Year One: Sophomore at Sunnydale High (or The Sacrificial Lamb)Summary:
In which demons are demons, and heroes aren't like Billy remembers.Disclaimer:
I don't own: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog; Buffy the Vampire Slayer~~~
A piercing scream echoed through the empty parking lot as half a dozen large shadowy figures dragged a smaller body across the gravel. The small figure scrabbled at the ground, unable to find purchase as he shrieked and cried and begged to be set free. The bodies surrounding him gave no indication that they even heard what he was saying. His fingers tore at the asphalt, nailbeds splitting and tearing as he tried to thwart their progress.
The one dragging the boy tossed him to the floor when they entered the warehouse, and his small body bounced once before lying still on the ground. Blood and grime and tears streaked his face, and he curled upon himself, as though that would protect him from what was to come. Why had he run away from home? Home was a special hell, but now, he was sure that he was going die.
"The god will return," grunted one of the larger creatures and the other ones echoed it in wispy voices.
The boy whimpered as a brilliantly red face came close to his and a large hand closed around one of his ankles. He didn't fight; he had already given up. Instead, he dangled from the creature's hand, crying as he was lifted upside down. The rope binding his feet together was hooked over a piece of metal jutting out of a support column. "Why?" he whimpered.
Nothing like human emotion showed on its face when the creature stepped away, the boy was left hanging in place by his feet. "The god will return," the creature said again, turning and slashing in the boy's direction with a blade. His shirt now hung open, displaying his undeveloped body to the eyes of the creatures. "The god will return, and man will call him Death. We will call him Life."
He began screaming again when the knife pressed into his chest.~~~
Elsewhere, in another time, a man worked in a tiny, lonely lab. He looked a lot like the boy, except that he was perhaps twenty years older, with a hard earned scowl permanently marring his delicate features. His hairline receded slightly, and he kept his hair shorter, more practical than he had at thirteen, an age which he associated with a lot of poor fashion choices, terrible electronics and horrendous health choices. If it had occurred to him to eat properly back then, he mused, he might have grown to be taller. But somehow, it had never seemed to be that important.
Billy despondently poked a broken piece of wire into the crack in the casing of the newly remodeled trans-matter ray. The new model didn't really work any better than the original. It still had the same quirks; he had never managed to get past the everything-turning-to-glop stage. And now, it was broken.
He poked the wire into it just a little bit harder. Sure, it caused him to save a lot of money, and believe it or not, villains really need their money, but it didn't help him make
money; which was kind of what he needed. Oddly enough, being part of the Evil League of Evil wasn't much of a moneymaker, either. Ever since Moist had left (and Billy really did understand, Moist shouldn't have had to put up with him), robbing banks had lost what little appeal it had had to begin with (which wasn't much).
Nowadays, Billy could probably just put on his red coat, walk into a bank declaring that he was Dr. Horrible, and that would be enough: they would bend over backwards to give him the money, and Captain Hammer wouldn't even show up. Instead, Elementia would.
Elementia, who had once been his friend, would show up and threaten him, just like Captain Hammer. Elementia, who he loved like a sister; Elementia, who had been the one to take his virginity (and maybe that's what ruined their friendship?); Elementia, the only person left in the world who he cared about, would threaten his life and limb, just like Captain F-ing Hammer. To be fair, she might not even know that Dr. Horrible was Billy, but the thought wasn't particularly comforting.
It was unlikely that Elementia would even recognize him as the Billy she had gone to college with if he showed up on her doorstep in his civvies. She might recognize Dr. Horrible, though. The Billy she had known had still been a child, not the heartless man that he was now. Back then, even his villainous plans had been naïve and almost sweet. If he were to take over Australia now, it certainly wouldn't be to give as a gift to a beautiful and lonely girl.
Unfortunately, while he was still the perfect villain on the outside, even though he could barely raise a hand to Elementia, he was well aware that he was falling into a rut. Sometimes he wondered if Bad Horse knew this. A clinically depressed super-villain wasn't very useful to have at your side, even if you were Bad Horse.
It certainly curtailed his ability to be brilliant. Billy missed being brilliant. He remembered a time when that was all he lived for. It was an unusual day, anymore, that a truly original thought passed through his head. Ever since Penny's death, Moist's subsequent abandonment and Elementia's taking over Captain Hammer's place as his nemesis, Billy seemed to have lost his passion for being evil, for even being alive.
It took days, weeks sometimes, of determination to do what a few hours of passion had managed for him in the past. He suspected that he'd never get the trans-matter ray to work how he wanted it to, anyway. It would probably work better if he started over again, even though the trans-matter ray was one of his favorite toys. Which brings him back to his current problem; he should probably never lend his tech out to Fake Thomas Jefferson. It always came back messed up.
Billy wasn't sure how Fake Thomas Jefferson did it this time. The man was moving
, for god's sake. It wasn't like he was fighting with anyone from the Council. Billy knew that the trans-matter ray had been being used to clear out trash (one of the primary purposes Billy puts it to); so how the hell did he break it?
The wire caught, and Billy tugged at it irritably. He didn't have time to deal with recalcitrant tech. He shouldn't even be fidgeting with it now. What Billy should have been doing, was sleeping. There was an ELE meeting in the morning, and he was already in hot water as it was; apparently Bad Horse wasn't a fan of his apathy when it precluded teamwork. Bad Horse apparently had no idea what apathy was; for Billy, it meant that he had difficulty caring about anything
, even his own skin, much less teamwork
See, apathy? It's not selective.
He cussed quietly under his breath when a fat spark coursed up the wire and tried to fry his fingers. It would have succeeded if he hadn't been wearing gloves. He jerked hard on the wire and it popped free with a quiet snapping noise. If Billy hadn't been tired, if he'd been in a less irritable mood, he might have been gentler when he shoved the ray back on the table. As it was, he barely had time to gasp when he heard it begin to power up.
His attempt to dart away from it wasn't played quickly enough.
In under a minute, it was as though he'd never been there at all.~~~
When Billy was next aware, the main thing he was aware of was pain. Hot fiery pain, lancing from his ankles, up his shins and into his knees; his chest felt branded and his arms were stretched and pinned, immobile, with something hard and rough. If he tried to move, his wrists hurt more than his ankles. Flexing his fingers proved to be a poor idea. While he didn't remember smashing them all, that's what it felt like had happened. Even his face hurt, though it was a comparatively mild feeling.
It was when he began to calculate the damage that he realized that he wasn't even upright; an odd realization, and not one that was particularly helpful. The fingers, though high on the list of what hurt the most, were probably in actuality a lesser problem. His ankles... that pain could be explained away by the fact that he was upside down. His wrists and his chest were more worrisome. He honestly hoped that his wrists were merely dislocated, no matter how inconvenient that would be; it would certainly be a match for the pain radiating from them.
His eyes slit open to try and survey his surroundings. A nearly empty warehouse greeted his eyes, but there was nothing visible to distinguish it from a hundred others that he had been in. A huge, bright red, half naked body was hacked into pieces nearby; it was a demon of some sort.
Other than the demon, there was what appeared to be a vast array covering the entirety of the warehouse's cement floor. Unless the part that was out of his visual range was hideously malformed, Billy was directly in the middle of it; hanging upside down.
Somehow, Billy was uncomfortable with the idea of being in the middle of an obviously mystic array, drawn in blood (he could smell it), with the dead body of a demon. He also suspected that he was bleeding out, and that didn't seem like a very good idea to do in the middle of a demonic, mystic array. It was starting to look a little like human sacrifice of the interrupted variety.
He wondered how he had gone from quietly working on the trans-matter ray to interrupted human sacrifice. Behind him, a young female voice vocalized extreme displeasure in the form of some mighty foul cursing. He dissected her accent while he tried to work himself up to the idea of speaking to garner necessary attention. Southern California, he decided; she was probably LA born, like himself.
"Finally!" she said, sighing heavily. Her voice grew closer as she spoke. "Now I can check and see if the kid's still alive..."
It had been a long while since someone had called him a kid, he mused, and tried to clear his throat as she came into his sight. She let out another unappealing curse. She was very young; sixteen at most, and very out-of-a-bottle blonde. "You'll be letting me down, I hope?" His voice sounded funky. It was high and reedy, thin in a way that it hadn't been since his voice changed.
Focusing was so damned hard though. There were three possible reasons for this: he had been upside down for too long, and the blood that hadn't exited had gone to his head; he'd been hit pretty damned hard at some point; or (worst option) he had lost too much blood already.
"Of course," she replied vehemently, with a poorly concealed look of amazement, and quickly dragged over a chair that hadn't been where he could see it. "Oh crap," she said breathily. "You need an ambulance. I don't think I could get you down without making things worse..."
His wrists twitched, and there was a painful pull with the motion that brought tears to his eyes, but moving his feet seemed to cause nothing but the prickling of pins and needles to start up in his ankles. "How bad is it?" he asked, morbidly curious. For a moment she did nothing but stare at his chest, which made him suspicious that that was worse than he thought. Then her eyes dropped to his wrists and she turned a fine shade of chartreuse, which confirmed his suspicion that his wrists were the worst of it.
Strange, how difficult he was finding it to focus, however. He was pretty sure that the girl's hair took on the same shade as her skin, and gradually so did the warehouse around her. "You'll be okay," she told him, looking like she was telling him anything but the truth. Which meant...
"You think I'm going to die," he responded in resignation. If there was an ambulance soon, Billy would probably be alright, though. His vision was slowly blackening around the edges. "I won't die," he said, quite certain. If he was going to die, Elementia probably would have been the one to kill him. Captain Hammer had never had the chance, nor the guts.~~~