Fan Creation Fridays: What's Your Dream Meta Madhouse Finale Pairing?

The arena, and open air rotunda somewhere under the red skies of Apokolips, had emptied, the stone pillars broken from a seemingly endless number of fights.  The air stank of brimstone and weighed heavy like fire upon Hoppy’s flesh.  His fur bristled with electricity as Darkseid stepped forth from the shadows, each footfall shaking the ground.  He walked with a gait somewhere between a monster’s and a king’s, his eyes were set ablaze with fire, and his rocky muscles rolled as he prepared himself for what he thought would be an easy fight.
That was always their first mistake.  Everyone underestimated Hoppy.  The bunny used to take it personally.  Now, he takes it for his own advantage.
“A rodent?” Darkseid offered what Hoppy assumed was supposed to be a smirk.  “They have chosen a rabbit as their champion.”
“I earned my spot here, buddy,” Hoppy bounded forward, staring up at the nine foot tall alien that stood in front of him.  “Even Trigon didn’t stand a chance, got it?  So I don’t care what planets you rule or what math equations you know, you don’t stand a chance against me.”
“Likely,” Darkseid said sarcastically, chuckling a horrible chuckle.  “If you wish to survive this, rodent, you will kneel before Darkseid.  Entire galaxies howl in fear at the very sight of me.  Planets have burned under my gaze.  I have crushed the skulls of a hundred thousand so called ‘heroes’ such as yourself.  You are but a mere nuisance to me, rodent, and if you do not see that now, then you will once I have reduced you to a mound of bleeding flesh, trembling before me, begging for the sweet nothingness of death that only I can give to you.”
“Yeesh,” despite the fear that convulsed through his 2 and a half pound body, Hoppy remained confident, shoulders broad, face stern, eyes unwavering.  “Darkseid is… ridiculously long winded.  Me?  I’m not one for wasting time.”
Hoppy leapt through the air, fire-wind brushing through his fur.  He extended his paw and then…
BAM!
With the force of an earthquake, Hoppy’s paw connected with Darkseid’s chest, sending the intergalactic tyrant tumbling backwards, a plumb of dirt and dust enveloping him.  Hoppy hovered in the air, ears standing tall.
“So, you wanna call me ‘rodent’ again?” Hoppy lowered himself as Darkseid began to stand, dusting himself off.  “‘Cause I’ll have you know, rabbits are not-”
With lightning speed, Darkseid’s arm extended, a massive hand wrapping itself around Hoppy’s throat and smashing him into the ground.  Then into the ground again and again.  Blood swelled in the bunny’s mouth as every muscle in his body stung.  Darkseid pulled him closer, so close that Hoppy could smell the scent of fire and death on the tyrant’s breath.  Darkseid’s eyes lit up with fire once more.
“Burn,” Darkseid said with a voice like gravel.
Hoppy called upon all the strength he had left, ripping himself out of Darkseid’s hand, relying on the strength of Hercules and the speed of Mercury.  The Omega Beams sprang forth from Darkseid’s eyes, zigging and zagging forward.  Most would have run.  Hoppy flew forward.  The world still seemingly frozen around him, Hoppy moved underneath the beams, forcing them to follow the bunny.  Once again, he pounded himself into Darkseid’s sternum, this time bouncing away just milliseconds before the beams hit.  Instead, they burned their way into Darkseid’s chest.

Hoppy collapsed, exhausted. His vision went blurry with pain as he staggered upwards. Darkseid stood as well, gritting his teeth, bleeding.
“You will pay for that,” he boomed.
“Yeah,” Hoppy heaved his words out painfully. “Heard that a lot.”
Darkseid sprang forward, once again grabbing Hoppy by the scruff of his neck. “Before I finally end your pitiful existence, I will allow you to speak your final words. You have earned my respect, a rare feat. So go ahead, speak.”
“Yeah,” Hoppy’s nose twitched. “Yeah okay. One last word. SHAZAM!”
Lightning shot down from the sky, intended for Hoppy, but instead hitting Darkseid in the skull, sending the tyrant tumbling down, his grip loosening and freeing Hoppy.
Finally, the bunny stood triumphant.

3 Likes

HOPPY FOR PRESIDENT!!!

And, that is solid writing, TornadoSoup. Excellent work!

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Thanks, Misfit. Thought you might like this one.

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Oh, no! I am becoming predictable?

First time trying my hand at this…

The Mother of Wonder

She listened patiently at the whipping winds of her island. She attuned her body to all the sounds she knew by heart. Her black hair swirled in the wind and the sword she carried was at her side. Her hand gently rested upon it. Ready for the attack at a moment’s notice. She heard the familiar wildlife running. She heard her sisters practicing their various crafts; creating the life of the island. She heard the crunch of the earth. Her enemy did not understand a true queen knows all of her people by sight and sound. These steps were not known to her. This was not one of her own.

Queen Hippolyta continued to listen to the soft crunches of the earth when something hit her from the back. She was sure that the sounds had been further away, but she quickly realized that she had not taken into account someone not completely human. All she saw rush past her was an orange blur. She had heard enough tales from her daughter to know who was trespassing. She did not know the reasoning for the attack, but she definitely knew she would need all the strength she could muster to take down this foe. She would have to be careful of the claws. The claws she had heard had ripped many to shreds. Claws that had destroyed many of her daughter’s dreams, loves, and friendships. The sheer ferocity of Barbara Minerva as the Cheetah was like an unbridled fire. Burning everything in her wake. She could not allow her to reach any of her Amazonian sisters.

She heard the crunch again, but this time she was prepared. She grabbed Barbara by the neck, holding her up in the air. Cheetah growled and slashed at Hippolyta with all of her might. Cheetah could barely muster out, “I will kill you” before Hippolyta dragged her towards a boat and rope that was saved for such occasions. She would tie Cheetah up and push her away from the island. As Hippolyta walked towards the outskirts of the island, she did not pay attention to how far she was keeping Cheetah from her. Cheetah slashed into the queen’s regal garments. It was just enough to get Hippolyta to drop her to the ground. Cheetah did not take any time to flee. She ran back into the forest, to the only safety of the island that she knew.

Hippolyta looked down quickly to assess the wound she had suffered. It was only miniscule. She would not be concerned. She slowly pulled the sword resting at her side from its scabbard. The sword gleaming in the rays of light streaming through the forest’s leaf tapestry. “Barbara, this ends now. Leave the island with your life. I do not want to slay a fellow warrior, but I will protect my subjects.”

A laughter echoed through the forest. “Oh, Queen of the Amazonians, it is funny that you think there will be a decision to make. You will either kill me or I will kill you,” the Cheetah growled, “We do not get a say in this. There is more at foot than even you realize. We are just puppets in some larger battle, some larger scheme. We have been forced into this madness. This madhouse of terror.”

Hippolyta had no idea what the Cheetah was prattling on about. She just knew that they were quickly approaching the archery range of the island. She could hear her sisters practicing. Many of them unskilled in the craft currently. The arrow sounds were swishing through the air, creating an obvious target for her foe. Hippolyta knew they would never be able to hit a mark such as this one. She charged forward through the brushes and came out into the archery range. The Amazonians stared dumbfounded at their queen. Shocked to see her running full-tilt from the forest with her blade drawn. Without so much as a word, they raced towards shelter. They were attuned to their queen and knew when danger was near. As they fled, the Cheetah pounced out from the forest. She ran towards the last of the Amazonians. There was a burning hatred in those eyes and Hippolyta knew that she intended to kill. She knew that if she didn’t do something now, her land would be ravaged beyond repair. Her people would be slaughtered due to the hate this creature felt for her daughter. She had been staving off most of her power, but she knew now she would have to utilize it all to end this as soon as possible.

Hippolyta leaped towards Cheetah, slamming the blade deep into her. She stood above her, as the blood trickled into the grass of the archery way. Cheetah’s face was one of shock. Hippolyta looked down at her and simply said, “Who do you think trained her?” as she repeatedly stabbed her in the chest. Afterwards, she walked away to leave the mess to her Amazonian sisters, who were coming back down the trail towards the body lying there unmoving.

5 Likes

@PrincessAmethyst, that was amazing! Possibly the best fan fiction I’ve ever read!:grinning:

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That was so great, @Amethyst! Nice to see the Queen get the respect she deserves. This felt right out of the pages of Wonder Woman.

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:arrows_counterclockwise: TIME REVERSAL :arrows_counterclockwise:

“I’m running out of breath. I need to keep up with the Reverse Flash. I cannot let him reach Flash before the match begins.”

:arrows_counterclockwise: TIME REVERSAL :arrows_counterclockwise:

“I just need to catch Thawne before he can place the device on Barry.”

:arrows_counterclockwise: TIME REVERSAL :arrows_counterclockwise:

“Flash has beaten Nightwing every single time. Nightwing doesn’t stand a chance against Flash. At least, not without some major interference. What does Thawne have in store for Barry?”

:arrows_counterclockwise: TIME REVERSAL :arrows_counterclockwise:

“This is now the 52nd time we are doing this. Flash beats Nightwing, Reverse Flash goes back in time to try to reach Barry before the match begins and I chase after Thawne to try to stop him before he can enact his plan.”

Reverse Flash travels back in time to right before Flash and Nightwing enter the ring. Flash has beaten Nightwing 51 times prior, but none of that matters now because the 52nd will be different. Thawne manages to place a device on Barry that will siphon all of his speed and transfer it into Thawne. Barry is completely unaware of what the Reverse Flash has done and enters the ring to face off against Dick.

“My name is XS and I was too slow to stop the Reverse Flash.”

=========================

Flash vs Nightwing

Barry readies himself. Lightning coursing through his body. He knows what must be done. Of course Barry cannot find it in himself to unleash all of his power on someone like Dick. That’s Wally’s best friend and Bruce’s son. Barry has to win, he must be crowned the Champion of the Madhouse to become the representative of their corner of the multiverse in the upcoming Multiverse War.

Nightwing prepares himself. Dinah and Bruce went over Barry’s typical opening move and tell-tale signs all night long with Dick. This fight was going to be a long shot for Dick. Though Nightwing would not be able to move faster than Flash, he’d have a chance to think faster than Barry. Nightwing drops smoke bombs, his enhanced vision through his mask allows him to see Barry’s movements while Barry is blinded by the cloud of smoke. Barry’s heat signature was moving rather slowly for Flash standards. Dick took note.

“The good ole Bat family’s trusty smoke bombs. Let’s take care of this,” Barry said as he raised his arms to create wind tunnels to funnel the smoke out of the ring.

“Predictable, Barry,” Nightwing whispered to himself. With the smoke cleared Nightwing should have been visible. He was not.

“Where’d you go Birdie?” Flash was looking hard, but there really were no spots Nightwing could have hidden. The ring was flat and fully exposed. Flash was struck by an escrima stick. First in the abdomen, then the legs, followed by one that hit below the belt. Thanks to Dick’s training with the League of Assassins, he was able to move without making sound and temper his breath so as not to be heard by his opponent. “Ah, so you’re doing the whole disappearing act? Let me guess, you asked Babs to secure you an invisibility charm from Zatanna? Cute.”

Flash began to vibrate. Every single one of Nightwing’s attacks were not phasing Barry because he was phasing. Just then Dick turned on a setting on his weapons that shot out electricity and sent a jolt of lightning through Barry’s body despite his phasing. Barry fell down in pain.

“Of course. What- what little toy don’t you have? Bet that thing even has a shark repellent setting.” Barry stood up still unable to see Nightwing. Flash ran to the opposite side of the ring and began vibrating fast enough to create after images of himself. Nightwing would now have to contend with an illusion of Flash’s making.

“Which one is the real one?” Dick thought to himself. Just then all of the Flash’s began running in a circular motion around the entire ring. They were going to draw all of the oxygen out to leave Dick defenseless. He had to think of something, but he began to gasp for air. His breathing betrayed him, because in that moment Barry heard Dick’s location and ran to him pulling off the talisman that was keeping Nightwing obscured. Flash had slowed down just enough that Nightwing was able to trip him.

Nightwing pulled out a slew of birdarangs, launching them all at Flash. They were all detonating as they hit Barry or the ground near him.

“Where are you getting all of these toys? You’re wearing a leotard that has; no pockets, no utility belt, no backpack, no fanny pack, no murse, no satchel, no anything!” Flash was still attempting to evade the incoming birdarangs that seemed endless.

Flash’s speed kept draining from him into the Reverse Flash. It was now to the point that Flash was noticing it. Barry’s adrenaline could no longer compensate for his dwindling powers. More smoke bombs. More birdarangs. Flash began to get dizzy.

“That gas will put you right to sleep. Normally, you’d be able to phase the toxins out of your body and they’d be useless. When I noticed you were getting a lot slower, I knew I just had to bide my time. Looks like now was the perfect time to use them.” Nightwing had on a mask for his nose and mouth so as to not breathe in the sleeping gas.

Flash fought back the effects of the sleeping agent that was introduced into his system through the smoke, but he was faltering. Nightwing delivered a low sweep kick that landed Flash on his back. Nightwing did not stop attacking, finally delivering the blow that knocked Flash out cold. With that final punch, the match was over. Nightwing was the winner of the Madhouse.

Why did Thawne need Barry’s speed? It’s now up to Nightwing to keep their corner of the multiverse safe.

=========================

I had actually written a completely different version of this fight, but I accidentally deleted it when trying to copy/paste it :joy: Hope y’all like this one.

3 Likes

Thanks for the kind words @TornadoSoup and @HubCityQuestion. I love writing, but always been too scared to put anything out there. I am so appreciative of anyone taking the time to read my words, but to have both of you say such nice things put a smile on my face that just won’t go away.

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UNDERGROUND FIGHT CLUB

    “Allright, *****s,” said Hammerhead.  “Which of you ******s do I get to hit next?”
“You have made it to our version of the Final Four,” said Doctor Harrison.  “Congratulations. You may relax now; there won’t be any more fighting – not amongst ourselves, at least.”
“That mean I won?”
    “Not exactly.”
    “Then why the **** have we been doing this bracket ****? I thought we were trying to see who the toughest one of us was.”
“We already know the answer to that,” said Driver 8. “Jane is the strongest.  She can stay up top longer than any of the rest of us can.”
Hammerhead wasn’t ready to concede the point.  “Well then, aside from the joy of me getting to punch Karen in her stupid teeth, why the **** are we doing all this?”
“We received a challenge from upstairs,” said Driver 8. “So we’re trying to put together a list of the best competitors.”
    “Not much of a competition when half of us don’t even fight.  What, you want me to indulge in a paint-off with the Hangman’s ******* Daughter?”
Dr. Harrison masked her irritation with a deep breath. “After the invitation was extended, it was decided that we of The Underground should have our own tournament of sorts - not to see who was strongest, but to see who has the purest fighting spirit. You see, we’ll need a true team to take down our opponent, a team with just the right balance.  If you want to win, you’re going to have to play with others.”
“Well **** that,” said Hammerhead. “I can do this on my own.  Who do I get to hit?”
“Perhaps violence isn’t necessary,” offered Penny Farthing.  “We could simply challenge him to a race. We are facing The Flash, after all. He likes to run…”
Hammerhead snorted. “Just because running is your job, it doesn’t mean we all like it.”
“This clash involves battle,” said Dr. H.  “But a friendly one.  That’s why it’s a good thing you overcame Black Annis.  Her predilection towards men would have placed him in grave danger.”
Driver 8 nodded. “Same reason we’re not sending Sex Bomb or Scarlet Harlot.”
“So this will be our final four,” said Dr. H. “Snow Queen will chill The Flash’s bones, slowing him down. Flit will allow us to follow or escape the speedster at a moment’s notice. Silvertongue’s words will force him in the direction we desire.  And you, Hammerhead, you will deliver the final blow.”
Hammerhead cracked her knuckles.  “Now we’re talkin’.”
“Okay, this is the plan…”
“Wait, wait, who the **** put you in charge. Doc?”
“I thought it would be wisest for us to--”
“Hey, I don’t need any of you ******s to win this!”
“Hammerhead, if you’d just listen…”

Barry shrugged as Diana handed him the trophy.  “I don’t know what was going on, really,” he said.  “Jane and I stood there for like five minutes after the starting bell, and she just kept talking to herself - yelling at herself, really – swearing a lot too, come to think of it.  So I just whipped up a whirlwind to suck just enough oxygen out of the air for her to pass out.  Good thing.  I hate it when I have to hit a girl.”
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I DON’T LOSE

Cass was not going to fight Damian.

He was 13. He was a kid. She knew he was a hero. He was Robin. But… she didn’t need to fight him. It wouldn’t be fair.

“What’s the matter, Cain?” Damian taunted. “Are you scared I’ll prove I’m the better successor?”

Then again. Maybe Damian needed a lesson.


The other Bats were good, too. But Cass was better.


“Cassandra. We should talk.”

Cass was practicing when Batman came in. She was surprised to hear him. She had seen him after she beat Deathstroke. It had been a hard fight. She had barely won. Deathstroke didn’t fight like anyone else. His body was quiet, and he moved like… many voices. She had seen it before, but he was still hard to read.

But she HAD won. And Batman had been proud. He hadn’t said it, but he didn’t have to. Cass could see it.

So what did he want now? Cass turned to look at him. He was… serious. Was something wrong? She tilted her head at him in question.

“The tournament isn’t over, Cassandra,” Batman told her. “There were three other teams. You’ll be fighting Doctor Fate next.”

Cass nodded as he spoke. She’d known there were more fighters after this. There was, uh…

… Cass wasn’t actually sure about a lot about the tournament. She knew they were fighting, and there was no killing, and the villains were fighting but not fighting like they usually fought. Barbara had tried to explain it to her. Cass had heard ‘cosmic’ and stopped listening. She was here to fight, and she was good at that. The rest didn’t matter.

Batman was looking at her seriously. She could see he was expecting her to say something, but she didn’t know what. So she just nodded.

“You’ve done well within your bracket,” Batman continued, “But your next opponents won’t be like anything you’ve ever faced. This will be your first time dealing with this power level.”

“I’ve fought, uh, metas before,” Cass pointed out.

“Not like this, you haven’t,” Batman replied. “Doctor Fate is one of the most powerful beings in existence. His magical abilities are nearly unlimited, as long as he has a host to channel them through. And if you manage to defeat him, you’ll be facing either Darkseid or the Flash after that. The Flash is the fastest man alive. He can move at speeds faster than anyone without powers can react. You won’t even finish blinking before he can take you down. And as for Darkseid… let’s just say that you should hope the Flash wins.”

Cass was silent, thinking. She had known the next fights would be tough. But Batman made it sound like… she couldn’t win. And that didn’t seem… right. Batman wasn’t here to tell her to give up. So what was he here for?

“Do you understand, Cassandra?”

She shook her head ‘no’. “I know… will be hard,” she said. “But… don’t think… I should quit?”

Batman nodded. “How many times have I fought Superman, Cassandra?” Batman asked.

“A lot,” she answered immediately.

“And how many times have I lost?”

“Uh…” Cass managed, frowning. Batman waved a hand, cutting off her guess.

“Never,” he told her.

Cass scrunched her forehead, confused.

“Superman could crush this entire planet to dust if he wanted to. I don’t have any powers,” Batman continued. “But every time we’ve fought, I’ve held my own. Every single time. It’s not always easy to say which of us won. But as long as I can go toe-to-toe with someone on that level and still walk away, I haven’t lost. And I do it not by being strong, but by being smart.”

Cass frowned even more. Smart. She didn’t always… feel very smart.

Cass was good at fighting. It had been all she’d known as a child. Her father had taught her to fight, to hurt, to kill. And… nothing else. She was supposed to be the perfect weapon. Weapons didn’t need to know how to read. Weapons didn’t need to know how to speak. Weapons didn’t even need to know how to use themselves.

Cass had learned a lot since she had left her father. Reading was still beyond her, but she could talk some now. She was learning dance. She was learning acting. She was learning teams. She was learning to be a person. She was bad at a lot, but it was still good to learn. But it… wasn’t enough. Wouldn’t BE enough for this.

“I can’t… just fight,” Cass said slowly. “I need to be… more.”

“Yes,” Batman said simply.

Cass had been happy when she’d beaten Deathstroke. But now she feels bad. She could beat the others, but… the others were so smart. Would one of them have been better here? Where brains mattered more than fists? Cass looked down. “I don’t… know how… to be,” Cass said quietly.

“I know,” Batman replied. “That’s why I’m here to teach you.” Cass looked back up at him, and saw that he was smiling. Just a little.

“Do you… think I can… win?” Cass asked Batman slowly.

“That’s the wrong question,” Batman told her. He turned, beckoning for her to follow. “We’ll begin with Doctor Fate…”


Steph had told her she believed in Cass.

All the Bats had, but Steph had been the best at it. It was who she was. Steph wasn’t very good at fighting, but she always tried. She was smart. Or… not smart. Clever. Cass couldn’t explain the difference, but she knew there was one. Steph was sneaky. She cheated, but in the good way. She was… the Spoiler.

And Cass needed that, if she was going to win this.

Batman had told her what she needed to do to win. It sounded so… easy. But Cass could see by looking at Doctor Fate that it wouldn’t be.

“Your soul is heavy, child,” Doctor Fate told her before they began. Cass winced. She couldn’t stop herself. She realized that Fate could… see her. Read her. Not like how she read people, but… not that different, either.

“I… didn’t…” she trailed off. Words were hard. Always hard, even for easy things. And the blood on her hands was not easy.

“I will make this quick,” Fate said, waving a hand. She didn’t know what he was doing, but she knew she should jump out of the way.

The blast just missed her.

Hrm. So this was magic. This… would not be easy.

It wasn’t. It was harder than Deathstroke, in its own way. Fate didn’t fight like she did. There wasn’t much punching. It was all… light, and sound. A bit of fighting… weird magic robots? That Fate had made appear. And Fate kept, uh, disappearing. Like… invisible. Cass tried the paint Batarang that Steph had given her but it didn’t work very much.

‘Be patient,’ Batman had told her. ‘Fight defensively. Let him come to you. He’ll slip up eventually.’

So Cass was patient.

And finally. She saw it. The pattern. Fate moved… weird. Like a puppet, almost. He wasn’t quite sure how to move his body. It wasn’t his. It made him hard to read at first But once she realized it, she could see it. Where he was going to move.

She waited for him to turn invisible again. And then when he moved, so did she.

“No–!” Fate yelled. But it was too late. She felt the rim of the helmet under her hand, and when she pulled, Fate came away from the man wearing him.

“I win,” Cass said simply.

In her hand, the helmet sparked, sharp with magic like electricity.

Cass set it down quickly.


The others congratulated her, a lot. Everyone was happy for her. Even Damian. He tried to hide it but she could see he was impressed.

“I told you you could do it!” Steph kept saying. She hugged Cass. “Man, I thought that paint thing was gonna work, too, but still, you pulled it off! Literally!”

Cass was proud of herself, too. It had been hard, but she’d done it. She’d won. Just like Batman had said she could.

Wait. Where WAS Batman? Cass looked around, and saw him. In the corner. He usually did that. Batman was… quiet. Cass thought the word was ‘shy’ but everyone told her that was wrong, so she didn’t know the right word. Steph called it ‘not a people person’. (Steph called it a lot of things. But this one was nicest.)

So it was normal for Batman to be in the corner. But when she saw the look he gave her… Cass didn’t feel happy anymore. She just felt cold.


Darkseid beat Flash.


Steph had told her she believed in Cass. Everyone had told Cass that. But they were all lying.

Cass appreciated it. That they were trying to be nice. But this was. Cass was.

Cass didn’t know if she could do this.

Cass couldn’t remember that ever happening before. Not before a fight. There were other times when she’d been worried. Disarming bombs. Finding clues. But not fighting.

But Cass had never fought anyone like this before.

Batman had tried to train her. Teach her what she needed to know. But there wasn’t a lot to teach.

‘No one would blame you if you didn’t go through with this,’ Babs had whispered to her before the match. ‘You’ve come this far already. There’s no shame in bowing out now.’

But Cass didn’t quit. Not even for this.

“Don’t you have some type of gun or something for this?” Jason had offered.

“That’s not how it works,” Batman had told him.

“Good luck,” was all Steph had told her.

It wouldn’t be enough.


One minute until the fight.

Cass tried to stay calm. Breathe, like she had learned. In. Out. In. Out.

She could do this.

Cass almost believed it.

Then she saw him.

Cass stopped breathing.

Darkseid was…

Darkseid was.

Cass didn’t have the words. Cass didn’t have any words. They had all fallen away in the sheer horror she felt. She had seen pictures. Video. But this.

Hate. Fear. Power. Control. Evil. She could see them all. He WAS them all. Cass was supposed to fight THAT? She felt small. She felt hopeless.

Darkseid looked down at her, unimpressed. He didn’t speak. His eyes started to glow, like Batman had warned her. But Cass couldn’t move. She was frozen in place, staring.

She needed to be more. But she wasn’t more. Right now, she wasn’t even this.

The beam started to come for her. Cass forced herself to blink. She tried to remember what the others had told her.

‘I believe in you,’ Steph had said.

Cass forced herself to move.

And then again, and again, and again. The beam followed her. Twisting and turning in strange, unpredictable ways. Several times, it almost got her. But she remembered what Batman had told her, how he dodged them.

‘Don’t watch the beams. Watch his eyes.’

She did. And finally, when Cass dodged, the beam hit the wall, and stopped.

“Interesting,” Darkseid said. He stood there, watching her. Cass thought he was letting her move, but didn’t know why.

Cass threw a Batarang at him.

It bounced off his forehead.

Hrm.

Darkseid moved towards her. Cass thought he might run, but he didn’t. That was weird. She knew he was strong. Was he… not fast? And if he was, why?

Cass stepped back away from him. She kept her distance, watching him. She tried to think. She could dodge his beams. She could dodge him. But… then what? She could change him. But could she hurt him? Batman had told her that he was hard to hurt like Superman, but there was no kryptonite. How could she win?

Maybe… his beams? Maybe only Darkseid could hurt Darkseid. She could dodge the right way. Trick him into hitting himself.

It was all she had.

Cass kept her distance and threw more things at him. The regular batarangs bounced off. He destroyed the others with his beams. But he still didn’t fire them at her.

“Is that all you have?” he asked, bored.

“Try me,” Cass told him. She tried to sound braver than she felt.

Darkseid narrowed his eyes, and they began to glow.

Good.

It was even harder this time. She could barely dodge them before. Now she had to dodge AND lead. And leading meant getting closer to Darkseid.

But she thought… maybe it was working. Maybe. It was hard to tell. Cass couldn’t just run at Darkseid, or he would know. And Cass couldn’t get hit, or let the beams hit the wall, or make Darkseid stop the attack.

So she moved. Ducked and weaved around the arena. Forward. Backward. Left. Right. Closer and farther, then closer again.

Until finally. She was there. Darkseid grabbed for her as she got closer, and Cass had to dodge him AND the beams, but she was there. And when she dodged, the beams continued towards Darkseid.

She was going to do it. She was going to do it –

The beams stopped. Just an inch from Darkseid.

Oh.

For a moment, she looked up. For a moment, Darkseid… smiled.

It was… not a nice smile.

“My omega beams obey me alone, whelp,” he told her. And then before Cass could move, his hand was around her throat.

He was strong. Batman had told her he was strong, but he was STRONG. Cass felt like her neck would break. She couldn’t breathe. Lights danced in front of her eyes.

And suddenly, she understood. Why Darkseid didn’t attack before. Why he had let her try and fail.

He didn’t just want to win. He wanted to break her. Make her feel hopeless. Make HIM feel powerful.

It was… funny. He was strong. Stronger than maybe anyone. But he still had to prove it.

Cass did the only thing she could think of. She spat in his face.

The ground hit her like a fist when Darkseid threw her into it. Every part of her body hurt. She tried to push herself up, and failed.

“You’ve lost,” Darkseid told her flatly. “Your pathetic attempts have availed you nothing.”

Cass laughed.

Darkseid stepped closer to her. Cass tried to push herself up again, managed a wobbly step, and fell back over. Still laughing.

“Pathetic,” Darkseid told her. “Yield now, or yield when I crush you. It makes no difference to me.”

Cass kept laughing.

“Are you deaf, child? This is over. You cannot win.”

Cass shook her head. One last time, she pushed herself to her feet. It hurt. A lot. Everything was broken, and all she wanted to do was fall. But she stayed standing.

“I know,” she said. “I can’t win. But… I don’t lose,” Cass told him. “And you… you win. But you don’t… win,” she continued.

“What nonsense is this?” Darkseid asked, unimpressed.

Cass frowned. “You win. But… wasn’t enough. You’re not… happy with it. And… won’t ever be.” Cass shook her head. “So much power. And… you can never… win.”

Darkseid’s eyes started to glow.

Cass walked away. Step by painful step. Until her foot crossed the boundary, and took her out of the ring.

Victory, Darkseid, by reason of technical disqualification.

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@mysterious_stranger: That was awesome! You have a great handle on Cass’s voice.

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Stranger, you’ve done it again. One thing I really love is how you took the concept of Batman as the coach for the Vigilantes team and ran with it, having him formulate a strategy with Cass for taking Doctor Fate. It’s not an angle I’ve seen anyone else even attempt to address throughout the entire Meta Madhouse, despite being a major part of the original premise!

Cassandra’s chemistry with Steph here is really top notch. I love that you gave their friendship a chance to shine.

But I think best of all was Batman’s pep talk: showing Cass what he’s learned from all his fights with Superman over the years. Batman as mentor isn’t really a role we see him in too often, even though we really should. And you pulled it off wonderfully.

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Thank you both for your kind words. I’m a fairly shy person and rather too nervous to comment here much outside of these competitions, but I do read and appreciate these reviews.

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You’re all so creative! Thank you for the participation, everyone! I’m going to be back in a little bit to go through the rest of your submissions and give feedback, but am stopping in to give you the link to the new prompt for the week.

Considering some of the video game-based threads I’ve been reading through lately, we hope you’ll like it as much as the news about our expanding availability to Xbox One :wink: https://www.dcuniverse.com/community/boards/fancontributions/fan-creation-friday-design

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