Recipient: Devil Child
Character: Owen Mercer/Harkness (Captain Boomerang II)
Recipient: Devil Child
Character: Owen Mercer/Harkness (Captain Boomerang II)
Owen was eight when his mother sat him down and told him that he was adopted. She explained that didn't change how much she loved him and how much he really was her son in every way that mattered.
Owen had considered the matter, then gone outside and played with his toys. By the time his mother called him back inside, he'd ripped the heads off all his action figures.
When Owen announced he wasn't going to college, his mother sighed and Owen noticed, for the first time, that she had lines on her face and her hair was almost completely grey.
"You're so clever," she said. "It's such a waste. Don't you want to do something with your life?"
Owen shrugged and said that he didn't have enough ambition to make it worthwhile racking up thousands in debt.
His mother looked away and muttered something about how, if his father had stuck around, Owen would have had a college fund.
Owen wished he could hug her but his mother wasn't a hugging sort of person. So he awkwardly patted her shoulder and said that he didn't mind, really he didn't, and he didn't need a father while he had her as a mother.
When his mother died, a year later – breast cancer, already metastasized throughout her body by the time she'd been persuaded to go to a doctor – Owen was assistant manager of a movie theater.
He sold her house and paid off her debts and had just enough left to pay the first month's rent on a ratty second-floor apartment on a bus route to work.
A few months after that, the tabloids started.
Owen threw the boomerang.
"Shit!" the reporter yelled, and grabbed at his ear. Blood was spilling down his neck, staining his jacket. "You're a fucking lunatic!"
Owen almost pointed out it was the reporter's fault for hassling the son of two supervillains, but he just shrugged and slammed the door behind him.
The photographer took the reporter away, presumably to hospital, and that pair didn't come back.
There were others.
Digger kept glancing over at him as he drove, beaming like an idiot. "Didn't think you'd want to know me," he said eventually. "I'm not- I'm not famous. Not really."
And Owen couldn't argue with that. He'd never heard of Captain Boomerang until the tabloids tracked him down. Didn't even recognise him at first - the tabloid pictures had always shown him young and slim. Then again, he'd never been much of a fan of the capes and cowls. More into music and movies. But a little lie would help, so he lied.
Besides, it was kind of cool. His father was a supervillain.
He tried the words out. My father. My dad.
He hadn't been able to say that since the night of his fifth birthday when he heard crashes downstairs and hid under his duvet until the front door slammed.
So he smiled and decided he wasn't going to let this family slip away from him.
They drove around until dawn, talking. When his dad pulled up outside Owen's apartment, he pushed a few loose strands of hair back and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't want to give you up but-" He shook his head. "I couldn't raise you. It wouldn't have been any good for you."
Owen smiled and said it was all okay and he wasn't lying too much.
"How about your old man shows you a few tricks before work?" his dad said. "Pick you up at noon?"
It sounded good. Hanging out with his dad.
The boomerang was heading straight towards his dad and he'd known him less than a day and he couldn't fucking let it happen - and something released, deep inside him, and he was moving fast enough to keep his family.
For another day, at least.
It was the heroes who wouldn't let him near his father's body. It was the government who tortured his father beyond death. And it was the bad guys who took Owen in, who understood what losing family did to you. And they gave him revenge, comfort and something that might be family. If you squinted.
So he stayed with them.
There didn't seem any point in leaving. Even if his father wasn't around, there was a legacy tying them together.
A few months later, he came back to Keystone. On his first day in town, he waited until the Flash was in New York, then robbed a bank. By the time the old man was back in Keystone, Owen was long gone.
"You don't want to tangle with him yet," Uncle Len had said. "He's old, he's slow but he's crafty. Learn a bit first."
He'd been caught on camera and that night, in his hotel, Owen watched himself on television and thought he might understand why his father had been attracted to this life. He used a boomerang to flick the top off a bottle of beer and silently toasted his dad.
He went to a bar a couple of nights later. The Rogues had gone there, not often but enough that Owen was recognised.
The barmaid leaned over the bar. "Got a letter for you," she said and winked. "A woman left it. Pretty. Rich."
Owen frowned at her and took the letter.
He didn't open it until he was back in his room. When he'd read it, he scrunched it into a ball and hurled it across the room.
Somebody wanted to meet with him, to pass on something his father had said. Just before he died.
Which meant this somebody had been working with the government. Had been torturing his father.
It was a trap.
He was going to go anyway. Find out what he could do to hurt the people who'd hurt his family.
They met in a park, out in the open. The woman was average height, average build, with average dark blonde hair. The only thing that made her noticeable was the sharp intelligence in her eyes. "I'm alone," she said, when she saw him looking around. "I swear, this isn't a trap."
He knew her. He was sure he knew her. And then it hit him. She'd been standing by his father when he finally lapsed back into death. Owen felt sick with rage. He took a step forward but she spoke before he could take another.
"The agency - whichever agency it was - wanted me to question your father. I'm a profiler for the police, they thought I'd be able to get information out of him. I fought them. I tried to save him." She shook her head. "I couldn't."
Information, he reminded her.
"He wanted me to tell you that he loved you, that he wanted to protect you. And." She took a deep breath. "I know who your mother is, Owen."
He didn't say anything. Just grabbed her shoulders, held her hard.
"He said that if the Rogues knew who your mother was, they'd kill you." She was gabbling now, the words tumbling out of her. "He said you had to guard her name with your life and you had to stay away from your brother."
He didn't need to say anything.
"Your mother's called Meloni Thawne. She's from the 31st century, you can't meet her."
As soon as he'd heard he couldn't meet her, he didn't care. There was only one word that mattered. Brother.
"Your brother…" She tried to look away but he wouldn't let her. "His name is Bart Allen. He. He used to be Kid Flash."
Family. He had family.
On the other side, but family.
"Your father said to stay away from him," she said, but she spoke so quietly that she had to already know it was useless. She was going to set up a meeting.
He'd been expecting a kid but this was a man his own age. Taller than him and a little more thickset, but not overly muscular. His brown hair had reddish glints in the sunlight and his eyes were a startling yellow. He moved constantly, fingers twitching and shifting from foot to foot, as though he'd been chained in place for months and just wanted to get away.
"Hi, Bart," Owen said.
Bart looked at him. "Ashley said-" He tilted his head. "She said you're my brother. Half-brother. Are you?"
"That's what my dad said."
"It's weird. To think my mom slept with Captain Boomerang."
"It's weird to think my dad travelled into the 31st century then came back here. And brought me with him."
A smile tugged at Bart's mouth. "Guess so. I'm used to it." He suddenly leaned forward and his face was filled with hunger as he grabbed Owen's arm. "Do you have speed?"
Owen watched Bart and knew the answer to this question was important. Finally, he said, "I'm not a runner," and he watched Bart relax.