She had to put things just as she found them when she left, even putting the hands of the clock back to where they should be. When she saw Bruce during the dinner party, she could do nothing but study his face. Why had it not dawned on her before; the jawlines were perfectly matched. She wondered did all superheroes have complete opposite demeanors between their “real” self and their “superhero” self. It was a dumb question, she realized; they all had to.
When she tried to think about why he would moonlight as Batman, she figured that it was another dumb question. It had to be for vengeance. He never mentioned if the guy who murdered his parents was ever caught; they could very well still be out there. Regardless of the reason he had to become a vigilante, the one thing that she wanted to know more than anything: why a bat?
She wondered if she would go with the same approach as when she debated on telling Peter she knew that he was Spider-Man. She thought against it; for her to confess meant for her to tell him exactly how she found out; Tabitha figured that he wouldn’t be a happy camper if he found out that the woman he had trusted with upgrading his home had snuck into his secret lair. Another thought crossed her mind; did Ethan know? Was he genuinely clueless as to Batman’s identity? If he had known, it made more sense as to why he was always at ends with himself; she didn’t know what she would’ve done had she been ordered to track down and bring in her best friend. However, if he didn’t know, she decided that it was not her place to tell him.
Having Nikki as a sidekick was great at first for Bruce. However, it had slowly began to take its toll on him. He knew that it would happen sooner or later; it was one of the reasons why he was against having a sidekick in the first place. She had started prolonging fights, ones that could’ve easily ended a little after they had begun. She wouldn’t listen to him when he had to tell her that enough was enough; Bruce didn’t know whether it was on purpose or if she simply lost control of her own body. Regardless, it was annoying and a potential hazard; her favorite to fight was Joker: with the way the two competed with one another (it was as if they were trying to see who could outlast the other), Bruce knew that all it would take was a quick throw of some type of Joker poison and she would be done.
Why couldn’t Nikki be more like Tabitha, he always wondered. The southern belle was a bit brazen but nonetheless polite, caring and willing to listen. She was cool, calm, collected and very talented. He even dared to admit that she was attractive as well; he knew what Ethan saw in her and found himself wondering if he would ever find someone like her.
Although her day job was less strenuous than her night one, Tabitha found that doing both was starting to take its toll on her. She knew what was happening; she had started to lose awareness of minutes passed when she battled, especially when she faced Joker. He taunted her, even laughed at her and she wasn’t having some freak show clown make fun of her. Every night, she would tell herself that she wouldn’t let him push her buttons. Unfortunately, that pep talk went out the window whenever she saw the smirk from his red lips.
She was exhausted as she quickly made her way back home. She was glad that she had stopped quickly across the street; she would have missed Ethan’s car parked in front of her building.
“Shit…” she whispered. A quick Lightning Cloud confirmed that he was in her apartment; fast asleep in the bed. She quickly and quietly maneuvered inside the building, opened the door as softly as she could and changed clothes in the middle of her living room. She was glad that she hadn’t washed clothes; she found a dirty uniform by the couch. She wrapped a t-shirt around her hair, took a deep breath and loudly opened and closed her door. When she heard him shift in the bed, she smiled to herself and made a loud yawning sound. As she made her way to her bedroom, undoing her top, she jumped as his sleepy eyes met hers.
“Hmm… late night, Miss Lyght…”
“Jesus! I swear… if you wasn’t a detective, I would’ve called the police on your ass! Don’t you know that breaking and entering is a misdemeanor…?”
“A felony actually…” he smiled as he watched her take her uniform off, “You’re just now getting off?”
“… Yeah. Goof on my part. Fucked up the wiring and I couldn’t leave until it was fixed. It was a bitch…” she sighed and climbed into the bed, still in her underwear. He immediately pulled her closer to him and gave her a kiss, “H-Hey… you’re naked!” she realized. He shrugged and began to fiddle with her underwear.
“So I am…”
Enough was enough, he felt. Bruce needed to speak with Nikki about her raging bouts. They had started appearing more and more often, even if she wasn’t fighting Joker. He knew that it was something that he wouldn’t be able to handle alone and had mentioned it to his fellow Justice League founding members. There was a plan formulated however, they all agreed that it wouldn’t be forced on her. The first step would be for him to simply hint that her bouts with small blackouts were causing slight problems. He made plans to mention it before one of their nightly treks and was glad that he found her by Amusement Mile. When she turned and smiled at him, he uneasily found that it warmed him. He really liked her smile, even her cocky smirks. He had a small crush on her however the facts that she was his partner and that she had a major attitude problem stopped him from pursuing her. If only she was more like Tabitha, he found himself thinking.
“About time…” even her sultry voice would give him tingles every now and again; he had to find out who this woman was at least. Maybe he wouldn’t need the League’s help in adjusting her attitude problem then.
“Before we leave, there’s something we need to talk about…” he looked dead at her. Tabitha knew that it was something important; he usually had a nonchalant reply whenever she was arrogant with him. Maybe he’s going to finally confess, she realized. Her heart pounded; it had been a couple of months since she found out that Batman was Bruce and was dying for him to admit it.
“All ears.” she felt that whatever he was going to say required for her to take a seat.
“You have a problem we need to settle.” his words made her blink at him.
“A… problem…?” this wasn’t what she was prepared to hear.
“Your rage. We shouldn’t have to fight these guys for as long as we’ve been doing. You need to cool your temper a bit.” his raspy voice wasted no time in explaining. She looked away for a moment but then glared at him.
“Wait… so, you’re gonna sit here and try to tell me how to act, now?” a bit of her accent came out. He was about to continue but caught on to the accent; so she doesn’t have a sultry voice, after all.
“I think I’m in a rightful position to do so. It shouldn’t take all night to take someone down; all you have to do is zap them and be done.”
“… ‘Zap’ them? You really think it’s that easy for me, huh? Do you even know what I have to do to even control this shit?! I guess not; seeing that you have a utility belt that gives you all the fucking gadgets you need! No damn control there; it’s fucking simple!” she argued. He was about to respond until the two were ambushed by The Penguin and his two oriental sidekicks, the Kabuki Twins. While he tried to fight back, his mind definitely wasn’t clear. Nikki’s real voice had come out when she had gotten upset, he knew it for a fact. It was… southern. Was Nikki Strykher really Tabitha?
She stared down one of the killer geisha dolls, the void in her eyes immediately started.
“It ain’t nice to interrupt people talking!” she said and did a Lightning Cloud towards it. It flashed its menacing claw fingers in retaliation and swiped at her as she came in close proximity. Landing across her chest, Tabitha winced; while her shirt was indestructible it did nothing to cushion the feel of a sharp blade running across her body. It angered her more, blurring her vision. As it tried for another attack, Tabitha foolishly grabbed it by the wrist, not even feeling the slight slice made on her arm, and flung the doll across the river with all of her might. As she started to lose control over her mind, her last rational thought was that she was pretty sure the thing couldn’t fly… or probably even swim.
His annoying nasal cackle drew Tabitha’s attention towards him; The Penguin was definitely enjoying just standing back and watching as the other Kabuki Twin tried to subdue Bruce. He had fought them before and narrowly escaped their wrath, locking them in a large birdcage that The Penguin had used to keep Alfred prisoner. Bruce had no idea how this was going to work out; he really needed some help.
The Penguin looked, seeing that he was being tracked down by the menacing white-haired woman. He had heard about her through the other villains; Joker especially had this love-hate relationship with her (he found it weird that someone besides Batman would give Joker chills). When he saw that he was missing an assassin, he slightly gulped and held out his umbrella towards her. A quick squeeze on the handle and a bullet flew at her. She moved her head slightly, the bullet grazing her cheek through the mask. The act only made her lose even more connection with reality as she threw a streak of lightning towards him, knocking the umbrella from his hand. The only thing he could think of doing was retreating towards the amusement park.
Tabitha gave him a sadistic smirk and did a Lightning Cloud, landing in front of the short man.
“I… fucking… hate birds, you know that?!” she growled at him. She grabbed him by his coat and flung him towards the roller coaster, making a teeth-chattering “clang” noise as he bent one of the steel beams. The Penguin was shaken up but it didn’t matter to her anymore; she did another Lightning Cloud and was in his face before he could regain regular vision. She threw him towards another ride, immediately destroying it.
“Tabitha!” Bruce made the decision. He had taken care of the deadly assassin, tying it to a pole. After hearing her speak the last time, there was no doubt in his mind: Tabitha Lyght was Nikki Strykher. He went after her, thinking of everything he could to try to stop her. This was what he was afraid of; she had lost complete control and was intent on beating up The Penguin to death. He was clearly defeated, barely able to speak, begging for mercy but she had fallen deaf and continued to destroy the park with his round body.
He was glad that he was finally close enough to the two. Bruce debated on which he would use the net on and decided on The Penguin; maybe if she saw that he was contained, she would stop his brutal assault on him. It saddened and shocked him however that no sooner had the net covered the villain’s body, Tabitha was charging up, getting ready to hit him with all of her power. Bruce immediately threw a Batarang towards her, hitting her square on her wrist. She angrily looked in the direction of the hit and glared at him. At least she stopped charging up, he thought.
She stopped glaring long enough to actually realize who had hit her; it was enough to make her calm down a bit and regain some type of vision. The dark silhouette became clearer; it was Bruce. He picked up the Batarang and she realized that was what hit her. She looked down in front of her and saw The Penguin subdued in the net, bloodied, beaten and barely breathing. It made her come back to reality fully and she looked back at Bruce. She had no idea how to react; whether she should be ashamed or upset that yet again, she submitted to the rage.
Pain had finally set in as she followed an angry Bruce out of the park. The occasional breeze had stung something on her left cheek even through the mask and part of her shirt stuck to her chest; that area felt sticky and uncomfortable, enough for her to grimace every time she tried to suck in air. Even an area on her left arm throbbed. The two walked in silence for at least two miles before he quickly turned towards her.
“Do you realize how much damage you just caused back there? That’s not how I do things! It’s bad enough that I have the police trying to…” although it was raspy, his tone reminded her too much of her father; the disappointment in his voice whenever her and her brothers got in trouble was always enough to bring her to tears, wishing for a belt to her backside rather than one of…“those” talks. The feeling was almost mutual; she had disappointed her good friend.
“Bruce… I’m so sorry…” she barely choked out. Open mouth, insert foot, she quickly thought as she registered the quick shocked look on his face. Under the normal eye, he had collected himself immediately but she was staring at him, wanting to get back into his good graces. It also helped that she actually knew who he was but now that she blurted it out, she probably did more harm than good.
He pondered deeply how she had found out. Had she secretly followed him one night, finding one of the secret entrances to the Batcave? When that thought crossed his mind, he put his head in his hand and sighed. The dinner party, he remembered. She was acting strangely distant throughout the entire thing. Before, he had just wrapped it up as her being uncomfortable around the other people; he knew that she always had a sense of not belonging in that type of environment. He would have never guessed until that moment that she had found out who Batman really was.
He finally looked at her and sighed; even through the mask, he could tell by her misty, cloudy eyes that she was crying. Quietly, he wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they made their way back to Wayne Manor.
She was given an informal tour of the Batcave as the two sat at the Batcomputer. After she had calmed down and he tended to her wounds, the two shared on how they became to be. His story was shorter than hers and he simply stared at her when she had finished.
“Does Ethan know?” it actually worried him. If he had known who she was then it was a no-brainer that he knew who Batman was.
“No.” she sighed to his slight relief, “I ain’t found the heart to tell him. I don’t know how he’d take it, really. I don’t want him hating me…”
“He wouldn’t hate you.” he slightly smiled. He knew his good friend; both of them. While Ethan would be slightly upset that she didn’t tell him sooner, he would see that she was out to protect the city. If anything, he would have to fight to keep his mouth shut, trying not to brag that he was dating Batman’s sidekick, Bruce smiled wider at that thought, “You know after what happened tonight… we definitely need to talk…”
“I know…” she sighed. He turned towards the Batcomputer and prepared the teleportation pad.
“Have you ever heard of the Justice League?” he knew it was a dumb question; everyone had heard of them. Her slight shrug made him give her an amused look.
“I remember Ethan talking about ‘em vaguely.”
“What do you mean, vaguely?”
“I try not to follow things like that…” it was enough to make him laugh and widen his eyes. She narrowed her eyes at him, “He said that you were a part of ‘em… and that some guy named Superman was the leader…” she tried to hide a smile. She wasn’t lying; Ethan did tell her that. After finding out who Batman was, she knew that it would rub him the wrong way.
“Right…” his laughter immediately stopped. He didn’t dislike Superman or any of the others; he was just tired of being overshadowed by the ones who had superpowers. He glared at her when she snorted, “Superman… and myself…” he wanted to deter the twinkle in her eye; she was on the verge of laughter, “along with five others founded the Justice League. I told them about you and…”
“You told them about me…?”
“Yes. They’re willing to help you out.” he finished. She folded her arms and looked the other way.
“Just what I needed… therapy…” she huffed.
“It’s really for your own good, Tabitha. You’re a great super heroine; you really are. Your heart is in the right place. I’m just worried about your mind. Until you get control over that rage, nights like this will continue to happen.” he thought sadly. Before he could say anything else, three figures had formed on the teleportation pad, making Tabitha jump away from the port.
When they came into view, she could do nothing but awe at their presence. The man in the front was Superman: the red S on his chest was a dead giveaway; it had a red border with a yellow fill. His outfit was blue with long sleeves highlighted with red boots, red trunks with a gold band and a red flowing cape; all accentuated his bulging muscles. His jet black hair was cut short and curly; she thought that the small curl that laid on his forehead was slightly kiddy and cute. He was a few inches taller than her, a mere inch taller than Bruce, but his wide shoulders made it seem as if he towered over her. He didn’t give her an intimidating look; his blue eyes just plainly looked at her.
The next character she noticed was a woman, who flanked Superman’s left side. She noticed that the woman and she shared the same build, being lean and tone. She looked just as tall as the men however Tabitha saw that she was wearing red with gold stripes high heeled boots; she could’ve been the same height as herself. A golden tiara with a red star did nothing to hold back her black wavy locks. She seemed to smirk at Tabitha, her own blue eyes sparkling as she did (Tabitha wondered did all superheroes have the same trait or were they somehow related with their black hair and blue eyes…). Her attire was very seductive; she wore a red corset with two golden bands that seemed to have curved around the top of her breasts (looking closely, it seemed that they formed two curvy Ws). At her waist was a thick gold belt where she kept a glowing golden rope coiled up to the side of her. Her blue and white star trunks highlighted the muscles in her thighs and legs. Tabitha concluded that she was some sort of royalty.
Then her attention slightly stayed on the last member in the trio. He was Martian, she knew that for certain by the green skin and the common beetle brow that they were always depicted with. However, he was nowhere near what she had expected if she ever came across a Martian. He towered over everyone in the room; he was easily over 6’5, she figured. The only thing that was non-human about him was the protruding brow and the green skin; his other physical qualities were human. His blue cape was secured around his neck by a loose gold rope. Red straps crossed each other near his incredible abs, forming a belt with a gold, round buckle above his blue trunks and his feet were covered by blue boots; his whole attire did nothing to hide how muscular he was. Finally, she almost smiled, no black haired, blue eyed superhero; he was bald and his blood red eyes stayed on her. It made her blush when she admitted to herself that he was impressive!
She took her attention away from the three and glared at Bruce.
“You know, a warning would’ve been nice: ‘Tabitha, you may need to back up from that spot’…” she did her best to imitate him. It was enough to get a slight snort out of the woman, a smirk from Superman, an eye roll from Bruce and a light chuckle from the Martian.
“This is Superman, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter… don’t let the name fool you.” he quickly added when her pupils widened and she stopped smiling at the mention of his name. She calmed down enough to shake their hands, “Martian Manhunter is going to help you with your problem.”
“She would be more comfortable if we thought of it as treatment.” his deep voice actually sent chills throughout her body; she wasn’t expecting for him to have a voice like that, let alone speak! It made her blush even more as he looked back at her.
“Uh… it won’t… hurt… will it…?” the only thing that ran amok in her mind was the stereotypical probing that all the movies claimed aliens did to humans. She wanted to hot tail it out of there!
“Yes, it will… a lot…” Bruce couldn’t help himself. Everyone’s laughter calmed her down a little; she then blushed even more as she realized that she just may had insulted the Martian with her silly question.
“I assure you it will not hurt.” Martian Manhunter slightly smiled at her. She nodded.
“So, we’re doing it here; right now?” she wondered. Whatever the Martian was going to do to her, she was pretty sure that Bruce had the equipment to do it with.
The thought made Bruce slightly smile; he couldn’t help it. His main priority was to get his good friend some help, especially if she insisted on fighting crime. However, the thought of where she would be going and for how long would mean that he would no longer have a sidekick… something that he had preferred in the first place.
“We think that it’s best for you to go to Watchtower and go through your treatments there.” he said to her.
“… Watchtower…?” the same wide-eyed look that Bruce had given her earlier was being shared by Superman and Wonder Woman.
“She’s never heard of us…?” Wonder Woman directed her question towards Bruce. He laughed and shook his head.
“She doesn’t bother with ‘minor’ details…”
“H-Hey; never said they were minor!” she glared at Bruce yet again, “Why are you giving me shit in front of them?!” she immediately covered her mouth after the words escaped. Wonder Woman raised her eyebrows at the white-haired woman and laughed.
“I like her, already…”
“Watchtower is our base. The majority of the Justice League call it home.” Superman explained. Tabitha nodded.
“So, I’m leaving. What about… Ethan…?” she realized. Yet again, she blushed; for some reason, it made her flustered to admit that she had a boyfriend in front of the Martian.
It was something that Bruce had overlooked. It either meant that Tabitha would have to swallow her pride and let him know about the real her or lie. When he gave her a look, she understood what needed to be done. She couldn’t tell him right then and there; it was still too soon for her. She had to get up the nerve and lie to the man.
When he walked into the apartment, he immediately knew that something was wrong. She had a couple of bags packed and was sitting on the couch with a worried look. This isn’t good, he thought to himself. He sat down beside her regardless and waited for her to speak. She only looked at him, with a slight fear in her eyes. She opened her mouth but nothing came out. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her closer to him.
“I don’t like this. You’re packed… and not speaking to me…” he tried not to think about the bad possibilities of the situation. When she still didn’t respond, he leaned in for a tender kiss and looked her in the eyes, “Babe, what’s wrong? What’s all this?”
“I… I have to leave for a while.” she wished that she could’ve just left it at that. She wished that she didn’t have the two horrible choices of either telling him the truth or lying to him. She finally decided on the cowardly way out, “My… mom had a slight accident…”
“Oh, no…” his heart dropped for his girlfriend. He grabbed her hands and caressed them but she quickly shook her head.
“She’s fine. She broke her leg.”
“… Oh. Wait; not that that’s an ‘oh’ moment! But… I’m sorry; I’m just relieved that you’re not breaking up with me!”
“What?! Why would I…” she had to laugh at how serious she made everything, “I’m sorry. I just… I felt bad about leaving. I don’t wanna…”
“Why are you? Don’t you have brothers…”
“In college, can’t pry away from their own busy schedules and still in school needing help.”
“Couldn’t boil hot dogs…” she didn’t lie. The man could do taxes in his sleep however the task of fixing simple meals was beyond him; she was suddenly reminded of the time the kids ate nothing but pizza and takeout for a week while their mother was out of town; they all had learned how to cook quickly, “So, I gotta go and help him take care of the house. I’ll be back. A month, maybe? Or until daddy drives me bat shit…” she laughed at her choice of words. Ethan laughed along with her and immediately cupped her face. This kiss seemed to have a deeper meaning to it than their usual ones and it made her cheeks ache from being flustered. He looked deeply into her eyes.
“Tabitha… I love you…” he half whispered. She knew that she turned a shade of red and had a complete loss for words.
“E-Ethan…” she wanted to say them back; she would really mean it. She couldn’t remember the exact moment that it happened but she knew deep in her heart that she loved him. She wanted nothing more than to be with him.
“Please… come back to me…” he couldn’t explain it; he had a slight underlying feeling that she wouldn’t come back. He knew that it was somewhat silly; from the looks of her bags, she only packed enough for a few weeks as it was. He just had the need to make his feelings known.
“I will. I promise. Ethan…….. move in here.” the idea made him smile widely.
“Are you sure? Is that what you really want?”
“… I wanna come home to you… here. Please?”
“Whatever you want, babe. Whatever you want…”
“I love you, too.”
In the same manner that the three Justice League members appeared in the Batcave, they were all transported onboard Watchtower, Tabitha in tow. Two things that she was dissatisfied with; one: no one told her how being teleported from one spot to another would make her absolutely nauseated; she had no idea how she was able to hold in the contents of her stomach as they materialized on the teleport pads (maybe part of it was that she really didn’t think that throwing up all over the Martian’s shoes would’ve impressed him…)! The other thing that made her purse her lips was the actual location of Watchtower… in space!
“Sooo sick of surprises…” she mumbled once her stomach felt like it was back in its usual spot. It made the Martian lightly chuckle and look at her.
“You will get used to it. Welcome to Watchtower.” he announced and let her look around a bit. They were in the control room and where she thought Bruce’s Batcave was impressive, this room alone took the cake! She became slightly lightheaded as she tried to keep up with everything that was going on, along with everyone that roamed around. She was surprised to see regular people and assumed that they were mere civilian workers; they had on blue uniforms. Everyone else that walked through were definitely superheroes and she was surprised to see that they came in all different shapes, sizes, gender and even species. Her eyes wondered all over the room; from the massive control center with its large monitors to the teleportation pads that they had recently stepped away from. Her eyes finally landed on Martian Manhunter and she felt her cheeks flush as he slightly smiled at her; why did he have that effect on her?
“This is… incredible, Mr. Manhunter…”
“Please; call me J’onn J’onzz.” he liked her politeness. She gave him a look.
“J’onzz.” he repeated. She stifled a laugh.
“Okay… Mr. J’onzz….”
“Just… J’onn, if you don’t mind.” he corrected her. She gave him a small smile and a nod, “This way, Tabitha.” J’onn guided her through the control room. Leaving the room, they reached a long hallway; one side mostly wall with an occasional opening for a room of some sort, the other side a large window. No one else paid it any mind; she knew that they were used to being in space. She, however, couldn’t help but to stop and gaze every few steps.
“This… puts you closer to home?” she asked before she thought about it. J’onn was ahead of her and she hoped that he knew the question was directed towards him. When he flinched slightly, she bit her lip; she offended him yet again, she felt, “Uh… never mind; sorry…” she apologized and decided to just walk behind him, not saying a word.
The nearly ten minute walk was eerily silent and she was relieved that they had stopped in another corridor; this one had numerous doors on both sides. Housing, she figured. To try to pass the time getting there, Tabitha thought about how it must have been for J’onn aboard Watchtower. From what she had seen, it seemed that he was the only Martian there. Must be pretty lonely, species-wise, she sadly thought.
J’onn picked a door, pressed in a code on the electronic keypad and waited until it beeped a green to give her a card.
“This will be your temporary room while you’re here.” he calmly announced. The door slid open and she took a quick mental tour of the room. It was standard; a full bed, a nightstand, a dresser with a mirror and a bathroom, “Keep that card in a safe place; the code is the key to get in your room. We’ll start the first phase of your treatment in an hour. Do you remember how to get back to the control room?” he asked. She slightly nodded; if she got lost, she figured that she could just ask around. J’onn gave her another warm smile and she looked away. She knew what the problem was; he was really handsome for an alien. His physique wasn’t bad, either; it was way nicer than anyone else’s she’d seen… ever, “Yes… being the only Martian in the world does get a bit lonely… but I’ve learned to manage and make friends.” he suddenly changed the subject. Tabitha blinked a few times at him.
“W-wait… how did you…” she stumbled. His smile widened but he turned away; if she hadn’t known better, she would say that it was his turn to blush!
“And, thank you for the compliment although I’m a Martian… not an alien.” he finished and left, leaving her totally and utterly flustered.
“Oh, dear Jesus; he fucking reads minds…”
She was glad that she remembered how to get back to the control room; from there she was led to a large conference room by J’onn. There was a large oval table with seven chairs surrounding it. All the seats were taken except for three. In the other seats were Superman, Wonder Woman and two men. The first was in all red; the one thing that made Tabitha smile was the yellow lightning bolt in the middle of his chest. His mask, like most of the superheroes she had seen roaming around, covered his face down to his nose, exposing his jawline; it formed around his head and what seemed like lightning bolts stuck out from the sides. A possible competitor, she thought happily; she couldn’t say that she was on good terms with others who had her ability. He had a wide smile on his face, his green eyes showing a slight excitement as he looked at her.
The other man donned a black suit highlighted by green that stretched across his shoulders. A green circular symbol was placed in the middle of his chest surrounded by a white circle. She had no idea what the symbol meant but she was already excited to be in his presence; of all the superheroes that she’s met and seen, he was the only one of color. He was also one of the few that didn’t wear any sort of mask; his face was rigid and his green eyes gave her an uninterested stare. Definitely military, she figured; it immediately made her want to stand at attention in his presence.
“I wanted you to meet the rest of the founding members, Tabitha. This is Green Lantern and The Flash.” J’onn introduced. That’s what that symbol is, she wanted to smack herself on the forehead. She simply nodded at the two, “Bruce has talked about you for quite some time now.”
“Only good things, I hope…” she blurted out. J’onn gave her a smile.
“You’re feeling a bit uncomfortable being here. However, you being here tells us that you are willing to be helped. We want to make things better for you. If you complete your treatment satisfactory… you will have the option of joining the Justice League.” J’onn announced. Her eyes widened and then she looked at everyone else for approval. Even Green Lantern was all smiles.
“Bruce mentioned that you’re very talented and skilled. You have a true willingness to help the ones who need help. Seeing that, we have no problem accepting you.”
“You have to get through your treatment first…” Wonder Woman winked. Tabitha smiled. She had a feeling that the small group really wanted her to pass her treatment.
“I gotta question before we begin.” she looked at J’onn, “How long you’ve been reading my mind?”
“Since meeting you.” he admitted.
“Oh, boy…” she mumbled.
The treatments had quite a few phases, she found out. While the Martian told her that they would consist for about an hour a day, the sessions could run longer. She would stay on Watchtower for about a month while J’onn tried to figure out the root of her problem. The treatments consisted of everything from her learning meditation techniques to just talking about things (seeing that J’onn read minds, she tried not to think about the really bad things and left those parts out). He even took samples from her, determined to study more about the mutant DNA strand.
Bruce walked into one of the numerous labs aboard Watchtower, finding J’onn looking through an electron microscope.
“How is she?” he didn’t mean to interrupt. However, the Martian had called him to the lab; Bruce figured that he had found something. He knew about the mutant strand running around inside of her, trying to take over her initial DNA. He almost hated that he let the Justice League take her; he wanted to take a look at the extraordinary strand, himself.
“In a manner of speaking, she’s fine. Perfectly healthy. She told me about the extra DNA strand that she’s carrying; the one trying to fuse with her actual DNA. Take a look.” he moved so that Bruce could take a look. Once he did, he popped up and looked back at the Martian.
“… It’s not trying, anymore… it’s already fused.” he had to shake his head. He knew that she wanted to try to become normal again. Now that the mutant DNA was permanent, he knew that there were very slim chances of that happening, “Is that the reason for her rage?”
“It’s very possible. I would like to speak with the doctor who first found out about that strand.”
“I’ll set up a visit.”
“Oh, shit… sorry!” Jamila quickly apologized as she looked at photo of the strand. She put it down and looked at the two Justice League members. She had been caught off guard when she came home and her husband told her that a Bruce Wayne and his assistant were there to talk to her. She had known about Bruce Wayne; that was Tabitha’s boss and close friend in Gotham as well as Batman (Tabitha figured that she could tell her best friend any and everything without any repercussions). When she led the two into the basement that she changed into a computer/study room, she jumped when the “assistant” transformed into a Martian, “Does she know?” she asked, grabbing the results of the tests that herself and Wyatt ran. She put the pictures side-by-side; a vast difference between the two.
“No.” J’onn shook his head. Jamila frowned up, running her hands through a few strands of dreads.
“What the hell…” she thought about what Wyatt had said; she had at least two years. She thought about how long ago that was and had to sadly admit that the time lapse was almost right.
Their attention went to the opening of the door up the stairs. Jamila was amazed at how quickly J’onn shifted back to the assistant. It was a good thing; her husband made his way down the stairs carrying a manila envelope.
“This just came. Hope I’m not interrupting anything…”
“No…” the professor sighed, grabbing the envelope, “Just found out that Tabs can’t be normal; that DNA already fused…”
“What?! No…” her husband shook his head. Jamila slowly nodded but noticed the address on the envelope.
“Huh; talk about perfect timing…” she immediately opened the envelope, “These are the results back in New York. Tabs was supposed to be cured there but the geneticist said that the formula didn’t take. She said that her strand was far more advanced than the kids she cured; long story…” she realized that none of the men knew the whole story, “Anyway; when she told me, I asked her to give me a photo of the sample she took.” she took the papers out of the envelope. When she got a good look at them, it was enough to make her slump down on the couch, “No…”
“What is it?” J’onn asked, going over to her. Jamila showed him the photo.
“It’s the same. It was already fused back then. That was… almost a year ago. But, what made it…” as soon as she wondered, it hit her. Jamila held back her tears for her best friend, “She wasn’t supposed to use her powers. It sped up the takeover…”
“Is there any way the new strand could have an effect on her mood? As far as anger?” Bruce asked. She thought for a moment but then shrugged.
“It could be possible. Besides the powers, it’s a pretty good chance that the strand could alter something else in her. Why? She’s been angry lately?”
“It’s become noticeable that she has a problem with rage. But… only when she fights…” Bruce slowly looked at J’onn. Both he and the professor caught on.
“… I remember when she was fighting her best friend. She… blacked out; I could tell.” She remembered. The two Justice League members slightly nodded.
“I’m helping her trying to overcome her rage. Thank you for your help, Dr. Lindsey.” J’onn shook her hand.
“Anything for Tabs. Could you do me a favor? Don’t tell her that she’s stuck; she’ll be really heartbroken if you told her right now. Do what you need to do to her first… and then tell her.”