head, he utters a frustrated breath and turns away momentarily.

Emma: Sweetie, we... we know you're still our daughter, but this is... we don't know if we can...

Becky: I'm not asking for you to approve of it. I'm not even asking you to like it. I'm just asking you to accept it. This is who I am, and it's not going to change. Besides...

Walking over to Rose, Becky reaches down and takes hold of one of her hands.

Becky: I love her.

Jorge: You... love her?

Becky: Si, with all my heart.

Slowly, Jorge and Emma look over at each other, as if quietly trying to decipher the other's thoughts. Eventually, the two slowly glance back at them. For a long moment, an uncomfortable silence hangs over them, until they finally break it.

Emma: Rose, was it?

Clearing her throat, she cautiously nods.

Rose: Uh, yeah.

Emma: Would you... like to come in for some coffee?

Breathing out a small breath of relief, Rose briefly glances at Becky and smiles.

Rose: Yes... I'd like that.

#1 Posted by Nyrax (12 posts) - - Show Bio

R.I.P Jerry. You were a villain, but by far an awesome character in this series.

#2 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nyrax: ah yes, he will be missed

#3 Posted by csguterres (205 posts) - - Show Bio

Another great arc!

#4 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@csguterres: Thanks!

#5 Posted by Time_Phantom (527 posts) - - Show Bio

Great arc! So if Becky "comming out" is unnatural then what would they call her sudden resurection? This series has been enjoyable from beginning to end (So sad it's almost all over) This to put it simpley is one of the best written fics... ever. You don't really need to know anything about Rose for the events you put her in to be believable and her development from this series start to this point show how much thought and care you put into the character.

Nothing bad to say, this was as close to perfect a fic as it gets.

#6 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@Time_Phantom said:

So if Becky "comming out" is unnatural then what would they call her sudden resurection?

Ha, you know parents xD never logical

This to put it simpley is one of the best written fics... ever. Nothing bad to say, this was as close to perfect a fic as it gets.

You have no idea how much it means to me to hear that. Seriously, after putting that much hard work into all of this, knowing that someone out there truly enjoyed my work makes it all worth it. Thanks for sticking through the whole series, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series as much as you have everything else!

#7 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

bump

#8 Edited by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

Interesting... Just for future reference, try not to explain what might happen and don't give any background information. Tell that story as it is being revealed. When watching a movie, we usually hear things and see things and instinctively figure out what everything is without being told what it is. It is the same thing with writing.

Adjectives are always your friend too.

#9 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio
@doordoor123 what are you referring to there, so I know what I'm looking for?
#10 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4:

"The man standing down at the dock directing the crane throws his arms up as an urge for the man operating the crane to slow down. If the guy isn't careful, he could drop the massive shipping container and do who knows what kind of damage, not only to the dock but also the only truck that they have to move it."

-It isn't only that, it is all over. It is a thing that only practice will fix.

"Rose passes off the bundle of water lilies, which had been Becky's favorite flower, then watches as Holly walks forward to the gravestone and sets the flowers down in front of it. For a few moments afterward, the girl just stands there, staring at it."

-Instead of saying it like this, be more descriptive -- meaning adjectives. Instead of saying "Holly walks forward to the gravestone," paint a better visual for the reader.

EXAMPLE: Hesitant, she takes a deep breath into the harsh wind and steps forward. There is a gravestone with the letters P.E. engraved into it. Withered flowers sit atop the grave. Holly's face turns blue, her eyes drip and the flower in her hands shake. Soon enough, waterfalls stream from her face. She falls to her knees."

I didn't want to go along the lines of the story, but you get what I mean.

#11 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio
@doordoor123 ah, I get what you mean now. I'll admit that my style of writing lately has been more blunt, instead of descriptive, though this is a combination of writing it in the present tense and in script form, as opposed to past tense and in prose instead (which is how I've noticed comic writers write their scripts, just getting across the important information to the artist, which is kind of what I had in mind when I started this, though I do add extra information at times to compensate for the fact that this isn't being illustrated), and putting out so much so often, meaning I haven't been spending time to go back and make rewrites. In my normal prose works, I tend to write much closer to how you described. Perhaps some extensive editing and rewrites are due after I finish this series in the next couple weeks.
#12 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@doordoor123 ah, I get what you mean now. I'll admit that my style of writing lately has been more blunt, instead of descriptive, though this is a combination of writing it in the present tense and in script form, as opposed to past tense and in prose instead (which is how I've noticed comic writers write their scripts, just getting across the important information to the artist, which is kind of what I had in mind when I started this, though I do add extra information at times to compensate for the fact that this isn't being illustrated), and putting out so much so often, meaning I haven't been spending time to go back and make rewrites. In my normal prose works, I tend to write much closer to how you described. Perhaps some extensive editing and rewrites are due after I finish this series in the next couple weeks.

Good comic writers write their scripts descriptively. They need to be able to paint pictures for the artists and that can't be done without description. It is the same thing for screen-writing. The writer needs to write for the camera man and in this case the camera man is the artist.

It should make sense without illustration anyway. I would like to see some of your other stuff, because this seems like you need some work; not in a bad way though. Growing is part of the process.

#13 Edited by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio

@doordoor123 Right, but you only need so much description, depending what what's in a panel. Sometimes you'll need a couple paragraphs to paint the picture to the artist, yeah, but other times a couple sentences is plenty. You don't need to describe every single detail on every single panel, or else it restricts the artist's creative freedom. You only need to out down the necessary information that you definitely want in a panel, and then you let the artist do his or her job in bringing it to life. And even then, you don't need to write the description as flowery prose, it's more about writing it as though speaking to your artist on what you need. At least, this is the general consensus I've gathered during my research on the subject. I have tried my hand at writing a full comic script, in fact it should be floating around the fan fic forums somewhere, but obviously that needs a lot of work since it was my first one.

And like I said, I'll consider doing rewrites on this stuff once I finish the series and can focus on making the style sound better. Right now, I'm trying my best to get the point of the story across in a way that's understandable, without having to spend a severely long time on each chapter. I want to get it all done, finally, and then I can go back to make it all look better.

#14 Posted by CapFanboy (5332 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4: It's good already, and the story compensates for anything you write badly, it really is great

#15 Posted by TheCannon (19008 posts) - - Show Bio

Very good.

#16 Posted by doordoor123 (3721 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ravager4 said:

@doordoor123 Right, but you only need so much description, depending what what's in a panel. Sometimes you'll need a couple paragraphs to paint the picture to the artist, yeah, but other times a couple sentences is plenty. You don't need to describe every single detail on every single panel, or else it restricts the artist's creative freedom. You only need to out down the necessary information that you definitely want in a panel, and then you let the artist do his or her job in bringing it to life. And even then, you don't need to write the description as flowery prose, it's more about writing it as though speaking to your artist on what you need. At least, this is the general consensus I've gathered during my research on the subject. I have tried my hand at writing a full comic script, in fact it should be floating around the fan fic forums somewhere, but obviously that needs a lot of work since it was my first one.

And like I said, I'll consider doing rewrites on this stuff once I finish the series and can focus on making the style sound better. Right now, I'm trying my best to get the point of the story across in a way that's understandable, without having to spend a severely long time on each chapter. I want to get it all done, finally, and then I can go back to make it all look better.

Just trying to give some helpful advice where it looks like it is needed. This isnt really a debate. I'm just seeing what I saw and commenting on it.

#17 Posted by Ravager4 (1627 posts) - - Show Bio
@doordoor123 no, you're absolutely right that a lot of it could be written more soundly, and its definitely appreciated. I'm just clarifying that the technical aspects are something I'm aware of, and are admittedly a bit lackluster because of me writing it largely in a format I'm not an expert in, thereby making me structure my sentences differently, but is not something I am overly concerned of yet. Right now I just want to get the story across. Rewrites can and probably will come later, when I have time.