July 24, 2008

Today's the day, guys. I've got my freeze ray fixed up. My head's… finally stopped throbbing from that car on the bridge. I'm taking down Captain Hammer, once and for all. I won't make the same mistake as last time though. I'll wait to publish this until it's all over. Once I'm in the Evil League of Evil, she won't be able to resist me. I'll hand her the keys to Australia, or wherever she wants, and we'll rule the world together. There's no time for mercy. This… this is the only way to get everything I've been working for for all these years, everything I ever… For those of you who care… this will probably be my last blog entry. The League won't let me keep this up. It's been a joy to read all of your letters-well, mostly. So this is Dr. Horrible-signing off for the last time. Peace out, dudes. Well, not literally.

"It's gonna be bloody, head up Billy Buddy, there's no time for mercy… Here goes no mercy!"

Dr. Horrible hefted up his Death Ray, finger on the trigger, a split second from firing. Then, a strangled whir sounded behind him. "That's not a good sound…"

Whack! Captain Hammer punched him in the face, sending the Doctor skidding over the floor and clear across the room. There was a heavy thud as the so-called "hero" hopped off the stage and picked up the dropped Death Ray. He held it up and walked towards Dr. Horrible, pinning him down with his boot and smirking.

"A Death Ray!" he said. "Look's like Dr. Horrible's moving up. Let's see if this one works any better than your others."

"Don't-" Dr. Horrible gasped, seeing the red sparks flying from the damaged ray.

"I don't have time for your warnings! You give my regards to Saint Peter-or whoever has his job, but in Hell."

Fear raced through Dr. Horrible as the ignorant Captain Hammer pulled the trigger. A sudden blast of red energy pulsed outwards and threw his arch nemesis back. The weapon had exploded, sending deadly shards shooting out in every direction.

For a moment, the room was silent. Onlookers peeked up over their chairs, eyes wide with trepidation. Captain Hammer groaned, stumbling to his feet and shooting a glare in Dr. Horrible's direction. The Doctor coughed, clearing the dust from his lungs as he struggled to his feet.

"Ah, you had one last trick up your sleeve, didn't you, Doc? Well, now you're done. Captain Hammer's gonna make you cry for your mama!"

From the side of the room, Penny finally managed to take in a breath of air. The Death Ray shards had missed her by inches, embedded into the wall just next to her. Dust was making her eyes water, and she blinked away the blurry vision in an attempt to see what was going on. Blood had been pumping so quickly through her veins this whole time that she was finding it difficult to hear. But then, she saw Captain Hammer lift Dr. Horrible up by the front of his lab coat and deliver a punch directly to his face, matching the first. A knee went to his gut, again and again, until, with finality, Captain Hammer threw the beaten and bloodied Doctor out the doors and into the street just as the police arrived on the scene.

Hypnotizing red and blue lights covered the street. Officers swarmed out of their vehicles and moved in on Dr. Horrible, quickly securing him in handcuffs and taking him away. Captain Hammer turned to look at Penny, a winning smile on his face, and she returned it happily. Dr. Horrible was gone, defeated by the city's greatest hero! She couldn't wait to tell Billy what had happened. After all, she'd need to vent to someone after all the stress from this night.

Repairs to the new Caring Hands Shelter began almost immediately, and Penny dove into the work with zeal. It was refreshing to finally have a job and not just be floating around. The homeless were so kind to her, constantly thanking her for everything she'd done, and she took their thanks with great modesty. She was always happy to give help to anyone who needed it.

It was only when she returned to the Coin Wash that she found herself upset. Billy wasn't there today. And he hadn't been there last week either… where was he? Trying to stay optimistic, she ate her frozen yogurt and kept the lid on his as she waited for her laundry to finish. The next day, she returned, and still no luck. He had to come in sometime, didn't he? Maybe he was avoiding her! But why in the world would he do that?

Frustrated and upset, Penny worked the rest of the day at the Caring Hands Shelter and then returned home, in desperate need of sleep. She'd been working almost nonstop the past three days, and it was really starting to get to her. With an exhausted huff, she fell back onto her bed and almost instantly fell asleep.

Penny's night was not as restful as she had hoped it would be. She found herself back in the homeless shelter, watching as Captain Hammer held the Death Ray to Dr. Horrible's face. Only this time, when it exploded, two sharp hunks of metal impaled themselves into Penny's chest and abdomen. She gasped quietly, struggling to breathe as blood poured out from her wounds. She slid down to the floor, hands over her belly in a vain attempt to stop the bleeding-but it was hopeless. She heard Captain Hammer crying in pain, wailing for his mother, for someone maternal, and she watched blearily as he fled out the door and left her alone.

Dr. Horrible threw his head back in bone-chilling laughter, his goggles glinting evilly in the light. Terror gripped Penny's chest as he approached her, and then she saw Billy's face.

"Nonononono," she choked out. "It's not you. Captain Hammer will save us-"

"Shh, Penny," Billy said, his voice cold and cruel. His eyes bore into her own, filled with an impossible darkness. "It's all gonna be… all… right."

And then he ripped the metal out from her abdomen and drove it into her throat, laughing as he did so. Penny watched in horror as her own blood spattered across Billy's face, and then she woke up, screaming.

"Billy…" she panted, sweat drenching her sheets, adrenaline coursing through her veins. "Where are you?"

Dr. Horrible cried out in agony as he collided with the asphalt, rolling several times before coming to a stop. His lab coat was drenched in blood, and a scarlet streak marked his path across the street. Weakly, he tried to get back onto his feet, to get away, but could only manage to get up onto his knees. Police had him surrounded within moments. Captain Hammer watched him victoriously from the doorway of the Caring Hands Shelter, chest puffed out with pride.

Cold handcuffs encircled his wrists, and he was only half-aware of the officer reading him his rights as he was dragged into the back of a cruiser, still bleeding, still in excruciating pain. The next few hours were a blur. He was administered brief medical treatment. He went in front of a jury at one point and was declared criminally insane. No one knew his real name. Billy was just an alias. He was a ghost to the world. He had no prints, no birth certificate, nothing real of any sort. And now, he was lying on a hospital bed in an empty room, hooked up to an IV, strapped down, and staring at the ceiling. His heartbeat monitor beeped steadily. The window had bars across it, a tall electrified fence outside surrounded the entire building. A single camera glared down at him from the corner of the room, its beady red light unblinking.

Then, a woman entered the room. She had short, straight black hair, cow-brown eyes, and rectangular glasses. A clipboard rested between her hands, and she looked down at it for a few moments before speaking.

"Dr. Horrible. Or should I say… Billy? Which do you prefer?"

Dr. Horrible remained silent, numb to the world around him. He gazed blankly at the woman's face.

"I'm Dr. Wonderful." Silence. "Kidding. Call me Dr. Shepherd. I'm here to help you."

A clock ticked on the wall. Dr. Horrible's eyes flicked towards it, now focused entirely on the slowly moving hands. "Where am I," he said quietly.

"This is the Sunny Days Mental Hospital. You were put here instead of in a real prison due to the fact that you have several mental disorders which certainly played a role in your becoming Dr. Horrible."

"So you're saying I'm crazy," Dr. Horrible said, finally giving Dr. Shepherd his full attention.

"I'm saying that you have a long list of severe mental disorders, the greatest of which being schizophrenia. You're not crazy. Nobody's crazy. There are just people who need help, and you're one of them."

"Yeah, you're saying I'm crazy. Whatever fancy terms you guys use here, I don't care. I'm Dr. Horrible, I can handle it."

"Or are you Billy?"

"I'm both. Is that too hard to understand? You don't question your superheroes for having alter egos."

"The thing is, Billy and Dr. Horrible are not the same person. You get that, don't you? When you put on that costume, you become an entirely different person. Not just visually, but mentally as well. You become the villain who's hated and feared by all of Los Angeles. But Billy? Billy is innocent. Billy's the one who looked after his mother when she lost the house, who looked after his brother when he got cancer. Billy is kind, passionate, and sympathetic."

"Billy's weak," Dr. Horrible growled suddenly, spitting the words out. "He's a joke, a dork, a failure. He has no dreams, no aspirations. All he wants is to be happy. Happy isn't good enough! He-I need fame! I need to be known, to be feared by everyone, I need power!"

Dr. Shepherd took a step back at the Mad Doctor's outburst, and he seemed just as surprised.

"Sorry," he apologized, a sudden softness taking over his face.

"Who's sorry? Billy?"

A feeling of anguish overtook him, and Billy let his head fall back onto the pillow. "I-I'm both. I'm both…"

"Go to sleep, Billy. I'll come back later when you're feeling better, okay? Take it easy."

Dr. Shepherd exited the room and left Billy-no, Dr. Horrible!-to his thoughts. All he could think about was getting revenge on Captain Hammer. That idiot had taken away his last chance to become a member of the Evil League of Evil. Now, he had nothing to give Penny. Nothing! And worse, he was stuck here in this stupid mental facility. He wasn't crazy! He was mad, sure, but crazy? He couldn't be. Only normal people could go crazy, not him. He was Dr. Horrible, Ph.D. in Horribleness! With his mind and his skill, he would get surely Penny back. But first, he had to get out of this place. He didn't belong here-he wasn't crazy. He wasn't!