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Fanfic / A Subtle Knife

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A Subtle Knife is a Worm/Young Justice crossover fanfic by industrious.

"Waking up in Gotham with no idea how I got there wasn't the best start to my day. Killing someone in front of Batman with my newly discovered superpowers just made it worse. I'm not a good person, let alone a hero, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try to be one. After all...if not now, when?"

This story is an exploration of how much powers can influence a person's path in life, when Jacob Rodrigo wakes up as a self-insert in the Young Justice series with the powers of Jack Slash and tries to be a hero despite his predisposition to easily kill people. After beating Batman to taking down Victor Zsasz he joins the team at the same time as Artemis, and does his best to do good, not matter how bad the world makes it turn out.

But hey, at least he's got a brainy beauty on his arm and some adventures of his own to have on the side.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: X-Ionized weapons such as Rako's katana and Edge's KA-BAR are near indestructible, and capable of cutting Kryptonians.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Multiple characters that aren’t Edge get point of view chapters, especially in the interludes.
  • Admiring the Abomination: Edge feels like this when he watches Captain Atom fry and vaporize four North Rhelasian soldiers.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Captain Atom is this to the Plutonium Man. It can barely be called a fight as he absorbs the robot's radiation effortlessly.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Batman, at Captain Marvel and Edge on occasion.
  • Ascended Extra: Doctor Roquette, who Edge strikes up a relationship with. Captain Atom, in the aftermath of their mission to clear his name. Freddie, or Lt. Marvel, who joins the team with Edge and his Shard’s prompting to Captain Marvel.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Kid Flash. Annoyingly so until story events force him to mature a bit.
  • All Just a Dream: The Slaughterhouse Nine Arc.
  • Badass Adorable: M’gann, Artemis. Lt. Marvel joins early, and once people become aware that his secret identity is a wheel-chair bound elementary school student he gets this a lot.
  • Badass Bookworm: Robin and Edge are two examples of this, though both characters go about it in different ways. Robin seeks knowledge constantly because he lacks any other 'power', so it tends to help him figure out how to deal with various situations. Edge however is just a nerd who likes reading for the sake of reading.
  • Badass Normal: Robin, whose training and conditioning put him in situations even some metahumans would be wary and afraid of.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Edge is trying to be a subversion. The Slaughterhouse Nine play it straight.
  • Beware the Superman: Edge muses this when he and the Team get front row seats to watch a Flying Brick with Frickin' Laser Beams go to town on a group of soldiers with conventional guns.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Both played straight and inverted with the Justice League and the team. The Slaughterhouse Nine showing up leads to some good examples of Edge's team standing up to the challenges and problems the S9's presence created.
  • Child of Two Worlds: M’gann is a martian currently living on Earth, and constantly encounters cultural aspects that trip her up and confuse her at times.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Connor/Kon'El is this in-story due to Superman's failings as an unexpected deadbeat 'father'.
  • The Comically Serious: When Aqualad gets in on the joking fun at times. He’s straight-faced enough to convince most of the Team that bad-mouthing the military is a death-worthy trespass before he craks up at Edge’s joke about air-boarding the guilty parties before executing them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Edge came off like this when he requisitioned a near-perfect set of equipment for when he was put n charge of the search for Clayface. It didn’t stop him from getting hospitalized with hypothermia from his own cold gun, though.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: After the assassins have been run off and the anti-Fog virus is uploaded successfully.
    Dr. Roquette: I know I might have been… short with you all at first, but… thank you. You saved my life, and we saved the world tonight. If there’s anything I can do to repay you-?
    Edge: How about coffee?
    Edge mentally: …Did I just say that?
  • Dramatic Irony: Because of his own connection to Jack Slash, Edge thinks very highly of Artemis, believing her to be Green Arrow’s illegitimate daughter, and she always worries and fumes whenever he compliments her drive to live up to her "Uncle’s" legacy.
  • Door Stopper: The fic stands at well over two hundred and sixty thousand words at this time and is nowhere close to finished.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: The Heroes in-setting think they know what is going on with Edge. To say that are they mistaken is an understatement.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Literally everyone involved in Captain Atom’s trial, from the judge to the coroner to his best friend who served as his defense, was in on the plot to frame him.
  • Faking Amnesia: Edge does this from the beginning of the story to cover up that he is a self-insert. After the Slaughterhouse 9 arc, he’s begun to wonder if his self-insert memories are fake ones inserted by the 9 so Jack Slash’s son can blossom.
  • Fantastic Racism: Being a "White" martian, M'gann suffers this from both her fellow martians, as well as from some humans on Earth due to her being an alien at all.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Jack Slash does this wonderfully when he appears, and use this to traumataize and hurt Edge in the process as events unfold.
  • Fragile Speedster: Kid Flash is quick, but he's also constantly hungry, and being a young teenage boy, not too able to take injuries.
  • From Bad to Worse: The story has gotten so terrifyingly bloody in-story due to the Slaughterhouse Nine's actions that nothing will be the same afterwards.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Batman makes the case to the rest of the League that Edge runs a high risk of this if he ever gives up on trying to be a good person, which is why they should encourage and support him.
    Batman: Imagine an assassin with a keen mind for deduction. He’s resistant to physical force, and his offensive power is limited only by line of sight. In fact, his ability improves with it - he’s most dangerous from far away. But he wants to be a hero, gentlemen.
  • The Golden Rule: Hinted when Artemis blows her top at Kid Flash when he declares Edge isn't worth trusting because of his relation with a criminal. As the daughter of a criminal, Artemis wants to be judged on her own merits, so it makes sense for her to repay the favour with Edge.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Connor feels this way about the charming, good-looking, Flying Brick Lt. Marvel when he’s introduced to the team in the aftermath of an embarrassing incident between him and M'gann. Then he discovers that Lt. Marvel’s secret identity is a wheelchair-bound elementary school student and promptly becomes one of the Lieutenant's top supporters.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Edge subverts this, being more suited to ranged combat and Social Judo.
  • Joker Immunity: Averted, in Cleave 13.8 where the Joker is killed by Edge.
  • Just Between You and Me: Since no one knows Edge is associated with the League, he allows himself to be captured spying on the smuggling ring that framed Captain Atom. He goads Yarrow and the North Rhelasians into confirming their acts while on speakerphone, with Captain Atom on the other end, listening.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Averted. While Rako uses an x-ionized katana, Edge just feels stupid about trying to swing one. He prefers a karambit, and he has a secret, x-ionized X-Acto knife for emergencies.
  • Klingon Promotion: The Slaughterhouse Nine.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to Earth Bet, Young Justice! Earth is certainly this. Robin is outright aghast when Edge describes him Earth Bet's situation, calling it a "ice cream parlor of evil".
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Edge inverts this with his habits reading The Economics of Justice (by Chief Justice Posner). He later commissions a work of art.
  • Mind Manipulation: M'gann, Cherish. Edge has some ability to manipulate his own mind and affect people in it, and his Shard is hinted to have much greater abilities.
  • Mind over Matter: M'gann’s telekinesis.
  • Mood Whiplash: Serling suffers this in-story when Edge decides it would be amusing to knock on her door, pretending to be an annoying student with questions about the coursework just before she has a date.
  • Mundane Solution: How to find a successor to Doctor Fate? You hold a job interview, as if it was another paid office.
  • Mundane Utility: Edge invokes this by practicing skill, precision, and finesse with his powers on the food he cooks. He also notes that when nobody in the mountain in wiling to cook, they use the advanced alien wormhole technology to zip over to other cities for takeout.
  • Mythology Gag: After listening a kid gushing over Robin's utter awesomeness and wondering how he could meet Batman, Edge offhandedly mentions he could try to steal the Batmobile's tires. Since the kid is named Jason, it's probably a Foregone Conclusion...
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now: Edge does not have Super Toughness, but he has wetware implants in Bonesaw's style to let him act like he’s Made of Iron, even surviving a cut throat with minimal suffering.
  • Oh, Crap!: Whenever someone uninformed sees what Edge is capable of doing/surviving. Also occurred when they discovered x-ionized weapons can cut Kryptonians.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight in this fic due to most supervillains being too problematic for the police to deal with, preferring to let the League and various heroes deal with things instead.
  • Politeness Judo: Edge's shard makes him arguably better at this than actual combat, when it comes to metahumans and other powered people.
  • Psychic Block Defense: Presumably due to the presence of his Shard, Edge's mind is not a nice place to be. Martian Manhunter gets put through the wringer when he pokes around unwisely in the wrong part of Edge's psyche.
  • Reality Ensues: Justice League members get upset and push for Edge's removal when he is, however inadvertently, linked to traumatizing experiences for the Team.
    • Serling Roquette has nightmares of being kidnapped long after she’s been rescued, and sitting front-row to her mentor's kidnapping later only makes it worse.
  • Really Gets Around: Green Arrow is this, which drives Edge to the mistaken impression that Artemis is his daughter when her father is infact Sportsmaster. Edge shares his theory with the rest of the team and when Artemis found out she lets them think it is true because it is better than the truth.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Inverted. Much fuss is made over how absolutely terrifying an assassin Edge would make, as well as how he is by leaps and bounds the most obvious possibility for The Mole. The audience knows that he's one of the most congenial guys we see.
  • Shipper on Deck: Edge heavily, heavily ships Supermartian. To the point that he gives them a kickstart by arranging Superboy to go talk to a distraught M'gann with Chocco cookie crumbs on his lips.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Kid Flash shows open mistrust towards Edge after learning his relation to Jack Slash. Cue a furious Artemis screaming at him he cannot judge someone after his parents.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Rather than go through an elaborate bluff and double-bluff to protect Doctor Roquette at the cost of time lost in set-up, Edge points out that the camouflaged, telepathically commanded bioship is much safer and more convenient, and Dr. Roquette uploads her virus from inside with the help of an Ethernet cable.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Artemis is so ashamed of her villain dad she can't bring herself to disillusion her teammates from the theory that she's actually Green Arrow's illegitimate daughter.
    • When the Team learns Earth-Bet's existence, Edge lets them believe he's a native because it helps with his cover story.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Like most Heroes, Edge does his best to practice this and encourage others to do so. He gets a What the Hell, Hero? moment on his first mission when he carves up a League of Shadows assassin, but he defends himself because a) his power is blade projection so when he’s protecting people he doesn’t have a non-lethal setting, and b) the guy was a werewolf and his knife wasn’t made of silver, so he’ll eventually recover.
  • We Have Reserves: Inverted. Very much a plot-point in-story due to not enough people in not enough places.
  • We Need a Distraction: The Slaughterhouse Nine's behavior when they show up due to them using the civilians as tools for the traps and distractions.
  • Wham Episode: Interlude 5, Superboy triggers.
    • The following arc is a Wham Storyline, since the Team has to confront the Slaughterhouse Nine.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Edge and M'gann have a discussion along these lines after he brutalizes the werewolf assassin sent after Dr. Roquette. It recurs several times regarding other aliens, magical beings, and robots.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Most of the Heroes reactions to Edge at points in the story.
    • Edge also does this to Martian Manhunter after having both his trust, privacy, and mindscape violated.
  • Willing Channeler: When confronted to Witch-Boy, Edge chooses to use the Helm of Fate and let Nabu possess him.
  • X-Ray Vision: Edge encourages Conner to take advantage of his X-Ray Vision whenever possible.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Edge really doesn't have very much in the way of self-esteem, and his teammates and girlfriend repeatedly point he wouldn't give himself so much shit about his decisions if he really was a monster.
  • You Are What You Hate: This is one of Edge's fears throughout the story, that he is or will become like Jack Slash.