Ratchet manages to not only help the bruised, defeated Billy to her sky-bike but drives her home. Once there, she stumbles in the house. She plops down to the ground before she can make it to the couch. The weight of the world is burying her, she doesn't know what to do, who she is. It feels like her life has ended. She lies on the ground as Ratchet tends to what wounds it can, but the loyal robot is only a data-mech, not able to properly tend to her ailments. Even though her injuries are non lethal, the pain she is in causes a slight delirium, making her fade in and out of consciousness. Ratchet insists on taking her to the hospital but she adamantly refuses. The robot instead injects some medicine to stave off the effects.
Eric later arrives at the house and is panicked to see her this way. He picks her up wanting to take her to the hospital, but she still refuses.
"I'm ok baby, I swear. I'm ok. Ratchet took care of the worst of it." She tells him over and over.
"Just sit with me." She tearfully says and he painfully complies.
Eric holds her, wiping away her tears, as she embraces him. She becomes overwhelmed in the moment and doesn't want to hide from him anymore.
"I am sorry ...Eric. You are a good man, but... I don't deserve you. I am sorry but I've been lying to you." She confesses realizing that Eric has been her true Hero, not Avery.
Eric was there for her after the funeral, during her depression. Eric saw past all the masks that she wears and accepted her. So, she tells him everything. She tells him everything from the day she was drawing in her notebook of being a superhero. She tells him of her secret identity, her adventures in Istanbul with Slayer. She tells him of being on her own, about Texas, American-x, her time with the Patriots. She tearfully confesses it all, telling him of reuniting with Avery as Lennox and their gruesome battle.
Eric is stunned. He knew she was holding things back but he never imagined this. He calms her down, caressing her face. Soon, she drifts off in sleep, her body weak giving way to rest.
Eric takes her to the bathroom to clean her wounds, still shaken up. Even though he is at a cross roads being torn at her betrayal, angered at Senator Lennox for what he put her through. He is overjoyed that she has finally told him everything. He lays her in the tub, and cleans her, wiping away the pain. This is the first time that she is truly vulnerable. In the recent months she has been distant, even hostile towards him. He has been upset with her, debating if he should leave, but he feels differently now. In this moment she needs him, and he now deeply sees that. He feels she needs him as much as he needs her. So, he vows to always be there for her, take care of her, even if she runs around as a caped crusader.
Billy slowly wakes only an hour after she was placed in her bed. The pains from her wounds are not as intense but hinder her movements. She sits up, her hair falling over her face as she pulls off the bed sheets. She opens a drawer and retrieves a lighter for a candle on the night table. Eric quickly tries to ease her back down, ordering her to rest. His presence slightly startles her as the recent events replay in her mind. She grabs her head getting anxious. She remembers telling him everything, making her feel embarrassed. She remembers crying, confessing her role as Kid Supreme. He rubs her hair giving a warm look, a look that tells a thousand words. Seeing this look on his face makes it clear to her that telling him was a mistake.
"Billy." He quietly says leaning in for a kiss.
She kisses back trying to stow her discomfort. He smiles rising from the bed, and kneels besides it in their dark candlelit bedroom. 'No. No, don't do this Eric, Stop.' she thinks as he takes a familiar posture.
"I... I knew I loved you, but it wasn't clear to me just how much, until this night. I... Billy, you mean so much to me, and I know I couldn't live without you. I don't care if you're out battling space monsters with the Patriots. I kinda think it's badass." He says with a tearful laugh.
Billy fights back her tears also, knowing what is happening, not wanting this to happen. She struggles to say something but is overwhelmed, feeling so special, loving this moment.
"Billy Angelique Costigan... will you marry me?" He asks pulling out a small box.
He shows her the ring inside. The words she never thought she would hear are finally spoken from a wonderful, loving man. Until this point she never desired such a lifestyle; marriage, a home, and maybe even children. Until this point she never wanted that.
She wraps her arms around him, deeply happy. "Yes. I would love to marry you." She happily says.
Thinking '...but I can't.'
Billy would love to marry Eric, but she knows she cannot. She cannot live this lifestyle, it's not who she is.
Avery was right.
"On this edition of 'Face to Face' we catch up with the nation's most interesting man in politics." The news anchor Lorena Raya says opening up her program.
The cameras follow her as she walks inside a familiar gym, remembering how it was and admiring how it is now.
"This place is really wonderful, totally different from when I was here three years ago." She mentions as the former Senator Noah Lennox gives her a tour.
"Yes, even though it's more of a community center now, it still puts out some top contenders in the pro fighter leagues." Lennox proudly says.
"Well, it certainly lives up to its nickname the 'Supreme' center, hard to believe this is the same place."
The center's new swimming pool, basketball court and small auditorium are highlighted. It's a popular hangout for everyone in the local community.
Lennox and his business associates have remodeled this gym. He renamed it the William Costigan Center.
"This place reflects your roots, I see where you get your toughness from." The interviewer says as she and Lennox have a seat. "Like most people I was pleased to hear about the Republican's nominee David Palmer, but shocked to hear you being his running mate." She mentions with a smile. Lennox gives a nod in agreement.
"I was too, but I am ready for the job."
"When I was last here, you mention how you 'push yourself, fighting for a better tomorrow'. All that work you have done is paying off, but not without some hard ships. How do you do it? How do you continue after your tragic losses?" She asks leaning forward.
Lennox bows his head slow to respond.
"It has been hard, the hardest times of my life. Not a day goes by that I don't miss my family, but I can't stop now. Their loss proves that there are many changes that need to be made throughout our nations infrastructure. If only I had enacted the AAEC program earlier..."
The reporter lays a hand on his knee, trying to comfort him when he pauses. 'I'm sorry' she says in a low voice as the hover cams zoom in, catching the emotional moment.
"Your by far the strongest politician I have ever come across. You suffered another loss very recently, the death of your head of security, Ms. Billy Costigan." She mentions as the report highlights the story.
Police responded to a house fire that was responsible for killing a young couple. Screen shots of Eric St. John and Billy Costigan pop on the screen alongside the media coverage from that night, only a couple months ago. Police say that a small candle in the couple's bedroom caused the fire, extinguishing their lives. The next shots are of the funeral that took place days later. A tearful Noah Lennox gave the eulogy in front of a dozen people. Billy's body was buried in the same cemetery as her father, William Costigan.
Billy Costigan died but her memory will live on.
"Billy was my closest friend, she helped me through the passing of my family. She was family to me. That's why I not only dedicated this gym to her, but I named it after her father." Lennox says as he and the interviewer stand in front of her memorial, a small garden on the west end of the building.
A large holo-image of her glows above a stone tablet, nestled between a bed of flowers. Lennox takes a knee in front of the flowerbed and lowers his head. Then the hover cams adjust as he stands.
"Most of my strength comes from her. Billy was the toughest woman I ever met. I know she wouldn't want me to quit, we have come too far. Palmer and me can truly make a difference; Billy believed that, Natalie believed that, Nicole believed that. So I can't just give up because its hard, I got a lot of people rooting for me."
"The world needs heroes, and I aim to give them one they will never forget. "Lennox says wrapping up the interview.
His words marking the beginning of an 'uncanny' age of Heroes, a dark age to match the rising threat.
Avery Tare never knew his birth parents, he was a like so many orphans moving from abusive home to home. By his thirteenth birthday and twelfth foster home he grew in height enough that no one would bully him. His torturous caregiver gave up on abusing him and turned to a young orphan girl that became Avery's foster sister. He remembers that day well, the day he stood up for someone weaker than him. In an instant he successfully defended his young foster sister.
Mariah and Avery became close; even became her legal guardian for a brief time. Despite Avery's best efforts, Mariah couldn't overcome her hardships, she couldn't overcome her abuse. She became an addict and a child of the streets. He knew the type of crowd she was running with, and he wasn't surprised when she overdosed. That was his first real lost, Mariah needed help and Avery didn't save her. That day he decided to do something, to make a difference.
'Mariah, I've finally become the hero I promised you I would be.' Lennox says as he looks at a wrinkled picture. It is the only photo that he has of his deceased foster sister. She reminds him of Billy in a lot of ways, they both shared a hopeful look at life. Lennox smiles remembering the people that have touched him over the years. He stands before a large glass window in his office.
His suite is on the northern corner of Gresham-Belmont and through his large bay windows, he can even see the obelisk Washington monument from here.
"Sir, team Venom has returned." The monotone voice of Lennox's data-mech says.
Lennox smiles motioning to the robot. It pulls up holo-files, cascading them along the window. Lennox is even more pleased as he reviews the documents from the team's latest successful mission. A special operations strike team have been assigned to him, courtesy of Gresham's CEO. The highly trained squad of military operatives obeys Lennox every command with complete discretion.
Team Venoms leader steps in the office. The leaders heavy footsteps clank along the floor. Clad head to toe in a state-of-the-art battle polymer, outfitted with a katana blade.
"The doctor has been very successful at hiding, but I knew you could find him." Lennox says as he enlarges a live security holo of Dr. Helsinki.
The international fugitive sits many floors below in one of Gresham's secret bunkers.
"Found him in a crack house in South Tijuana, with this." The team leader says handing Lennox a damaged hard drive.
"I'm sure Kronos and Jessica D will be upset that we got him so easily." Lennox scoffs, handing it to his data mech. The leader takes off her helmet and stands besides Lennox.
"Don't get too comfortable. Your next assignment."
Holo-screens enlarge a map of Southern Africa, alongside other scrolling data retrieved from Helsinki's hard rive. The armored leader now known as Venom smiles as a picture of an international criminal pops up. She runs a hand through her short spiky hair, atop a light-brown skinned head. Billy Costigan jumps at the opportunity to take down any major threat, especially now that she has a small army at her command.
The house fire that she caused faking her death only a couple of months ago, is just a memory now. To her, what she sacrificed was worth gaining the power that she now yields. Billy understood what Lennox was trying to tell her about attachments. In a way she has always known. Billy passed her trial by fire, but her rite of passage came at a high price. Inside, she is in torment over what she has done, outwardly her cold demeanor buries her pain. Her soul may be in turmoil but to Billy Costigan it is worth it.
Billy and Avery are the masks, and nothing or no one else can ever get in the way of that.
Holos of Super Zulu, Queen Medusa and Skull Scythe scroll. They are all ranking members of the villainous Hierarch's. Each has been spotted in South Africa, with Zulu.
"I need you and your team to pay them a visit. So tell me kid, you're ready to take the fight to them?" Lennox asks.
Billy proudly stands next to Lennox. The two dark heroes overlook DC, willing to burn it all down if need be.
Slayer and Kid Supreme will do whatever it takes to fight evil.
Thank you for your continuous reading. Hope you liked the ending. All comments are welcome, please let me know how you liked the story, I'm working on Heroes World Book 2 and wondering if I should continue the saga.