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“Give the lady a prize,” Eddie crooned, leaning back against the bare wood wall of the shack he occupied, pushing his comically scrawny legs out in front of him. “You've got more brains in that little blond head of yours than I gave you credit for.”
“Why in the world did you run? I could have helped you – we could have helped you, as a team.” Kara frowned down at the man. His shirt was partially unbuttoned, showing off his sweat-slick, sparsely-haired bird chest. “I have Dr. Mid-Nite on call from his time with the old JSA, he could have put you on a program.”
“My problem isn't chemical, Miss Starr.” Eddie said resolutely, letting out a shaky breath. “It's psychological, not something I believe your doctor is fit to deal with. I could barely tolerate the time I spent on Mars with the rest of you. I... I itch, Kara.”
A long silence passed between the two of them. The difference, the contrast, could have been amusing if the scenario were not so serious – Power Girl was tall, bright, powerful. Riddler was thin, dark, and cerebral. One was at the top of her game, leader of one of Earth's mightiest teams. The other had hit rock bottom.
“...What are you going to do?”
“Deal with it, in whatever way I have to. My demons belong to me – you have your own to deal with.” Eddie let out a small, weak snicker. “How is Etrigan, anyway?”
“Grouchy as usual. He's lost a little weight.”
“That's good. I kept telling him he was starting to let himself go.” Another weak smile from the Riddler, his dark-rimmed eyes looking up at the kryptonian. They were pleading, and she could see it. Begging. 'Don't help me,' they whispered. 'Please, don't help me.'
“I hope you find what you're looking for Edward.” Kara said softly.
Riddler smirked, dragging his tongue hesitantly across dry, cracked lips. “Try expanding that window in your outfit a bit, maybe I will.”
“This is kind of embarrassing,” Raven said with a frown. “I mean, Kara did say this was a practice mission but really... the Royal Flush Gang. They look even less impressive in person.”
This latest incarnation was, admittedly... lackluster, however. Ten, for example, looked like a cross between C-3P0 and Robocop and about that efficient.
“Honestly,” Raven's deadpanned continued. “Any one of us could probably take on the entire team.”
“I'm fairly certain that I couldn't,” Question clucked idly, folding his arms and looking up at the quintet of flying playing cards. “Do I count?”
“Given your own choice, you wouldn't be here. So no,” Etrigan growled. The hardlight spear that had recently been embedded in his head was slowly dissolving at his feet, burning a deep pit into the concrete beneath him. He'd never admit that the wound genuinely stung, burned him in a way even the fires of Hell had not truly prepared him for.
Speaking of the Red Angel, Bleez had her arms and wings both folded, her expression like that of an ornery teenager who was pretending to have no fun at all, but was, in reality, chomping at the bit with anticipation. She could barely stand the levels of rage that had been building within her – withholding it, keeping it inside of her, had been burning at her like an ulcer. Considering that her blood was literally replaced by arcane napalm, that meant something serious.
“Have they noticed us yet, I wonder?” Starfire cooed, glancing up at the sky. Cash was dripping casually from the Gang's latest haul, a small stream raining from their fleet of hovering cards. She was answered by a sudden laser blast that missed her so widely it was difficult to determine whether or not it had actually been aimed at her. “Oh my. I suppose so.”
“Is it just me, or does Jack kind of look like Ryan Reynolds fell in with the wrong crowd?” Creeper said with a smirk, perching atop the base of a small Abraham Lincoln statue near where the team was standing.
“Who?” Starfire said.
“Oh my... hm... alien, alien, demon, alien/demon; I'm the only person who's going to get these pop culture references aren't I? That's sad.”
“I got it,” Question said dryly. “And no, it's not just you. Also, if that was him with that laser, he's a simply... terrible shot.”
A few more shots were hilariously missed as the Royal Flush Gang circled above, hollering out taunts and jeers that nobody could quite make out from that distance. “Are they gonna stay up there?” Creeper asked, tilting his head. “Because I don't fly without Red Bull first. Anyone have a Red Bull?”
“I drank the last one back at the manor,” Starfire said apologetically.
“So it was yoooou.” Creeper growled. “This transgression shall not be forgotten.”
Victor muttered something and reached into the inside pocket of his trenchcoat, withdrawing a pack of cigarettes and tapping it idly against his opposite hand before pulling one out and fitting it between his formless lips. “Well, I suppose I'll stay down here then, until something actually happens.” Shielding himself from the wind, he lit the cylinder of paper and tobacco and, somehow, took a deep breath from it. “Maybe they'll accidentally hit one of us and we'll be forced into action.”
“I doubt anyone will get hit as long as they're still actually aiming. Where did they get those weapons anyway?” Raven scratched herself behind the ear boredly.
“Who knows, honestly.”
“Enough!” Bleez roared suddenly, her wings stretching out and reaching their full span. “Enough waiting, enough talking, I will destroy them all!”
“Wait, friend Bleez!” Starfire cried out as the Red Lantern rushed upward towards the Gang, her body glowing with a dim scarlet aura. “...Kara said no casualties....”
“Don't. Wait. Stop.” Raven droned.
Creeper chewed the inside of his cheek in annoyance. “Well this was anticlimacti-- ooh, I don't think she heard you, princess.”
Starfire glanced down sadly at the limb that had just fallen in front of her. “No, I don't suppose she did.”