Huge Success

November 02, 2018:

Tim and Zatanna, in active pursuit of the demonic Dragon and his Consort, formulate a plan to take them both out with the help of their friends, some portals, and a very annoyed Tony Stark.

Stark Tower, New York


NPCs: Dragon and Consort, run by Bucky and Jane



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The demonic invasion over New York has worn on over the weeks, and by now it is plain from where the heart of the problem arises: Stark Tower, which the Darkchilde has made her dread seat.

Thus far attempts to breach into the citadel and confront her have met with several problems. There is the Darkchilde herself, whose power is almost absolute within the bounds of the citadel, and who has made that plain whenever people attempt to sneak in by more understated means. Much more up-front an issue, however, and a major barrier against significant frontal assault, are the Dragon and his Consort, who retreated to the citadel after their previous defeat at the hands of the Titans.

There they have bided their time, licking their wounds, guarding the Tower, and no doubt making some nefarious plan to try to seize on the soul of Zatanna Zatara again. Or to locate some other equally potent source of energy; they're not picky.

Why this avid desire to find an independent source of energy for themselves, however? Do they not receive all they need from their partnership with the Darkchilde? Inquiring minds — such as that of Red Robin and Zatanna herself — wanted to know, and mounted an investigation to find out.

Said investigation, aided substantially by the magical minds of the Titans, would have discerned a startling fact: the Dragon and his Consort are not actually ritually bound to the Darkchilde in any way. She did not summon them; she did not bind them. Their collusion with her is entirely voluntary. This led to a further investigation which yielded an even more interesting fact: they are in fact still bound to their old masters, the elder gods which rage beyond the bounds of this world. They're runaways, no doubt looking for enough power to fully sever themselves from their masters.

Limbo, intersected over the city to block out those dread gods, is therefore also the only thing keeping Dragon and Consort here. What blocks out the elder gods from invading this plane, also blocks them from reaching in and reclaiming their disobedient Heralds.

How to do this?

The answer, as always, lies in something high-risk, high-reward. Circulating in the sky in the vicinity of Stark Tower are a series of grotesque rips in reality, where the elder gods have previously attempted to force their way through. These rifts are visibly patched over by the magical energies of Limbo. Opening one temporarily might get the Heralds temporarily reclaimed by their angry masters.

The risks? The Heralds themselves. The high densities of demons which swarm in the area of the Tower. And the fact that not re-closing the rift in time might bring about the calamity Illyana Rasputina first sought to avert…


It isn't just the Titans in this. Oh no. Someone else has a vested interest in getting the dragon and its Consort gone. He had been asleep for most of the occupation of the tower. Only recently woken up and now he was…well…he was mad about it.

At least after he found out Pepper and the rest were /out/ now. Then he let himself be just mad and not stupid mad.

Tony Stark was very good at being stupid when he was mad.

So as he watched the tower though narrowed eyes and the tinted lenses of one of his custom sunglasses he frowned in thought. "Alright," He allows. "That is a big dragon."

"Huge, sir." JARVIS' comment holds amusement and relief, the AI having settled back into his usual role as Stark's aide.

"JARVIS we evacuated like multiple blocks around the tower right?"

"Yes, sir…you're not planning on…"

Stark wasn't listening anymore. He was already making plans. Plans that he had called the Titans on, plans that involved him offering to be a distraction. Plans that included a ominous comment of 'I have to stop off and get a thing first.'

It's fine.

Which is why he isn't standing with the Titans right now. He's getting…a thing.

But he's on his way at least.

On a side note…he looks…good? Less gray in the hair, less lines around the eyes, better physical shape that he's ever been seen in before. Positively exuding positive energy on the astral plane…

…ok. That last part is weird but don't think about it too hard.


"There's a lot about this not to like," Red Robin admits, crouched on another of Midtown's tall rooftops; Stark Tower might be the tallest building in Mahattan, but that didn't mean there weren't plenty of others out there trying to compete. Maybe that was a metaphor. Maybe Stark's building being the one to wind up the epicenter of an extradimensional incursion was, too.

The problem, of course, was multi-layered. One, the Heralds weren't just going to leave for the asking. Two, whatever they did to get rid of the Heralds might accidentally wind up destroying the world if they did it wrong. Three, the very Iron Man was also tagging along and let's be entirely frank here: While the Red Knight might not have the same level of bombast and tended more towards 'subtle control freak', Stark's wasn't the only ego on the field.

A holographic, haptic interface display hovers over Red Robin's left gauntlet, his right hand moving over it as he makes calculations, as he watches what looks to be at least five small screens all at once. An ostensibly safe distance away from Stark Tower, the much maligned T-Van sits, though the space in the back which had been designed for people carrying has been given over to another purpose entirely: A slightly modified version of Fairchild's portal-closing device, effectively an exotic particle cannon, currently aimed at the sky above the building.

"All things considered, it's very the ending of Ghostbusters-y. Maybe we send these guys packing back to their bosses, and maybe we accidentally turn reality inside out. So if anybody's got a really brilliant last-minute suggestion that's less likely to kill us all, let's hear it. About five minutes until the particle beam is charged up enough to tear a dragon-sized butthole in spacetime."


"Mmmnope!" The Titans' resident speedster perhaps (expectedly) answers all too quickly, but he honestly did try to think of some alternative, and most of those thoughts wound back to explosions. Probably bad.

"Not unless we can jam them back into their own portal somehow, anyway," Impulse says, shrugging as he taps his foot, scowling out towards the reappropriated Stark Tower from where he's once again come to a halt. He's been back and forth along the ledge of the roof, antsy to be waiting and all the more eager to do something other than wait and watch.


Old magic has its complications, and those complications are worse than what has been originally assumed. To sever oneself from the servitude of a greater power isn't unheard of, but the information factoring into the Dragon and the Consort's plans does not add a silver lining to the demon plague. And to try tampering with things to put the proverbial spanner in the works is indeed a tall order to fulfill.

…Which is probably why Raven has been contemplating on the rifts in the skies above Stark Tower as Red Robin covers all of their bases.

"…I suppose helping open and close the rift alongside the portal-closing device will be very counter-productive?" she asks, the rasping whisper resonating within close quarters despite how open the space is up on the same rooftop. "I do agree we need to somehow get them to go through the portal, but let's be real here: any move we make will create a consequence no matter how good our intentions are."

…Yes. That's the optimism talking.


In the distance stands the shape of Stark Tower, much maligned over the past year but still standing strong. Upon it hunkers the by-now familiar shape of the Dragon, his restless coils wound about the building in a profane embrace. The Consort is not quite visible at this distance, but she is assuredly there as well.

They do not seem aware of their company quite yet. But that is likely to change.

Spiraling out from the Tower comes a sudden cloud of winged bird-like demons, a moving flock that arrows out and starts to patrol the area. Anywhere within eyeshot of the Tower gets scanned regularly, it seems. And judging by the way the flock suddenly jitters in the air, squawks in unison, and starts to fly rapidly in the direction of the T-Van, they have probably sensed something amiss in the area.

Maybe they can detect the energy off the portal-closing device as it charges up.

There is a distant rumbling as the Dragon stirs in concert with the flock's change in trajectory.


"Maybe, and this is just like a suggestion so you know no judgments there's no stupid ideas right okay judgment free zone —

"Have you thought about crossing the streams??"

No. Judgments.

Do you know how long Spider-Man has been waiting to say that?

(not very long)

THE POINT, of course, is, this is the lone pearl of wisdom that the webbed vigilante currently has to share as he makes his rounds across the perimeter of the tower (after an appropriate amount of freaking out about MISTER STARK IS ALIVE AGAIN — fill in your own interpretations of what that was like here!); right now, he's making sure everyone's been evacuated, and no one has tried to be clever and decide they can outride the storm that is Hurricane Metalocalypse, Eldritch Edition. For the most part, he's been relatively successful, in that he's not found many people and those he has found he hasn't had a hard time gently convincing (earnestly cajoling) into getting the hell out.

"Damn," mumbles the menace beneath his breath as he curves around a building at the fringes of Stark Tower,

"I wish I said that part out loud."


Regardless, he is here, flipping up onto a rooftop and landing in a comfortable crouch as he tilts his head up towards the portals above, lenses squinting in the direction of those birds, a second passing before he hops off the roof en route to try to intercept the whole gaggle. He hasn't exactly been a regular presence at the tower ever since that last, particular incident — and judging by the tears in his costume and the bruising blotching his skin, and the webbing binding acting like an impromptu brace for his wrist, odds are fairly high he hasn't been anywhere close to anything resembling a bed in a while, either.

But he's here.

"So. Okay. A bunch of bird demons coming your way. Guess it's, y'know, gameface time. Let's do this. Won't be the first time dealing with a hell butthole that can end existence or something."

Ready to work.

"…………Damn, I wish I didn't say that part out loud."



"So you see, it's quite simple."

No it's not. It never is. Not with Atli Wodendottir, Girl of Thunder. Yet, she doth continue.

"All of creation is in peril once again. Verily, I have no mind to how this happens so often, only a mind of how to fix it. To fix e-"

There is a rumble from behind her, almost a growl. A sound of warning, perhaps. Atli, mid-word, thinks better of taking her trademark plan into battle, instead she squares once more on the surface of the gnarled old asteroid, tumbling through the ancient void of space. "What I mean to say is, if you help me then I'll find a new home for your people. Such a great clan as yours, Battlemaster, should not spend it's days spinning on a rock, waiting for the next Mad Titan to come along and give you a job. You're greater than that! Besides, I have just the place. As far as I can tell, the Red Planet out beyond Midgard is quite empty. And if not? Well, there are only forty or fifty of you. I'm certain Lord Stark wouldn't mind you living atop his grand tower. It's quite comfortable, I lived there myself for a time. We need only liberate it from some bastards sought to kill Lord Stark in his own keep."

The scarred and weathered face of the creature scrunches slightly, and he shift in it's throne, staring down at the Asgardian with beady black eyes. Row upon row of mangled, razor sharp teeth hang open, and drool slowly pours from it's great maw. Silence fills the space between Atli's pitch and the Battlemaster's consideration with a miasma of frothing anger that could only come from an ancient shark-man.

BATTLEMASTER GORAX, WARLORD OF THE CLAN JAU-SUM rises, his great axe brought to a massive, armored shoulder. "TELL ME ASGARDIAN." His fetid face leans in close, bits of meat falling from the jaws of the mighty Gorax. "DOES THIS TOWER HAVE A POOL?!"

Atli's face lights up with a brilliant smile, because even if it doesn't, she knows just where to find one.


Storm clouds gather. Lightning arcs and sings high above, moving through a dark mass that begins to swirl. And swirl. And swirl. Is might seem to be another portal, and it is in a way. One that bristles and begins to stream rainbow light, followed by numerous shadows.

The world knows the roar of the shark-men, an unearthly sound that will inexplicably echo from Stark Tower all the way to the Hellfire club. Shark-men riding space sharks pour forth from the rainbow bridge in Atli's stead, her spear drawing lightning to it's tip before she sends an illuminating blast towards a swarm of airborn demons, launching the opening salvo moments before demon and sharks riding sharks collide in midair.

"Ha! Stupid demons! Taste shark and lightning! For Midgard! For glory!!!"


Silent, and perhaps quietly girding herself for the fight to come, Zatanna Zatara is somewhere behind and to the side of Red Robin as he says what he does. She has been particularly wordless, normally quick to offer her expertise. But considering what happened the last time she was within breathing distance of the Herald and his Consort, it is perhaps understandable that she is presently focusing on her internal landscape in an effort to ensure that what happened does not happen again.

Ice-blue eyes wander towards Spider-man when he calls out a quiet warning through their comms, her expression unreadable, but she pulls her attention from that direction to focus forward. It's almost go time.

And deep down, she is doing her best to make sure that there wouldn't be an encore from her last big performance.


Mister Stark /is/ indeed alive again. He's just not right here. Right now. Peter Parker's internship is safe. The rest of the world…not so much. It is a fine tradeoff he's sure. However as the bird swarm meets sharks in the skies over the city it seems its not the only disturbance that the Dragon and his Consort might be feeling.

Streaking though the sky is a aircraft, though it is as far removed from a standard looking airplane as one could be. A boxy body with two elegant but impossibly thin wings set at downward swept angles from the sides of the body. The familiar blue-white glow of repulsor engines.

And of course. All in tones of red, silver, and gold.

You know. Subtle.

"So!" Stark's words crackle over the Titan's coms. "Looks like you guys were spotted…and…"

Sudden Space Sharks.

JARVIS zooms in on the familiar figure leading the charge. That spear obvious anywhere. There is a crooked smile that comes to his face as he shakes his head. "Asgardians."

Then back on the coms. "…I'm going to guess that sudden Atli isn't in the plan but its working for air support!" He calls out as the aircraft banks towards the kerfluffle. Odd not seeing him in a suit isn't it. Maybe he needed a thing. "…I should have some more reinforcements here in a second. I think my houseguest is getting cranky."


The demon birds cut through the air like a line of needles. They move so quickly they blur, and their sharp, serrated edges and razor wings whistle them lethally as the flock dances, moving in that deliberate, punishing line.

They sense something amiss. Their sharp eyes are made to see what does not belong. What is not forged of Limbo. They scream back-and-forth among each other as they swarm, coming perilously close —

When Spider-Man swings in to intercept the flock. Sensing him too-close, they disperse with discordant cries, then reassemble, training him with a sea of pinprick red eyes.

They CALL and CALL and cAlL and cALL and cALl and — go silent, that fork of lightning catching the flock and incinerating all out of the air.

Where the Titans stand on a rooftop, snow begins to blow with a sigh of wind. Isn't it a bit early for New York snow?

"Our broken toys returned to play again?" coils up a familiar voice.

The building beneath their feet suddenly flash-freezes over with pure, mirror-surfaced ice, frozen and hazardous. It crawls up in all directions, curling into horrific shelves of curling horns and edges — like standing center ring to thousands of needle edges growing out from all around you.

The Consort, suspended in the air by her infernal magic, rises into sight, pale and beautiful and wicked, covered in her same ice. The Titans mirror against her eyes, and the sight of them widens her smile. She begins to laugh.

She gestures to rip their building in two, the ice bisecting it right open, more than slippery enough to pour the unsuspecting straight down into a bed of edges or a fatal fall.


The bird-demons, spiraling up into the sky, crumple before the might of Atli and her retinue of shark-men. Burning feathers and boiled demonic blood rain from their shattered bodies as they spiral towards the ground, lifeless after the direct hit from the thrown lightning.

But before they die, they get a message out.

One moment, the Dragon is perched on the Tower. Between glances, between heartbeats, one looks away, then looks back — and it is no longer there. A heavy silence hangs in the air, under the blackened and torn skies.

Then a plume of sickly black fire roils down from high above, aimed at the shark army and their illustrious leader, saturating the air in intense cooking heat for a broiling few seconds. Darkness clouds over the city as wide wings spread overhead, guiding the Dragon's enraged descent from high above. The vortex of disturbed air off his wings might make flying rather interesting for Stark's craft for a bit, at that.

"Fool of an Asgardian," growls the Dragon, as he turns his malignant attentions on Thor's granddaughter. On Tony Stark, who he doesn't seem to know what to make of quite yet. "Was one taste of my fire not enough for you? Do you imagine your diversion shall distract us from the meddlings of your allies? I think not."

There are, after all… two of them.


"I think you're underestimating just how annoying I can be," Stark quips. Really the man can't keep his mouth shut.


To be fair, there is something comforting about Spider-Man's rattling this time around. It's a way of coping, and there is plenty on the minds of the Titans who are present. Raven tries to reach out to assuage Zatanna's quiet fear of a repeat performance, lending the young witch her out-of-place serenity to ease these feelings - a reminder that she isn't alone, that she won't be taken again by the two entities that tried the last time they weren't all together.

But when Spidey also points out the danger that has just arrived on the scene, her own gaze shifts sharply, darting away from the rifts and onto the bird-like demons.

The arrival of Atli and the army of shark-men, however, makes this all the more…interesting, for lack of a better term.

It makes Raven squint, but she sucks it up, shaking her head as she rises, creating a dark, inky barrier to shield them from any attacks at their flank. Unfortunately, she isn't prepared for the sudden appearance of ice all over the building. The instant the floor is ripped right from under them, the goth tries to seal the underside of the barrier to ensure no one or nothing plummets down to the streets below.


"You and Zatanna working together to open and close the rift magically is plan b," the Titans' leader replies to Raven, who brings up some very good points. Not happy points, but good points. Whatever they do is bound to have unintended consequences: It's just that Red Robin's preference is that those consequences leave enough of existence intact for them to regret it later.

Already, the vigilante is rising to his feet on the rooftop's edge as he watches the change in movement of the flock of avian demons, in concert with Spider-Man's warning. He glances, briefly, back over his shoulder at Zatanna - the witch is uncharacteristically quiet, though that's been the case ever since the incident at Titans Tower. What she needs right now is maybe a little positive reinforcement.

"Hey," he says to her, off the comms. "You've got this." It's the reassuring voice, certain and confident. The same voice he used carrying her out of a tannery when as far as she knew she was just another college girl in Gotham getting menaced by a serial killer. And then—

Something comes out of the sky at the demons. Honestly, to most observers, it probably just looks like more, sharkier demons. Except there's an Asgardian there.

"Okay, that's… Yeah, all right, whatever," Red Robin decides, as snow starts to fall on his suit - it doesn't melt, because some people are paranoid to heat baffle their superhero costumes - then about five whole seconds later the rooftop tears apart in a giant fan of ice. It's probably not surprising to anyone who knows him at all that his first reflex, his body moving ahead of any conscious thought, is to save someone else, moving to grab Zatanna and pull the witch right off the roof with him - and right into freefall.

"Raven! Get Impulse away from the ice!" he orders, the Consort being a bit of a worst-case matchup for the speedster. This still leaves the long fall to the ground to worry about, but he doesn't seem overly concerned.

He's got options, you know.


"What streams?"

If there was a reference there Impulse doesn't seem to have caught it. He mutters an uh-oh at the first sign of activity as Spider-Man and Iron Man phone it in. "Guess we're doing things. Heya Mister Stark! Good seeing you right-side up again!— is that… a flying shark?"

And then it starts to snow. Which… is weird because the weather's been pretty borderline summer-autumn. He looks up and sticks his tongue out to catch a bit of snow. He's just making sure!! "Uh…"

The voice takes him a moment to place, but he doesn't see where it comes from as he's too busy watching the ice that's suddenly blazing up and over the surface of the building they've taken up. "Look out!" he shouts, which is a split-second before he moves, seconds still before the entirety of the floor beneath their feet becomes engulfed. Or is it? It occurs to him that there's no great direction to go when there's ice surrounding you. And then he sees her, the Consort who- oh yeah, she does the ice thing- thinking too much, falling now- where'd the building go, whoops


Shark-men veer hard on space-shark reins to take shark-evasive action as darkfire billows through their ranks. Broiled shark-haunch and ashed shark-bone fall to join the demon birds and the ranks of all the other dead failures littered around shark tower. Atli takes the brunt of it, her cape trailing smoke, soot covering her face and her own space shark, SLOWJAW, now streams the scent of roasted shark through the night air.

In fact, if not for SLOWJAW having eaten part of a van that was in fact a mule vehicle carrying no small amount of cocaine, he would assuredly be destroyed. Instead, the shark's black eyes are wide. It's mouth hangs open in a constant froth, and while the other sharks, including GORAX, try to regroup, Atli heads right for the impossibly immense dragon.

"Ha! I'm the best diversion! The kind that doesn't even know it's a diversion! Have at thee, Scaled Dongle!"

And so leaps Atli Wodendottir, trailing smoke and fire, her spear turned over for a mighty blow that crackles with the power of her purview, lightning streaking through the air beside her. Somewhere, at a lower angle, SLOWJAW fires his nostril-lasers at the very tip of the dragon's tail, pewpewpewing at it until the very last moment where it attempts to snap sharkly jaws shut on this, the most draygen of morsels.

Another shark seeks to have his day, one who fights not for some grand purpose, but because he really wants a pool all to his own. BATTLEMASTER GORAX abandons his dying space shark, which goes flying off towards.. who knows where. His roar deafens the sky, and his axe, steeped in the blood of his ancient shark-kin, descends upon the back of the great Dragon, as does a great deal of shark-spittle.


Plan B is fine by Raven. Using the portal trick is better as a last resort. Her current objectives now focus to make sure Red and Zatanna are okay along with getting Impulse away from the ice. Except Red has Zatanna covered. Having Impulse not go splat against the pavement is the more pressing matter.

"Hold on!" Her voice lost amid the noise, she swoops downward in the speedster's direction, arms snapping up and in front of her body to cast her magic. Dark matter forms a ramp for him to land on, letting it curve around to another building's rooftop further away from where the damage is done.


Hey, you've got this.

Ice-blue eyes find Tim's white-lensed ones, and Zatanna forces a smile on her lips. "Yeah," she says with a nod. To her credit, it is determined - she had made a promise after all, and not just to Jessica…to those with her as well. Though before she could say anymore, the hint of magic registers in her senses, feeling herself soothed. Turning her attention to Raven, her smile becomes more pronounced, and she even flashes the half-demon girl a thumbs-up. What a change, really, from the first few months of their acquaintance, where it had been neutral at best, and cold and suspicious at worst.

She feels them coming before her eyesight even registers them, her jaw hardening at where the hinge of it meets her neck. "They're he— "

Ice starts to fall from the sky, the Consort's pale, terribly beautiful form suddenly there. She can't help it, all thoughts dwindling away to an intense, white-hot spike of rage. "YOU— !" she says, tension braiding over slender shoulders as she takes several steps forward…

…only for the initial frozen salvo to crack over their rooftop. She's suddenly grabbed by someone more physically able than her, pushed off into empty air.

She doesn't scream. But her arms do band around him - that, too, is a far cry from the years in which she would scream at him every time he plays with their lives with a piece of string. She has done this with him enough times that she has learned to go with the grow limp and let it happen approach, with her heart in her throat. Her hand even reaches back, a spell whispered into Red Robin's ear, before she hurls a sudden javelin of holy light towards the Consort as she falls.


In swings Spider-Man —

ZAAAAAAAPPPP goes demon birds.


And this is the sound of Spider-Man wisely -yanking- himself backwards before he can join the birds as they transition into their new lives as crispy critters, and/or ash. Flipping through the air, the webbed menace spins another web, sweeping past the advance of Atli as those lenses thin into speculative squints.

"Flying. Street. Sharks. Yeah sure okay like that is probably the least weird thing I've seen all day."

And off Spider-Man swings, sighing long-sufferingly to himself.

"What even is my life anymore."

He'd continue — at length, of course, because the rambling quips help to distract him from every conflicted feeling and lingering soreness and fatigue still afflicting him — except he feels the familiar buzz at the back of his skull, seconds before the dropping temperatures cling cold to against his costume. Lenses shutter like a blink as his head tilts in the direction of the threat.

The Consort. They squint.

"Oh, cheese and crackers."

And just like that, the Consort rips the other Titans' building in twain. He only has time to shout a, "LOOK OUT!" and little more — he can't have her capitalizing on any openings or moments of weakness. He needs to keep her occupied long enough to let the others get to safety — because he KNOWS they can —

— and so, Spider-Man's reaction is immediate: spinning two weblines that connect to two, opposing buildings, the radioactive arachnid ignores all the screaming warnings in his skull and uses the tensions of those lines to -slingshot- him with all the pent up velocity of a speeding car towards the Consort, aiming to ram feet into her midsection like a cannonball and knock her out of her aerial perch.


Get it?

Because the song?


Don't worry, he's got plenty more.


Annnd windstorm.

"You know JARVIS," Stark fights with the controls as the light craft suddenly careens to the left. Torn from its trajectry by those hurricane strong lashes of the dragon. "IT REALLY IS HARDER TO FLY A PLANE THAN A SUIT!"

"Yes, sir. Mister Rhodes /did/ tell you not to skip flying lessons if you wished to fly." JARVIS points out.

"Scold me later!" Stark calls out as he narrowly misses a burning shark and /then/ even more narrowly misses a building. The recovery takes a moment and in that moment he's already past the dragon and the melee.

"So much for my strafing run— KID DID YOU USE A DISNEY PUN?! They sue people for that don't they?"

Banter helps when dealing with dragons that could /literally/ eat him.

JARVIS ahems a moment. "Sir? The rest is in position."

"Good. Time to show this overgrown axolotl just /how/ annoying I can be." Hands fly over the controls sending orders to something else closeby. ARC reactors power up as hidden bay doors start to slide open.

A trio of red and gold vehicles suddenly scream out of a ruined garage. Not much bigger than a compact car the hover-like vehicles seem to not even have a driver as they careen though the empty streets. As one entity they tilt up…


Three lances of energy pierce the sky, light and force aiming to slam into the dragon from the drones as they slice towards where Stark slaloms his way though the skycrapers.

More suddenly burst from the river, running on hydrofoil systems now, again weapons canted up towards the sky.


I mean just the noise is annoying enough if not the impact.

Still more from skyscrapers around the tower, angling in towards Stark's vehicle to fall into formation with the little aircraft as it circles around again to slice towards the angry beast of legend.


Honestly, he'd expected to at least get cussed out.

That he doesn't speaks to the adaptability of one Zatanna Zatara, who over the past two years has been put into an awful lot of situations that involve swinging around on a specially created titanium monoweave fibre line and not even being the one in control of it. Instead, the witch's fury is directed at the Consort, whose influence had caused her to lose control during the battle at Titans Tower, leading to her turning on her friends and allies. One of the beings which had violated her in a profound, spiritual way out of the same desire so many of her assailants over the past few years have had - to get at the unfettered, raw power that lurked within her.

So, they fall. So, Red Robin hears her breathe her backwards words of power, and he feels the heat of the brilliant lance of divine power she launches at the Consort. So, he watches as the ground gets closer, the distance to impact helpfully provided by the augmented reality HUD in his mask.

There's a *paff* of released pressurised gas, but of course the vigilante doesn't aim it up. To the side, instead, and their downward fall turns into an arc, his other arm curled tightly around the witch as the direction of their momentum changes, reorients, up and down trading positions in a high-speed lurch that he'd learned to deal with when he was barely a teenager.

"Good news, I think Stark's doing something… Stark-y. Listen, we'll need to lure Smaug and Elsa," it works, he's gonna roll with it, "back to Stark Tower. The closer they are to the rift we open up the better chance we can get them through it." The line disengages, reels in; for a long, terrifying moment at the apex of the swing, they're simply arcing through the air unassisted until he launches the line again, catches another building. He was really kind of hoping they'd catch them unaware and then shove them through the door. "We're almost fully charged, and we're only gonna get one shot at this."


The smell of roast shark-flesh curls through the air as ashen dead fall to the ground. The Dragon starts to sneer his victory — only to pause as Atli and the remnants of her followers shoot out the other side of that gouting fire, her noble shark a little singed but no worse for the wear. And her rebuttal —

Wait," the Dragon says, jaws curling in a snarl. "You don't know you're a — "


Atli cannons straight into his jaw. The Dragon's head snaps back and fangs click together with a titanic clash. Stunned, he hangs briefly in the air, a sitting target for the drones that Stark calls up to fire shrieking lasers into him from beneath. Black blood rains down onto Midtown, from the wounds sliced through his tough scales. He rears in the air, furious, and once he can get his jaws open again, a resonating roar of rage escapes him. The sound has a distinct otherworldly effect, a maddening resonance to it that would drive lesser minds mad in a welter of uncontrollable fear.

He may also be enraged because he senses someone, nearby, trying to magically penetrate his wife.

His rage only intensifies as that shark latches onto his tail — as BATTLEMASTER GORAX lands axe-first upon his back. His sinuous, serpentine body whipcracks harshly, trying to sling them both away, and his head whips around to… well, to simply catch Atli Wodendottir point-blank in midair, cannoning into her with all the force a building-sized dragon head can muster.

The Dragon's attention rivets on Stark afterwards. "If you wish me to overestimate you instead, metal man," he snarls, a nuclear core of light circulating inside his jaws like a building supernova, "that can be arranged."

That burning energy builds and builds. Then, with a snap of his head, the Dragon explodes it into a shooting series of arcing lasers, each magically guided to seek out Tony and his fleet of drones. Some of them arc in pursuit of Atli, as well.


A series of little gremlins trundle bravely down the street, likely very easily overlooked due to the fact none of them are much bigger than a dog. They stop beside the T-Van. There is a moment of reverent silence.

"What dis?"
"It important. Boss wants it."
"How we get it over there?"

There is a moment of pensive silence. Then one, marginally smarter than the others, hits on it: "DRIVE!"

All the rest take up the chant. "DRIVE! DRIVE! DRIVE!"

The gremlin with this brilliant plan is elected to do the driving. There is a brief scuffle as they try to reach the driver's door handle by standing on one another's heads.


"Thanks Raven!"

Any flicker of worry that might have crosed Impulse's face quickly vanishes into a grin as he takes Raven's assist- and perhaps a small cue from Sonic the Hedgehog a she revs up and hits the ramp at speed. It's not necessarily taking him in the direction he wants to go but it's better than falling onto ice spikes.

"Aw man, no fair- everyone else can fly," he huffs slightly, watching as the others converge upon the Consort and the dragon. He spares a wistful glance at his costume ring, wishing it was a Legion flight ring. His eyes snap up as he hears explosions, watching things start to move in pursuit of Tony Stark and Atli. Well, if he can't do anything upstairs, maybe he can run interference from below.

"Localized tornados coming up in the forecast," he says, right before he tears off and down to street level. He'll see about disrupting some of those drones- unless someone has any better suggestions!


The ice moves like it is alive — an extension of the Consort's demonic will — as it shreds amd mulches the building down, flash-freezing concrete and steel.

The Titans disperse under the assault — some fall, others saved by Raven's shadows.

Where the Consort hovers, she turns her mirror eyes down, for a moment reflecting Zatanna's falling form in their lenses. She has not forgotten that soul.

Lifting one pale hand to the heavens, the herald curls her long fingers, and pulls down. The rusted out skies layer, going dark, smothered by a brewing storm that hisses with the sharp, formenting ozone of a winter blizzard.

Wind whips her, moving through the sharp ends of her frostbitten dress, and its churning train of ringing shards. She pulls down both hands, and summons the skies with it, following the Titans with a rainstorm of needled ice aimed for them — falling at escape velocity, and barbed well enough to chip away at brick.

It storms down on Red Robin and Zatanna. It especially aims at Raven's shields, trying to wear them down in a constant batter. And then —

A barrage. They open all the nearby buildings, and it's a distraction worthy enough to turn the Consort's head.

Light snarls right through her. It hits like a javelin, and the Consort screams in pain, her hands burning as she tries to grasp at it. Her pristine, beautiful body welts where it is scorched —

— and she looks up, a moment too late, as a red-and-blue-and-MOUTHY streak catches her clean, right at the heart, and cracks her straight out the air. Like a slapped gnat, she whips away, straight through the breaking windows of a building, and disappeared with a plume of smoke.

There is silence for a moment.

A distant groan.

Penn Station cracks open, concrete groaning. Ice and borrowed mortar coalesces into the shapes of hook-clawed hands, forged of the blowing storm, large enough to crunch cars into their fists.

They are on either sides of Spider-Man. In a split-second, they thunderously CLAP together, like hands to trap an insect within in a compressing cage of ice. Slowly, torturously, they begin to press in — how long can even his strength endure it?



Assuredly, this is what a dragon sounds like when it whip-cracks an Asgardian through the air. And boy, does she go flying. Whirling, spinning. Her spear flies away to land pointy-end down in some demon to skewer him. Atli bounces off of Stark Tower, comically flailing with no ability to fly and her STUPID SHARK hanging on with stubborn abandon to the tail end of the Dragon.

Cocaine is a HELL of a drug.

But not strong enough to keep BATTLEMASTER GORAX from dislodging SLOWJAW as he uses the space shark as a foothold. It lasts for but a moment, and the BATTLEMASTER rides the back-motion of the tailswing to go arcing through the air. The Dragon sends seeking lasers through the air, all while a shadow of a great, old shark-man looms in the air, a tiny speck against his massive form.


Gorax lands in a slide upon the scales, and whirls through the air to aim his axe at the side of the dragon's jowels, thinking it best to keep it from using it's foul mouth anymore. MEANWHILE. Atli Wodendottir hits a building. Bounces off. Lasers incoming! She barely has time to react as the energy scrapes along the rooftop behind her, and she leaps, moving to hunker down behind a great big mess of moving ice.

That just happens to be crushing a spider inside it.



"I still think some part of you enjoys this," she tells Red softly against the wind. By his ear, he can practically sense her smile, despite everything.

They're still moving, dangling and arcing with that single piece of string. Clutched in Red Robin's grip, Zatanna's eyes remain over his shoulder, watching barbs of ice rain in their direction. She calls up her own barriers, ice blasting against wreathes of blue-white light - she concentrates on their defense as their team leader attempts to swing them towards their final destination, and all the while, she tries to do what he suggest - to lure both close to where they need to be…

….and typical of her reckless ways, she attempts to do this by making the both of them dangerously infuriating targets.

She readies another lance of light when she witnesses the Consort get slapped away from the sky by a familiar blue-and-red figure, careening to earth like a frozen comet in the doing. With her teammate in danger soon afterwards, a cry of warning escapes her lips:


Her fingers extend, her own command shattering reality and twisting it to her whims.


It would be distressingly familiar to Bart, but thankfully today, it is turned to a more benevolent purpose - she attempts to shatter the fists of ice held open by whatever superhuman strength levied by her teammate.


Safe. A light smile touches upon Raven's face as the speedster brightens, her eyes then flickering back over to wherever Red and Zatanna have gone off to. The bright light is telling of where they used to be on the way down, anyway. Safe. Safe.

But not for too long. Luring the Consort and the Dragon will be tough - especially when the Consort is already breaking down her barriers in seconds. Losing her grip on them, she allows them to disperse, sending her concentration back on flying toward Codename Elsa right when Spider-Man is within reach.

Not safe.

Knowing she won't close the distance in time, Raven projects her soul self forward. The dark, raven-shaped form cuts through the air with a unearthly shriek, soaring with purpose in order to keep Peter from being incased in ice. Again.

…About the same time Atli goes to use the ice as a shield. So that's going to be a thing. Which then turns into trying to break up the ice to protect the Spider while also sort of guarding the Asgardian before coming into contact with the sudden 'KAERB!' spell. Considering how everything is going, the aim will appear to shift to go past the two, careening straight toward the Consort.


With some teamwork, the gremlin crew manages to get the door open and up into the driver's seat. There, they are met with another conundrum: driving is made for human-sized creatures, and they are very not human-sized.

They cogitate for a moment about this.

A few minutes later, the van lurches drunkenly. It slews into the curb, knocks over a trash bin, and then slowly begins to weave off down the street in the vague direction of the Dragon, moving in fits and starts — and then suddenly accelerating to a screeching pace, which it sustains with worrying disregard for obstacles in the way.

This is because it is being operated by three gremlins sitting stacked, one on the other's head, with the top gremlin operating the steering wheel, and by another gremlin sitting square on the gas pedal, with no apparent awareness that the vehicle will just keep going faster the longer he sits on it.

Unfortunately for all involved, the portal-ray is still in the back of the van, dutifully charging up. The gremlins might not have strictly noticed it yet.


"Yeah I kinda would!" Stark shouts back at the dragon, speakers of the little craft booming. "I mean come on, you've been living in my house for a month you could at least have cracked open a book about me! I'm Tony freeking Stark!"

Probably not the best way to shout at a Dragon but hey. Its doing its job right? Focusing it on the fight above while the important work of portal ripping goes on below. Well. Portal Ripping and Gremlin Chasing.

"JARVIS prepare for evasion its about to breathe fi—LASERS?!" Oh god why. "WHEN DID DRAGONS GET SUBMUNITIONS! This is false advertising! I want my money back!" Pulling on the agile crafts controls he manages to dodge one aimed at him but his drones aren't quite as lucky. Some explode as the lasers bisect them. Others careen into buildings. Some manage to dodge but that is all they can do right now…

…and the lasers are still seeking Stark.

"River! Get to the river!" He gives the commands, offering no more than delusionary fire towards the dragon as he tries to not. Well. Die.

The problem though is evident to anyone watching. Stark and his drones converge on the troubled waters of the Hudson…and the lasers converge as well.

This could end poorly.



It's probably for the best that Impulse has rushed off out of earshot of Zatanna. Her magical wordplay would surely have had him come to a halt, if only for the recollection of what had happened the last time she'd said that word.

As it is he's already easily distracted. In this case it might be for the best as he comes upon the familiar vehicle. Wait, that's—

"Uh, hey Double-R? Who's driving the T-van?" he asks over the comms as he starts to race after said transport as it begins to speed off. Where is it going?!


It's only the closeness that lets Red Robin hear Zatanna's words, or sense the amusement behind them - a break in the proverbial stormclouds that settled over the gothic magicienne of late. The sensible thing to do would be to let her smart remarks lie and focus on the whole 'don't turn the both of them into smears on the pavement' job he's got in front of him.

But when has he ever been sensible?

"Which part, the swinging through the city without any superpowers one? Or the being bait for horrific super demons part, or…?" he jokes instead, while the Princess of Prestidigitation keeps them from getting torn to shreds by the Consort's rain of shredding ice. After all, if she's the worm in this scenario, then he's volunteered himself as the hook. "It's not as funny now that you don't freak out anymore," he admits between swings, though how serious he is there is debatable. "But it still beats having to carry some two hundred pound goomba instead."

The witch's cry of warning to Spider-Man is impossible to ignore when it's right against the vigilante's own ear, nor is the spell she follows it with, but he keeps swinging - dodging around obstacles with nearly the deftness the webbed menace manages, despite the rather more slapdash way he goes about it. And then…

Who's driving the T-van?

"Er… What?" the Red Knight wonders; with all the other things going on, he didn't even notice that the location beacon for the van was moving. "Really? In the middle of all this we're getting carjacked? Impulse, we need the van, can you get it back and…" It's a testament to the apocalyptic nature of the situation that he even utters these words. "…drive it into position?"


The Consort blows through windows and buildings. There is silence, for a moment.

"Ohhhhh this is one of those ominous silence things isn't it—"



He can feel his spider-sense warning him as moisture condenses with the weave of eldritch magic all around him, tingling away at some primal part of his brain. It doesn't stop how fast it comes — all it gives him is the split-second warning he needs to -not- become an unsightly splatter between a pair of swatting, glacial palms. A web-line forms with a -=thwip=- through the air; he yanks

— and manages to scale the hands almost all the way up before he's crushed.


Ice crunches against the soles of Spider-Man's heels as he finds himself stopped in a split, at the apex of those constructs. Ice fractures even as he feels his heels start to numb, even as he feels his bones start to protest, as those hands continue to compress, and compress, and compress.

"gnhuh," he hisses out, his voice a choked sound. "Y-you've got… a real… Frozen Heart… you know that…?" He is strong — he is very strong — but he is also tired, and injured, and run so ragged against a threat that has started to seem insurmountable. His knees start to bend under threat of breaking. The cold whips away at him, making it so much harder to -think- past his own tired haze. He thinks he sees some crazy redhead using him as a human iceshield. He must be going insane from dropping body temperatures, clearly, which is why he says to her, "Luh-Lindsay Lohan-?" Muscles protest, the clawed hands start to crush inward —


It's the voice that makes the webbed vigilante double-take. It's reflexive, and yet uncertain, as if uncertain whether to be a wince or an alert.

But no matter what they might be going through —


— Peter at least knows Zatanna well enough to know a set up when he sees it. And so for a second at least, he puts his faith in her… and relaxes, to move into a free fall.

Between Raven and Zatanna, as the ice shatters fractions of seconds from crushing him mid-drop, Spider-Man is already moving. He can feel shards of ice cut into his skin as he descends; he ignores it, focusing the brunt of his attention on the Consort beyond. And moving with Raven — he strikes.

"And h-here I thought we were so close," proclaims Spider-Man, chilled but swift as he drops in to try to jab the Consort once in whatever amounts to her sternum before leaping away.

"Buh-but I guess you just didn't realize that love is an open door-!" Another blow, two feet aimed for the back of her head.

"You know what, though? Even despite that, I think, for the first time in forever-" Webbing, aiming for her hands, an annoyance to get her attention for the greatest irritant of all.

"-nothing's in my way!"

The good old web-to-the-face maneuver.

"And uh. Reindeers are better than people?"

To try to get her attention —

"Yeah okay sorry that one kinda got away from me a little I guess."

— as he attempts to sling his way towards Stark Tower.

"You just don't have a great repertoire of songs, sorry, yeah I said it!"


"-Azar, he's still going," Raven comments aloud, sounding annoyed, somewhat relieved, and quietly impressed by how many references Spidey can draw out during all of this.

But yes, striking as one is good. That and the comment about the songs, but REFOCUSING on attacking.


I'm Tony freaking Stark!!

"Who?" asks the Dragon.

He might be doing this just to be an asshole, honestly.

A moment later the Dragon's spell completes. Not fire, no — a series of magical lasers spew from its jaws, empowered to seek until they destroy. They carve through some of Tony's drones, but their true target is Stark himself. They follow him even all the way to the river, screaming through the air as they plunge down towards the Hudson in an eruption of flash-boiled steam and cascading water. The impact will dissipate the magical bolts… but did they strike Stark before then?

The Dragon leans forward, avid to see — but he has forgotten Gorax. GORAX, who lands upon his scales, sliding into a titanic swing of his axe against the monster's jaw. The blade bites deep into the seam where upper jaw meets lower; enraged, the monster claws at his face, vast talons aiming to scrape the shark-man off and fling him to earth.

The only thing that could distract the Dragon right now? The scream of his Consort as attacks batter into her. Furious, he starts to turn in her direction.


The van in question is heading, in its very badly-driven way, towards the Dragon. This is also vaguely in the direction of Stark Tower, to be fair, though it will get to the gigantic monster long before it does the Tower.

As Bart draws nearer, he might hear high-pitched voices from within arguing about one another's driving capabilities. None of the gremlins seem very impressed about how the others are doing.

In the back of the van, the countdown continues. Two minutes remaining until fully charged…


"…grife did you just tell me to drive..??" By the sound of his tone it seems that Impulse is just as much in disbelief at what Red Robin's said than the Red Knight himself. Except there's definitely a grin tacked on with that question mark.

To be fair, Bart Allen has never crashed a car. Drove one off a cliff, yyyyes, but never crashed it. That's largely on the account that Max Mercury had been there and then there was some impromptu lesson about making air cushions by generating tornadoes with your feet and so it goes…

"On it."

Surely he's gotten better at things. Just because he still doesn't have a driver's license doesn't mean a thing, right?

It doesn't take him long to draw up beside the T-Van, the voices from within nothing short of confusing. He dashes around to the passenger-side, pulling the door open to slide in- it stands to reason that doing so on the driver's side would probably result in someone getting smashed.

…or someones??? He blinks at the gremlins inside.

"-hey, you forgot to buckle up." Wait, no. He flails a bit and tries shoving gremlins to the back as he tries to get into the driver's seat. "Aaaaaah- move overmoveovermoveover!!"


Despite trying to use a would-be Spidercicle as cover, Atli ends up taking most of the blast. Which is to say, she summons her spear back to her hand with a flash of lightning just in time to swing at the laser and deflect some of the blast. A deep rend cuts against Stark Tower, and then she goes flying in the opposite direction. It sends her sliding along the frozen waste that the Consort has made of this place, putting her in a perfect position to look up and watch the Man-Spider unleash his attacks.

"The MAN-SPIDER!! I should have known you were behind all of this! The commander of the Daily Bugle has told me of your ill intentions. Over and over. Indeed, he drones on until his mustache is drenched in vile spittle. He reminds me of my grandfather in this way!!!"

Atli even points the spear at Spider-Man, as if she means to blast him, but then a falling GORAX slams into her and all the ice means they're both swept away.

Tumbling out onto the street, they finally come to a stop, and the burnt and lasered and frozen Atlis its up, her hair all askew and smoldering, feet hard to keep under her, she uses the old shark man for leverage.

"Verily, Gorax, we need a different plan. One that involves less lasers."

GORAX rises too, using his axe as a walking stick, and jumping tenderly on one foot, which he carefully pulls a bit of windshield from. "NO POOL IS WORTH THIS!!"

"Don't be absurd! It is the pool of the X-People! Of course it is!" Atli retorts.

Somewhere in there Red Robin goes swinging by. "Did you see that? It looked like some sort of odd, red pigeon." Gorax shakes his head at Atli, and then there are headlights. Van headlights, washing over them both. Gorax, of course, sees this as a challenge to his authority and braces, his maw opening, and a great roar belllows out.

Atli winces away from the stench of it all, sees the dragon sailing towards the consort, and then raises her spear again. Lightning coils around her eyes, her arms, even her frtized hair, smoldering with power that dances along her spear until the clouds obey. Shoving her spear to the sky, the clouds open up with a series of lightning bolts that seek to dance along the dragon's body, strike after strike meant to deter it from it's path.


Steam from the repeated explosions on the Hudson conceal the swift moving water. The seeking spell found its mark well enough. Debris slick the surface of that water, glinting between the rolling smoke and mist. The dragon glories for that moment before MIGHTY GORAX distracts him. Before his Constort's cries distract him still further afield…

And something in the water informs said dragon what a bad idea that is.

A pinpoint of light larger than the headlamp of a train flashes into existence before water against turns to vapor. This time though the energy is traveling the opposite direction.

A beam as wide as a tractor trailer erupts from the water. Crushing force angled to slam into the chest of the dragon above. Angled to try to send it away from midtown, angled into the Upper Bay.

The source of that beam appears moments later as an arm the size of a barge bursts from the Hudson. Massive silver metal fingers reaching out to grab part of a stone pier and pull the bulk of a truly massive suit from the water. It cascades down the red and gold painted form as the thing pushes itself to stand up…

…and up….

…annnnd up…

Drones that were lagging behind collide with the superstructure of the massive construct, shifting and sliding into armor plates and weapons. Its right arm carries the massive tri-barreled canon that just launched the opening volley. Its left arm smokes from the impacts of the dragons lasers.

"Yeah, Tony Stark." Comes the surprisingly lazy response. "Pretty sure you've heard of me."

The ARC reactor the size of a small house in the suits chest flares bright at the sun as the suit moves, one hand raising to make a beckoning gesture towards the dragon itself.

"Alright scales for brains, lets do this."


There is a blessed denouement amidst all the destruction, the way a torrential storm creeps over to show its calm eye.

But such things never last long.

The building wherein disappeared the Consort — kicked there across Midtown and lost in shattered glass and sighing dust — is silent.

Then it freezes over. Cold instantly, like a settled hypothermia, before it violently CRACKS open, ripped at its heart and falling in a sea of shards. Those on the ground are in the greatest danger — a toppling building, no longer brick and stone but frozen ice casting a wide, fatal, toppling shadow.

From its remains, rises the Consort, suspended still in the air —

— and no longer so beautiful.

Where the light touched her, impaled her, she is no longer white-marble skin, cut with permafrost's timeless, still-life beauty.

Half of her is now a burning, rotting corpse. She drops pieces of herself, a body revealing how it truly is, how her kind truly are — decaying, rotting out, corrupted and cursed with their immortality that grants no boons to flesh and blood.

Head bowed, her crown of ice chipped and dripping, the Consort holds her face. "No," she weeps. "No, no, no…"

Her hands drop, and half her face is the empty socket and mandible of a rotting skull. "WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?!" she SCREAMS. "LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID TO ME!"

Not that her histronics get to last long.

The initial strike from Raven barrels straight toward the Consort. She tries to defend herself with a growing wall of ice — too little, too late, and that eldritch, shadowy power breaks through it. They collide —

But the Consort's hands, now half-skeletal, twist to try to twine with Raven's, as she pushes back, to hold them both still in the air. "Sister, do you forget?" she sneers. "Family cannot hurt family. I may have use for a traitor —"

Her hands tighten — but, fortunately, jerk free, when a sudden Spider-Man interjects. It is hard what the Consort thinks worse, his powerful assault, or his incessant talk. There is little time for the herald to recover from either, though as she tries to intercept him, Raven's counterassaults stop her, throwing the demoness back, wilting more and more as she struggles now even to hold herself in the air.

They herd her closer to the tower. And closer —

"MY LOVE!" begs the Consort of the Dragon. "They ruined me! They RUINED me!"


Which part…?


The parabola shifts, and the world flies past her in a blur of lights and color. On her part, Zatanna looks relieved that Spider-man manages to get out of the bind he's in, and with that final satisfactory smash, she watches his blue-and-red clad form sail off, relief on her face. Another piece of unfinished business, another thing she was going to have to take care of - to prostrate herself on the altar of Peter Parker's judgment. But later, later.

This is a good start, though, when somewhere behind them, she sees rubble peel away and the Consort rise, looking less the beautiful and more the terrible. Her pale mien hardens into a grim look that can't help but be somewhat self-congratulatory. Some part of her enjoys having managed to do this to the woman who cursed her and nearly had her destroy almost everything she has ever cared about.

Still, they need them to follow. With another whispered word, Zatanna fires another streak of holy light in the Consort's direction, and another, and another. Really, she's not going to stop.


The Dragon feels his Consort's intense distress, even before she emerges back into the light to display the ruined form which triggered it. He turns instantly, forgetting everything else, trying to make his way to her —

And lightning erupts down from the sky, slamming down into him. The great creature staggers in the air under the force of the blows, wings dipping, his flight interrupting for a few critical moments as his wallowing knocks the top from a few buildings. Incensed, those vast eyes turn towards the granddaughter of Thor, great fangs baring…

And then Something starts happening in the river.

The Dragon turns only in time to take the full brunt of the beam to the chest. He spins head over tail as the force of it sends him careening through the air southwards, higher up into the sky and further from the population-dense body of the city itself. And incidentally, closer to Stark Tower.

Pretty sure you've heard of me, says Stark, with a beckon.

"Amusing toy," the Dragon snarls back. Smoke hisses from between his fangs, a mark of the internal damage done. "I will tear it limb from limb and sink its pieces back into the sea — "

His Consort SCREAMS for him. The Dragon stops dead.

His head turns. He forgets all about Stark. "What have they DONE to you?!" he rages, as he arrows towards her with a sweep of his wings, flying to her defense. His murderous gaze focuses dead-in on Zatanna in particular, as she savages his mate. He will rip the magic from her SOUL to repair this crime, this affront. He will send her screaming to the blackest pits of Hell.

In this way, though they do not realize it, the both of them are driven back towards Stark Tower and the rifts above it…



As Bart forces his way into the van and shortly thereafter, the driver's seat, a chorus of protests erupt.

"What the —"
"Hey, dis ours!"
"What a buckle??"

Smol as they are, they are not really a match for Bart firmly shooing them out of the driver's seat and shoving them into the back. This gives him control over the van, at the least, though he will discover something rather alarming; the gremlin who was sitting on the gas pedal was a very sturdy gremlin, and kind of bounced on the pedal a lot while he was there, and now it seems to be stuck. The brake certainly isn't responding.

Does Bart feel like Keanu Reeves today?!

The gremlins, meanwhile, grouse about being displaced into the back of the van, up until something catches all of their eyes.

In unison, they stare up at the portal gun as it glows softly with otherworldly charge. Their pupils dilate with awe.

"Oooh… shiny…"


This. This is the true face of the Consort.

Raven pushes through, trying to ignore the screams of the woman, the abomination, the one now shrieking at them for ruining her flawless beauty. As disgusted as she feels, she doesn't show it, doesn't intend to show it now that they have her-

-Until the Consort catches her. The grip tightens, skeletal fingers clawing into her despite how far apart they are. Seeking. Reaching.

Sister. How can she forget?

"Sisters we may be," the Daughter of Darkness breathes, her voice almost trembling, her eyes refusing to look away, "yet sisters we are not." She then shifts, leaning back, trying to pull away from the monstrous being. "I have a choice. I can freely choose my family. So I will make this clear: You are Not My Family!"

As this is said, she lets the raven form vanish right as Zatanna sends the rays of holy light the Consort's way. And she drifts, trying to catch her own breath, to reassess where she is within the whole situation just as things take another turn.


His hands firmly upon the wheel, all gremlins dispersed to the back, Impulse does in fact attempt to use the brake. "….am I pressing the wrong one?" he mutters, frowning as he attempts to pump the thing. That one's 'stop' and the other one's 'go', right?

So driving cars isn't like when he runs. At all. It doesn't respond as quickly as he can, resulting in a few very jerky maneuevers and a couple of near instances where the thing balanced on its two outer wheels for a precarious handful of seconds.

"Can't stop. Guess we'll just go backwards."

This is announced matter-of-factly over the comms as Impulse reaches for the gearshift.


The T-Van nearly flips over with the abrupt shift, lurching into a near wheelie before it begins to zoom off in reverse.At least he's thought ahead on this- if he turns around then the portal thingy will just be pointing in the wrong direction, and its looking real ripe for firing.

But how hard can driving in a straight line backwards be?


Yes, the witch says.

"Yeah… That's fair," the Red Knight replies, a grin on his face despite the incredibly dire situation. In his defense, he had very bad role models growing up.

Distantly, he hears the terrible screams of the Consort, the answering roar of the Dragon, and while he can't see what's actually happening (he's busy dodging between airborne monsters and zipping past an Asgardian and her sharky companion) he does get a sidelong view of Zatanna's grim satisfaction, as she takes a few pieces out of the creature that cursed her. That's… Probably fine, right? Yeah, probably fine.

Plus she's still firing holy laser blasts, she's got some stuff to work out.

The swinging abruptly stops as the vigilante carrying Zatanna lands on the side of Stark Tower, and for a brief terrible moment there's a loud squeak as the geckskin inserts in his boots don't quite grip right, and they slide a few feet down.

Oh boy, he thinks to himself. This would be a really bad time for this stuff to break.

Fortunately, it doesn't.

What follows is far more complicated than it looks: With every running step up the side of the Tower, Red Robin needs to provide the neural signal to disengage the geckskin of one boot and then reengage it before moving the other foot - it turns into a curious loping vertical run, made possible by an abandoned DARPA project designed to mimic a certain wall-crawler's abilities. It's slower than Spider-Man would be able to do it, more awkward, but still…

"Raven, Zatanna, get ready, we might need plan b in a real hurry." There's no time for the full charge on the portal device, and there's no hope of getting it into perfect alignment. Instead, his fingers move against Zatanna's back, 'typing' as the networked computer on the T-Van responds: The back of the van blows open, the roof splitting apart as the walls spread wide open, letting the modified version of Fairchild's device see open air. "Impulse, I need you to turn, uh… Ten degrees to the left. Maybe could you slow down a bit, it's really not designed to be moving and shooting, the calibrations are…"

Right, there's a huge dragon and an angry ghost woman both coming after them. There's no time for precision.

"If we all die I'm really, really sorry," he whispers to Zatanna, and then his hand against her back 'presses' another key.

The portal device activates.


The gremlins could have done a lot of damage to interrupt Tim's activation of the device. Fortunately they never get a chance. Why?

They are too busy screaming in terror and clutching one another as the T-Van, under Bart's dubious control, spins into a series of terrifying maneuvers.

Not even demons think much of his driving.


"Well that got his attention," Stark says with suprize as the dragon jets off towards the tower. Towards the rifts. There is a smirk on his face though as he turns the massive suit to look towards the Tower. "Portal gun status?"

"Judging from the power output, sir. It is about to fire." JARVIS helpfully supplies as Stark grins viciously. "That'll be a hell of an eviction notice to that pair." A pause. "Or the end of the world as we know it. Either way, it is gonna be great. You're recording aren't you JARVIS?"

"Of course, sir!"

There is a nod from Stark before the giant suit shifts again. "Drop out the drones! Don't let them get to far away from that Tower!"

As doors open in the sides of the suit dozens of gun-drones launch out. These smaller but powerful, but their job isn't to kill. Its just to make sure they stay in the trap zone. By they he means the dragon and the skeleton.

..true love. Romantic isn't it.


There it is. Her heart leaps into her throat when those burning eyes cut across the way, the sleek black beast moving like the jaws of Hell themselves. There is a good distance between them, but somehow, with the Herald's attention on her, it feels as if he is standing next to her somehow. Her breath catches, and she feels her blood rushing through her veins, rendering her lightheaded through the whistle of wind that tears at her dark hair, loosening it from the bind its in. Red Robin would feel her grip him tighter, though whether it is the unconscious desire to protect him, or an unconscious plea for him to protect her, it is difficult to say.

But this galvanizes her too. The fight burns through her every synapse, ice-blue eyes lit with fear, determination, and fury, each fighting for dominance within the fragile half-human shell of her. Distantly, she feels Red Robin moving, fingers scaling up her back when his plan slowly, but surely comes together.

She hopes it works. Meanwhile she does her part the best she can.


…then again, she was always bad at not jinxing herself, isn't she? Why would she even say that, it's as if…

If we all die, I'm really, really sorry.

Her eyes close. Her face turns to plant her lips on Red Robin's cheek.

"We're not going to die," she tells him quietly.

Pause. Beat.

"Besides, if this is the end, Nico's going to be really pissed she didn't get to be in my Youtube channel."


"Uh, negative-o on the slowing down, brakes don't work. I think the demons broke your car dude," Impulse announces, even as he tries to figure out how far ten degrees even is. And to who's left, his or Robin's??

But then things happen in the back and he swings around to look, but it doesn't seem like the gremlins are at fault. The portal thingy's gone off. "Hold on to your butts," he quotes, unable to keep a manic grin from his face as he tries to keep the hastily speeding vehicle steady.


Somewhere along the way, the van picks up another passenger.

BATTLEMASTER GORAX clings to the side, his axe cutting into this metal beast that nearly ran him over, his maw slamming into the side as he begins to EAT part of the van paneling!

"Gorax no! YOU MUST NOT EAT FROM THE VAN! Verily, SLOWJAW will never be the same after the van he ate!" Atli just assumes all vans are filled with white powder that makes space sharks super onary.

"Ah well." Her eyes squint at the dragon, still persisting despite her many lightning blasts. Her eyes train over, and she chin-rubs a moment, thinking that perhaps the half-rotten woman will not fair better. So, of course, Atli tosses her spear up, catches it like a spartan, and launches it towards the Consort with all the force her Asgardian muscle can muster!


Her battlecry splits the air, and Gorax stops eating at the van long enough to shake his head again.



This, of course, being Spider-Man's (NOT MAN-SPIDER'S) wise rejoinder to FOUL ATLI'S accusations as he weaves through the ice-sloughed madness of the Consort.


Turning upside-down in mid-air, Spider-Man's lenses are wide as dinner plates as they espy the lich-like thing the Consort has become. The bitter cold of the impromptu winter storm sinks down into his bones as he quickly spins another web, latching onto a building a skimming the frost-slaked surface of the streets beneath him before he vaults like a shot into the air to attempt avoiding reprisals.

Thankfully, with Raven's distractions and Zatanna's endless holy laser spam scorching the graying skies with flares of blinding light, the webbed vigilante isn't in immediate danger, occasionally launching the occasional web-line for the Consort to try to make it -that- much more difficult to outmaneuver Zatanna's efforts, make her -that- much angrier. The angrier they are, the less clearly they can think. Of course, on the other side of that coin, the angrier they are —

What have they DONE to you?!

— the more dangerous this all becomes.

Spider-Man sees the tremendous form of the dragon, turning his attention towards Zatanna and Tim. And as the Herald flies for them, as he whips those winter winds with every malicious buffet of his wings, as he encroaches on those two —

"H-hey, question, because I'm not sure we're gonna get the chance again and this is like one of those morbidly curious 'I shouldn't look this thing up on Google but oh my god I just did and I regret it so much but I did it anyway' things—"

There comes Spider-Man, webbing the dragon's tremendous jaw —

"- so like, how do the two of you, you know, work, like, logistically, because she's a Disney Lich Princess and you're the size of Hawai'i — GAH-!"

— and then YANKS so hard he feels his shoulder dislocate, in an effort to delay the dragon's charge for Zatanna even for the precious sliver of a moment they need.


"Beloved," pleads the Consort, with her rotting arms outstretched, gesturing hither the endless leagues of monstrous dragon.

The ice that trails off her drips and hisses of water burning away, melting off her great crown, the tail of her gown, the tips of her fingernails, the lens off her single, blurring mirror eye.

"I tried," she calls. "I tried, my life, my heart, my only — I cannot hold. We wanted so little. I only wished — more time with you. Not enough, not enough, not enough. I am sundered, I am —"

Light hits her. Again and again. Columns of it strike through her body, eating away the infernal glamour, revealing more and more of that rotting, decrepit flesh.

The Consort shudders. Her churning, whirling storm lessens, beginning to thin and disperse, her falling snow letting Midtown take back its warmer weather. Her hands shake, skeletal fingers reaching.

With her last stand, the Consort tries no longer to attack, or fight, but to flee, moving through the air and toward the oncoming horizon of the Dragon. With the ice dripping tears from her only remaining eye, she wishes only to touch him —

The spear drives her straight through.

The Consort grasps weakly down onto its back, but there is no strength in her skeletal hands to pull it free. Asgard's imbued magic seeps like a toxin into what's left of her body.

"Belov…" she gasps, and falls straight out of the air.


Like an enormous, murderous, airborne freight train of scaled death, the Dragon bears down upon them all. His jaws gape, nuclear fire churning deep in his throat, ready to incinerate the petty creatures who have so hurt his Consort. It pours from his jaws in a blistering torrent, the column of flames aimed dead-on at Tim, at Zatanna, at Raven — only for it to suddenly slew off to the side when Peter webs his jaw and YANKS.

The Dragon's head snaps around and he spits a word of raw magic at Parker. «FALL,» he demands, the syllable pressed with demonic sorcery, and the spell seizes at Spider-Man to drag him straight down into the concrete with bone-crushing speed.

The time it takes to do that, of course, is time in which other attacks can rain down upon his Consort. The Dragon screams with incoherent fury as Atli's spear runs her through, pelting headlong into the trap of Stark's caging turrets to come to her defense. "Beloved," he answers. "I am here — "

And that is when Tim activates the device.

Reality shudders.

"NO — " the Dragon has time to shriek, trying to cradle his battered Consort with his wide wings to protect her. But of course, there are powers even these two cannot fight or defend against. Powers who know of their betrayal… and Are Not Pleased.

With a horrifying sound somewhere between cloth ripping and a rotting flesh wound tearing wide open, one of the rifts above Stark Tower pops open with a sickening outpouring of miasma. Like a bandaid bursting off a festering sore — which, honestly, it basically is.

The Dragon roars in one last shrieking howl, tail lashing, claws flashing out, forgetting all his vast magic in an attempt to turn and simply tear his mate's tormentors physically apart. Partway through the assault, he gives up, his claws simply digging into the earth, clinging, trying to avoid the inevitable… but the rift above glows suddenly with an infernal anti-light. A voice echoes through it, a voice that bruises the brain and bleeds the ears even to hear… a voice that could rupture them all from the inside out if It spoke too long —


And Dragon and Consort erupt into a mist which streams up into the rift, and is lost.

The really disappointing part? Spider-Man will never get an answer to his logistical question, now.

…well, that and the fact that the rift is — not closing like it's supposed to be. A squiggle of appalling, chthonic movement starts to feeler at the edges of the tear.

They call to Raven. They are of her…


"…I'm going to guess…" Comes Stark's slow question. "…we shoot that. A lot."


Raven drifts, eyes fully closed, cloak fluttering in the updraft for the handful of seconds she still has under her control.


Within those seconds, she hears Red Robin over the comms speaking about Plan B. It's presented, and it will be needed if Plan A fails to work.

Remember your training.

Calm meets calamity the moment her eyes reopen, taking in the full brunt of Zee's call out to the Dragon, the flames of the Dragon, and Spider-Man's 'helpful' curiosity that should never be piqued. Both are good attempts at distracting their enemy, but the latter…Really??

Azar, give me strength, is all she thinks to herself, brow furrowing as she glares at the sky. But that isn't the only thing she needs strength for. Once the device activates and opens a rift to rid Midtown of the Dragon and the skeletal Consort, the rift…stays open.

And it calls. Beckons.

To her.


"No," she barely whispers, hands struggling to conjure shadow the longer she feels intangible writhing against her skin. Work. Work quickly and close the rift. Concentrate! Close the rift. CLOSE THE RIFT.

Stark's question, in turn, receives a single, grit-teeth answer: "Yes."


As Spider-Man refutes the tales of J. Jonah Jameson, Atli gives this some consideration. It's about when he's talking about sharks being the garbage fish of the universe that Atli winces, and points very near by Peter Parker, where the surviving members of the SCIONS OF JAU-SOM doth gather. They stare up at Peter with drooling, gaping maws, clearly not happy. Atli cups her hands over her mouth, calling out to the group. "Try not to mind the Man-Spider, shark-friends! Spiders are notoriously bigoted. It is likely his upbringing. Also I think this one i-" It's then that her spear lands, felling the Consort. The dragon rages, the dragon mourns, and then the dragon and consort are turned to mist. "Ha!! How's that for a distraction, Titan-o-Dongle?! Wait, where are you going! I have only just begun to-"


Asgardians, of course, can understand any language. Especially the mind twisting ones, and as Atli's nose and ears begin to bleed she stumbles about. GORAX tumbles away and holds his head, as do the rest of the shark-men.


The spear becomes a lightning bolt and returns to her hand, and then she whirls, looking for any birds. She does remember perhaps seeing a red pigeon, but it escapes her notice.



SHARK! There goes the detailing!! There's much yelling from inside the T-Van as Impulse tries very hard to keep the thing from swerving too much, when in reality it's his attempts that are making it worse. And then suddenly the shark is gone, and the portal tears open above the tower.

"YEAH! They're gone!"

Impulse nearly has his face plastered against the windshield to watch as the terrible creatures are born away. Kids, don't try this at home.

"-ohhhh that's not good."

His smile falters slightly as he notices that the rift's still open. Well, that had been part of the possibilities they'd spoken of. End of the world, was it?

"Robin! Can we still use this thing to close it?" He can barely make out his friends as the T-Van continues to propel itself backwards. —oh, right.

"Hang on back there!" he at least tries to warn the gremlins before grasping the gearshift again to switch back into foreward drive. Maybe if he can get the thing to drive in a circle? Up a ramp? Do a crazy jump? Turtle shell!! No, the T-Van does not come equipped with these things arrrrgh!

…but it sure is careening at top speed towards Stark's Tower.


FALL, commands the Dragon.

And Spider-Man



The impact would probably kill any normal person outright, break every bone in their body. For Peter, it might not feel much different, considering the white-hot burst of agony that sears through every nerve in his body and hammers his thoughts into a raw knot of blistering incoherence. For a moment, he can't see anything but flashes of light, unassembled and indecipherable. He can't hear anything but the ingredients of sound, ringing tinnitus into abused ear drums. He can't feel anything but the tingly numbness of shock at his fingertips.

"buh," is all he manages to spit out, blood curdling at his saliva as he drags his trembling frame up from the crater he has molded into his own personal home. He looks up in time to see the rift, opening above them. Relief suffuses through Spider-Man.

And the universe punishes him for feeling anything other than overwhelming worry forever by refusing to shut the rift after.

One hazel eye just stares through the cracked remains of his lens for a long, silent moment at the otherworldly slither beyond the dimensional borders of everything he knows. His mouth opens. He tries to find words.

"i don't think i can web that"

will have to suffice.


Yep, she definitely has some stuff to work out.

As Zatanna tightens her grip on him, Red Robin responds in kind, and honestly since he's carrying her while running up the side of a building it's a good idea generally; it would be extremely bad to drop the witch, even if she's able to fly under her own magical power (which she is) given that she's already pretty focused on everything else… And is liable to need to focus on something extremely important in the very near future.

His preemptive apology gets a light kiss on his cheek, and a quiet assurance from Zatanna that they were not going to die, especially since she has a promise to Nico Minoru to keep.

"I'm gonna hold you to that," he tells her, of her assurance that they're going to survive.

And his plan… Works, at least in part. Fairchild's device fires a beam of exotic particles at the half-healed rift in the heavens above Stark Tower, wrenching it open, wrenching past Limbo to something else, somewhere else, drawing the attention of the elder things whose grasp the Dragon and the Consort had managed to slip. This part was, roughly, how the vigilante was hoping it would go after the research he'd done with Zatanna. The problem is that the particle beam stops, leaving the rift open.

In the back of the T-Van, it starts to crackle with sickly-coloured lightning of its own. It's… Well, let's be honest here. It looks very 'going to blow up'-y.

"Not good," the Red Knight says, feeling those dread voices as much as hearing them, and experiencing the peculiar sensation of that feeling movement probing the edges of the tear as though it were also happening inside his brain. "Very bad." Distantly, he hears Bart. He tries to parse it out, tries to think. Tries to…

"Stark," he manages, strained, clinging to the side of the Tower and holding onto Zatanna for dear life. "The van. Throw the van into the rift before the projector blows up. Zatanna, Raven, need you to close it. Impulse, get clear, Spidey… Wait, where's Spider-Man…?"


Hang on back there! Impulse warns.

The gremlins respond by bailing the hell out of the van's back, tumbling away to ostensible safety.

"Don't wanna die!"
"You worst driver!"
"Mistress gonna be so mad…"


"….welp," Impulse says, staring in disbelief as his driving skills have been insulted by gremlins.

But wait, that's not important right now.

"Iiiis it supposed to be doing that…" he starts to ask as his eyes trail towards the curiously sputtering portal closing device.

"Impulse, get clear-"

Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Impulse doesn't even ask to confirm as he throws himself towards the door, vibrating through it and hitting the ground running. "All your's Mister Stark!"


"Just checking," Stark says conversationally as the twenty story tall suit raises both arms to the sky. Again the ARC reactor flares to life as energy crackles down the massive weapon arrays on its arms.

"Sir!" JARVIS is sounding rather worried for a moment. "Remember this is just a prototype! Overloading the weapons may stress it beyond limits!"

"Worlds about to end, JARVIS." Tony drawls as he redlines the reactors. "I think I'm gonna risk it."

Night turns to day for a split second as the repulsor cannon mounted in the arms roar to life. Twin beams of pure white streak towards the creeping death that poke around the edges of the rift. Slamming into the void in a bid to buy them just a moment more time.

…and then the second stage of the massive weapons go off.

Air ionized by the passage of the massive weapons suddenly fills with twin crackling bolts of lighting that might be worthy of a Thunder God(or goddess) themselves. Jagged blue white bolts of power that leap down the paths carved for them by the first beams Stark hoping against hope that it gives the more magical minded Titans a moment to think of something to—

/Throw the van into the rift!/

Smoke pours from his control pannels as parks arc in the cockpit of the suit even as he hears the solution from Tim. "…oh hell."

Everything could explode if he pushes it any further but…


"I'm gonna risk it."

And the Dragon Buster moves, the footsteps shaking the earth as he steps from the Hudson. Smoke pours from multiple joints now, the ARC reactor in the chest flickers a moment even as Stark scoops up said van and hurls it discuss like at the rift in the sky.

He has just enough power left to plant his feet so the gigantic machine doesn't come crashing to earth before everything seems to shut down. Generator fail safes shutting down the reactor systems before he takes out a good chunk of midtown himself.

"I /really/ hope this works!"


Oh no it doesn't.

She can feel Raven struggling to close it, and Zatanna nods to Tim when he tells her to help Raven close the portal. "Alright, but you're going to have to let go."

And when he does…

Winds of magic buffet her upwards, pulling her in an invisible slingshotting motion towards the rift. It's all instinct now, fueled by the desperate thought that whatever is happening cannot be left to continue for long, threads of blue-white light engulfing her form as it pushes her up and up and up…

She can taste it, something ancient and sick, bile rising to the back of her throat. Legs pressed together, both her arms extend to the side, fingers spreading apart from one another, imposing her body between the rift and the rest of the world. The glow coalescing over her intensifies, a single star-beacon in a field of black, and with a few whispered words, several circles of power manifest into being, surrounding the rift - above it, below it, to the side of it. Lines and sigils slowly stitch together, forming a protective matrix, taking the proactive measures to bolster Raven's power and concentration with her own.

She digs in deep, using the oldest words that she knows, pulled from the smatterings she remembers of angelic language - she is not an expert in it as John Constantine is, but she hangs onto that knowledge now, her fight against the Brujeria all these months leaving her, at least, with working knowledge of it. One would think it would neutralize Raven's own magic, but that would be inaccurate….demons and celestial spirits, after all, came from the same roots. They can work together with the right impetus, and achieve a cosmic balance.

She can feel the well. It starts to overflow, and her brows stitch together as she attempts, breathlessly, to keep control. It feels like liquid fire, pouring into her veins, threatening to combust her from the inside out. Every part of her shakes at the effort, beads of perspiration sheening her skin, rendering it luminous. She can barely breathe.

"I'm prepping…" she breathes through the comms. Her eyes are starting to bleed white. "Just…waiting for…Tony to do his thing…!"

And there goes the van, rocketing into the rift.

She, too, pushes. She grits her teeth as she attempts to force the seal in place, to hammer into into Reality's plate and over the deadly opening. More magic pours out of her, lashing out wildly like whips, but she manages, somehow, to shape them, mold them before they could escape any further.

Oh, god. Let this work.


The world starts to warp at the edges. Out of the corner of one's eyes, reality itself seems to melt, things which should be solid running and bleeding like so much melting paint down the walls of existence.

An itch starts to resonate in the skull, in the teeth. The very marrow in one's bones starts to itch. The sensation of centipede legs, running running running, twitches under the skin. There would be relief from the itching if one just tore off one's skin and turned one's bone's inside out

Sinuous movement undulates along the edges of the rift. Something reaches from beyond this world, this reality, this plane.


Stark fires into the darkness. And the darkness laughs straight into his skull, its mirth boiling behind his eyes.

The rift yawns wider, slowed only marginally by the glowing white matrix of magical light which Raven and Zatanna weave frantically over the foul opening.

And then a van, pulsing with the energy of a particle-beam going supernova, is hurled straight into the rift, as the group changes tactics. There is an almost disbelieving moment from whatever lays beyond, a beat of pure silence.

Then a deafening explosion erupts from Beyond as the device erupts. The released energy sinks into the magical sigils warded around the rift, and the entire construct glows so intensely, for two shining moments, that it would blind most to stare directly into the light.

The wrongness leaves the world. Reality readjusts. The pain fades.

When the rift can be looked upon again, it is stitched shut with a latticework of white magic, patched soundly. All is, again, calm.

…but only temporarily. The Tower still stands, infested with demonkind, and assuredly the Darkchilde shall not take kindly to this setback.

Its greatest defenses are, however, now gone.


Slowly. Laboriously. The Dragon Buster raises one arm. Abused metals screach against each other as the last of its power is drained in one last. Defiant moment.

…to flip off the now sealed rift with a hand the size of a house.

"…sir," JARVIS sounds exasperated. "…you realize you are stuck like that now."

"Worth it."

…and Stark totally thinks it is.


All throughout the reality melting mindscape, Atli has a mission. She might jabber a few incoherent things. Sure, her hair turned to tentacles at one point. Is that Gorax, in a tutu? No, couldn't be. He's only wear a nice, stately, melting dress. After the blinding light, the Asgardian emerges, dragging two things. Well, not things. Beings! One of course, is SLOWJAW, who leaves a trail of shark-drool in his wake, drug by his tail.

The other is Peter Parker, held by an ankle. Partially, this is because Atli is discombobulated, and didn't think to throw him over a shoulder. Partially it's so he can spend time with a shark, and realize their true majesty.


"You know, you're not so bad up close, Man-Spider. Has anyone ever told you that you have magnet-abs? I imagine not. But trust me when I say it's a compliment."

At some point she'll stop and let go of her two best friends, Man-Spider and SLOWJAW, giving them some cuddle time. Mostly because she's watching Gorax try to pry a trashcan off his head.



With Zatanna needing to fly on her own, Red Robin lets go of her. It's all he can do, then, to cling to the side of Stark Tower while his brain tries to boil and his marrow tries to freeze and he stands entirely too close to a font of gibbering madness for any mere mortal. He can feel, distantly, the blood from his ears and his nose. For some reason, he's pretty sure he can taste his own thoughts.

And that's leaving aside the other tremendous forces being brought to bear, the eddies of energy from the Dragon Buster's weapons, the sheer power being wielded by Zatanna and Raven. All he can do is hunker down there, and cling on, and give what direction he can to the others - to keep Midtown from being consumed in a nuclear event when the particle accelerator in the portal device decides it wants to be a star instead, for example - while he bears it out.

In the end, there's a kind of calm, as the things in the dark are forced to retreat, as the witches are able to stitch the hole in reality shut, closing off an explosion that probably just annoyed some elder creature, some old god that was ancient when the universe was newly born. One problem, one very big problem, is solved: Now, they just need to fix the rest of it, right?


"Good work everybody," he half-slurs. "Take five."

It's at about that point that consciousness gives up the ghost. The neural impulses keeping the geckskin functional stop. He starts to fall.


"i think my coccyx is broken and i am ninety nine percent positive jabberjaw is making come hither eyes at me," groans a half (maybe more like tenish percent) conscious Spider-Man,

"and none of this is okay"



With the rift sealed, Zatanna pulls away from the closing rift, to turn her body downwards and descend on an intercepting course towards their team leader. She's flagging too, everything feels like it's on fire, but she manages to endure it when her arms come up and she attempts to curl them around Tim Drake - and it nearly has them both falling into the nearby Hudson, when she is suddenly reminded that despite all of his compact musculature, he is heavier than he looks.

The good news is being a constant victim of Bucky Barnes Special Training Regimen has enabled her to develop arms that are less noodley. The bad news is, she's been hitting the Rocky Road hard since the day she tried to kill….well. Everyone.

And so while she manages to grab ahold of Tim, he weighs her down and they're still falling.

There's nothing else for it. She cries out a single word, and another rift opens up.

It looks like Clawmy's space…and her cat bed, while she's still sleeping on it.



Following through on Red Robin's course of action with Plan B: Done.

The magic Zatanna provides to help close the rift up for good: Priceless.

She can feel the light wrapping around the strain of darkness, tingling sensations dancing over her skin, reinforcing the power and strength in the effort to close the portal shut. One last push, she tells herself, and it's finished. Labored breaths and physical weariness ruin the facade of aloofness, but it's more of a minor setback; what truly matters is that she and Zatanna are able to cooperate and combine their powers and do what is now successfully completed.

Without the Zee's help, without the Titans present, without Tony Stark lending a hand in blasting things - and without the army of Space Sharks out of who-knows-where - it all would have gone differently. Terribly wrong.

…Not that they did it without a hitch, but. This is close enough.

Shades of deep blue return to Raven's eyes as she returns to normal, withering down to the earth slowly (?) like a leaf on the wind. She isn't aware of what happened to Spider-Man, nor does she know where Red and Zee disappear off to right after everything calms down, but she can sense there are still things amiss.

Correction: she's not falling as slowly as she thinks she is. Gravity still works, and it's pulling her down at the right rate.


It's good! Hands are raised in touchdown form, or was that for a field goal? And then everything goes all weird that you start to have second thoughts as to whether that worked out okay after all.

"Ugggggh…. are we dead yet?"

Impulse finally peers between his fingers when everything just suddenly feels like some pressure's be lifted. "…woo! Apocalypse cancelled!" he whoops, pumping a fist. Now he just has to find everyone.

Mister Stark's a no-brainer where he is. That…looked like Tim and Zee disappearing through a hole. He sure hopes it's not of the demon variety.

And there! Up in the sky! It's a bird…!

"-Grife, Raven!!" Impulse shouts, racing off as he realizes his friend isn't quite coming in for a slow landing like she ought to. He closes in on her position, arms thrusting out to catch her before she can kiss the concrete. "We really needa stop making this a thing. Or get you a helmet."


Whoumph. Good catch. Impulse now has an armful of cloak and Raven.

"A helmet," she rasps as she finds she's been saved by the speedster, "sounds ideal."

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