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 Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]

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Zenaki
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PostSubject: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Fri May 16, 2014 1:04 am

It had been a full year and some change since Washington D.C. had found itself the host of a nuclear war with only three men fighting for the fate of the United States. Carter was mindful of this as he walked down the streets, his hands stuffed in his pockets and the thumb and index finger on his left hand toying with the ring in his pocket. His brown hair whipped in the wind as he walked, very few heads turned to look at him, even fewer of them doing a double take. These people thinking he looked like one of the two heroes who fought the villain Meltdown but the city had seen both Omega and Dusk die to save them.

Even if some people thought he looked a lot like one of the fallen heroes he was no longer the rogue yellow lantern who died, he was now a reborn green lantern. The clouds broke allowing the Sun to make itself known to the masses and light up the grass in the park next to the side walk Carter walked on, a smile played on his face as he thought of the traumatic experiences that had led up to this moment, the death of his family, the fear he had be engulfed in, the claiming by the yellow energy, fighting a nuclear demon, seeing his dead mother brought back to life in a disgusting way, putting her back to rest, dying like she did but taking the majority of America's nuclear missiles with him, the after life and how Entity tried claiming him, his new life, his partner who was struggling in this new life. To most people this would cause them to break down and cry like a baby but not Carter, he died before his time and had been granted a second chance.  

Today the point though wasn't for him to bask in the glory of a second chance but to wake up his zombie like friend who wasn't coping so well now. His friend who had never had a dark thought in him before death, but now was a walking shadow. His friend who he had never doubted morally... until lately, lately he was worried his friend wanted nothing more than to kill himself for some odd reason. The man just barely seemed half alive.

It was his duty though to help his friend and he stopped in front of an empty park bench, a statue of two heroes standing resolute behind him made of bronze. He shook his head when he looked at it before sitting down and waiting for Terry. His left hand came out with his phone, his thumbs flicked over the keys rapidly shooting a text to his friend. Meet me where it all ended. Now.

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PostSubject: Re: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Sun May 18, 2014 3:36 am

Terry laid idly in his bathtub, letting water drip slowly from his soaked hair down onto his tongue. The rusty shower head above him roared with hot rain down upon his naked body. The young man did nothing but stare idly at the tiled wall straight ahead of him as the warm liquid dashed his body. His arms felt stiff like boards. His spine felt as if he'd been smacked with a hammer one too many times. For a moment, he let himself sink into the expanse of the warm waterfall and tried to let it sooth his relentless pain. His gray, misty eyes were half lidded as he couldn't seem to focus on much of anything. The only evident aspect at the time was the persistent droplets that were coming off his wet bangs and down onto his lips. In a feint attempt to be silly, he slid his tongue out to catch the little water spots. It almost brought a smile to his lips, just the way it warmed his mouth.


”Whatchya' thinking about?”


”How I really need a shower... And how I want you to come with me.”


”Oh no no, I see how this pans out.”


”C'mon Terry! My parents aren't even home! And my older brother isn't very perceptive and besides, he's asleep!”


”Amy no! Are you crazy? This is how this exchange goes. Your brother wakes up, knocks on your door to check on you. Hears no response. Checks bathroom. Hears you, but asks where I am since I stayed the night, where would we go from there princess?”


”Princess? Excuse me! You're the one acting like a scared little girl! You're the princess here!”


Terry smiled warmly, settling his hand in the pooling water around him. The drain must have been clogged. It didn't surprise him considering the dump he lived in that scum had accumulated within the pipe. The warm water that was bringing him peace now had begun to surround him, bringing heat to his whole body. It was soothing his aching legs and throbbing arms. Terry slowly clasped his eyes shut and let out a bellowing sigh.


”See? Was that so bad scaredey cat?”


”Will be when we get caught.”


”C'mon Terry! Jeez, you're such a downer! Learn to loosen up and have a bit of fun! What boy, just stands there in the shower with the girl of his dreams and worries himself to death??? You should be enjoying yourself!”


”...”


”Hehe, there's that cute smirk I love so! Now kiss me you big dumb.”



Terry let the water ascend to half way up his hip. He couldn't help but descend into the deepening water level. Heated rain cascaded across the surface, rippling the water into a calming storm. Air drew into his lungs, filling them entirely. He held it there quite some time, taking in the peace and serenity of the sounds around him. When the air escaped his lungs, his eyelids lifted revealing two gray misty eyes. The clouds within them took in the heated rain with much expanse. The showers covered the front side of his body entirely in tiny, interminable drops. The back side of his body was submerged in warm water. It was relaxing to feel such heat and pressure on each side of him.


”Aren't you glad you came in here with me?”


”Well yeah, duh.”


”Oh my, where is this sass coming from Mr. Graves? And wipe that sly grin off your face!


”I'm not being sly. I'm just admiring your face.”


”I had a feeling you were doing that.”


”Oh really? How'd ya' know?”


”Why do you think I've been smiling these past five minutes?”
”Oh... huh.”


”You see there's this thing where I love you, and it makes it where I can't take my eyes off you.”


”Heh... I love you too honey.”


Those cloudy orbs returned to darkness as his eyelids began to slowly descend. The night over Earth, the world around him was plunging into calming darkness. He became familiar with the shadow of night as the heated rain continued to massage his body. A unique focus was granted to him as a state of peace and euphoria drifted over him. The pattering of the heated shower on the pooled water began to ease out of his mind. The massaging feeling of the rain on his skin eroded away. His connection to his body drifted away.. He traveled along this blank abyss, with nothing but his heart and his soul on his back.

”I love you.”


”I love you!”


”What was that Amy?”


”Hehe... I love you!”


”What was that? One more time?”


”... I know you heard me.”


”You got me.. I just love hearing you say it.”


”Heh, fine. I love you Terry. All of you.”


”Haha, I love you too Amy. All of you.”


The darkness before him began to take shape. It formed two high cheek bones, more pronounced. It formed to salmon lips. The shroud drifted into a forward but smaller nose. Dark clouds gave birth to two wild aqua orbs. The drapes of night came to form long curtains of fiery red hair that were never ending. The lips curved in the blackness, forcing the folds of reality to make room for quaint dimples.
A mouth began to form, revealing a bright grin in the middle of the night. The grin began to splash color across the mono-chromed darkness. A fleshy, slightly pale tan began to graze across the cheeks and nose. With each gentle stroke, the features of the face were interwoven together in unity. All aspects that had appeared within the shroud of night began to bind themselves to each other through the painting of the grin. A face cast down from Heaven and brought light to the darkness that consumed the world around them. The rain parted for the beaming smile of the angelic appearance and its benevolent warmth.

”...I miss you...”


A sudden vibration startled Terry, whisking him back to reality. His eyelids shot up as his whole body shifted out of the water. He shot up quick like rocket, splashing the water off his body. Terry snapped his focus straight over to the counter not far away from the tub. Next to the sink, his old busted phone was lit up. It was kind of hard to see from where he was standing, due to the fact that his far sight was slowly deteriorating, but Terry could definitely still make out what the text said.


Meet me where it all ended. Now.




”Can't believe they put me up there. They should tear the damn thing down, I swear. Terry spoke softly, glaring up at the likeness of his alter ego, the now famous, Dusk. He had scarcely made any hint of evidence that he had even approached. Matter of fact, it appeared as if the young man had simply just appeared in that spot where his old friend had been expecting him. It was characteristic of Terry to do so, but it was always without explanation just how he came and went without any trace of how.

The wind whipped and tossed Terry's unruly hair about his face. He looked up, almost disgusted at the bronze look-alike with squinted eyes. A clear grimace had been etched into his face, but it oddly looked calming on him. Perhaps it was that it was so often that one saw Terry with much worse that this seemed like an improvement in comparison. At least his anguish was aimed outward at something else instead of sweltering inside himself. His eyebrows furrowed as he stuffed his signature “X” gloved hands into his pockets. The dirty blond let out a deep sigh and shook his head, letting his long bangs shake about his face.


His attention then turned to his friend, standing there with a world on his mind. It was easy to tell with that deep, far off look in his eyes. The way he was looking at Terry made him suspicious as hell. The whole fact that he didn't even inform him why he'd summoned him was even more evidence to the fact that something was up. Usually, Terry would chalk it up to a villain on the loose or some catastrophe that Carter needed help with. However, on that day, Graves was no fool. Carter's gaze didn't once break his, even when Terry looked elsewhere. The look was stern, but yet concerned. It reminded Terry of what a parent would look at their child like. His mother would give him such looks a lot, particularly towards the time before she couldn't take it anymore and left. When he was that young, he never really understand what she was up to or why she looked at him that way. Now that he was older, he knew that she was concerned how he would fare and feel once she left the family. The looks she had been giving him were ones of true concern and fear for his safety. Now, as he gazed back at his friend, he saw the same look.


It kind of sickened him in a way, just the way he was being observed within that moment. It was like he was some useless dumb puppy who couldn't find a home. Terry had been trying his whole life to avoid that look, that sympathetic pampering look. He'd moved out on his own, gotten his own job, and hell, even saved the whole damn country. Yet, here he was, still getting these looks like he was entirely helpless. It pissed him off.


He didn't know why it truly irritated him. Perhaps it was because it tried so hard to steer clear of the darkness within him. Terry had dedicated his life to being the protector of the world since the incident two years ago. He had demolished villain after villain. He'd saved many more lives than he was capable of counting. Even in his average life, he'd gotten a steady job and saved up well enough to afford a small place of his own. He'd always been striving to outrun these hardships boiling with him and just make something of himself instead of wallowing in his anguish. Terry had always been on to turn his pain into a driving force and do everything in his power to make it work in his favor. Anything but dwell on it really...


He didn't even need to dwell much on it anymore. It just came to him. It haunted him. It mortified him. It stalked him. It hunted him.


But how the hell was pointing it out going to solve anything? He was supposed to be without weakness. No matter how weak he got, he knew he couldn't afford to be that way. The lives of millions stood in the palm of his hands, guided by his protection and care. It was much too costly to let such weakness seep into his heart and corrupt him. He had to fight it and keep it away so he could preserve the lives of everyone around him. He needed to be there if another Meltdown happened, or whatever super villain that came towards the way of innocents. It was his heart and soul to love them all, and protect them.

He couldn't do that with this monster of a feeling tearing him down. And despite all of his courage to protect the world, he knew this monster was getting hungrier and bigger every night. It was tearing at him like a beast locked within a cage. The cage was already rusty and breaking apart, but now this dark evil within him was angry and ready to bring the whole heart and soul down with it.

His visions were becoming better and worse all at once. Some were like the ones in the shower, were he could remember her perfectly and even felt her speak to him from the other side. Others... others were much darker and downright terrible. Imagine his horror finding his beloved standing in a field, but right as he approaches her, he finds that her flawless face has been replaced with a cracked skull. Sometimes he could feel her in the room trying to calm him from these terrible visions. Others, he'd actually hear the two shots that struck her down.


Bang. Bang.
It repeated in his head like a binding metronome.

Bang. Bang.


He could hear it faintly, even there standing next to Carter.


Bang. Bang.


It was those two bullets he'd been trying to stop his whole life.


Bang. Bang.


A fool's dream.


Bang. Bang.


Terry stood in silence, trying to shut out the bullets before his friend would speak.

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PostSubject: Re: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Sun May 18, 2014 10:19 am

When his friend spoke of tearing the statue down he chuckled a bit, "I don't know man, that look on my face is priceless. I look like I'm a Chinese war lord and I'm not even Asian...." He mused. He wanted to see his friend laugh, he wanted this man to smile like he had before the event that ended their first lives, he craved to have a chance to laugh at one of Terry's shitty puns. Anything.

His gaze never broke off of his friend, even when he couldn't take it anymore and had to look away, look at other things as if they were more important than Carter. It was almost as if he was squirming under a stage light trying to find a way out. He stood there while Carter locked onto him, refusing to let go, he watched the uncomfort that was Terry. It was no secret why he asked him to be here, he wanted to pull him out of that dump of an apartment, to make him see what had killed them, and why they were forced back to life.

"I never told you what happened when I died." He muttered, "I had peace for a second, one split second I saw my family's face, I saw the people I loved who were dead and I ran to them and they ran towards me. Then I was pulled, pulled right out of my final peace, denied the right to have rest even after all the work I had put in that led to my death. I was thrown to Apokolips, I wasn't even organic matter. I was a pile of ashes that were pumped full of energy and I was forced to piece myself back together, feeling the pain with each flake of ash as my nerve endings came back to life, every part of my felt like I was cut into pieces, like I was on fire, like every bone in my body was broken, like I was freezing to death, like I was rotting, like I was feeling nothing, like I was feeling pleasure, like I was dead, and alive. I felt everything that nerves make you feel, but all at once and for a prolonged period. When I finally formed back into a living being I was surrounded by things, I was filled with an entity that wanted to possess my body and only stole my soul because it came with stealing my body. I had to fight something so powerful that it called itself the force of life, just like the emotion of fear, willpower, and so on. I won and I became a Green and I was cast back to Earth.

"I thought I was sent back for a purpose at first when I was coming back from nothing, but I was just meant to be a meat bag for a galactic force, I didn't matter. My life wasn't important, my death didn't equate, my deeds were nothing. I was only given a life by a fluke and here I am sitting and looking at my best friend, fuck my only friend, piss away his new life as well. I doubt both of us got our lives back on mistake, I doubt you were pulled away from peace by accident. I never met Amy....
" he said, watching Terry's eyes light up just a bit with there old fire, "But I wish I was lucky enough to meet the girl that made you into the amazing man that you were, and I wish I could tell her you need the crap beat out of you because you're wasting a shot at life. I know nothing of her but I know enough of you to bet that she would be pissed to see you mope around all day and waste the chance we've been given.

"We were heroes that died for this planet and now we're being asked to live for it again, death isn't always an escape for our kind and I know something's put you and me back here for a reason..... something that didn't bring someone else we've neglected back....
" He whispered at the end, thinking of the second reason he had called his friend here, how when he tried to contact the team he got no response which was normal with Ki, she had left after a week never to be heard of again, but now Psi. The energetic fan boy who loved nothing more than to team up with his favorite pair of heroes and almost cried when the chance to join their team was offered.

"I think Psi is dead, I've been looking. I went to Oa to ask people who could find him and I had no luck, I've chased every lead and he's no where to be found. I think we got him killed by not being there and I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty, I'm saying this to wake you up. whatever you're going through you have to realize others need you, I have to realize I can't always try and talk to you. I've been so worried about you doing something stupid like suicide that I didn't look after my only charge and now he's missing or dead. So I'm telling you now, whatever you're going through you need to come to peace with it and realize that many other people will die due to your indecision if you don't." Carter ended, taking a breath after the long speech that he felt wasn't reaching his friend one bit by the far off look in his eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Sun May 18, 2014 11:44 pm

Terry's initial response was to bury his canines heavily into his bottom lip. At first, the sound of his friend's voice came to comfort him. It was nice to hear him speak once more. Hell, it was nice to hear anyone speak to him in a normal time. He'd been far away from anyone and staying away from other people as much as possible. It wasn't necessarily on purpose. Graves had just been drifting away from the population of the world. He just couldn't relate to any of them anymore. The most interaction he got with the outside world were the criminals he'd scare to death every night. His friendly hellos were the screams of the night. His friends were the clouds that hovered above him. His love was the justice he imposed over his city. None of this required friendship or romance. He'd fallen away from the social world he'd once known.

The young man should have known that Carter would have come knocking on his door eventually. He was Terry's best friend of two years after all. It would have been more strange if the persistent Omega suddenly dropped his concern for others. Considering the fact that Terry sometimes found that aspect of him overwhelming, it'd be dramatically odd if after a while of not talking that Carter wouldn't seek his friend out with worry. Graves could only grumble to himself, knowing that it was impossible to avoid his buddy from getting dragged into all this. He was a fool to think that the slippery slope he was on would be simply passed over by the people who care for him. That's why he tried to siphon out a many people from his life as possible. Terry knew of the black cloud that hovered over him at all times. He knew that he carried a dark aura around him that corrupted the joy of others and filled them with worry. However, Carter was ever eager and would never let Terry simply be on his own. The whole way the met was through him using his Lantern powers to force himself into Graves's apartment. What a fool he was to think that this wouldn't attract his attention. Oh, how he wish that was the case though.

A “X” glove came running up through the long wild folds of Terry's dirty blond hair. His bangs stuck out and avoided his face as he let out a deep bellowing sigh. His misty gray eyes became half lidded as he refused to gaze in the direction of his friend. He crossed his arms, tucking them inward and appearing extremely small. He continued to bite his lip harder and deeper by the moment. The pain didn't bother him in the slightest. The wind picked up for a brief moment, tossing his jacket and hair about before dying down.

The park around them was relatively quiet, filled with a lush green grass. The occasional dead leaf still stuck around between the folds of the beautiful fields. These leaves were icons to Terry for he felt just as they did. There were those like Carter the Green, who were imaginative and joyful, so teaming with life that it was overwhelming. This is how most of the world worked, living paycheck to paycheck and floating through life like a wondrous adventure. This, however, was the farthest from how Terry operated. He was the rotten dead leaf within the folds of the grass. He had long expired his ability to feel such expansive life and had fallen to the ground. Only the wind could guide him now.

Terrance exerted a silence that made graveyards sound lively. His expression was entirely stoic. Even mentioning his past beloved, which ALWAYS evoked a response, didn't budge his unrelenting stone face. His focus had been lost in a dark abyss as soon as Carter began to confront him about his distance and anguish. It was a cold day in Hell when Terry didn't respond to the name of his beloved Amy. Carter had used this trick very often, but now it fell upon deaf ears. It was... frightening.

"Psi? what happened to Psi?" He suddenly snapped out of his trance.

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PostSubject: Re: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Mon May 19, 2014 4:34 pm

He stared at his friend in utter disbelief, the man had ignored his whole speech and only keyed in when it came to Psi. "He's dead, I can't find his life signature anywhere on or off world. I'm not done looking for him, not at all but I'm no longer looking for a living body. I'm searching for remains to lay to rest. The point to this is that you've been out of commission for weeks since we've come back and I've been playing baby sitter to you and while I've been so worried about you a team mate, a teen age boy in the prime of his life, died in our name. So this is the point to our talk, I'm not hunting you down and trying to cheer you up anymore but I do need you as my partner still and I need you to help me find Psi. Dead or alive."

He stood up form the park bench, feeling an ache in his lower back that he hadn't felt in a long time. Suddenly he felt a lot older than he had in a long time, older than the time he found his mother brought back into half life from Meltdown's horrid nuclear ability. His eyes sagged and he could feel the bags under them. The hero had been dealing with a lot lately, many sleepless nights of looking for the dead boy named Psi, many fights with men at bars when he had one to many drinks and refused to put his ring on. It was like he wanted to feel something hurt him, he wanted to feel what Psi must have felt. He wanted to hurt so he could punish himself for the ungodly guilt he carried over his inability to look after his one other charge other than Terry.

His shoulders sagged and his head was slightly bent from the weight he was carrying, "I only have one lead for this Terry and I can't do it without you. I need my partner like he needed me against his enemy. Whoever took Psi made this personal and they're not going to be a push over. That kid was powerful. You need to pick if you're stable enough to help me or if I need to find a new right hand man." He said, his tone serious and hard as he looked at his crest fallen companion.

He stood up form the park bench, feeling an ache in his lower back that he hadn't felt in a long time. Suddenly he felt a lot older than he had in a long time, older than the time he found his mother brought back into half life from Meltdown's horrid nuclear ability. His eyes sagged and he could feel the bags under them. The hero had been dealing with a lot lately, many sleepless nights of looking for the dead boy named Psi, many fights with men at bars when he had one to many drinks and refused to put his ring on. It was like he wanted to feel something hurt him, he wanted to feel what Psi must have felt. He wanted to hurt so he could punish himself for the ungodly guilt he carried over his inability to look after his one other charge other than Terry.

His shoulders sagged and his head was slightly bent from the weight he was carrying, "I only have one lead for this Terry and I can't do it without you. I need my partner like he needed me against his enemy. Whoever took Psi made this personal and they're not going to be a push over. That kid was powerful. You need to pick if you're stable enough to help me or if I need to find a new right hand man." He said, his tone serious and hard as he looked at his crest fallen companion. As he spoke he watched a storm cell form around the park, the sky turning from a bright blue hue to the dark gray ceiling covering them now. Leaves shifted in the wind as it picked up, dead and living ones a like were swept up and tossed aside while the forces of nature gathered and mixed together to make what would turn into one of the D.C.'s worst thunderstorms of the year.

When the first drops fell the sky opened up and Carter looked up, chilled droplets hitting his face in rapid succession. He looked back to his partner, the droplets sliding down his face and mixing with a single tear he had shed while looking up, a tear for Psi. " I have one last lead, one lead I didn't even think was important enough but now it's my only shot. The Psy energy user that Psi faced off against in Gotham while we fought those drones. But from that fight something never added up to me, that villain once detained didn't have the back round knowledge to build assets such as the ones he employed and even if he did he had no access to the materials needed. Once that first came up it wasn't hard to understand he was working with at least one other person, but then factoring in the ship itself and how it was built with a different style than the drones there had to have been another partner. But on top of all of those things going back to the materials needed to build the drones and the ship he needed major depots, classified ones, military ones, Stark ones, Wayne ones, S.H.E.I.L.D. ones, ones that he would have no access too. Then when it was all said and done there were major cover ups, government, Stark, Wayne, but when I talked to Wayne and Tony themselves they had no idea their companies were involved and triple downed security measures. The only reason I got so far into all these things, the knowing that other major players were involved due to a set of notes I found at the old bunker." His left hand went into his jacket and pulled out a file with a ziploc bag over it, 'Psi had managed to compel this data while we were out of commission as well as write down a list of possible recruits for us. While we were resting and while I was babying you he was setting the way for a major bust by our organization as well as watch new blood for possible induction. Now he's dead and all we have is his folder.

We owe it to our friend to finish his last mission for him and hopefully find what remains of that boy.
" he said, his voice thick as he held back a sob he felt building. His guilt weighing him more when he thought of the boy sitting alone in the bunker, following leads, watching new heroes to recruit, fighting crime, doing all these things alone until he met something that stopped him. Carter looked to Terry as the rain fell, "This is a call to action Terry, what do you say? dusk and Omega, one more major beat down to protect the planet?

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PostSubject: Re: Ground Zero [Terry/Carter]   Mon May 19, 2014 10:34 pm

Terry's face finally seemed to show signs of acknowledgment to the world about him. His eyebrows furrowed low, inwardly towards his misty gray eyes. An unclenched hand curled and became a tight, shaking fist. His eyes became half lidded, almost a squint.

The droplets of the sky's tears began to dash across his shoulder, the signs of a coming storm. The rage of the world pouring outward into the sky. The proper channeling of the surge cutting through Terrance's gut was the echoing thunder, bellowing displeasement in the distance. Terry's canines dug hard into his bottom lip, tearing into the skin and drawing a bit of blood. As the crimson life began to pour, the rain mimicked the downfall of composure. It couldn't handle it anymore, containing the weight of the world's water for so long. The indigo darkness above them couldn't help but shed the heavy burden it'd been stuck with for far too much time.

Terry licked the blood from his top lip, head slowly raising from its crest fallen position. A firm, unmoving scowl had been paved across his face. Rain was battering his face and hair, dampening both rapidly. An erratic hand ran through the young man's hair as he turned away from his old friend and stomps a few paces backward away from him. He stopped suddenly, standing there for a moment, forcefully tapping his foot. His hands came up to his face, doing his best to remove the wet bangs from his vision. The man's movements were rigid and spastic, emulating the dark energy swirling with him like a violent tornado just begging to tear apart a city.

He did this for several minutes before abruptly cutting off such movements. The long haired man stood with his head suddenly to the sky. The waterfall from the sky came to bash his face as a slight chuckle murmured from his throat. The sound was hoarse and broken. It didn't stop it from getting louder, gradually turning into a quick cackle.

”Babysitting... Babysitting huh?” he quipped, suddenly breaking his laugh with soft speech. Terry's head turned slowly, revealing his profile back to Carter. He used his right hand to angrily smack his left hand, trying to distract him from the power building within him. The energy was rising like static in the sky. Lightning was ready to strike and Terrance was the thunder to its aggressive cause. He tried using the physical pain he was using to distract him from this empowering feeling bubbling within his gut.

Terry tried biting on his lip harder, drawing more blood. He tried smacking harder, trying to leave a bruise. It wasn't helping. It wasn't venting any of his nerve racking turmoil. The dam was being broken down and Terry could feel the oncoming onslaught of the flood. He wanted to beg Carter to run, to just get away from him before he did something he regretted. However, something deep within himself knew that if he told no one, if he never vented about his feelings, they would stay deep within himself and rot him from the inside out. The end would justify the means.

Terry turned on his heel with a growl.

”Out of my commission? Do you honestly think I've just been sitting on my ass Carter? Do you even know me anymore? Are you f*cking kidding me??” he snarled, turning fully to his friend with a wild look in his eyes.

”I've been at home! I've been at Detroit, cleaning the streets and teaching them fear again! The hospitals are filling up with the cretins who think they control MY streets. What fools. They try to have their gang warfare but they are turning away from the real battle, the real war. The war is Dusk vs. The World and I am defeating the dark underbelly, Hell; I am slaughtering them. I am a hound of Justice with just a sliver of mercy to invoke terror in the hearts of any idiot brash enough to think they could get by with crime in MY town! MY CITY!”

Terry stood back a moment, as if trying to collect his composure, fearing his word would anger his friend. He tried to step away, physically walk away from the situation. His eyebrows began to lessen and his fists unclenched. His breathing had become erratic and rapid, but he seemed to be trying to steady it.

But within a single look back at his friend, he remembered the audacity of his words, bringing the flood right back.

”What? So I've been on my ass now just cause I wasn't helping the WORLD cause? I wasn't part of the SuperFriends so now I'm just a lazy f*ck? I'm sorry as hell about Psi, and I will find him. You have my word on that. But... Don't you dare, don't you even dare for a second begin to tell me that I've just been lounging around. That I need to be babied by you or anyone. Don't you dare use that as a weapon against me. I sure as hell never asked for it. Nor do I ever expect it. I am a man and I can handle myself,”

The rain was in full flood now, assaulting the round below it. Water was hitting the pavement with such velocity that it was bouncing back up a bit. Lightning tore across the sky like a thrown knife through the darkness. It cut the sky with a violet light that lit the ground below. Thunder bellowed like a church bell at a funeral, casting a shroud of heaviness across the world around them.

The rain began to batter Terry's hair, dampening it into a stringy mop. His long black jacket was getting darker the more the rain soaked it. Steam began to roll up off of Terrance, the heat from the intensity of emotions being so strong that it was adversely affecting the rain on him.

Oddly enough, the opposite effect was happening as well.

Terry was breathing hard and quickly, casting a cold fog out of his mouth despite it being much too warm for such a thing to happen. It was easy to spot that the rain around him began to freeze upon getting close to him. Little orbs of hail were accumulating at his feet. The X gloves grasped his arms as the air around him began to become drastically cold. He began to shiver a bit as the hail smacked against his body.

”Every night... Every night...,” he started in a low murmur, head gazing down at his old, worn converse. His shivering became hampering as began to shake. It didn't seem to be because of the frigid aura around him anymore. His head slowly raised, focused eyes glaring out at Carter from beneath his long bangs.

”Every night I bust my ass! EVERY NIGHT! I'm out, EVERY NIGHT CARTER! Are you looking at me right now? I become Dusk EVERY NIGHT to keep the streets of MY city safe! Safe for them! Then I get pulled aside, told I'm not good enough. That I've failed. I HAVEN'T failed! I've NEVER failed! It wasn't MY fault she died. It NEVER was. But I'll be damned if I let something like that EVER happen again on my watch. I have watched every street corner in that f*cking town. You know what the FBI says? It says that Detroit was the 3rd most dangerous city in the United States to live in. You know what I say? I say I busted my knuckles. I say I beat every single one of those scum into the ground. You know what they say now? Detroit is down to the 5th most dangerous city in the US to live in. I'm making headway. I've made progress and I don't plan to stop. I've saved more lives than I can count. These are MY people. MY family. It's MY duty to protect them. I owe it to them... I owe it to Amy... To make our childhood home a good place to live in again.”

Terry breathed out heavily, reaching for the air he had expended.


”I will find Psi. With you. Just please... Don't say that again.”

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