Walking Dead

If we owned anything do you really think we'd be writing fan fiction? Com'on people…

Dimitri: And now for the further torment of Richie…

Losha: Leather huh? Damn, but you people or mean…

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Chapter Four
The Next Time I See You Smile
Distance, Evan and Jaron

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Virgil wasn't sure about John's statement about him being supposed to keep Richie from being mobbed, considering he was half-tempted to do something very…un-best friend like. If someone tried to jump Richie Virgil really wouldn't be able to blame them.

Beat them senseless, sure. But blame them…no.

He'd coaxed Richie out of the bathroom, twice. Wally had started laughing the first time and Richie had turned red before rushing back into the bathroom. The second time had gone better, as in Virgil had dug a pair of jeans out of the suitcase. Richie had made a face, but put them on gratefully because 'at least they aren't leather. Who really wears leather?'

They'd left the hotel and their driver had driven them through Gotham to what had to be one of the richest neighborhoods in the city. The Catalina brother's apartment was one entire floor, plus a rooftop floor that only they had access to.

The party seemed split between the actual apartment and the pool and had been in fully swing before they'd arrived. Virgil had thought that a little strange but it wasn't like he knew how the rich partied anyway.

Richie had gotten more than a few second (and third) looks since they'd arrived but since his glasses were tucked safely away in Virgil's pocket it wasn't like he could see them. Virgil hadn't gotten a suit but had been forced to change into pretty basic jeans and a shirt that, according to Wally, wouldn't offend anyone's eyes.

At first he'd though he was supposed to blend in but he found he actually stuck out just as much as John did because he looked…well, plain.

Not that it mattered how he looked. He was supposed to be keeping an eye on Richie, which was far from an overly…painful task. Wally and Richie were together, Wally standing near Richie who was sitting on a poolside chair and trying not to look too nervous while talking to people who came up to them.

John was on the opposite side of the pool from Virgil and most people were giving him a very wide berth.

Virgil found his eyes drawn to this strip of exposed skin, maybe two inches of it, that Richie couldn't keep from being exposed no matter how much he tugged on the tank top he was wearing. The shirt was short and his pants hung very low on his hips, but were tight enough that he didn't have to think about holding them up. They clung to Richie's body and not in a bad way. (Unless you were Richie but that wasn't really the point.)

He hadn't known denim could fit like that…

Virgil decided he must have been a very bad person and was going straight to hell for enjoying his friend's predicament as much as he was. Richie seemed pretty mortified at being that exposed but there wasn't really anything he could do about it at the moment or any time in the future for that matter.

Virgil wasn't exactly broken hearted about it. He'd known Richie since elementary school and he honestly couldn't recall ever seeing this much of his friend. Not even while changing for gym class now that he thought about, as Richie had a tendency to vanish and then show up a few minutes later already changed.

Too bad, it probably would have made the horror that was PE a little more bearable. Virgil didn't care what his teachers said it just wasn't a real class.

He was so distracted he missed the woman practically stalking his best friend until she was practically in Richie's lap and rubbing against him. She was pretty, in a sense, but her dress was low cut enough that it made him want to blush.

He frowned, considering. Richie looked a little green and about ready to just drop her and run for the nearest exit. Wally was trying to hide a laugh behind his hand and John too seemed amused. The woman seemed harmless enough, unless traumatizing Richie counted as harm. Besides, Virgil really didn't want to risk getting into a fight with a girl.

After a few moments Wally got up and walked towards John. Virgil was pretty sure it was to keep him from laughing where Richie could hear it. Virgil smiled wryly then rolled his eyes. He couldn't really leave Richie alone, no matter how funny this was.

Before he could come to an actual solid decision a man who looked about Wally's age walked over, grabbed the woman by the wrist, and hauled her up out of Richie's lap. Richie looked temporarily relived until he too was picked up and the man wrapped an arm around his waist while clearly telling the woman to back off.

Now Richie looked like he was going to pass out.

The woman looked outraged and grabbed Richie's arm, tugging him towards her.

Virgil wanted to laugh. Poor Richie, who was usually ignored by girls and boys alike, was about to have two people start fighting over him. Virgil really wished he had a video camera to record this to play back for Richie later.

Still he couldn't let people just grope his best friend like that.

If he wasn't allowed to grope Richie he really didn't see a reason why anyone else should be allowed to do so either. He pushed off of the wall he was leaning against and started over, trying not to let break into a smile at the grateful look Richie was shooting him.

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Richie would, of course, deny this later but he was pretty sure he was bordering on traumatized at the moment. He'd been propositioned, touched, felt up, and groped nearly all night, which was the reason he'd stopped standing around and had gone for sitting.

He'd managed to escape being touched until a dark-haired woman made herself at him in his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck, arching her back to make what was nearly falling out of her dress even more visible. While she may not have been Richie's type in the least he couldn't manage to fight off an embarrassed blush. Thankfully she didn't appear to notice and instead took to whispering in his ear all of the things she'd been looking forward to since he'd last been in Gotham.

Well, since Donnie had least been in Gotham but since he was now Donnie…

To say she'd shared too much information would be the understatement of…oh, Richie's entire life up until that moment. He'd been praying for respite, which didn't seem to be coming because Wally was slowly making his way towards John and Virgil was just watching with the stupidest look of amusement on his face and Richie was going to make him pay for this later.

And then she was gone, having been pulled up by a man in a suit. Before Richie could really begin to enjoy his newfound freedom he too was hauled up only, unlike the woman, he was pulled back against the man.

This was a considerable amount worse than with the woman because he could feel something poking into his lower back and he just didn't want to think about the possibilities and was quite content to go through his life hoping it was a cell phone.

And then they started arguing who would have the pleasure of molesting him without so much as consulting him about what, or who, he wanted to do.

This was just really…fucked up.

Richie decided he was more than ready to go home and be invisible again. He'd spent years learning how to go unnoticed by people because he really just wasn't a people person.

Richie noted, as he saw Virgil winding his way through the crowd, that there was a hand on his ass, a place where other people's hands should never be. Unless maybe it was Virgil and he didn't want to be thinking about that right now.

He wanted to be knocking this guy's teeth down his throat and kicking him in the balls but for some odd reason he thought that might be contrary to the image he was trying to but forth.

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He was now within hearing range and could hear with the man and woman were saying to each other. The basic gist seemed to be that Donnie had promised both of them a 'good time' next time he was in Gotham and both intended to collect tonight.

He was about to slide in and suggest they go away when the man suggested something that made him pause.

"Why don't the three of us go downstairs?" Richie's eyes went so wide it was almost comical. "It wouldn't be the first time Donnie decided to share himself."

Virgil blinked at that thought before trying valiantly to keep the mental images. It wasn't really working.

It was very much time to break up the love fest, least he be subject to anymore disturbingly sexual thoughts about a person who looked just like Richie. He calmly reached around the woman, ignoring her alarmed look, and yanked Richie away from the man. He placed Richie behind him and more or less out of harm's way then turned his best threatening glare on the pair.

"Who the hell are you?" The man demanded. The threatening glare must not have worked. Virgil decided he was going to have to work on that later. What kind of bodyguard couldn't even manage to look threatening?

"I'm his bodyguard."

The woman put a hand on her hip and looked him up and down. "You have to be joking. Donnie, ditch the babysitter and come play with us."

Richie, ever the fast thinker, shook his head. "I would love to really, but dad said I have to stay with him or else I'll have to stay home for the next month."

The woman sighed dramatically. "How unfair. Next time you're in town then?"

"Of course." Richie plastered on the fakest grin Virgil had ever seen but it seemed to convince those two well enough. The woman started to move in on Richie again but Virgil cleared his throat and Richie shrugged apologetically. The pair wandered off back into the crowd and Richie let out a shaky sigh.

Virgil patted him on the shoulder somewhat awkwardly. "Hey, it's fine."

Richie glared at him. "Easy for you to say, you haven't had to tell a dozen people you don't want to sleep with them." As he spoke he tugged on the bottom of his shirt again and, much against his will, Virgil found his eyes following. Richie was silent for a moment before making a noise of protest and shoving him enough to make him stumble back a few paces. "V!"

"Sorry!" Not really. Still he cleared his throat and took a step back. "I'm just…going back over there now."

Where he could watch his best friend in a silent stalker like way and not risk any psychical harm coming his way from the blond. Sounded like a good plan to him, that whole 'stalker' thing aside. Stalking people was just creepy.

Richie's eyes went wide again before whispering harshly. "No! That guy had his hand on my ass." Virgil made a mental note to find that guy and teach him the value of keeping his hands to himself later. "And he's not even the first. You stay right here and keep the perverts away."

Virgil just nodded and resolved to spend the rest of the night standing by Richie's chair. After all, when Richie said keep the perverts away he obviously didn't need Virgil himself.

Plus this would save him from that whole stalker dilemma.

The sun was coming up by the time the last groups of people were filtering out and maids were in, cleaning up, before everyone was out. Richie had long since fallen asleep on his lawn chair and, after a brief run inside and into one of the bedrooms found people doing unmentionable things, he decided to just leave the blond where he was.

He'd shed his jacket and draped it over Richie, figuring the blond would need it more than him anyway, then sat on the ground next to the chair to wait until…

Well, until John told him what to do now.

The older man, with Wally in tow, headed in his direction once everyone else around the pool had left. Wally sighed and flopped onto the end of Richie's chair. The blond didn't so much as move. Virgil yawned, cracking his back and stood up.

Dampness clung to his skin and his right foot had fallen asleep a few hours back, around the time he'd started wondering if it was possible to actually die of boredom. It obviously wasn't, or else he would have died shortly after Richie fell asleep.

"What now?"

"New York. Formal Diplomatic party. Your father will be there." John wasn't looking at him but rather at the roof of the building across from him. "Plane leaves in two hours."

"I want to sleep." Wally whined. Virgil was momentarily surprised, as Wally never really whined unless he was trying to get on Superman and Batman's nerves, before realizing it was probably part of his act. "It's five in the morning, just tell the pilot we'll be late."

"Sleep on the plane." John said before nodding towards Richie. "Get him up."

Virgil nodded then bent down to shake the blond. For a moment Richie continued to sleep then one eye cracked open, glazed and unfocused.

"V?"

"Time to get up, Donnie."

For a long second Richie looked like he had no idea what the hell Virgil was talking about before a spark of awareness appeared in his eyes. He sighed and waved him off.

"Fuck it's early." He muttered while pushing himself up. He took a step forward and almost tripped over a crack in the pavement. Virgil grabbed him before he did, reflecting on how often this kept happening, and then hauled him up. "I can't walk."

What Richie meant was 'I can't see to walk anywhere.' His glasses were still safely in Virgil's jacket, which Richie was still wearing.

"It's cool. Lean on me, everyone'll just realize you're wasted." Richie glared and Virgil smirked. Then something flashed to his left and he turned, squinting over at the other apartment building. He just made out a dark figure crouched down when something in the figure's hand gleamed in the rising sun.

Virgil's eyebrow quirked. Photographers?

There was something strangely amusing about someone camping out all night to get pictures of Richie being molested and then sleeping.

But hey, who was he to judge what did and did not constitute news anyway?

"What do you see?"

"Nothing." He shrugged and wrapped an arm around Richie while studiously pretending he didn't feel the blond shiver. He might have thought it meant something but then Richie just pulled his jacket tighter around himself. He was probably just cold. "We should get going."

"Right. Don't want your boss yelling at you."

"John is not my boss."

Richie laughed and Virgil decided to just ignore him.

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They were standing outside of a plane that, if the family crest on the side was anything to go by, belonged to the princes and their father. Richie was rubbing at his eyes and squinting at just about everything that went past while John once again flipped through a pile of papers. Wally had been left to his own devices, which included listening to his counterpart's CD, as they all waited for Virgil to give the okay on the plane.

The pilot was also waiting nearby, apparently disgruntled that some kid who probably wasn't a third of his age had kicked him off of the plane in order to check it out, but they couldn't very well leave him on there to see the ensuing electrical show.

John sighed, reaching up to rub the bridge of his nose, then walked over to him. His voice was low; probably so no one could overhear them, and so he leaned close to make sure he was heard. Wally swallowed, mentally telling himself to focus and not let this get to him.

"I should warn you, Mr. Catalina can be…harsh towers Jayce."

Wally blinked. "How harsh?"

"He thinks Jayce is a screw up, needs to shape up before even thinking about taking over the throne, and that the most useful thing he's ever done is graduate high school. He doesn't approve of his lack of interest in politics, that he won't date acceptable girls or make acceptable friends, can't keep Donnie out of trouble, and spends all of his time with his band."

"Ouch." Wally felt stab of sympathy.

"He is going to be king one day."

"Doesn't mean his dad should treat him like shit. That does explain the music though." Wally sighed and pushed the headphones down around his neck. "Makes me glad my parents are just non-existent. But I promise not to tell the king that to his face."

"Appreciated." John smiled faintly. "He'd probably have a heart attack if you talked back. Jayce is a good kid, mostly, but he's been pretty quiet lately. Actually if anyone tries to talk to you don't bother trying to think up a response. I'll come and rescue you."

"My hero."

"Your sarcasm is noted. Remember that when someone is trying to kill you."

"You know you can't let me die. Unless you think you want to trade me in for Kid Flash."

John blinked slowly then shook his head. "What a frightening thought. I guess I'll actually have to protect you."

Wally started to retort then stopped as a chill went up his spine. He turned, looking up and down the stretch of tar. John frowned at him curiously.

"You ever get the feeling you're being watched?"

"Constantly." John's tone was light but his eyes were serious. "Virgil's done, go ahead on. I'll look around."

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The big story of the gossip rags that morning was 'Bad Boy Prince Tangles with New Bodyguard then stumbles out drunk.' The cover pictures showed Prince Donald shoving the man who was supposed to be protecting him and then leaning against him as they walked to a car.

"Do we know who this bodyguard is?"

"No Sir. We know the other one, assigned to watch Prince Jason, is the Green Lantern."

"Of course, we expect that already and I'm sure he is aware that we are prepared for his presence." The man leaned forward, graying blond hair slipping from behind his ear. "This one, the young one, you said your man said they seemed close?"

The woman nodded. She was petite with curly brown hair and bright green eyes. "They talked for a short while in the morning and he covered the prince with his coat during the night, not typical behavior by someone just hired to keep you out of trouble. At least not typical of those who watch after him; most cannot stand him."

Her lips twisted into a bitter smile as she spoke.

"It could be nothing. Perhaps he's taken to trying to seduce another one of his guards. It wouldn't be the first time." He leaned back in his chair, face thoughtful. "If this is another one of those we should keep an eye on him. The last guard to fall sway to Donnie's charms is already amongst our ranks; when the prince tosses this one aside like the others we must be ready to try and take advantage."

She nodded again. "As you wish sir."

"What other news have you?"

"The agent we have close to Jayce says things with the prince are going according to plan. He's becoming even more moody and withdrawn these past few weeks and he just canceled his bands club dates for the next month. He's also more resentful of his brother and father."

"I'm glad to hear that. Soon we will act and cleanse this world of the impure ones." He nodded as if in agreement to his own words. "Thank you for your report Julia."

"My pleasure." She rose and left after that, closing the door after her. He was left sitting at his desk and sifting not through the pictures provided by the tabloids, but the ones he'd bought directly from the photographer.

He hesitated on the one of Donnie's new bodyguard watching the sleeping prince with a look that he couldn't only describe as…loving. He smiled to himself before dropping the photos into the garbage can. He could feel that this new player would be an important one.

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BH: LOL. No leather, just tight denim. We had brief fight over what to put him in but decided nothing too outrageous, least he have a heart attack. He probably wouldn't have left the bathroom.

Silver: Well, you know now. It was probably all of that skin he had showing that made Virgil say that. Richie doesn't know what to do, even his best friend was drooling.

Leev: We got both actually, but more about all of that later. Like…next chapter.

Mo: Well, we try to keep them new and amusing. We don't know why you didn't notice us before, but we're glad you did now.

Ginger: We like the vague ending thing though…not quite cliffhangers, but frustration anyway. It's fun. lol.

Cherre: We were always partial to Guy and John ourselves. Dimitri just flat out doesn't like Kyle but Aloysha doesn't mind his presence.

Mechante: Jayce may show up in something else (Can't tell you yet though). We do like him and he has a lot of potential things circling around him. Plus he isn't a total asshole like his brother. Our minds are dirty and for a brief moment we were considering a shirt that would resemble lots of scraps of fabric barely stitched together but decided to not traumatize him too much. We…chickened out. It's pathetic.

Hikari: Mmm, Waffles… Sadly we wussed out on anything too extreme, though we kicked around the idea of him in something pink. Decided against it at the last minute. We're pretty sure he was wearing blue. Virgil wasn't overly concerned about the color… And…we can't tell you who Ray is yet. Sorry. But you're close…

Snake: Glad you like the way we're blending things. The action should crop up soon, now that we have the bad guys introduced and everything.

And also thanks to Lotus, Cloud, Dark Bunnie, and Dea.