It had gotten cold under the black sky. He’d shoved his hands as deep into the pockets of his coat as he could, but the frigid air was still biting at his fingers.
William Writer walked into the battlefield.
He walked past the injured heroes lying on the streets.
He walked past the exhausted heroes, forced to the sidelines.
Eclipse had stopped using the pillars. If it were any other villain, Will would think that he’d gotten tired, but Eclipse didn’t run out of power. He was just done with his experiment for the day. He had reverted to his older tricks instead.
Most of the heroes were fighting his ghosts. The blackened figures looked like somebody different to everyone who fought them. Will didn’t look too closely. He knew who he would see.
Will stopped. Eclipse would be at the center of it all. He wasn’t in the sky anymore; he would be on the ground to let as many heroes as possible have a chance to attack him. It wouldn’t work. Eclipse couldn’t be hurt by any attack they could throw at him like this.
It had been so simple. He didn’t know how he hadn’t thought of it before.
Will closed his eyes and silenced the world.
His voice rang out over the battlefield, but his lips didn’t move.
“Unimportant. Janus. I need your help.”
It was a simple, almost mundane use of his power, one of the first things he’d learned to do. It was the kind of thing he’d use to show off as a teenager. He was the only one who could hear anything anymore.
He wanted to let it end there; his message had been sent, but if this was going to work, he would need a clear path. Will targeted the ghosts. He couldn’t hurt them directly-there was too much of a crowd for him to risk it-but he didn’t need to.
Will isolated his power onto the ghosts, and sound returned. With another flex of his power, his power screamed straight into the ghost’s ears.
They weren’t human. They were barely sentient. But Will had fought them for a third of his life, and he knew exactly how much this would hurt.
The ghosts fell back. They didn’t try to cover their ears, they were better than that, but none of their fights lasted long after Will started his attack.
Even without his powers, Will would have heard her cape flapping in the wind behind him.
“I don’t like being summoned.”
“It’s too late to make you like me. Hello, Unimportant.”
He felt Janus jump as the young hero materialized next to her.
“hello will…you showed up”
“you’re here now…what do you need”
The battle around them had mostly stopped, and most of the heroes were looking his way. Even if they didn’t know who he was, they had to realize he’d been the one to call Janus out. More than a few had already connected the rest of the dots. Soon, everyone would know that Rumor had joined the fight.
“I can stop him. I think I can stop him for good, but I need your help.”
He could have kept it quiet. He could have stopped everyone else from hearing him, but secrets wouldn’t do him any good anymore.
They needed to hurry, but he waited for their answer. He couldn’t rush them into this. No matter how much he wanted to beg.
“Are you sure?”
Will pulled his hands from his pockets and turned around. He’d been getting more sleep in the last few weeks than he’d had in months, but right now he felt more tired than he had in years. Judging by the way the two of them flinched when he met their eyes, they saw it too.
“Yes. I have to do this.”
“what do you need”
“I need you to user your power on me. I need you to split me between as many worlds as possible. All of them if you can.”
Unimportant’s sudden emergence into reality caused the air to ripple. The only thing still obscured was his face, but the wave of shock and an anger rolling off of him made his message clear.
“You have to. That’s how he does it. We can’t kill Eclipse because he’s barely even here. If we want to beat him, we need to hit him everywhere at once.”
“If I do that, you’ll never get back. You may not even be sane enough to do anything once I start.”
“That’s what she’s here for. Janus can anchor my mind so that I can keep going long enough to finish it.”
“There’s another way.”
“No there isn’t!” Will’s power rolled out with his voice, carrying it throughout the city. “Eclipse has killed tens of thousands of people in our world alone. He hasn’t aged since the start of the Cold War. He just killed Red Racer. We have to do this…Please.”
For just a moment, Unimportant let himself appear fully in the world. He met Will’s eyes for the first time since he’d returned from in between. His eyes were red and cracked, whether from crying or from fighting all day. His gaze dared Will to look away, but Will held steady.
Unimportant closed his eyes and let himself fade. “okay”
Will looked to Janus.
“You had me at kill Eclipse.”
Will nodded and turned back towards Eclipse, still hovering in the center of the city without a care in the world. “Then I’m ready.”
The two slider’s walked up behind Will and placed a hand each of his shoulders.
Will closed his eyes.
When he opened them again, he was looking at thousands of worlds.
A lot of them, maybe even most of them, looked just like Macropolis. He was in forest. He was on mountains. He was standing on a lake of lava and floating in the emptiness of space. His mind should be in pieces. His brain should be oozing out of his ears. But he focused himself completely on a single thought.
In every world, Eclipse was floating in front of him.
He could see Eclipse clearly for the first time. The cloak of darkness that normally shrouded him from view was practically invisible. Will could see the long slender fingers dancing in the air as if each were conducting its own orchestra. Will could see the same well pressed suit that Eclipse had been wearing the day he got his powers. But most importantly, Will could see the razor thin white line running across his neck.
Will stepped forwards, and Eclipse raised his arms towards him.
“William! It has been too long. And here you are, sitting on the throne of a god, just like I always knew you could. An heir of Mnemosyne deserves so much more than you have given yourself. Even the title you chose was so far beneath your potential that it is almost insulting. Rumor, the master of sound. You are so much more than that.”
Will kept moving.
“I’m here to kill you, Phillip.”
Eclipse laughed. “Kill me? I cannot die, William. You have barely even begun to enter my realm. Even after drinking the ambrosia and spreading yourself so very thin, you are only seeing a tenth of me. And why would you want to? Don’t you realize what you have done? If I were to help you, you could become as invincible as I am.“
“Did you know that I can’t help it? Every day, there are people hurt and killed and every one of them screams for help. And I hear every last one of them. For the last eight years, I have heard the dying words of every person you’ve killed. Every one of them curses your name, and you call yourself a god?”
“And you think that you’ll be the one to stop it? I have seen you in a thousand worlds, fighting millions of battles. You are powerful, but even the greatest of your songs cannot harm me. My experiments will not end here.”
Will didn’t slow down. “Can’t they? Are you sure? After all, you still have that scar.”
“Ah yes, your goddess’s gift. It was the kind of attack that never should have worked on me. But you two did work well together. Nonetheless, it was just a scratch. A fatal blow is nothing to a true god.”
Will was finally in arm’s length of Eclipse.
“For what it’s worth. I’m sorry it came to this.”
Eclipse’s smile only grew wider.
Will reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder.
It had been eight years since Will drank the ambrosia. After all that time, he had never pushed his power to its new limit. He knew what it would do to him.
Will’s power reached within Eclipse, past the point of sound, into the smallest level of vibration.
Eclipse felt it almost instantly.
“What are you doing?!”
His hand reached to grab at Will’s, but he was too slow. His finger’s brushing Will’s arm just gave another outlet for his power.
Eclipse’s fingers disintegrated.
Will grabbed Eclipse tightly and trapped his arms in a hug. He had to, his fingers were going too.
“I’m sorry. But even you can’t survive this.”
Eclipse screamed, but Will couldn’t hear him anymore. His powers were entirely focused on his task.
For the first time in his life, William Writer experienced silence.