“ All right, all right.” The author says, quickly typing in the disclaimer.
"I do not own any of the universes that I am writing about. They are the property of various people and I’m tired of writing all of the names so read past chapters for who the various owners are."
Balancing the Scales
Smallville: The Talon
Clark smiled when he saw his friend. Lex Luthor may be the resident pariah to most people in Smallville, but to Clark, he would always be considered one of his best friends. He was still uncomfortable in the Talon, but as long as he made an effort to talk to his friend outside of there, or in his castle, there wouldn’t be any problems. He and Lana were still working on what their friendship was, sometimes it was good, and sometimes it wasn’t so good. The shaky friendship was part of the reason that he was trying to keep his nose out of his friends business when it concerned Adam.
“Lex! Good to see you,” Clark greeted his friend as Lex got out of his car.
“Hey, Clark, what’s up?” Lex asked as he removed his sunglasses, before shaking hands with one of the only people in this entire town that was willing to look beyond who his father was and see that he was actually his own man.
“Not much. Just came to say goodbye.”
“Goodbye?” Lex questioned, his face taking on a more neutral appearance as a small bit of dread entered his stomach. Had the farm boy finally been swayed by the opinions of the other people in this town? Clark had seemed strong enough to hold up to the peer pressure of being his friend, but maybe the strain had gotten to be too much, even for the ever faithful, unsung town hero. He had personally always thought that the two of them would be together for a long time.
“Yeah, my family is going to a reunion, and we have to leave before school’s out.”
Lex relaxed a little bit as he realized it was a trip kind of goodbye, not the kind of goodbye where a person would see you across the room, but pretend they didn’t know who you were. “Really? I didn’t think that your father was the kind of person to let you get away with that kind of thing.”
“Yeah, I know, but that’s the way things went this time around; so I’m not exactly going to be looking at a gift like this the wrong way.”
“A wise decision,” Lex said, nodding. “Maybe I should buy the lucky person a drink,” he offered as he tried to steer Clark toward the coffee shop.
“Thanks, Lex, but I have to go and finish packing my stuff,” Clark replied, looking slightly nervous now as he eyed the inside of the building.
“Your call,” Lex said, shrugging as he took his arm off of his friend.
“Thanks,” the relieved teen replied, knowing how stubborn his friend could be sometimes, when he was trying to push him in a direction that he wanted Clark to go. “Look, Lex, can you…”
“Yes, I’ll keep an eye on Lana for you, Clark,” the pale skinned man told his friend, assuring the farmer boy, who was way too responsible for his own good as far as Lex was concerned. A part of him felt guilty that he was part of the reason for the dream couple breaking up. It was especially irritating when you considered how much time he had spent trying to get the two of them together in the first place. But everyone had his, or her,) odd things and secrets; that was part of why he liked the Kents. Sure they seemed like simple farmers, but they were so much more. His father didn’t let just anyone be his personal assistant, after all. And then there was the power that Jonathan Kent seemed to have, a deep sense of responsibility, and a person that seemed to deserve respect; where as his own father had to buy that very respect from the same people, and usually they hated him. But Mr. Kent actually earned peoples respect, and that was why he protected the Kents, because he respected them.
“Thanks again. and tell them I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Clark said, grinning before he ran for the beat up truck that his family used.
Lex shook his head as he saw Lana come out just as the truck pulled out. ‘The guy faces crazy people and mobsters all the time, but he won’t, or can’t, face the girl of his dreams.’
“Lex, what did Clark want?” she asked, curious.
“Well, he said to tell you he was going to miss you incredibly, but that he’s got to go and do some kind of big Kent family gathering.”
“Oh,” she said. “Well, all right.” The girl turned to go back in, a look of uncertainty on her face.
“Hey, this is Clark we’re talking about,” Lex reassured her. “You know the guy that only gets into trouble when he’s trying to save someone’s life? So we should be okay, as long as he doesn’t feel the need to go on one of his life saving bouts, all right?” He looked the girl in the eye before he headed inside to get his usual drink, and to help preoccupy the girl from getting emotional about Clark leaving without saying goodbye to her. ‘And to think, they weren’t even dating.’
Westchester, New York: Xavier Mansion
Alex walked into Bobby Drake’s dorm room and looked around the room. The kid had mainly cold weather gear in the closet, despite the fact that summer break was only a couple months off. Poor kid had to always try and stay warm; it had probably been why he had fought so much with that Pyro kid. The two probably made each other nervous, since their abilities were nearly exactly opposite of each other. It was actually pretty amazing that the two of them had seemed to have a sort of rocky friendship as it was. Alex didn’t know what the Professor had been thinking when he had teamed the two of them up, but he did know that people seemed to act the way their powers dictated, meaning that the Professor probably thought that he was doing the right thing when it came to pairing them from time to time. The man had probably thought that he was teaching them tolerance or something. It might have worked, if it hadn’t been for the Southern girl that nobody could really have, according to what Jeanie had said. The girl had, maybe without knowing it, split the two up, and he was still unsure if she meant to or not. Two of the most powerful elemental students ruined, one devoted to Magneto because of the girl, the other probably split with his loyalty to the Professor and the girl. If the girl was loyal to the Professor, he might not mind, but her loyalty was split as well. She considered the killer, as almost an adopted father. The fact that said killer had taken to using the mansion as a place to come when he had more trouble then he could handle, and then asking the Professor to fix his problems before riding away without so much as a word of thanks didn’t seem to matter to any of them. No, the man was using them, and the sooner Alex got the others to see what he was doing, the better. He really didn’t care that the man had been used as a governmental lab rat. For all they knew, he had been some kind of criminal that deserved the treatment, especially with the casual way that he killed people.
“Drake,” Alex said, putting on what he hoped was a convincing smile. He would have to do this carefully; he wanted to help the kid, not make an enemy out of him.
“Hey, Mr. Summers,” the teen greeted, looking up from the homework he had been working on.
Alex winced at the name. “Mr. Summers is my brother,” he said, grinning. “Not me.” The boy just grinned slightly, and nodded. “You almost ready for that test tomorrow?”
“Yes, sir,” the teen answered, nodding. “I have a study date with Rogue later on.”
“I see,” Alex said, frowning. “Maybe you should find someone more interested in studying, if you want to keep your average up,” he suggested.
“Nah, we’re both doing okay. Despite the accent she has, she’s actually pretty bright.” The boy grinned a bit at the thought of his girlfriend, not noticing the way Alex was responding to thoughts of the girl.
Alex sighed. ‘Great, the boy’s smitten. This is going to be even harder than I originally planned.’ “Bobby, don’t you think you’re moving a little fast with this girl? She hides so much of herself; you don’t even know all of her story to know if what you’re doing is the right thing. What if there’s more to her than she lets us know? And let’s not forget that she’s had Magneto in her head, that’s what that white streak stands for, and she had that crazy guy, Logan, stuck up there as well. She’s dangerous, kiddo, and should be treated like that, not as some everyday mutant.”
“Look, you think I like the idea of all the criminals that the Professor is hiding?”
“There’s that Logan guy, who has broken more than enough laws from what we do know of him, to get him thrown in jail. Then there’s that Wagner guy, who looks like some kind of monster out of a comic book. The President wants him for questioning I understand, maybe even charges on assassination. And of all the people that know about these supposed monsters, it’s an assassin and a man who supposedly has no memory of who he his.” Bobby frowned slightly as he considered what the younger Summers was telling him. Sensing he might be making the boy consider what he was saying, Alex continued. “What do we know about them, Bobby? The only person that they talk to is that Pryde girl, who seems to be about as dangerous as a viper in tall grass these days.” Alex placed a comforting hand on Bobby to show trust, instantly wishing he had a pair of gloves on.
“I’ll think about it, sir.”
“Just remember that the main reason you left your family was because Rogue wanted you with her. If she hadn’t been there, do you think that you really would have left them there? After all, the police weren’t even pointing weapons at you, but at the others. They were the dangers, Bobby, not you.”
“I’ve got to go,” Bobby said, gathering his books up, but he paused by the door.“You might want to be a bit more polite when you talk about Kitty to Peter, or he’s likely to throw you into the wall.” He then left to be with his girl, despite the fact that he was actually a bit confused by what he had heard.
Alex nodded. Now there were just a few more things to do. Jean had told him that he needed to keep them away from this place in California. That would soon be easier said then done, though. Still, no matter what was said, there wasn’t a whole lot the Blackbird could do against a blast of cosmic energy, and that would keep them all grounded for a while at least. He still had to try and talk to the Professor, Scottie, and the Russian kid, about keeping their distance from the people that Jean had warned him about. It was actually a shame that Kitty was amongst the ones that was a threat. She had always been one of the more interesting kids around the place. Still though, the Killer and the demon had gotten to her first, and there was nothing more for him to do about it at the moment. Except to wait and see where they went from here. He wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to backstab the whole lot of them when they least expected it. Besides, Jean had told him how Logan wasn’t going to hang around for the greater good when he could do his own thing. He had definitely proved that at the Weapon X facility. Sighing, Alex walked out and decided to visit the hanger; after all, he had to keep them all here. He didn’t hear the mocking chuckle in the back of his mind as his actions were watched with amusement.
The First rolled the eyes of its current form as it found the witch coven that it had been searching for. The First cursed everything it could to itself as it watched them do their mystical rights. The coming battle would have been perfect for Shurga, but that Slayer bitch and her friends had taken care of her already. Besides, Shurga had always been too obsessed with gaining access to the Source to make a good pawn. But since she was gone now, the Slayer had killed her before she could obtain it, and had actually managed to kill Shurga permanently. So, it was now up to the First to find someone that could fight some of the mystical might that the Powers that Be had arranged to come up against Evil’s powers. Now it was being forced to arrange for other beings to assist it. Some of the beings that it could have asked were unusable though, since so many of them wanted to rule this dimension. Personally, the First didn’t care who led the forces of darkness in this reality, but the darkness in this reality was just too disorganized to work well together without the First getting involved.
The First watched for a moment as the coven was in the process of summoning some minor demon to do their bidding. Didn’t they know that the only way to truly summon a demon was to sacrifice a virgin? Several of the weak witches here would be perfect for such a thing, or better yet, offer these witches as the concubines for said demon; some of them needed to have an outlet for pent up energy after all. It smiled as it saw its representative bringing the required piece that it needed. Now it could step forward and have this group do its work. It was just a shame that of the thirteen people in this coven, only the leader was even worth talking with, and she just barely as it was.
“Greetings, my friends.” The witches all jumped up as the ancient figure stepped forward. “It has been a long time, Amy,” the figure said as it glanced at the witch. “Humanity seems to agree with you more and more every day.”
“Wh-who are you?” The young woman asked, not liking to lose control of a situation so fast. The unknown person talking to her looked a lot like one of the vampires she had seen once in Sunnydale but she had warded the place against intruders.
“I have watched you, and all that you have done, in a little town where you long to have revenge.” The girl’s eyes gleamed as she realized the deformed figure in front of her might be able to help her.
“Yes, you thirst for revenge, do you not? Is that not why you brought this coven together, weak as it is, to help you gather the power that you need?”
“Yes,” Amy replied.
“Good. Allow me to introduce the name of the form that I currently wear.”
“I am a shapeshifter, you might say, my dear.”
“Good, you may call me Master, as this form was once called.”
“Right, you got it,” Amy said, looking at the gleaming teeth the former vampire had.
“Good, now I need you to do a spell for me, when I ask you to, in Sunnydale. It will help in the fight that is coming, my dear. If you agree to help me, I will increase your powers to the levels they should be.”
“So, if I help you, I won’t need this bunch of pretenders?” she asked, waving her hands at the rest of the fledgling witches at she was only really a few steps ahead of, as far as power went, she just had more knowledge that she had gotten from her mother’s books.
“That is right, my dear.”
“Done,” Amy replied eagerly, willing to agree to whatever she needed to, to show Willow what true power was. And if she had to work to get it, well what was new about that? She always had to work for her power, unlike the ungrateful red head, who had enough raw power to destroy the world running through her veins.
“Good. Sacrifice the virgins you have here, and then perform these spells; they shall give you the power you need to do what you I ask you to.” The man that had come gave her a small bottle and two envelopes with the spells in them. Nodding, the woman smiled as he left in a hurry. Grinning insanely, Amy looked over the papers and then began chanting. The knives that had been waiting for the girls to slice open a small part of their hands, now hovered in the air over several of the girls’ chests. Without further ado, Amy had the blades slash the chests open until their hearts were lying open to the view of the remaining occupants in the room and the person that wasn’t quite there.
“Excellent!” the Master cried happily. “Just so you know, though, from time to time you shall see me in this form.” Its features shifted from those of the Master to that of the blonde Slayer that had unintentionally made this all possible.
Amy made a face at the figure, but just nodded in agreement. “If it will get me the power, you could look like Willow,” the dark witch said as the blood sacrifice took effect and began to charge her power with the combined energies of the dead girls that she had gathered.
The First nodded in understanding, this form did seem to unnerve people more than any other figure it had used, but that was due to the fact that it was a form that was still alive. “When the time is right, I want you to summon one whose blood matches this for me.” the blonde said, pointing at the small bottle.
“Sure. No problem,” the super charged witch replied.
“Are you sure? I want you to summon him from an alternate dimension.” The girl thought for a moment as she looked over the spell on the bottle, before nodding in agreement. “One more thing, make sure they’ve got a mean streak in them. I want to be able to depend on them in the coming fight.”
The witch nodded at the simple requirements. ‘A dark warrior to be summoned when told, and the chance to kick Willow’s ass like it deserved to be, since I won’t be getting my revenge by psychological torture anymore. Yes, I can do that with joy.’ After the First was gone, she powered up and went looking for some new talent. If the blood of those tonight had charged her like this, then she would need more.
Another Unknown Location
The First smiled as it looked at the avatar in front of it. This was a being that probably held the combined might of Caleb, Glory, and Adam in it. This was someone that could easily be used, if spoken to correctly. It had been easy enough to convince the stupid witch. After all, she wanted to be the most powerful Wiccan witch in the world, an easy thing to grant to a follower. She was only slightly below the level of the Charmed Ones, but slightly higher than Willow, when she let herself be accepted into the power of magic. The girl had been so much like Caleb, who had wanted the strength to fight women of darkness. The former preacher had amusingly enough fallen prey to the mental traps; the First had barely had to do anything to convince him. The preacher’s hatred was similar to this avatar’s. The only difference was that the focus of his anger was different.
“I, help you? Or are you just too stupid to know when to stay out of other peoples homes?” The figure stepped out of the next room angrily. The First smiled in appreciation, while the god may have been a fool, he certainly knew how to make avatars to hold his might.
The man, or what had been a man, could now be ranked up alongside that of the half-giant oaf that the Potter boy adored like some sort of uncle, in size at least. But where the half-giant had a easily measurable limit to his strength, this being had no such limits; he could shrug off most weapons due to the power he had; there were only a few unprotected spots on his being. Yes, getting him to join the war would be a great break through, which would be most helpful.
“Yes, I think you might be able to help me,” the First said. “After all, one doesn’t normally come here to see the mighty person that you are, and not be interested.”
“What do you want, kid? I’m a very busy person.”
“I need your help, naturally.”
“And what do I get out of it if I help you? I ain’t in the hero business.”
“Why a chance to take care of the last remaining bit of that family of yours, of course, since he’ll be there, along with other people.” The big man looked down at this, his eyes gleaming in hunger for blood. Yes, the man was on the verge of a bloodlust just hearing about the person that he hated more than anything else.
“You got a deal,” the figure said as he crushed the doorframe in his massive grip, easily tearing through the wall as if it was nothing more than styrofoam.
The First smiled at the display of strength. Yes, this was one person that was going to enjoy the new way of the world that it was making. After everything was done, it might even give him the remains of a city or something to rule, depending on his usefulness. “Head towards L.A., there’s a small town about two hours drive away from there called Sunnydale. That is where I need you to be.” He’ll be there eventually, so you can be ready for him.
The man nodded as the First disappeared. He walked into the other room; on the wall were a handful of photos taken from the war. One showed a person that was just barely recognizable as the man who now looked at the photos. The man’s eyes narrowed in anger as he looked at one of a man laughing; he then looked at the faded photograph of him and the rest of his family that rested beside the war photos. His father stood in the back next to his wife, the man’s stepmother, the stupid cow, while her brat and he stood in the front. “Better watch yourself, Chuck, ‘cause I’m coming for you,” the large man told the photo, returning it back to its hiding place before he went to get the last piece of armor that he needed. Then he would be ready to go and take care of the last piece of his family.
Somewhere in Japan
The First took on a form that it knew it would get the most respect from and then stepped forward to confront the creatures that it wanted at the Hellmouth. “Greetings, warriors, I am pleased to see that your numbers have recovered, despite the battles that you have lost against the various warriors that would stop you,” it greeted with flattery, which this form was good at.
“We are more than capable of fighting off any uninvited ones trespasser,” the spokesman of the group said, drawing a short blade from its sheath.
The First frowned when the figure failed to recognize whom it was addressing. “Do not toy with me, Genin. I am more than you want to deal with,” the First warned, letting its power flare for a moment. “Now, bring me to your esteemed Jonin, and we will discuss this with him.”
The group of warriors looked once more at the First, before nodding in agreement. “To our Jonin will we take you. Afterwards, we shall see if your life is forfeit or not.”
“If you say so.” The group walked deep into the fortress that held the leader of this group of warriors.
An Asian man in robes was kneeling on the ground as he stretched his senses out, and gasped as he felt the darkness that was coming steadily closer to him. He could almost completely feel the darkness when the doors to his chambers crashed open and his soldiers brought someone in.
“My Jonin! This intruder demands an audience with you,” one of his Genin said as the four bowed low to their lord and master. The person with them arrogantly stayed standing tall.
The old man scowled in anger as he lost his concentration and looked up as the four guards escorted the First into his chamber. 'And after I told the guards not to disturb me!' “Who dares to interrupt my meditations?!”
“He showed the correct hand motions for acceptance, my Jonin,” the warrior said, remaining in his bow.
“And did I not tell you to wait until I was ready to receive anyone?”
The First ignored the old man as he ranted about his power for a few minutes. “Enough,” the First ordered. “You have had your say, and you have already reached the end of my patience, Jonin! I bring you news of where an enemy may soon be, and you worry about the fact that I was able to pass by your Genin.” The old man quieted down, and settled for merely glaring at the intruder that had entered his inner sanctuary. “I bring you word of a place in America where the one that destroyed one of your great houses will be making his way toward.”
The old man’s eyes hardened at this. ”Only one has ever done that, and we have been searching for him for years. When we find him, our vengeance shall make even that Gaijin Dog beg for us to send him to his ancestors.”
“I know that he will be heading for the Hellmouth in America soon.”
“Which one?” the man asked, fingering his throwing weapon.
“The one on the West Coast, Jonin.”
“If this information is wrong, then you will die,” the old man warned.
The First laughed at the empty threat. “You cannot kill me, Jonin. I am the power which all light fades against; I am the one who taught the first of your masters how to disappear in death.”
The man’s eyes widened in fear and understanding as he quickly bowed before the figure. “Great One, forgive me. I did not recognize the form that you currently wear.”
“Rise, Jonin, the time of bowing is later.”
“Of course, Mighty One,” the man said as he got back to his feet, but kept his head bowed in a respectful manner that was appropriate for a servant.
“Good. I understand that your people have found the correct way to restore a soul from death and return it to its former body.”
“Yes, Dark One,” the man replied, nodding. “Do you require a warrior of the past?”
“In a way, Jonin. I require the services of the teacher of your enemy.”
The man nodded. “I shall have my people retrieve the master teacher’s mask at once, Dark One.” The Jonin waved his hand and the four Genin left to bring the best of their numbers to their Lord and Master for the mission.
“Good. After he has been restored to his body, head for the States and wait in the shadows of the Hellmouth until I call you for battle.”
“Yes, Dark One,” the Jonin replied, bowing once again, this time walking backwards at the dismissal.
“And offer him the Spirit Child as payment. You may hold onto the other and train her if you so wish; or you may even kill her; if you so choose.” The old man nodded as the First disappeared from view. The battle hardened Jonin shuddered in relief as the dark presence left. He turned to explain the mission to the best of his Genin who would go out and retrieve the mask of the one they needed to resurrect. ‘A mighty battle must be coming if the Darkest of the Dark wants our aide. Perhaps the Dark is rising again.’ The man smiled, thinking of the sound of steel on steel that would soon be coming. The Hand of the First would be swift and powerful.