By James Carmody.
Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright to any of the story universes I am basing this multi-crossover in; they include: Young Justice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel the Series (both Dark Horse and BOOM! universes), and may also include "Star Wars" as well. I forego any financial claim to this work forever. It also draws on "Bitter Harvest", for which I forego any financial gain. This also draws on "The Patriot" in at least one theme herein.
Author's Story Notes: Not only was Zatanna's mystical practices profoundly evil in and of themselves- from how they impact her at that in the "Young Justice" & "Justice League" series', they are also extremely addictive. Her father's foolery was when Giovanni went into the "Helm of Nabu" to remove the need for her to do that- misguided charity at best- and downright suicidal.
This work also features elements from World History, Marxist Mythology (quite something at that!) and also involves a critical analysis of a lot of things in relatively recent decades, and is something of a sequel of sorts to my "Persecution by an Evil Empire" as well… in addition to drawing on things like "Bitter Harvest", for which I also forfeit any financial gain.
Moral: Doing something intrinsically wrong in and of itself, even out of true charity, is not going to lessen the offense at all, and in fact only intensifies the offense against morality if you do something intrinsically evil out of real love, the type that "God" would require… do not do that kind of idiocy, no matter the reason- you will not like the consequences.
Genre(s): Family, Trauma, Drama, Comedy, Horror, Friendship, and a variety of other things. Fantasy sums it up quite nicely overall.
Rating: In terms of material; no more serious than anything produced by Shakespeare, William; while the conduct sure is profoundly evil that will be mentioned- that is to show such conduct only as evil as it is, never ever to advertise such horrible conduct, no matter the reason. I'd therefore rate it at approximately PG-15 as far as severity of material; a conservative ruling by me of "M" or "R", but with the largest-scale emphasis on Parental Guidance; note to parents/guardians therefore; if you know your charges will not be led astray by this story's content- feel free to let them, but by all means be ready to explain to them… I regard you as my greatest allies in this, just as above all Giovanni would be the one who'd be most trustworthy regarding Zatanna's ethical safety… and as for my own case; I shall not have the charge of scandal be applicable to me regarding teaching children to engage in sinful conduct- especially not that kind of sinful conduct; namely occult behavior!
Characters/Pairings: The First/Glory, Giovanni & Zatanna, Buffy/Spike, Tara, and a smattering of others.
Summary: Sinful things are by far the most addictive of all possible addictions- and by far one of the worst is an addiction to the occult, to the sort of magic that Zatanna has fallen victim to engaging in- for it is objectively evil in and of itself, ontologicaly-so, and completely at that.
Chapter #1: "I Have Long Feared…"
Chapter #1 Summary: "I have Long Feared, that my sins would return to visit me…." Giovanni's terror for his foolishness returns at the worst possible time to extract a horrible price indeed.
Giovanni, a retired stage-magician and now "Dr. Fate" as he had taken on the pseudonym of, was lost in thought. He had feared that his child, Zatanna, would fall for an addiction to magical practices, so he took on the helmet of Nabu onto his own head- intending to protect his child. Inwardly, however, there was the constant whisper of a calling to engage in some form of spell-casting running throughout his noggin at all times. This was getting to be far too much for him, frankly, and he wondered if he really shouldn't utterly destroy the cursed helmet as soon as the opportunity presented itself and just go on about his life without anything at all to do with that blasted helmet and the wretched egotistical spirit that dwelt therein! Little did he know, his time of true unadulterated terror was about to begin.
A pillar of smoke appeared in his room, no more than four feet in front of him as he stood there, lost in thought, and it looked not unlike the sort his child would cause when she was about to use this mystical drug to do something she would describe as "cool!". In reality, it was no more "cool!" than imbibing crack cocaine, or some other steroid into oneself to be stronger- and it always messed the human who did that up far more than that ever could.
It took no more than a mere minute for the pillar to dissipate completely, and standing there was a man, roughly 5ft6in or thereabouts, with wavy blonde hair that looked almost white, a well-formed chin, and much to Giovanni's shock and horror, the same kind of fangs that Klarion periodically showed he had, if not more pronounced, but his face was thoroughly human in make and model. He was wearing a black t-shirt with short sleeves that showed off well-muscled arms, and basically black jeans, with a heavily studded belt around his waist as well as a jacket. The thing that so weirded out Giovanni, however, was that this guy's finger-nails were painted, so he seemed downright creepy, in a dysfunctionally effeminate way for a man to appear… he frankly wasn't sure what to make of this guy to be honest.
As Giovanni stood there, trying to work his mouth to make words, and his brain to make sense of what he'd seen- and he'd seen some pretty incredible things in his day, especially after becoming "Dr. Fate"; but this one took the cake for sure when it came to bizarre happenings for sure, this man locked eyes with him and started to walk forwards, silently at first, before making any effort at communicating with him in the process. It was as if this weirdo was trying to stare him down a bit- making for a comically bizarre situation; they were there, in his own living-room, and this fellow apparates into his home, his living room, right in front of him, and from the way he's done up; you'd wonder about his sanity. Hence Giovanni's mouth was working silently as if he had taken on the mentality of a pet goldfish in the process of him trying to make sense of this. He knew enough about mystical practices to know what this was- but still who this complete kook was who teleported into his own home was was a totally different matter altogether- and he could be in real danger at that!
"You going to stand there all day, or are you going to ask me what I'm doing in your own home?" the fellow asked him, using a cockney accent from England in the process. Though for the life of him, Giovanni was sure this strange man was also making fun of him in the meantime- and it was by far the most surreal event of his whole life that he'd thus lived up to! Then the guy had the gall to laugh at him, to indicate that he wasn't man enough to defend his turf; and that was it! Giovanni went berserk with rage- but worse was yet to come. His right fist formed and sailed clean through the intruder's face without making contact, nor did this guy make any effort to get out of the way, or to block him. He didn't even fight back, he just proceeded to make fun of him some more, indicating that he should pay a visit to Zatanna, Giovanni's daughter- "perhaps she'd put up more of a fight for a time being…" it said. And "it" was the proper grammatical term, he now knew, for since he'd not made any physical contact with this being, either he was thoroughly hallucinating the whole thing, or this was a spirit… and with a rumored threat from this intruder about his own child, Giovanni sure wasn't taking any chances at all!
"You keep away from her, or so help me… I promise you I will end you!" Giovanni resorted to threats to try to warn off this entity from going anywhere near Zatanna; he was sure this thing was anything but moral; and with her having taken to using magical spells to do things even as simple and baseline as getting dressed- she'd be helpless he was sure!
This creature signed, loudly exhaling in exasperation before continuing, it was as if this being was utterly bored with him- and that only infuriated him all the more, with the implication that he was utterly impotent when it came to standing up for his family- it was as if this thing were emasculating him by doing this- and it was flat-out completely humiliating to put it bluntly! When this being continued, it said to him that it would be "… paying Zatanna a visit, one-to-one" shrugging it continued its lecture "maybe after you've departed this mortal plane, maybe while you're still here, but you will not be able to intervene; and I guarantee you I will visit your bills to me unto her!" it made abundantly clear that the situation was, by that mere claim, that it was as a mafia boss informing a debtor that it would be calling in his debt on his child!
"The Sins of the Fathers" Giovanni remembered "are visited upon the children. Wouldn't that mean that the children inherit the scandals of their parents, and only increase them in themselves? Perhaps." he mused to himself in the meantime, as he tried to figure out what was going on here, and how he could put a stop to this being. But it was speaking again, and he heard it more in his head than in his ears ironically.
"Course; there is a way you can stop me…" it said, turning almost completely sideways towards him, and studying its fingernails as if utterly bored "by committing suicide… that will settle debts between us." it explained… and now he knew more of what he was dealing with- now it all made sense actually; and this realization filled his head and heart with a deep cold dread terror.
He shook his head in refusal; there was very little he could do now to resist without giving away anything at all of his defenses, but suicide was the ultimate capitulation to Hell, and that he would never do, no matter how bad things got- he refused to give Hell that kind of a victory, no matter how bad things would get, he would not yield to that- and this thing sure was a bully, that much was he was now completely certain of.
Resorting to silent resistance to this monstrosity, he proceeded to make the sign of the cross, if for nothing else than to prepare to resign himself to eternity to defy this world's lord, and Perdition's Red Tsar in the process.
It for its part disappeared, and he suspected it had pulled back because it had seen that it would not be able to win, so it disengaged and sought after a "softer target" in the meantime…
After returning through the "Hellmouth" as that portal had become known, it resumed its office chair and prepared to wait for the time being. Waiting for it was its Paramour, Glory; ever the egotist, there she stood in her red dress, arms crossed over her chest in a downright haughty expression with her chin tilted up; such a trait it found refreshingly arrogant at that. "Why didn't you kill it?" she asked, really interested in its motives.
"Are you really that stupid?" the First replied, in an insultingly scoffing tone before ticking off its reasons on its fingers "First of all, if I had killed Giovanni; I'd not get anything of what I want- he's still too strong to collapse. And added to that, that kind of a move would attract our Enemy to our presence here, and there, and that's the last thing I can afford; you know that. You know we cannot afford to draw His attention to us, not for a long-time yet to come… now his child on the other hand- she's corrupt enough to be vulnerable, and right ripe for total enslavement, if not already there." it continued , quieting down to a real near whisper in the process as it thought somewhat outloud for the time being; strategizing its gambles in the meantime before a strike. "Now, take a look here." it said, as it pointed to a news report about outbreaks of sodomy in the public schools of the Western world, and how the school boards mouthed off at the parents who rebuked their choices of reading curriculum for the 2nd graders who'd be exposed to that garbage; and both high-level demons laughed about that for a bit before it continued "Course, sodomy in the priesthood was a master-stroke of the Politburo- you really do have to hand it to Comrade Stalin to think that one up- he hit on an excellent idea for how to spread vice in the guise of virtue- and if you look here" it said, gesturing to a report of uprisings against that filth, and the lies of the upper clergy on what the cause and nature of the offenses are "you will see yet more of our success, but we've got to be very careful indeed; this's merely placating these creatures for a while; "buying them off" if you please, before the end… it works, but it is wise to be willing to kill our own monsters in the meantime, lest we ourselves be found out. He, Comrade Stalin, before his passing, did emphasize infiltrating the Church with men who had neither faith nor morals; as the West would not be overrun as long as it had religious devotion… but those dupes failed in their mission, so they were rightly done away with- just as we used them to clean up the whole Nazi mess; with the added benefit of buying off NATO for a while yet in the meantime. It wasn't the military nor the government by and large that was bought off, but the educational establishment for the most part; course the State Department of the USA was so riddled with socialists that they caused China to be handed over to the Reds in that country's civil war; much to our amusement as events cascaded as they did!" both of them chuckled at the memories of the Chinese Cultural Civil War and the mass-murders carried out by Chairman Mao in his campaigns to remake China, as well as his murderous successors in the meantime.
But these were bitter laughs, devoid of any shreds of true humor; in essence, these beings were, by their own hand, utterly corrupted and "bastardized" into something truly monstrous by now- devoid of anything remotely like they were before their fall; and so thoroughly warped in their thought processes that they were totally cruel and sadistic at most civil.
Tara for her part was trying to get a reading, but every time she tried, it made actually less sense than it had before, to the point where she actually exploded, yelling "Oh, (Bleep)-it!" she cussed in rage and frustration; the inhabitants of Perdition that she'd been trying to get to help her with her use of tarot cards had a significant laugh at her expense, and at her mouthing off like that… as for Buffy, she had a shiver run up and down her spine for a few times, and was thankful that Dawn hadn't been around to hear Tara curse like that, she hoped at least that Dawn didn't hear that, anyways! To which Buffy and her boyfriend, Spike, where quickly heading upstairs to the room Tara was in to find out if she was indeed okay; when Morgan headed out of a nearby room, removed her invisibility cloak, and began to explain the situation… Spike for his part fainted when Morgan seemed to materialize out of thin air in the building right in his pathway, and Buffy chuckled in amusement. Her relationship with Spike was far from a safe or sane one, and in her case it was rooted almost exclusively in lust, not love- so this was bound to be abusive on her part to put it into the most simplistic of terms.
End Chapter #1 Notes: Well, this was definitely darker than I had thought it was going to be, but I don't regard that as a failure at all; rather as a success. The reason for that is that I was out to convey the principle that no matter how strongly tempted you may be, yielding to any one temptation will soon cause you to collapse all along your front, and then, quite suddenly, Perdition's Politburo is looting your whole industry with your defenses utterly gone, completely so.