"Hell is closed but Gotham is open?" I read the graffiti sprayed over the sign that welcomed people to Gotham city. A sprawling metropolis that looked like it was the unholy experiment gone wrong between gothic architecture and modern buildings, with a splash of steampunk thrown into the mix for funsies. It looked like a city that had absolutely no idea what it wanted to be and the city planners were all trying to do their own separate thing. But, standing above the rest of the skyline was a building that displayed a single word in bright white neon light - Wayne.
I sucked in a deep breath as my feet carried me towards hell. Or Gotham. But calling it hell was probably fair too. The main highway was a patched over mess, the paint lines faded, but still, people drove in and out of the city. I've long since abandoned the idea of trying to hitch a ride and there wasn't much of a point since I was already at the city's gates.
Not a moment too soon either. The sky was darkening as the sun dipped below the horizon while clouds heavy with rain swirled overhead. It wouldn't be long before it started pouring cats and dogs, at night no less. In a shithole like Gotham City.
"Ah… this is dumb," I told myself not for the first time as my hands reached into my pocket to take out a slip of paper. Like an hour ago I found myself in a new universe. Which was a thing. Not sure what kind of thing, but it indeed was a thing. A thing that happened to me. If it was a good thing remained to be seen. I unfurled the paper once again and read it as if the words would have changed in the last five minutes.
Go left for greatness. Go right for safety.
Apparently that fork in the road was the highway that would either take me to Gotham City or Metropolis. Left was Gotham. Right was Metropolis. And given which city I was walking into, it should be pretty obvious what my answer was. After all, who didn't want to be great?
"I have no money, only the clothes on my back and I don't exist in this universe so I won't have a valid ID…" Yeah, this was a really stupid idea. But one I was committed to.
Refolding the slip of paper and tucking it back into my pocket, I continued into the city. I eyed the tall skyscrapers that seemed so much more imposing than they did in my home city. I stepped onto a broken and cracked sidewalk and felt like I had crossed a threshold, a point of no return, and only then did it really sink in what I was about to do. Mostly because I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
Especially in a city like this. Gotham looked rough from a distance but that was nothing compared to seeing it up close. Pieces of trash littered the road, the few people that walked on the sidewalk looked nervous as they moved with a sense of urgency to not be on the streets. The cars that were parked on the side of the road looked rough as well with chipped paint, dents and cracked glass on top of being old - the kind of cars you left out on the street because you were too poor to afford a safer parking spot or you didn't care what happened to the car.
Which was fair enough. Who drove in a big city other than taxies?
I reached the end of the block, taking in a deep breath of smog and overflowed sewage as I scratched at my cheek and looked around. Right. Now, how exactly did I go about meeting Batman? Do I just walk up to the Wayne Manor, knock on the door and pour my heart out? Stand around and wait for the Bat-signal to light up the sky? Try to cause enough trouble that he comes to me and then I explain the situation?
Releasing that deep breath as a sigh, I shook my head. What guarantee did I have that Batman would help me at all? He could flat out not believe me and toss me in Arkham, or he could be a raging asshole like he was in Batman #1 The Boy Wonder. Not only that, I couldn't imagine me showing up on his front door, revealing that I knew his secret identity would exactly endear me to him.
Until I knew more, I couldn't put all my chips on him helping me. Not when I didn't know anything about him. It was up to me to help myself.
I turned to a man walking towards me, his hands tucked into his coat. Not sure why he was wearing one, but I could hardly comment when I had a phase when I refused to wear anything but pants, long sleeves and a hat. "Hey, could you-"
"Fuck off," He dismissed me as he walked by without giving me a second look. My lips thinned as I forced myself to count to three before I started walking in the opposite direction. A woman was next, but she was eying me like I was a shark with her hand in her bag. I passed her by without asking her because I didn't want to get a face full of mace.
Another man walked down the street, his expression haggard with bloodshot eyes with black bags underneath them. I offered a friendly smile as I approached, "Hey, would you be able to point me out to a pawnshop nearby?" I asked, making him blink as he took me in.
He scratched at his cheek before he turned and pointed down the sidewalk we were on. "Yeah, there's Blakes nearby. Just take a left at the end of the block, and it's at the corner two blocks down. You should be able to see it, but I think they close soon," he said. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet before he passed a twenty over to me. "Don't spend it on beer, okay?"
I looked down at the twenty-dollar bill for a moment before I accepted it, my pride rebelling at the thought of accepting a handout the entire time. But I was too broke to afford pride.
I offered him a smile, memorizing his face because as soon as I could, I was going to pay him ten times over for this. "Thank you so much, and you don't have to worry about that. Not old enough to drink," I reassured, making the man let out a small huff.
"Like that's ever stopped anyone," he commented before he nodded at me. "Take care of yourself," the man said before he continued on his way while I held the twenty dollars in a death grip, unwilling to so much as put it in my pocket because it could fall out.
I took in a steadying breath and I only realized that I never got the guy's name. That didn't matter. Even if I had to hunt him down to the ends of the earth, I was going to pay him back for that act of kindness. No matter what, as soon as I got mine, I would make sure that he got his due. No matter what. Period. Exclamation mark.
But it sure stung I looked desperate enough that the guy just handed me a twenty when I just asked him for directions.
"Right," I said, shaking my head to clear my thoughts about my wounded pride. He said that the pawnshop was about to close for the night? Then that meant that I didn't have much time. I broke out into a jog and it didn't take long until I felt myself grow breathless. I wasn't out of shape, just not particularly in shape. There wasn't time to go to the gym anymore, and I had never been one for cardio.
Blake's was an inner-city pawnshop if I had ever seen one. Iron bars covered the glass to make sure that the merchandise stayed inside, while a faded yellow canvas hoop used to keep the rain away was marked with 'Blake's' in cursive red letters. I caught my reflection in the mirror and I quickly looked away as I yanked the door open.
My too pale skin was flushed a splotchy red from the run. I had always been scrawny, but an additional ten pounds lost left me looking skeletal. My usually short black hair had needed a haircut months ago, and now it looked like a mop. Add that to my faded red shirt with a few holes in it from the wear and tear, I… I looked like someone who needed twenty bucks.
Pushing the thought out of my mind, I stepped inside the pawnshop. The carpet was a dull gray, and the walls were painted a soft yellow, with one wall used as shelf space for various items locked behind a glass sliding door. On the other side was a long L-shaped counter made of more display cases, the contents ranging from phones to DVD players, to jewelry and knives.
"Can I help you?" The man behind the counter greeted me, leaning on the counter as he sent a practiced retail smile at me.
"I was hoping to pawn a phone - it's mine," I quickly explained as I pulled it out, unlocked it and revealed a screen filled with apps. I had dozens of the things, from time waster games, to gimmick apps that I used once then never used again, and others. It took me a moment, but I pulled up a photo to show him, a picture of a much healthier looking me. Showing him the screen, I shifted through a few photos to confirm that it was my phone and I thankfully didn't scroll by any dick pics. However, the pawnshop owner, Blake apparently, frowned at it.
"That's not a brand I recognize," he commented before I passed the phone over to him. I was momentarily confused before I realized that Apple wouldn't be a thing here. The equivalents were probably Wayne or Luthor something. "Looks well made," he mused, testing the screen's responsiveness before he flipped it over, checking the back for scratches. There weren't any.
His gaze flicked over to me, taking in my appearance for a moment, "I can give you… thirty bucks for it. People want used brand name phones, not well-made knock offs." He explained why he was lowballing me. I know it was his job, but that phone was stupidly expensive and that's why I took care of it religiously.
"How about fifty?" I shot right back at him, trying to get as much money as I could. Because, at the end of the day, the phone was worthless. It wasn't even able to connect to wifi or create a hotspot, much less connect to satellites for a phone signal - it was literally useless. Any amount of money I could get for it would be an improvement. The pawnshop owner looked pensive for a moment before he shook his head.
"Fifty is what I would offer for a recent X-phone. I can go up to thirty-five," he shot my offer down.
"Call it forty?" I fired right back at him again, knowing how this game worked. I gave more ground than him, and he would only be spending an additional ten bucks. Blake looked at the phone, then at me for a moment, a picture on the screen before he nodded.
"Call it forty," Blake agreed, sticking out a hand that I clasped firmly. Handshakes were weird. I never knew how tightly I was supposed to shake someone's hand. But he didn't seem to mind or care if I shook his hand with too much desperation. I was practically jittering when he went to the till, printed out a receipt, and an additional forty bucks.
"Thank you," I told him as I tucked the money and the receipt into my sock. It felt a bit weird, but even if someone stole my shoes, they wouldn't get all the money that I had. My gaze lingered on a knife that he had on display, only for the price tag to chase me off. As much as I would like a weapon, I'm sure I could find something that would fit the bill nicely somewhere else.
Stepping out of the pawnshop, I let myself smile a bit. This wasn't going too poorly. I already had about sixty bucks. Provided I spent it on nothing else, that was plenty of ramen noodles to fill my stomach. I would have to eat them dry, but with a plastic bag, I could crush them up and sprinkle the seasoning on it. It was doable.
Though I still had one major problem, I thought as I turned my attention upwards to the darkening sky above. The street lamps were on, and the countless lights of the city were as well. Nighttime was closing in on Gotham City, and if comics could agree on anything, the night belonged to criminals and Batman. Meaning that sleeping on the streets was the absolute last possible thing I would want to do.
So, it was a question of did I try to find some nook to huddle up in for the night, or did I spend the little money that I had on a motel? The few bills tucked into my sock felt like they were made of lead rather than paper, making each step incredibly difficult to walk down the sidewalk that had decades of old gum stuck to the surface.
My lips thinned as I realized I already knew the answer to that question. After the sixty bucks was gone, what would I do then? What was my source of income? Get a job? With what ID? With what clothes? Steal? In Batman's city? I like my legs not broken and my brain not turned into mush. Collect cans and try to turn them in? Begging? Hitting every vending machine and arcade for loose quarters?
I had to act as if I was never going to see another penny for the rest of my life. So, with that thought in mind, it became increasingly clear that I needed a safe place to bunker down. A place where I wouldn't be found by the cops or any criminal wandering by. Sleeping on the train, or at a park bench were out. Too exposed. Too dangerous. And that was back home, who knows what kind of messed up stuff happened to the homeless in a city like Gotham?
Pretty much in every single horrible experiment that was done by some mad man was done on the homeless precisely because no one gave a shit about them if they went missing. We, I suppose.
I needed… someone that could take me to a community where someone would at least notice if I suddenly disappeared.
I needed a friend.
College taught me a lot in the brief time I was there. Most importantly, it taught me a lesson that I had spent eighteen years not knowing. That lesson was how to start a conversation. To just walk up to someone and start talking. It sounded stupid but that was a life-changing lesson to someone who spent most of their life being a hardcore introvert/socially awkward.
The secret was to bring them something that they wanted and use it as an icebreaker. For college students in a fraternity, the thing that they coveted most was beer. Or pizza. Or vodka if you wanted everyone to be your best friend for the night. There was still the issue of following up with an actual conversation, but the hardest part was taken care of.
For homeless people in a dumpster fire of a city, I used my limited funds to buy two things - cupped noodles and beer. It cost me ten bucks, but it would be well worth it if I got a place to keep my head down and not worry about some mad scientist kidnapping and experimenting on me.
By the time I left a supermarket, night had fallen on Gotham city and I noticed something as I stepped outside. With each breath I took, I could see a cloud of fog. Meaning that it was cold enough that I could see my breath, but I didn't even feel a chill wearing nothing but a t-shirt. And I had no idea what that meant for me. Unless I had gone hypothermic in about two seconds, then I should at least feel the cold.
Or maybe my isekai superpower was not feeling cold? Knowing my luck, I would find myself homeless in another universe with the most useless superpower ever.
I let out a sigh as I started walking, the paper bag clutched in my hands held protectively to my chest crinkling with every step. Walking down the sidewalk, I eyed everyone that passed me by with the same amount of suspicion that they sent at me. I would have thought that the only people that would be out and about would be gangbangers, monsters, and other criminals. Yet, there were plenty of normal-looking people.
If slightly twitchy as they rushed to their destination.
I ended up finding mine down the block, a source of light emitting from an alleyway between two rundown looking buildings. Given that more than a couple of street lamps were busted out and everyone inside had learned the value of blackout curtains, it might as well have been the sun for how much light it produced. I walked towards it, hearing the sound of people laughing and chuckling around a fire in a barrel drum.
Three older looking men - salt and pepper in their beards, their hair either shaved down or tucked underneath a hat, while they wore thick canvas jackets that looked like they had seen some hard use. Naturally, they fell silent when the center one saw me step into the alley, making all three of them stare hard.
"Mind if I share your fire?" I asked, holding up a six-pack. The guy that gave me the twenty was right - being underaged had never stopped anyone. Especially not in a city like this. The three men shared a look for a moment before the center one gave me a wide grin.
"Welcomed to it," he said, gesturing to the fire. A knot of tension melted away from between my shoulder blades as I grinned back and started peeling off cans of beer. "Names Jack," the center one introduced himself before he gestured to the other two, "Bill and Tony."
I was in a new universe and my name was about as boring as they came. So far, this isekai adventure had been pretty not fun, but there would be a silver lining. Even if I had to make it myself.
"Vergil," I introduced myself before reaching into the paper bag. "And I have these if you have a way to boil some water," I continued, holding up the cupped noodles. They were hardly gourmet, but they were a step above the usual cheap trash food. The three men shared another look before one of them nodded.
"Yeah, I've got a kettle. You three wait here and I'll go grab it," Bill said before he started wandering down the alleyway in the direction of where he stayed.
"Rather generous of you, Vergil," Jack remarked, trying to sound casual about his suspicion. And he was. If I didn't expect him to be as suspicious as all hell, I wouldn't have guessed that he was.
"I'm new in town," I explained, as I folded up the paper bag and tucked it into my back pocket. You never knew what you would need until you needed it, after all. "So, I figured I should meet some friendly faces while I could."
Jack perked up, "Where are you from?" He questioned as we both warmed our hands by the fire. Well, he did at least. I could feel the warmth of the fire, but nowhere near as intense as it should be. Meaning that I was also somewhat immune to heat. Not sure if that translated into being fire immune, but the only way to test that was no way to test it.
"New York," I answered. New York, Metropolis, and Gotham were sister cities that worked on a sliding scale of awful. Gotham was naturally the ugly sister, New York was the decent looking sister and Metropolis was the hot one.
Jack nodded at that, and I'm guessing he was the de facto leader because Tony was already moving onto his second beer. "Yeah, I can hear your accent. Most of our kind have been coming from Metropolis for a while now," he commented, making Tony scowl.
"Fucking Lex Luthor," he cursed the name like it was venom. Jack saw my expression of confusion and explained.
"Having a bunch of bums like us doesn't sell the image of the city of tomorrow, now does it? Lex Luthor has been making it impossible for homeless people to live in Metropolis. The mayor couldn't be more of a puppet even if Luthor's hand was literally up his ass, so whatever bill Luthor wants passed gets passed. From harsher vagrancy laws to putting up spikes wherever someone gets caught sleeping… well, the long and short of it is that the reason why Metropolis doesn't have any homeless is because we've all moved to Gotham."
"That's…," I trailed off, my lips tugging into a frown as Jack shrugged.
"It is what it is," Jack dismissed before he nodded at me. "But what brings you to Gotham? I can't imagine this place is any better than New York City," he questioned, fishing for information. Luckily, I had an answer prepared for that question.
"Basically? I'm trying to make the most of my fresh start. Lost whatever I had back home, and didn't have any money saved up. So, I figured with nothing holding me down I could start over in a new city. Make my break, you know?" I explained, clenching my fingers as my gaze found itself staring at the flames, feeling… ashamed, for a lack of a better word. At the end of the day, the forces that put me here were wildly out of my control and I was left cleaning up the mess left behind by others.
It wasn't my fault. None of it was. But, regardless of whose fault it was, I was left standing by a barrel fire in the middle of an alleyway.
"Shit," Jack muttered with a shake of his head, deciding not to pry deeper into the subject. I was thankful for it. "Well, you're young. You'll bounce back," he reassured.
"If you live through the winter," Tony remarked, gesturing to me with his beer. "Do you even have a jacket?" He questioned, his eyebrows drawing together. Despite the words, the tone he spoke them with was one of concern. I probably didn't need one, but I didn't volunteer that information. Just like I didn't mention that all that I had was a phone that I pawned off for some quick cash.
Jack and Tony seemed like decent people, but so did everyone else until money got involved. From pennies to billions.
"I don't. It's… a very fresh start," I admitted. All I had was the clothes on my back now. And that was a sobering thought. Jack and Tony shared a look at that, prompting me to change the subject. "So, are there any spots I should stay away from?"
"Cauldron. Just… all of it," Tony replied instantly. "Stay away from parks too. Wayne set up these benches that can become a bed for guys like us, but if you sleep in one you'll be robbed of everything before you wake up. If you wake up."
"The docks are fine during the day if you want to do some fishing but stay the hell away during the night. Mobsters do business there and if you see anything then that makes you a loose end. Crime Alley is a hit and a miss - The Doctor's clinic is there. She gives out free healthcare, but the gangs are fighting again, so only go there if you need to," Jack stressed.
"And if you're going to try begging or street performing, then don't do it in central square. There's a group there that doesn't like others edging in on them, and those assholes have enough money to hire a gang to mess your day up," Tony continued the barrage of advice. "Also, if you ever get arrested for some bullshit, then ask for Jim Gordon. He still might toss you in jail, but he'll listen and give you a fair shake before he does."
That was a nice segue, "What about Batman?"
"Eh," Jack shrugged his shoulders. "He's around, I'm sure. Him and that whole flock of his," he added. So the bat family was a thing. Good to know. Still, that didn't settle my worries that Batman could be a raging asshole that wouldn't help me. Simply because I had absolutely no idea which DC comics I was in. Was I in Injustice? Silver Age? Golden Age? Or maybe I was in one of the negative universes that were all various shades of awful? I didn't know yet and I wouldn't approach until I was certain I was dealing with a version of Bat Dad.
"But most don't care for him much. He's ruined a bunch of lives," Jack continued, making me worry and it must have shown. "Not everyone is a criminal because they want to be. Sometimes folks don't have a choice. Then Batman comes in, breaks their legs. The hospital charges them out the nose, and they were desperate already. So, they end up on the streets. And they stay on the streets."
"I never thought of it like that," I admitted. I was a fan of comics for years now, and every time Batman broke someone's face, I just assumed that they were a bad guy and that they had it coming. Or Bruce Wayne would use his fat stacks of cash and stealthily pay off their medical bills. Or something.
There was the argument that being desperate didn't excuse committing crimes, possibly ruining innocent lives for a quick buck… but, honestly? Right now, I didn't put much stock in that argument at the moment. And I doubted that Jack or Tony would either.
"Most don't," Jack said with a sigh, telling me that story might have come from personal experience.
"Ahhh!" Tony sighed, finishing off his second beer. "That hit the spot," he muttered before he looked at Jack's unopened can almost longingly. When Jack didn't offer it, Tony looked at me, "So, if you just arrived, I'm guessing you don't have a place to stay?"
My hopes soared with the change of topic, "No, I don't. I was probably going to find some quiet place to pass out for a few hours." I told them, making Tony look at Jack, who in turn looked at me. He scratched at the patched over wool beanie for a moment before he gave a small shrug of his shoulders.
"We have a place in the sewers. A couple of dozen of us. It… well, it smells like shit, but it's safe enough," Jack informed, making my eyebrows draw together. The sewers?
"Doesn't Killer Croc live down there?" I questioned. Killer Crocs personality varied from animalistic, to a decent reptilian dude, to a man-eating monster. "And doesn't he eat people?"
Jack looked sheepish, "Well…"
"That response doesn't inspire a lot of hope," I remarked, making Tony chuckle.
"A lot of the rumors about the big guy are exaggerated. Basically, so long as you don't give him a reason to eat you, he won't," Tony explained, earning a look from me. Because that also didn't help.
"I brought you beer, so you have to be honest with me - are you trying to feed me to a lizard person?" And when I woke up this morning, that wasn't a question I thought I'd be asking. Jack let out a small huff of laughter as he gave me a toothy grin.
"We aren't. If we were going to feed the big guy, then we would do it for someone that has a bit more meat on their bones," he reassured. I looked down at myself for a moment, and it really hit home just how much weight I had lost. I looked skinny enough that Jack wouldn't want to feed me to Killer Croc in the first place. "That being said, trying to steal or anything like that is a really good way to give him a reason."
"You don't have to worry about that," I waved off the issue. "I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds me, you know?"
Jack nodded before he jerked his head, "Then follow us. Bill is probably shifting through his junk for that kettle." With that, Jack and Tony walked away from the fire with me right behind them. I stuffed my hands in my pockets as I did, feeling relieved and anxious at the same time. Relieved that my plan had worked out, but anxious about it being a trap.
But what were my options? Chancing it somewhere else and hoping that I didn't meet a bad end? In Gotham? When my luck was proving so thoroughly shit already? My hands clenched into fists, the rough calluses on my palms felt warm to the touch from the lingering heat of the fire.
It felt like I was being backed into a corner. My options were trying my luck or following them into the sewer and meeting Killer Croc. With both options, I had to cross my fingers and hope that I didn't die. That someone else didn't try something when I was asleep. I had chosen to follow them, but…
I was completely at their mercy. At their generosity. Like I was with the man who gave me the twenty, and like I was with the pawnshop owner, and like I was with Jack and Tony. And that galled at something deep down inside of me.
I hated feeling so… vulnerable. So helpless. So completely out of control over my own life that I was stuck reacting to things that happened.
That was going to change, I swore to myself as Jack reached a manhole cover and pulled it up. I was hit with the overpowering stench of waste, but even still, I followed him down while Tony was last to replace the manhole cover. I didn't say the words out loud as we climbed down the ladder, but I made a promise to myself.
I wouldn't live in a sewer. Not forever. I… wouldn't let this be my life. I wouldn't.
Reaching the bottom, I saw that the sewer was surprisingly well lit. Part of it was because of the white floodlights that lined the wall, illuminating a wide walkway the three of us could walk shoulder to shoulder. Most of it was because of the Christmas lights that were strung up over the makeshift camp off to the side. It was small, made of tents and rough-looking shacks made of wood.
The camp was divided, one half on one side and the other half on the other, and both were connected by a wooden platform that went over a river. It looked sturdy enough judging by the fact that a few people walked over and there was a barrel drum with another fire burning in it. I took it in for a moment, thinking that it could be worse.
An elderly lady noticed our approach first as I looked over the camp. "I thought you went up for some fresh air? Who's the kid?" She asked, looking me over as she sat down on an old cushion. Her home consisted of a sleeping bag inside of a cloth tent with a flap propped up by a piece of wood.
"Vergil," Jack introduced me. "He bought a six-pack, so the least we could do is give him a place to sleep tonight," Jack explained, making her look over me again. She looked thoroughly unimpressed despite the friendly smile I offered.
"Did you leave any for me?" She asked, holding out her hand expectantly. Jack obediently handed over the other beer that I got, and that told me that I wanted her to like me.
"And I have this?" I said, holding out a cup noodle for her to take. Which she happily did, and all of a sudden, she looked at me in a much friendlier way.
"Welcome to hell kid. Hope you get out of here quick," She said before retreating into her tent to enjoy her prizes. She sounded like she meant it too. However, as she grabbed the wood to let the flap fall to give her some privacy, she looked at the three of us. "Waylon is in, so you should take the kid to him."
Right. I was about to meet Killer Croc. That was a thing that was about to happen.
Then, as if summoned, I heard the water surge behind me as if something utterly massive was emerging from it. Turning around, the murky water slowly revealed a hulking form of a man. It was hard to tell because I didn't know how deep the water was, but if I had to guess he was somewhere in the ten-foot range. His chest was wide, his arms thick and his hands deadly sharp claws. Like the name implied, he was covered in dark green scales that became whitish around his stomach.
The scales that covered his arms and chest were thick and segmented, some jutting up. His face, however, was the worst combination of a lizard and a person. He lacked a snout or anything like that. Instead, his face was uncanny-valley - covered in scales with bright yellow eyes, but not human-looking enough.
Killer Croc moved out of the water, climbing up and I, unfortunately, found that I was right about my guess about his height. He towered over us, forced to hunch over or he would hit his head. Jack and Tony took a step back, but I found my feet rooted to the spot. Not out of fear like I expected, but… call it stupidity. Or pride. Either way, I didn't back down when he walked towards me.
"You're new," Killer Croc observed in a deep and rumbly voice, the slits that served as his nose flared as he took in a deep breath, smelling me. His eyes narrowed a fraction and I tried not to think about how his hands were large enough that he could probably crush my skull in one of them.
"I am. Jack and Tony said I could stay here. For the night at least," I added. Killer Croc didn't look at them, his gaze settling heavily on me. I thought my heart would be hammering like a jackhammer at my ribs, but instead, my heart beat at a steady pace. My breathing was even. My mind felt calm. I wasn't sure if I had accepted that the situation was completely out of my hands or what, but I wasn't panicking and I was thankful for it.
Killer Croc stared hard at me, his hands flexing for a moment. Then, to my surprise, instead of taking a bite out of me, he backed off. "He can stay. Get him a tent. And a jacket, or something," Killer Croc said before he stepped into the slow-moving sewer water. And, just like that, once he dove below, only the ripples proved that he had been here at all.
"That went well," I decided. I still had all my limbs, and I was going to get a tent. Implying that I could stay for more than one night. I turned around to look at Jack and Tony, who shared yet another look before they both looked at me.
I looked beyond them, at the small camp in a sewer, with Bill walking towards us with a kettle in his hands.
This wouldn't be my life forever. But, for now, I would make the best of it.
So, this is a rewrite of another story of mine called Be a Dragon over on a website that-shall-not-be-named. A NSFW story, as you can imagine. This is the clean version.
But, as a warning, this story does have some elements of a smut story cooked into its premise. It's unavoidable given the nature of the original story. One of them is slight multi cross elements in the form of characters from other series making an appearance. Every so often there will be a vote on my to decide who is included in the story next.
Now, I know how that sounds, but if it was as bad as you're thinking then I wouldn't have bothered posting the story here. In the ten chapters I have as my backlog, Tifa Lockhart is the only multi cross character to appear, and I can't see myself adding another for another ten chapters at the very least. The characters that are added aren't added because of big boobies or they're hot - they're picked because they can add something to the story. I've gone out of my way to make sure that the plot and characters overshadow the smut elements because it was the smut that prompted the rewrite.
But, I completely understand if that's a deal-breaker for some people. If it's not, then I hope you enjoy future installments. You can also find the unclean version of this story on Questionable Questing.
This story updates every Wednesday at 10 o'clock.
The next chapter is currently available on my Pat re on, so if you want to read it a week early, all it takes is a single dollar in the tip jar. Or, for five dollars, you can read the chapter after that two weeks before its public release! I hope you enjoyed!