by ElenaRoan

Alternate ATF Universe: Pantheon

Character Focus: Vin, Nathan, Ezra, Chris

Disclaimer: Don’t own any of them, written purely for enjoyment. Mog created the ATF universe.

Beta by Kalde.

Warning: Child abuse.

Summary: A 'routine' mission results in a uncomfortable encounter..

Please note: Text within '#' indicate that the words are being spoken by the Silver Archer using a voice modulator.

#Stop running you fool!# The Silver Archer said irritably, following after the fleeing villain.

He paid no attention to the hero, so the Silver Archer let loose with a net-arrow. The rest joined him as he walked up to the now bound and struggling villain.

They ignored the presence of the hidden camera teams belonging to the local TV stations. As long as they stayed out of danger they weren't going to make a big issue out of it.

Dark Thunder gave the villain a disgusted look as he walked up. "He creates havoc then expects us to let him leave?"

The Silver Archer shook his head; not able to understand the mentality of villains at the best of times.

As the ruckus died down the heroes were surprised to hear the sound of muffled shouting; normally people stopped whatever they were doing if a super powered fight tumbled past their window. The Silver Archer stiffened as the unmistakable sound of a child crying out in pain was heard.

The television crew who had ventured out to interview them also froze as the sound reached them, too.

"What are you going to do?" Mary asked; her producers had taken to putting her on at the time the Denver Protectors were most likely to be out as her approach often resulted in more detailed information from the hero team.

"Won't be ignoring it," Dark Thunder stated as the Silver Archer turned around slowly fixing the location of the cry.

Medical Marvel turned around too as the Silver Archer moved towards one of the doors. He frowned while the silver clad man knocked.

"There's a powered in there."

With a concerned glance at each other the rest of the team moved into positions where they could back up the archer if need be. When no one came to the door Dark Thunder pushed the smaller man to the side before using his powers to obliterate the door. That got the homeowner's attention.

"What are you freaks doing?! You going to replace that door?"

Dark Thunder and Silver Archer exchanged an unreadable look.

#We heard an argument, sir.#

"What?! You freaks aren't satisfied with everyone thinking you're the best thing since sliced bread, you gotta interfere with our lives too?"

"Whether it's our normal area or not, we can't leave when we heard a child in pain," Dark Thunder replied, saving the Silver Archer from losing his barely contained temper.

"Man can't discipline his own kid now?"

#If by 'discipline' you mean beating them black and blue, no.#

'Easy, hot shot,' Dark Thunder cautioned his friend silently.

"You...freak!" The man launched himself at the Silver Archer, who dropped his bow to hold the man off him.

Dark Thunder reacted instantly to drag the man off his friend. The furious man in silver snatched up his bow again and went into the house; something his friends were thankful for since it looked like he might take the man's head off if he stayed outside.

Medical Marvel and Shadow Mirage followed him inside. They followed the sound of the child's whimpering.

Mary went to follow the three heroes inside, also, but Ajax stopped her.

"Medical Marvel sensed the presence of a powered inside, we can't let you in until we know there's no threat from them," he explained carefully.

Inside, Medical Marvel had a bad feeling he knew what they were going to find as they were getting closer and closer to where the powered was.

He knew they'd found what they were looking for when the Silver Archer stopped short in a doorway. He was about to move the other hero out of the way when the other moved like he was liquid silver into the room. With Shadow Mirage at his side, Medical Marvel got his first look at the child who's cries had brought them there.

She wouldn't have been much over seven, if that, with green tinted skin, no hair and delicate looking wings, one of which was broken, along with numerous cuts and bruises.

"Manifested powers?" Shadow Mirage asked Medical Marvel softly; they needed to know if there was anything she could use against them in her fear and the Silver Archer, wrapped up in trying to get the terrified girl to trust him, wasn't even going to think of asking it.

"What you can see," was the answer, before the armoured hero stepped forward to join his teammate.

Mary instantly tried to get a comment from the grey clad hero when he exited the house. He ignored her in favour of addressing the man scathingly, knowing she would forgive him for the non-answer if he let her have this story.

"As long as I live I will never understand how a parent or guardian can beat up a child in their care."

Mary froze for a moment as the sentence sank in. "Shadow Mirage, I take it you located the source of the cries."

"Yes, a child beaten black and blue. If that wasn't enough she also had a broken...bone. Maybe more. Silver Archer and Medical Marvel were trying to establish her exact condition when I returned here,"the hero replied, trying not to sound as angry and disgusted as he was.

"Her mother anywhere in evidence?"Dark Thunder asked, in lieu of taking the man's head off.

"That little freak killed her!" came the rant from the bound man.

"She is a child!"  Shadow Mirage retorted before turning to Dark Thunder. "We need to contact the Hero Authority and Hero Medical Authority. I'd feel better if Scintillation Shock could come too."

"Already here," the strong voice of the United Heroes leader sounded from above them.

High Flyer skillfully descended with Scintillation Shock, the first time the avian heroine had been seen since the injury that had nearly cost the lives of the babies she was carrying. The public hadn't been told at the time but now the news and speculation would hit all the news stands alongside the news about the child rescued, for she was showing.

"Powered child?"  Scintillation Shock asked.

Shadow Mirage nodded, "Yes; appearance and extra limbs. Medical Marvel said there weren't any unseen manifested powers."

Any further questions were cut short as Silver Archer appeared in the doorway with the delicate looking child cradled in his arms. A splint drew everyone's eyes to the delicate wings growing from her back. None of his teammates were surprised that the archer had been able to reach the clearly terrified child.

Special Force, on hand to take custody of the villain they had taken down, stepped forward to mirandise the child beater.

The Hero Medical Authority turned up to take charge of the child, a representative from Family Services arrived right behind them.

"Are there any plans at this time for the future of the child?" Mary asked of the leaders of United Heroes.

"She will be a special needs child," the family services representative interrupted. "She will need to be placed with a family who know how to deal with abused children. She will also need one that can cope with a powered child."

#Then I guess she'll be placed with High Flyer.# The Silver Archer inserted, an unreadable expression on what could be seen of his face.

Mary took advantage of the little nugget of information immediately. "Have you taken care of an abused child before, High Flyer?"

"Yes," she answered calmly, "abused and powered."

"How did they turn out?" the social worker asked.

#They both did good since he's a hero now.#

His team all did double takes as they realised what he was hinting at.

'Damn, hot shot, couldn't you have told us privately first?'


A glare came over the link clearly.

The Silver Archer looked down at the child in his arms as High Flyer came carefully over to them.

#This is the lady I told you about.#

"Hey, there."

She regarded the avian heroine gravely with eyes too old for her face, reminding her strongly of another child they'd taken in all those years ago.

"He won't hurt you again if I have anything to do with it," High Flyer stated.

The girl reached out a tentitive hand towards the wings that fell like a feathered cloak from her shoulders when not spread for flight.

"You can fly." The words were soft and childish but the Silver Archer smiled, they were the first words she'd spoken.

"Yes. And when your bone has mended you'll be able to, too."

"Daddy says I mustn't, that it'll show what a bad girl I am."

#You're not a bad girl, he's a bad father.#

Dark Thunder could feel the fury barely contained by his best friend and was glad Special Force had already dragged the guy off.

High Flyer nodded her agreement.

A shy smile found its way onto her face.

"What's your name, sweetie?"


High Flyer exchanged a look with the Silver Archer, the set of his jaw betraying his fury. He couldn't believe the man had been that cruel as to deny his own child a name.

"Well, what do you think of a new name for a new start?" The child looked at her quizically, which she took as a good sign. "What do you think of Dragonfly?"

The shy smile made a reappearance.

"They're free. No one can keep them locked away."

#And no one will do that to you again,# the Silver Archer stated firmly.

Dark Thunder gave a relieved smile. Though by no means assured of a good life, the little girl's future was looking up now that she was assured of loving 'parents' and several protective 'older brothers'; there was no doubt that the first child they'd taken in would insist on spending time with his new 'little sister' and the rest of them wouldn't let him have all the fun.

A Special Force officer cleared his throat and the heroes involved in the events earlier that night handed over their recordings, which helpfully also had recordings of their encounter with the father.


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