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Title: The Best Defense
Author: D.L.SchizoAuthoress
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: scenes adapted from 'Earth 2: World's End #1'
Prompt: Anonymous askbox prompt - "They're such good people, so I want to see what you can do with Sam/Alan, Evil AU :D"
Warnings: character death (not graphic), alignment change
Word Count: 2140
Summary: Sam does not trust Dr. Terry Sloan. He takes action.
Note: I can't remember if they ever established a timeline / timescale for the initial Apokolips invasion of Earth 2, so the timestamp given here might not be right.
Word of the Day: bandy, verb:
1. To pass from one to another or back and forth; give and take.
2. To throw or strike to and fro or from side to side, as a ball in tennis.
3. To circulate freely.

The Best Defense

Sam sat up and watched his lover flit around their bedroom for clean work clothes. He knew that Alan would be heading right into the Moon Shot Division once he arrived at the building, and the idea of Dr. Terry Sloan filling Alan's head with more lies and pipe-dreams was just too much to bear. He spoke quietly, as Alan pulled on a slightly rumpled white dress shirt, "Don't do this, Alan."

Alan rolled his eyes briefly, and Sam knew he hadn't been meant to see that. But there was so little Alan could hide from him -- it had always been that way. He did his lover the favor of not pointing it out, at least. Sam knew that he had been harping on his dislike of Terry Sloan for quite a while, and the persistence was getting annoying for Alan.

That was fine. Alan's pigheaded willful blindness was plenty annoying, too. But Sam loved him a lot, and put up with such shortcomings.

"Dr. Sloan believe we can make physical contact with other dimensions! This will put my name in the history books, Sam." Alan said. He sounded nearly as excited as he had been the first three times he'd declared that to Sam. Sam had to admit, it was an intriguing prospect. Unlike Alan, though, Sam felt it was best to keep their grasp limited, until they were sure it was firm.

Other dimensions would keep. They had a whole world to work on together, and that was enough for the moment. Sam believed that, in his heart of hearts, Alan knew this too. As Alan turned toward the full length mirror hanging on the wall, Sam asked, "Then why are you keeping it a secret?"

"For the same reason I'm keeping a lot of things secret," Alan answered, as his hands automatically went through the motions of tying a half-Windsor knot. "Not everything is ready yet. But it will be, soon."

Sam got to his feet. His tone was notably colder, but Alan barely seemed to notice. "And you trust yourself to make that call?"

Alan's green eyes flicked to his left, possibly taking in Sam's expression in that moment, before he smoothed his tie down. "Of course I do."

Sam licked his lips, reminding himself that he had to sound well-reasoned -- that Alan never responded well when he got 'too' emotional. He watched Alan grab a suit coat from the closet and head for the bedroom door. It took him that long to be sure his voice would be measured and calm. "I'm not asking you to stop the research. Just get rid of--"

"Enough, Sam." Alan snapped -- his tone was impatient, and Sam knew that there would be no more discussion about this. "I can do this alone. I'm Alan Scott, remember?"

Sam met his lover's eyes, hoping that Alan could read the anger in his own. Alan said nothing more, just hurrying from the penthouse without another word. Sam sighed, and asked the now empty bedroom, "How could I forget?"

He leaned down to get a better look at the screen of Alan's open laptop. Alan had a grand vision, he had the money to bankroll it, and he had the focused ambition to bring his plans to fruition. But he was careless with his information -- he'd always been that way. At least he'd listened to his advisers when it came to sequestering the most important data in computers with no access to the wider Internet. Sam touched the little black flash-drive still plugged in to the USB port, and huffed out a tiny laugh.

All that caution didn't mean much when Alan left almost all the details on the Jaunt Initiative connected to the personal computer that he shared with Sam. Even when he was annoyed with Alan, Sam felt a surge of fondness at the proof of his lover's all-too-human foibles. He clicked through the files on the flash drive, copying the most important pieces of data into a folder on the laptop's hard drive before compressing it all into a single file. He set that to upload to a shell account he'd recently set up in the cloud, and muttered, half to himself, "This is for your own good, Alan. I just hope I'm not too late."

Sam typed out a simple message: 'Please share this information as you see fit...' and included a link to the file as soon as the uploader provided it to him. He let out a breath as he pressed the send key, and rubbed absently at his chest. He couldn't help the little pang of regret at this 'betrayal'... but none of it would be necessary if Alan had simply listened.

****

After a light breakfast, Sam took a shower and dressed in comfortable clothes. It would take a while for Accountable to realize what his message meant, and a little longer for the hacker group to thoroughly vet the source, so he had some time to himself. Not a lot, but some.

One reason Alan liked staying in this particular building when they were in Gotham City -- it had an old bomb shelter that was still kept up to code. That would be where he'd expect Sam to be if anything bad happened. Sam wasn't entirely sure what the slimeball Dr. Sloan was planning, but he knew that something bad would be coming through those 'boom tubes' if and when the man was allowed to open them.

He clicked the physical switch on the back of the laptop, shutting off its wireless capabilities, and shut it down, then unplugged his own cellular phone from the wall, sliding the phone into his pants pocket. Sam walked through the penthouse, shutting off any electronics or appliances. He double-checked that the safe hidden in the wall was locked up.

He had work to do, and a bad feeling about today that he couldn't shake. If Sloan made his move...

'Well. Then there's no time for idle speculation anymore, is there?' Sam asked himself.

****

Dr. Terry Sloan screamed with rage and ripped the computer monitor away from the tower -- feeling a slight twinge of satisfaction as the display winked out and went black, banishing the streaming news report from his sight. He flung the piece of hardware at the wall and ranted,

"How could Batman have known to destroy the beacon towers?" He picked up the keyboard and swung it into the stack of papers that made up his office inbox, scattering the documents. None of it mattered now, with his plans in shambles. "Who could have leaked information about my project?"

Dr. Sloan's shoulders slumped. God, he was tired. He'd done so much in the past seventy-two hours... so much that no one would understand. 'History is written by the victorious, and this... this can be just a setback,' he reminded himself, as he moved to another computer terminal -- this one hooked up to the wall display, one he couldn't smash -- and rapidly typed in a few inquiries. They were all to the effect of the words he mused aloud:

"And who would have the audacity to double-cross the smartest man in the world?"

Soon enough, he was looking at a file from the security department. Not an employee of GBC -- the ones under Dr. Sloan's sway were all terrified of him in some measure, anyway -- but a familiar face, often in the building. Dr. Sloan smiled nastily and muttered to himself, "Well, well... Sam Zhou..."

There was no warning. The computer console that he was leaning on suddenly sparked, throwing off a burst of electricity that knocked him back into the chair behind him. Dazed but largely unhurt, Dr. Sloan gazed up at the wall display -- for some reason, the window containing Sam's information had expanded to take up all the screens in a single image.

"It's Zhào, not 'Zhōu', bitch."

Dr. Sloan blinked. And realized that he was looking at a video-phone call. "You... you goddamn idiot!" he yelled at Sam, not caring that this man was so intimately connected with the one he called his 'boss'. Dr. Sloan had other masters, more powerful masters, who had been failed today; he no longer had any reason to play the lackey to Alan Scott. "Do you have any idea of the powers you've pissed off? Any idea of what you've--"

"Shut the fuck up." Sam snapped. "You're the one who's pissed off powerful people, Terry. I know that you were intending to double-cross Alan."

"Oh, so the sycophant has some fire in him," Dr. Sloan mocked. "I'm shaking, Sam. Really."

"You should be," Sam informed him coolly. His gaze flicked down and to the side -- checking on something. Dr. Sloan couldn't yet guess what. "You've already made 'physical contact with other dimensions', haven't you? Apokolips. That's who you're really working for."

"And it only took a swarm of parademons practically crushing human civilization under its boots for you to figure it out!" Dr. Sloan shook his head. His body felt heavy and strange... but the effects of that mild electric shock should have worn off by now...

"Oh, I had my suspicions long before that," Sam answered, still not responding to the sarcasm. "Just not a willing audience for them." He watched Dr. Sloan in silence for a few seconds, then smiled slowly. His tone was oddly solicitous, concerned, as he next spoke: "Are you feeling unwell, Terry? Dizzy, sluggish?"

Dr. Sloan frowned. As a matter of fact, he was. "What..." he started to ask, shocked at how the word slurred on his tongue, which felt thick in his mouth.

Sam laughed. It was unlike the sound Dr. Sloan had often overheard him make around Alan -- there was no lightness to the laugh, just something dark and cruel. "That would be the paralytic gas I've had pumped into your office."

"Yuh... duhn..."

"You betrayed Alan," Sam said harshly. "You would have ruined everything we have planned. But you know what, Dr. Sloan? I really should thank you." Another smile crossed Sam's handsome face, this one as cold and cruel as that laugh. "It's so much easier to take over a society that's rebuilding itself after a disaster."

A steady electronic beeping, as though from a heart monitor, started up. Dr. Sloan couldn't even turn his head toward the source. His heart started to race, faster than the beeping. Terrified tears burned behind his eyes.

"And that, Terry, would be the bomb I had planted on the floor above you. I paid top dollar for it, too. It should destroy everything in your lab." Genuine amusement sparked in those black eyes. "Including you. Goodbye, Dr. Sloan."

****

Sam kept watching the feed on the Moon Unit Division until it cut off. Then he switched to a different video feed, tapping in to the security camera trained on the receptionist's desk on that floor above. She was huddled under the desk, hand holding down the 'panic button' that would alert security. She was unhurt, and Sam was glad.

No reason for collateral damage today.

The video-phone application chimed insistently at him. Alan's name flashed in the lower left corner, and Sam gave another fond little sigh. Alan always thought of him first at any sign of trouble. It was sweet. He clicked to open the window.

"Hello, darling," he greeted.

"Sam! Oh, thank god." Alan smiled shakily. "You're okay."

"What's wrong?"

"I know you said you were going to talk to Terry today. There's just been an explosion at the Moon Shot Division, and I thought--"

"Did you?" Sam interrupted. He leaned his chin on one hand and smirked lazily at the screen. "You've thought a lot of things that turned out not to be true lately, dear Alan."

A little wrinkle appeared between Alan's eyebrows as he processed the non sequitur response. He tilted his head slightly. "Sam. Did you just blow up part of my corporate headquarters?"

"Only a little bit of it," Sam replied casually, pretending to inspect the nails of his left hand, as if he weren't admitting to arson. "The police will find no evidence of wrongdoing, as usual, darling. Don't fuss."

"I knew you didn't like him, but..."

"Oh, I hated the bastard," Sam interrupted again. He leaned a little closer, meeting his lover's eyes. "But that's not why I killed him and destroyed his work. He was allied with aliens. I don't want them to have a way back here. And he betrayed your trust. He betrayed us. I don't take that lightly."

When Sam finished, Alan smiled slowly. His eyes were full of adoration as he said, "You always take care of me, Sam."

"You know it, Alan." Sam said, smiling back warmly.

*-*-*-*-*

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