interrogoiterum: (tear)
interrogoiterum ([personal profile] interrogoiterum) wrote2011-10-31 06:26 pm

Blackest Night: Saying Goodbye

So there are zombies, now.

It's been on the news; Renee and Tot were following it on the TV and on live internet streaming from the lighthouse. Renee called Kate, who was helping to keep Gotham safe, and who didn't say anything which Renee might interpret as facing her mother and sister. Then Renee called Helena, who was busy right now, thank you. Stay safe, OK, Q?

It sucked, but the Justice League looked like they were on it.
And no, there was no sign of a zombie Batman.

Renee was thinking about whee she'd be able to do the most good, but this isn't her style of thing.
And Tot has gone crazy.


"I am a scientist," he says. "I live to understand life's mysteries. And none is greater than the mysteries of life and death."

"Some questions don't need answers, Tot." And that includes all questions that involve collecting your dead best friend's hair into a petrie dish in the hope it'll spawn a zombie best friend. "If you're really curious, I could ask him."

"I'm not interested in your magical bar, Renee," Tot replies (counter to all the interest he's already shown.) "Delusion or magic - it means nothing without confirmation. Think what we could learn from a living Charles Victor Szasz!"

"Could at least let me go ask his permis..." she stops, mid word. "Did you just hear something?"

A knock at the door.




The woman is tall, east Asian, and wrapped up against the cold, buffeting rain, through which she has decided to walk - during a zombie apocalypse - to a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere.

"I have walked fifty miles since yesterday through foul weather and I have no patience for small talk. I have come to fight someone, and I woould like to get started. After I'm done, I wold appreciate a bite to eat."

All this while walking straight in, not waiting for an invite.

"Do you know this lunatic?" Renee asks Tot.

"Lady Shiva, yes," he replies. "She killed Charlie, once."

Renee stands by her original diagnosis of: lunatic.

"You are Renee Montoya," Shiva informs her dryly. "Heir to the Question's mask and perhaps to his martial prowess, as well. I seek to test that.

"We will fight. You will defend yourself, or you will die."

Renee stares at her. Really. In the middle of a zombie apocalypse?

"Shall we battle here or outside?" Shiva asks.

"Outside," Tot says without hesitation.

"Or you know," Renee suggests. "Not at all."

"That is a choice. If it is yours, I will kill you."

...

...

"I've got to go outside and get beat up now, Professor."

"So it seems."

Shiva is good. Really good. Scary good. Richard Dragon good. He pushed Renee, but she never wondered if he would, actually kill her. From the beginning, she's pushed to her top game, feeling each strike she blocks and knowing that it would have been lethal. Never ever quite landing a hit herself.

She stops even feeling the cold and the rain.

She definitely fails to notice the flash of light in the lighthouse.

It's an unlucky step on Renee's part that fails her. A kick that has never failed to bring Helena down, doesn't even make contact with Shiva. Renee's opponent makes the smallest move and her ankle is lost, and she falls backwards, hard into a puddle.

"Now we are finished." Shiva is business like and dispassionate as she leaps into the air to deliver the final blow.

And, not for the first time, Charlie saves Renee's life.

The light is blinding and white, and lasts for a fraction of a second before disappearing, leaving the Black Lantern in its place. Charlie - the Question, complete with coat and mask, and a symbol on his polo neck Renee recognises from the news.

In another second, Shiva has attacked, and he's defended and punched her away like swatting a fly.

"You're not as good as you think you are," he says, dry and vemonous, but with the next breath his tone changes.

"Renee? I need your help. I don't know what's happened to me. It... hurts. I'm scared, Renee."

"Much as I'd like to believe you," and she does. Even with everything she's talked to him about in the Bar, everything she's promised never to do, she longs to bring Charlie back to a life that has meaning - "I don't."

"Worth a try." Zombie Charlie has not adopted the same, defensive position in which Renee and Shiva are facing him. The very last thing Renee wants to do is fight Charlie, but she will, if she has to.

Oh, Charlie. She really hopes he isn't in there, in any way.

"You speak with the voice of Victor Sage," Shiva is saying, "but you are not him. No matter. My intent today was to test myself against one of the undead, and you will suit."

Renee isn't sure if she should be insulted. "You said you were here to test yourself against me."

"I lied."

The fight, even with Shiva on Renee's side, is one-sided, and Renee doesn't stay in it long. But Shiva keeps going, even though nothing she can throw at the Black Lantern can knock him down. Still, he can't fell her, either.

BAM!!

Shiva's shoulder explodes in blood.

"You old dog!" the zombie snickers. "Who knew you you had it in you?"

It's Tot, standing in the door of the lighthouse with an old shot gun Renee has never seen him use.

"This is my moment, my oppotuity..." he says. "Don't you see? I couldn't let her ruin it. To solve the ultimate mysteries, to finally put an end to the riddles. To understand the meaning of Death.

"He is both alive and dead. He can give us the answers!"

"Tot," the Black Lantern muses, staring at the professor. "I never knew you were capable of such passion. Look at you. That is genuine, bona fide, fourteen carat greed!"

Charlie's attention on his oldest friend, Renee helps an injured martial artist to her feet. "Are you badly hurt?"

"I do not know. I have never been shot before. It is not what I expected."

"Please tell me you know how to destroy that thing." She wouldn't come to fight without preparation, right?

"We do not have the capacity to destroy it."

Not the answer Renee needed. "Then what th..."

"Not every battle ends with the defeat of the enemy," Shiva continues over her. "It cannot fight what it cannot see. It can only see what we feel."

She's right, Renee realises. It was talking to her to raise her compassion. It was testing Shiva's willpower. It turned away from them both when Tot's greed became blinding.

"Can you feel nothing, Renee Montoya?"

Tot, meanwhile, is realising that Charlie has no intention of answering him.

"You're taunting me. Playing with me. You have no intention of giving me satisfaction. I'm going to die."

"Yep. "

Then Shiva kicks him in the head.

Renee runs through the rain to Tot, but she keeps her head turned towards Charlie and Shiva, watches as the Black Lantern gets back to his feet to turn to the martial artist, then look around wildly. For the woman that is right in front of him.

Before he can turn away from her, Renee pushes Tot into the lighthouse and shuts the door against her best friend.

"Shiva!" Tot says, desperate from worry. "She..."

"She made it blind to her," Renee explains. "We have to do it too! It sees what you're feeling! You have to empty yourself.

"Whatever you're carrying for Charlie, whatever you left unsaid, you have to let it go, Tot!"

By the time she's managed to say that, the door behind her explodes open, knocking her down.

"I don't know about you two," Charlie says, "but I'm freaking starved. Who wants to be first."

"Now, Tot," Renee says, "say goodbye to him."

It's easier said than done; she's heavy with compassion for Charlie; for hope that he's happy in the bar despite of the knowledge he could be better.

The fear that at any moment he could move on and leave her again.

But she looks at this thing wearing his flesh, and she bows her head.

Goodbye, Charlie.


She sits on the floor and she waits for him to leave.





And only when he's gone does she put on his hat, and his mask. Tot and Shive can look after themselves, but there's a Black Lantern out there wearing Charlie's body, and Renee is going to stop him.

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