He Shall be King Hereafter
Macbeth Act I, scene 4, line 7.
Dick awoke suddenly as the alarm sounded, startling him to the point that he nearly fell out of bed. It took him a moment to settle his nerves as reality hadn't quite set in. Stumbling out of bed, he looked over to see the time.
"3:15 am, shit," he cursed tiredly.
Anxiety began to overcome him a little, causing him to scramble around the room frantically, trying to get himself together. As he was pulling his uniform on, he heard a loud knock on his door.
"Hey man, you up?" questioned a deep voice that rolled over the sounding alarm.
"Yeah Vic, just give me a minute," Dick replied, tripping over his own feet.
"Alright then, meet ya in a few," Victor said, taking off down the hall.
Moments later, Dick clumsily ran out of the room, strapping on his utility belt as he went. His mind was scattered and unfocused as he ungainly tried to asses if he had everything and just hoped to God that he did.
He burst through the doors at the end of the hallway where his team was impatiently waiting.
"Oh hey Dick, nice of you to join us," Gar said with a playful, yet blithe tone.
"Can it Gar," Dick growled, slightly losing his temper. "What's the call Vic?"
The robotic man looked back from the computer screen and he pulled up the coordinates, "I'm still working on the details, just give me a minute," he replied, continuing his work.
Dick gave a weary nod and looked around the room uncomfortably when he noticed Kory standing on the opposite side. She refused to look at him, though he couldn't blame her. He could tell by the look of her eyes that she'd spent a good part of the night crying. Her usually vivid green orbs appeared ruddy and held a tired, puffy look. He himself had shed more than a few tears, however he had some aid in drowning out his sorrows.
"Rough night," Raven whispered under her breath so that only Dick could hear her.
Dick turned his back to the rest of the team so that only Raven could hear his reply, "Is it that obvious?"
Raven let out a cynical chuckle, "No… but you look like you drank half a bottle of Bourbon."
"I didn't drink half a bottle… it was two glasses," he said with a shaky confidence.
"Drinking alone isn't healthy," Raven quietly lectured.
"I know Rae, you don't have to remind me…"
"Yeah well, that doesn't change the fact that you did and you didn't even ask me to help you finish the bottle," she added wittily, catching Dick off guard.
He playfully rolled his eyes and shook his head at her ability and placement for dark humor. Raven shot him a quick smirk that bared the slightest hint of cynicism. Neither of them noticing the look that Kory shot them.
"All right Dick, it looks like the call is coming from the old warehouse district and it appears to be a team led by Jonny Rancid... Really?" Victor said with muddled perplexity.
Dick looked up at the screen with confusion and disbelief. Jonny Rancid hardly ever worked with anyone let alone lead a team. "Who's the team composed of?"
"It looks like Gizmo, Mammoth and Kid Wykkyd," Victor responded.
"Kid Wykkyd," Gar laughed, "you mean Rae's future soulmate?"
Raven rolled her eyes at the green boy with a little disdain, "So is the joke supposed to be that you're accusing me of having an inappropriate relationship with my cousin?" she said dryly.
Gar's eyes shot wide open while a disturbed look flooded his face, "The fuck! ... You guys are related?"
"Yeah. Maybe if you're attention span wasn't that of a rodent's, you'd know that," Raven drawled in her low monotone.
"But I totally ship you guys!"
"You should probably stop doing that, man," Victor said, making a 'what the fuck is wrong with you' face.
"As fascinating as this all is, can we please get back to the matter at hand," Dick said mildly annoyed, taking control of the situation. "Something doesn't fit right, Rancid's never worked with the Hive before."
He looked back at his team as his gaze left the monitor. They were all adults now with Victor being the oldest and still signature big brother of the team, Gar playing the token younger brother. They still bickered at times and knew just how to get on each other's nerves, especial Gar and Raven. (Could those two fight?) Kory and Raven were kind of like sisters, however in recent years that bond seemed to hold less weight. Dick always suspected it had to do with Donna, who'd joined the team for a few years until she transferred to Titans East to be closer to Roy (they broke up soon after). (Every one saw it coming.)
Still Donna and Kory remained close and would constantly keep in touch and plan trips together. Raven would always decline their invitations as she was too busy attending college courses. She'd earned her Associates in English and Literature and was closing in on her Bachelors in Political Science. Kory'd taken to modeling which also kept her close to Donna as she had nearly become a well-known photographer. It just seemed that the girls didn't quite have the same ambitions or even values. Raven wanted to own the world through knowledge whereas Kory wanted it through a photograph.
Dick, however, hardly noticed the change and didn't take note of it until recently as his distance from Kory became more of a reality. He'd always leaned on Raven, especially when it came to the darkness that wreaked havoc on his mind. But now with all the civil unrest within the team, he leaned on her even more. He knew Kory resented it a little; that she felt he was replacing her, but he wasn't. He was simply doing what he always had—going to the one person he knew understood him. And that person wasn't Kory, not anymore.
"Maybe he's just trying new material, God knows his solo act wasn't getting him anywhere," Gar said breaking Dick out of his thoughts.
"Or, maybe the job is too big for him?" Raven said looking over at Gar patronizingly.
Dick looked back up at the monitor, a dubious look in his eye, "Either way we need to keep our guard up, I have a bad feeling about this."
The old warehouse district was one of the few places in Jump City that you didn't want to be after dark. It was widely known as gang territory and belonged to those who'd rush where angels dare not go. Among these lost souls were dozens of stories, each with a where and a why of how it all came to be, and for Jonny Rancid, it was no different.
He'd spent most of his life as a street kid, moving from city to city however he could, but it wasn't until he was sixteen that he'd crossed that line. His father had been locked up for what seemed like the hundredth time and his mother was still very much in love with the pipe. Jonny didn't have very much of a choice. He could either go out and be an outlaw and at least stand a chance. Or, he could wither and die with his crack addict mother—he chose the way of Jesse James.
He ran off and spent a few years looking for something to live by, something that could give him the structure he needed to reinvent himself. He wanted brotherhood. And he found it somewhere between Gotham and Chicago when he stumbled upon an outlaw biker club living on the edge of fringe society. He immediately found himself enamored with the lifestyle and the unity amongst the members. Something he hardly knew then.
The group took the young boy in and made him prospect, meaning that he wasn't a full patch member and held no authority. They told him he'd have to earn those privileges which he full-heartedly did and dedicated his life to the club.
Within a year he'd earned his full kutte and the fabric of a new life among a small, but successful criminal organization. The group called themselves The Black Horsemen, and identified as the 1%. The Black Horsemen made their money by selling drugs and other contraband while also providing protection to those who were willing to pay for it. They owned a few legitimate businesses that they mostly used to launder their drug money and make some legitimate earnings. But eventually, the club's past caught up with them.
A massacre ensued, a bloody street war between his bothers and a rival biker gang both looking to settle old scores. And by the time the smoke cleared, and Jonny could see the finally see again, he was the only one left of his chapter.
He immediately skipped town, changed his name and adopted a new persona, one that honored his fallen brethren. Jonny had learned all he needed to about moving and selling contraband and he wasn't afraid to drop a man or the consequences that came with it. But he didn't know much about people. He worked solo mostly and eventually established himself as a go-to for moving high risk product, which brings us to the exchange at hand.
"You damn scuzz-brains are short!" Gizmo yelled obnoxiously.
Jonny looked at the black duffle then back at the group of men he'd received it from, "Short huh?"
The leader of the group looked up. He was a tall, thin man with wiry muscles and wide glassy eyes as he was visibly high on cocaine.
"It's only a couple grand, sales have been down the last couple of weeks," the white haired man said. "The product is lacking in purity."
Jonny furrowed his brow and let out a small ignorant laugh, "And you know that cause you put that couple grand up your nose, right?"
"I resent that accusation, I have been doing business with your handler for years!"
"Yeah and every time you come up short, Snowflame," Jonny spat. "Gizmo, exactly how much money is missing?"
Gizmo stood up, his stature still small and his mouth as big as ever, "At least 10 grand."
Jonny scowled. Snowflame was always a few grand short, but never by that much. It was usually a grand or two and in the end he did always pay it back in favors. However, Jonny noticed that recently the margin started to grow, and so did the man who was paying him to provide the money be collected.
"Oh and Rancid, it gets better," Gizmo snickered childishly. "They lined the stacks with real bills to hide that fact that at least half these are fake. Like we wouldn't notice?"
"So you're saying that they're 20 grand short?" Jonny asked in a surprisingly calm tone.
The tiny man nodded his head assertively, "Maybe more."
For a moment nothing was said as the team of young criminals looked back at the cocaine king and fumbling gang. When suddenly Jonny pounced on Snowflame and slammed him into a steel beam.
"You stupid son of a bitch!" Jonny shouted and pulled out his G21. "Did you really think you could just fuck us over?!"
He pressed the barrel of the gun against the addict's throat, ready to pull the trigger at any moment. Snowflame's crew had tried to run to the man's aid, but were intercepted by Jonny's team. The horrified man raised his hands defensively in an attempt to calm Jonny, but had little success.
"Save it Snowflame's, you piece of shit!" Jonny snapped, "I was given strict orders by Slade to terminate you if you pulled something like this. Your whole crew, too."
Jonny looked back at his team a moment as each one readied themselves for the coming standoff. This was about respect, if they didn't punish Snowflame for his audacity then other crews would think it was acceptable to do as well.
"But I've been doing businesses with him for years!" The cocaine addict exclaimed.
"Well you should have thought of that before you tried to screw him for over 20 grand." The outlaw biker began to chuckle sinisterly, "You see, Slade and I have come to a little agreement. You're a liability, a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. You can't even run your crew. This town needs new leadership and a new operation and you just don't fit in with that plan."
"So you're just going to exterminate all of us?!"
"Yep, you're all collateral damage in a much bigger picture," Rancid said in a logical tone.
"Not as big as the collateral damage you're gonna be when we take you out," a confident voice shouted.
Jonny and the rest of the low class criminals looked up to find the Titans standing behind their masked leader.
"Not you pit sniffers!" Gizmo whined.
"You're still talking like a spoiled brat I see," Raven said with an eye roll.
"This doesn't concern you, Titans! Now get the hell out of here or I'll pump led into every last one of you!" Rancid growled looking up at Nightwing.
"It's over Rancid, the only way you're walking out of here is in cuffs," Nightwing warned.
"Then you're leaving here in a body bag." Jonny's face darkened and fiery rage lit up his eyes, but before he could make good on his threat, he felt Snowflame reach for his gun.
"Gun!" Nightwing shouted.
But before Snowflame could pull the trigger, Jonny pulled his. Blood immediately spilled everywhere as the bullet severed his carotid artery. The sound of the gun echoing through the vacant warehouse like the chime of a funeral bell. Snowflame fell to the cold concrete below him as the immediate blood loss left him with little life.
Everyone, including the Titans, watched in horror as not a sound was made. For a moment nothing happened, everyone just stood still, clearly shocked at the brutality.
"Aaaahhhh!" screamed one of Snowflame's crew members.
The overzealous man quickly whipped out his own hand gun and aimed it at Jonny, pulling the trigger. Jonny too took aim and fired at the man, hitting him in the chest and before anyone knew what hit them, the whole warehouse was under heavy fire.
The Titans scrambled to take cover from the flying bullets. Cyborg began taking aim with his sonic canon, while Starfire retaliated with her star bolts. Raven threw up a shield so she could get to Nightwing, in hopes of coming up with a plan.
The scene was pure chaos, bullets and blood being the frightening constant. Gang members began falling one by one while Nightwing looked on at the chaos trying to find a solution. Gar had begun to take on Mammoth, becoming a full sized gorilla while Cyborg took on Gizmo and one of his ridiculous gadgets.
Raven eventually reached Nightwing and phased from the floor in front of him, shielding him from the flying metal.
"I think we need a plan," she said nervously and blocked a bullet from hitting her chest.
"We need to get Rancid's gun away from him, he just reloaded his magazine," Nightwing replied. "You take Wykkyd, I'll take Rancid."
Raven nodded, "Oh and Dick," she said before fazing through the floor again, "don't get shot."
He smiled confidently and watched her black shadow consume the energy around her. Nightwing looked on, waiting for just the right moment as his team fought gallantly for justice. Rancid turned toward him. 'This is it,' Nightwing thought and took aim, 'just one more…'
Rancid's finger readied itself and squeezed the trigger, but to his shock the gun backfired in his hand. He could hardly see it coming, something sharp and quick had embedded itself in the barrel of his gun. Within moments the chamber of the gun exploded in his hand. A painful howl left his lips, but before he could get his bearings back, he felt a swift kick to his face.
Nightwing landed flawlessly as Rancid fell aimlessly to the floor. This left Nightwing with the upper hand while his adversary scrambled to recover. The young hero swiftly took hold of his escrima sticks and readied himself for the offense.
Rancid pulled himself up, gaining his balance, anticipating Nightwing's coming assault. He took sight of the hero's weapons and knew he'd have to produce his own if he had any chance of victory. However, luck was on his side when a nearby pipe was blown his way as a result of one of Starfire's attackes. He charged Nightwing who was anticipating his next move, but faked him out at the last second. Rancid slipped passed the acrobatic hero and took hold of the steel pipe.
Nightwing, who was caught off guard by the sudden maneuver, turned quickly to see his adversary greedily holding his newfound weapon. The two stood off like two alpha wolves ready to fight for territory, their eyes locked. Their old feud had reignited itself and this time there seemed to be more at stake. At the exact same moment they charged each other. Ready to spill blood and once and for all, see who was the bigger man.
They moved between each other, dodging blows and reconnecting with their own, each one more lethal than the last. The two continued this while the rest of the team found themselves in their own deadly battle. Cyborg still had his hands full with Gizmo who seemed to have put more strategy into his attacks while Starfire and Beast Boy worked together to take down Mammoth. Starfire seemed to be hitting him with everything she had and then some, her scorned interior driving her forward. Raven however, seemed to be having some luck in dismantling her adversary as she was without a doubt his better—both in power and in blood.
"Seriously Wykkyd, you should just call it a day already," she called as the young demon fell to the ground.
"You really think I'm gonna lose to a Halfling like you?" the demon boy replied. "Not this time, witch."
With that venom, the demonic boy shot back at her with his own ravenous attack, causing Raven to go on the defense.
Nightwing and Jonny Rancid still fought with ferocity, but were descending into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Jonny wasn't ready to be taken in alive—he was a true 1%er. He'd much rather see Nightwing tarnish his own moral code if it meant Rancid would forever be the key to one man's destruction; he wouldn't mind clipping him either.
He could see his adversary was struggling, fighting his darkness. Rancid had accepted his years ago, but men like Richard Grayson, they spent their whole lives trying to suppress it. Rancid could use this.
"Getting tired Birdy Boy?"
Nightwing laughed, "Seriously, I could do this all day." His tone was a little cocky, but he knew if he just kept his guard up he could finish Rancid.
"Really, you seem angry to me. You on your period?"
"That the best you can come up with?" Nightwing asked with a superior in his voice. "But I mean, I guess it's clever for someone with a room temp IQ."
"Careful kid, I might just be smarter than you think. Ha, if you were capable of such a feat."
A quick look of loathing shot in the hero's eyes.
'Got him,' the outlaw quietly snickered and locked his sights on Nightwing's pride.
"Oh, by the way," Jonny added, "you still fight like a spoiled brat."
'I wish people would stop calling me a brat,' the hero thought as his eyes grew with animosity and for a moment, he became blind to Jonny's tactics.
Jonny struck out and hit Nightwing's left oblique. The young man flinched from the pain, throwing him a little off guard.
"Oh too slow," Jonny cued patronizingly, causing Nightwing to make an unseasoned attack.
Rancid took advantage of the misstep, catching the hero by the neck and throwing him against the wall.
"God, you fall for that trick every time, I guess you're not as perceptive as you thought," Rancid snickered.
Nightwing looked back at him a little surprised, "You don't even know what that word means," he gasped, then used his left hand to forcefully free Jonny's grip from his neck. He shot a quick elbow into Jonny's windpipe and followed up with a swift uppercut. "But I guess I'm not the only one who hasn't learned anything."
Jonny looked up as he struggled for breath, "You… uh… mother…fu… uh," he gasped.
"You should never count me out," Nightwing said with a small hint of triumph.
'Fuck,' Rancid scoffed to himself. He glanced down and from the corner of his eye caught a glimpse of a small hand gun not far from his side. Luck was truly his lady.
"Hey Bird Boy… fuck off."
Jonny quickly grabbed the gun and pulled the trigger. The sound moved through the warehouse with a vengeance as it filled every last Titan with fear and unbridled reality. Raven could practically feel the bullet piercing her own skin, her eyes becoming wide with sorrow.
Nightwing felt it. The bullet burning through his flesh and his blood running free from its vessels. For a moment he was stunned and lost in a daze somewhere between reality and delusion where seconds felt like hours. He looked down, taking vacant notice of the fresh blood on his glove. Looking up, he saw Jonny with a snide look of victory on his face, like he'd already won, but he hadn't. At least not yet.
He saw Jonny shakily rise to his feet, the gun still in hand as he took aim for Nightwing's head. Within a second he'd pull the trigger and Nightwing would be dead, but then he heard his inner darkness as it said,
Do it now…
And before Nightwing knew it, he flung a shuriken free from his hand without even a second thought. The flying metal flew through the dusty air and logged itself in the flesh of Jonny's neck and in that moment—reality crashed.
Jonny fell back as blood poured from his neck with a rapid fluency.
For a moment Nightwing didn't feel anything, nothing at all. It was like whatever possessed him to do such a horrible thing kept his empathy bound within his grasp, but then the pain hit him.
Nightwing fell to his knees as blood seeped from his side. Reality, with all its cruelty, began to set in and his actions finally began to hold weight. "What have I done?"
Raven ran to his side, giving Kid Wykkyd a chance to make a run for it.
"Quick BB, go after him!" Cyborg shouted, causing the green changeling to fly like a bat out of hell (literally).
In the commotion, Mammoth tried to plow passed Starfire, but it appeared that she wasn't in the mood. With all her fire and furry, she shot the large man through a nearby wall, leaving him unconscious for the time being. She turned militantly and shot Gizmo a smoldering look as he tried to run as well.
"Ma—maybe I'll just stay here?" the small boy quivered in her wake.
By now Raven had reached Nightwing, who was now fighting for consciousness. His body was becoming limp and he was losing blood fast.
"Dick—Dick stay with me," Raven begged as she began to rip off his uniform.
"Uh Rae, you have to help Rancid," Dick panted with little strength.
Raven pulled the top half of his uniform free to reveal the gushing bullet hole, "There's nothing I can do for him," she replied examining him for an exist wound.
"Please Rae, you have to try."
Raven looked down at him, her eyes glassy as she said, "I can't."
"But Rae I—"
"He's dead, Richard," Raven finally said assertively, the weight of his guilt pressing hard on his chest. "Now please," Raven begged, "let me help you."
A heavy tear fell down her cheek as Dick closed his eyes in submission and nodded his heavy head weakly. Raven smiled meagerly at the motion and placed her hands on the bullet wounds. Within moments her black energy began to pulsate through his body, healing him. He could feel the pain begin to burn in Raven's side, her body fighting hard to extinguish it. He hated when she healed him, he knew too well what she went through when she did. How draining it was and how much of herself she gave away when she did it. Yet she didn't care.
Dick lay there on the ground while Raven continued to heal him, his eyes still closed. He tried to open them, but found his lids too heavy. A tired feeling was taking over him like a chill from a cruel wind. 'I lost too much blood,' Dick thought as his head rolled to the left from weakness, his thoughts becoming diluted and less composed.
"At… at least I won't have to…" Dick began.
"At least you won't have to what?" Raven replied, trying to keep his attention.
He could hardly find the strength to finish his sentence, he just didn't have it in him.
"Live with…my… gui…"
"Dick… Dick?" Raven said as panic quaked in her voice. "Damn it! Stay with me!"
He could hear her distantly as though she were miles away. The world seemed to be but one very different plane now. He couldn't feel anything, it all went numb and in that moment, everything went dark.
The room was dark when a light shined down on him in an almost objectifying way. He tried to shield his hazy eyes from the harsh glare, but found little refuge. He was confused as he tried to retrace his steps and recall how he'd even gotten to this strange place. He scoured his thoughts, frantically searching through memories that played like film cuts.
His eyes finally adjusted to the brightness of the light as small minimal specs of dust rose into the air with all their insignificance. There was a loneliness about him now, something he'd not quite felt before, as though he were now truly alone.
"All hail thee, Thane of Cawdor," said a far, but familiar voice, "thou shalt be king hereafter!"
An emptiness fell over him as the voice echoed and faded into nothing but a memory. He looked down toward the ground below him, the light recoiling from its surface. He caught a glimpse of something, a crimson shade resting menacingly on his hands. He raised them to his face and in horror found them soiled with blood. Dismay fell upon him once more as he heard the voice speak again, three shadowy figures standing just out of sight.
"Thou shalt be king hereafter…"
His eyes shot open and he gasped for air, but was caught by a shooting pain in his side.
"Oh thank God," he heard Raven say with a sigh of relief.
He looked to his right to find her at his bedside, a basin filled with water nearby and a bloody cloth in her hand. He relaxed as his dream left him, though it still lingered in his depths.
"I don't think God's too happy with me right now," Dick groaned.
"Well, then it's a good thing you're an agnostic." Raven smiled and placed a gentle hand on his head. "I thought I was gonna lose you."
"Uh, not so lucky, what happened?"
Raven gave him a scolding look as she wasn't amused, "You lost consciousness," she replied, "the bullet hit an artery, I had to bring you back to the tower for a transfusion. The others are out tracking down Kid Wykkyd and securing the crime scene."
He could hear panic freeing itself from her voice as she spoke. Raven worried about all the Titans, but she worried about Dick the most. Probably because she knew him too well and could anticipate his actions before he even knew them himself.
"Rancid?" Dick asked cautiously, fearing the answer of course.
Raven remained silent, but the look in her eyes said it all.
"Fuck," Dick sighed as reality hung heavy over his head like a crown of burden, "I'm a murderer."
His words were defeated and meager as they held the reflection of men he despised and those he loathed from the pit of his soul.
"No, you're not," Raven insisted.
"I killed a man, Raven, that's the definition of murder."
Dick lifted his hand to his face to brush the mess of hair from his eyes, but flinched in horror. Raven quickly noticed his reaction to the dried blood that still clung to his right hand and lightly took it in hers.
"Not when it's self-defense," she said, once again taking the cloth from the basin, attempting to cleanse him of his guilt.
Dick watched as she did so, her touch warm and comforting. He could feel her fear and her concern as it pulsated through her hand and into his. This left him with a disappointment—he wasn't as good as she thought he was.
Raven looked at him, a sympathetic look in her eyes, "You did what you had to."
Dick looked away from her, 'How can she believe that?'
"You're a good man."
An astonished look fell over Dick's face and he quickly looked back her as a small, but honest smile fixed on her face.
"That doesn't change what I did, Rae."
Raven sighed, placing the cloth down as she rose from her chair. She turned from Dick a moment, running her hands through her hair wearily, blood staining her uniform.
"Do you wanna know what I think?" she asked as she turned to him and leaned against a counter.
Dick shrugged, pulling himself upright and nodded for her to proceed.
"I don't think it matters."
He stared at her a moment as a coldness crept into her words, "What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means what's done is done and there's nothing you can do to change it."
"I know that Raven but—What's the Justice League gonna think?"
Raven crossed her arms in frustration and rolled her eyes, "You care too much—I mean who cares about what the League thinks? They're not always right ya' know?" Raven huffed as she began to pace the room. "You're a good man, you were only defending yourself."
"I didn't have to kill him."
"He aimed a gun at your head Richard!" Raven exclaimed with dominance. "He was gonna kill you! It was kill or be killed—Hell, if he'd blown your head off like he wanted to, I would have killed him myself!"
Dick bit his lip as the weight of Raven's words hit him with a cold, but ambiguous truth. Rancid would have killed him—he wanted to. Dick could see it in his eyes as he was a moment away from pulling the trigger. But still, Dick couldn't help but think that there had to have been another way, but was there?
"Raven are you even sorry that Rancid is dead?"
Raven looked over at him from the counter where she was leaning for support, a hardness in her gaze as she took in the words.
"Honestly, no I'm not. Jonny Rancid was a 1%er with a bad attitude and a propensity for hurting anyone who got in his way and nothing would have ever changed that. So no, I'm not sorry he's dead and you're alive."
Dick could feel the emotion that erupted in her voice, a mix of rage, sorrow, pain, fear, worry, and above all, love. Her friends meant everything to her and without them, he wasn't sure what she'd do.
"I know you might think of me as cruel to say something like that Richard, but if I lost you, I don't know what I'd do."
Tears began to form in her eyes and her guard came shattering down from its shackles. Dick carefully rose from the gurney he'd been placed on and removed his IV, feeling a slight sting. He slowly approached Raven and took her in his arm. She placed her tired head on his chest as she no longer had the emotional stamina to hold herself together.
"You really shouldn't be out of bed," Raven said through her tears.
"I think I'll be fine… I mean Rancid couldn't kill—" Dick immediately stopped himself and took a seat on the cot behind him.
Raven sat down beside and pulled her knees to her chest, facing him. She could see his dark thoughts festering, eating away at his pride and his humanity.
"What is it Dick?" Raven asked quietly.
Dick looked at her and sighed, "If I told you something really awful, would you look away from me?"
Dick glanced away at her a moment unsure if what he was about to say was right or even remotely normal under the circumstances, "I'm not upset that Rancid's dead, and I'm not upset that I killed him…" He stopped a moment nearly unable to spit out the words. "I'm upset because I wanted to."
Dick looked back at Raven whose eyes hadn't moved.
"I'm not a good man, Raven."
His eyes grew glassy as the realization began to bare deep into his soul like a parasite. Raven wrapped her arms around him and placed her chin on his shoulder.
"You're not a monster," she whispered looking up at him with her deep violet eyes.
"I feel like one."
She sniffled and pushed her hair behind her ear, "You should really get some rest," she suggested. "We can talk more about this when you have your strength back."
Dick nodded and laid down on the cot. Raven took the blanket in her hand and laid down beside him, pulling it over them. She then wrapped her left arm around his form protectively, unwilling to leave him.
"You're not really related to Kid Wykkyd, are you?"
"Nope," Raven replied dryly.
Dick turned to look back at her, a small, sly smile on her face, "You're a Wykkyd bitch," Dick chuckled for a moment forgetting his dark thoughts.
Raven giggled a little with him, "You know it, Boy Blunder."
The two settled down after that, though it seemed Raven was the only one to really fall asleep. Dick only lay beside her with his mind racing with chatter and guilt that he couldn't seem to bury. He once again lifted his right hand and caught a glimpse of red Raven had missed under his fingernails. He exhaled as his heart fell from his chest and a sick feeling flooded his senses.
'I guess this is what Hell feels like?'
A/N: So what do you think guys, should I continue?