Shatter: Chapter 1

Rating: R

Warning: Language. Nudity.

Pairing: DADR (Dwicky and Dib)

Summary: Dwicky has been gone for 6 long years and returns to a world broken by war. There is no more technology, no more order, only the vicious struggles of humans in the fight for survival.

The sky always looked the same. With each new day, the same palate of golds and reds would dribble down into the same blues, which in turn would dive back into the rich autumn colors of the setting sun, where the sky would consume itself in darkness. They were the same colors that painted themselves over the first man, and would still paint on, until the last. The tapestry of stars was unchanging, at least to the human eye. The existence of humans was barely a blink in time. But the stars remained the same for them. The stars that lay witness to the creation were there even in the times of destruction.

A dark figure sat hunched over on an old log at the edge of a brittle forest. Most of the trees were scarred, wounded by fire, while younger trees grew out and reached for the midnight sky. New life rose from the ashes of the old. The forest touched a large, empty field. It was bare and dirty, filled with all sorts of long since discarded objects. Vehicles, pieces of buildings, shopping carts, clothes, computers, and the garbage stretched far across the field and into a crumbled city. Buildings rose like jagged teeth, struggling to remain erect as they decayed. But the figure remained away from the city in the distance.

A soft curl of smoke rose and danced away into the cool night air. In the dark, all that was visible was the soft glow of the lit end of a cigarette, which grew brighter with each inhale. It was a man, no, a boy, perhaps in his late teens. He was tall and lithe, though his baggy shirt hid most of it. Glasses glinted in the darkness, though they were a bit dusty and the rims a bit damaged. Beside him lay a heavy jacket, the color invisible in the dark. His well worn and torn pants clung just as loosely to him and his heavy black boots crunched the tiny rocks and dust beneath his feet. His hair was short aside from a thick lock that hung down his face, ending at shoulder length.

"Damn it… Last one." He mumbled to himself as he took a smooth drag, savoring the smoke that filled his lungs. "And I'm really not in the mood for… them." He rolled his tongue over his teeth and groaned softly.

"Pity. I was hoping for an added bonus from you." A deep voice purred behind the boy.

"Oh?" The boy raised a brow as he glanced behind him, squinting at the dark shapes of the forest.

"Would save me a trip if yah had smokes on yah as well." The gleam of a blade flashed from the forest, followed by the sound of heavy footsteps approaching.

"Lovely. I'm being robbed." The boy rolled his eyes and put a hand to his face, as if things weren't bad enough.

"Ah, don't get all depressed now. Just hand over anything valuable and I'll be on me way." A dirty man turned to stand in front of the boy. He wielded a very large, chipped bowie knife. "I'd hate to get violent with yah."

"Hmm. Well. Do you really think I'd be sitting out here, alone, unarmed?" The boy raised his brow higher and blew a cloud of smoke into the night.

"Stop delaying or I'll have to cut yer throat. It'd leave an awful stinking mess. No one wants that, now do they? Though the dogs would have a nice feast." The man waved the knife threateningly as he spoke.

"I'm not about to give away everything I have to some toothless highwayman." The boy flicked the dead cigarette away and gathered his heavy jacket into his arms, one hand hiding away into its depths. He rose and stood tall to stare the man down. "Better to die fighting than without money."

"Don't make this difficult, boy." The ragged man's voice remained firm, but faltered slightly.

The boy suddenly lashed his concealed hand out with a blade of his own. The flash of stained metal bit into the man's wrist, and the intense pain made him drop his bowie knife. The man was taken aback by the quick motion, and grunted in building agony as his other hand clapped onto his new wound. The boy narrowed his eyes as he took the opportunity to land a hard kick to his offender's shin, which made the man buckle. Upon his lowered state, the boy dropped his jacket to wrap stringy arms around the thief's neck, his blade placed taut against the rough, stubbled flesh near his jugular vein.

"You really must be stupid." The boy's hand twitched gently, and the blade licked at the man's neck, producing a tiny bead of blood. "You should know that the children of destruction aren't ones to be messed with. We were young when this all happened, we grew up in it. We became a part of it…" His eye twitched a little as well, memories biting at his mind.

"Augh. Little bastard…" All the man could do was growl and wish he had picked a weaker victim.

"Shut the hell up, you piece of filth." The boy pulled his knife away only to knee the man in the face and drop him to the ground. "It's shit like you that keeps the world like this." He stepped aside to retrieve his jacket, but couldn't help a swift kick to the thief's stomach. "But then again…" the boy reached down to pull a worn pack of cigarettes from the man's front pocket. "It's the shit like me that doesn't do a damn thing to change it…"

And so the boy left the man there to tend to his bloodied wrist. Before he completely disappeared into the darkness, he took the man's knife as well. It would fetch a decent price on the market, and the boy always needed money. He pulled a slightly crinkled cigarette from its dirty package and placed it at his lips, yanking a rusty Zippo from the depths of his jacket. He lit the cig and purred a ghost of nicotine into the air as he made his way to the city, dodging and hopping over mounds of trash as he went.

The city was filthy, in complete ruin. The streets were covered with grime and soggy papers, not to mention the occasional dead dog. Cars lay abandoned as rusty skeletons, stripped of all their precious resources. The buildings themselves were dirty, and most of the windows were broken, or covered up by ancient, soggy pieces of cardboard. Thick rusted cables that once made up the inner support of the cement structures jutted out of the buildings dangerously. The streets were lit by huge fires in large metal barrels that lined the left side of the street. The boy brushed by a few people, who angrily growled insults at him, to turn into a dark alley. The ground was damp with unknown substances, though the rank stench identified some of it as alcoholic vomit. He turned again, but down a dank, slippery staircase that descended into the depths the building.

It was a bar. Though it was lit by a few old coffee cans, the light struggled through the haze of smoke that swallowed the room. There was a long wooden bar with a few worn out stools, as well as a few tables (and crates serving as tables) scattered about. Most of the occupants were rugged men drowning their sorrows in yellowed mugs of alcohol. The boy made his way to the bar and set his jacket on a creaking old stool, slipping himself onto the one beside it. He grinned at the fat, sweaty bartender, who was scrubbing a chipped yellow mug with a dirty cloth.

"What can I get for this?" The boy stabbed the bar top with the bowie knife.

"Ah. Dib, was wondering when you'd show up." The fat, balding man licked his cracked, dry lips and didn't seem bothered at all by the fact that his bar had been attacked by the knife. "Well, besides pay off your tab…" He yanked it free and inspected the blade. "Enough drinks for the night…"

Dib grinned, pleased with the conclusion. "Good." He answered simply as he blew smoke, which disappeared into the dark cloud that loomed over them.

"About time too." He placed a full mug in front of the boy and leaned on the bar, pointing the rag in his direction. "Can never trust you damn kids. Always stealing and fighting. Wouldn't be surprised if I found you dead outside the bar one of these days."

"Well… I don't go looking for trouble." Dib rolled his eyes a little as he took a long drink.

"Doesn't matter! It'll always find you." The bartender leaned his large self over a bit to place the knife away under the bar. "I've got a business here. I can't have all my customers running high tabs and then getting themselves a nice knife to the back."

"You could just, not let people run a tab." Dib licked the rim of the mug free of beer. It had a slight salty taste to it; it was far from the cleanest thing in the world.

"You sure as shit know that would be stupid. Times like these, every man wants to waste his mind and escape from his miserable reality." He grinned, teeth yellowed and half rotten. "Which is why this is the perfect business."

"Hm. No good if they're all dead." Dib paused from drinking to take a drag from his cigarette.

"That's their own damn faults." He snorted. "Always fighting." He spat angrily. "Fighting is what got us all in this mess. Always fighting over something… Women, Land, hell, now peoples fighting over small things, like clothes or smokes."

"Yeah… I can understand that…" Dib inwardly smirked to himself, tapping the ash of his stolen cig onto the bar top.

"Well, can't change what's happened, now can we?" The bartender sighed as he refilled another man's mug before returning his conversation with the teen. "Pity that no one gives enough of a damn to change things."

"Mmm. Yeah." Dib leaned back as he attempted to get the last few drops of beer from his mug before he set it down to be refilled. "But what's the point?" He pressed the cig to his lips and glance at the other miserable figures down the bar. "It'll just happen again, won't it?"

"Probably." The fat man nodded. "Probably…"

Dib continued to drink late into the night. Eventually he was forced out of the bar as dawn was mere hours away. He was more than a bit tipsy, and stumbled through the streets, his jacket clumsily clinging to him. He made his way back to the field, though farther south than he had been before. Though his mind was stupefied by cheap alcohol, he knew better than to risk getting jumped while shitfaced. He had no home to go to. His bed was where ever he would pass out. But he stumbled on, attempting to find a nice shell of car or bent sheet of metal that would block out the eminent sun.

"Shit." He mumbled to himself as he tripped over a rusted metal pip half embedded into the ground. He caught himself, barely. He reached out into the darkness before him and was met with something smooth, yet grimy. Dib squinted his hazy eyes and struggled to his feet. It was the hood of a car. The doors were long since ripped off, but it still had its roof, which was all that mattered. He was about to crawl in when he heard a low rumble in the distance. His body tensed and the hand that gripped the rusty doorframe of the car twitched. A jolt of bad memories bit into his mind and he gave a slight gasp.

"Not again… No. Can't be." Dib mumbled to himself as he glanced about, a sudden alertness filling his senses. He swayed slightly from the alcohol, but the fear in his eyes kept him standing.

There was another lower rumble and Dib nervously glanced about. He took a step forward, his right hand diving into the hidden pocket on the inside of his jacket, ready to whip out his blade. If what he thought the sound had come from was indeed true, though, the blade would be utterly useless. Soon the rumble grew to a deafening moan of air forced from valved machinery. Suddenly a bright light filled the area and Dib raised his arms to shield his eyes. There was a sharp sound of metal running against lubed metal and a heavy clunking groan of mechanical weight resting on the ground. Dib kept his arms over his eyes as the bright light continued to bathe the area. The sound of footsteps lowering themselves from grating to solid earth was barely audible over the sound of engines powering up and preparing for lift off.

As suddenly as it had appeared, the light was gone with a rush of heated wind. Dib blinked against the dirty sleeves of his jacket before he finally lowered his arms, still gripping the knife tightly. He squinted his eyes as a figure stood in the darkness. His mind was still stupefied by the alcohol, and he was left in a daze. The person before him glanced about, looking rather lost. He was a man, older than Dib and slightly taller. Dib opened his mouth to speak, but the man beat him to it.

"Oh my. This can't be right." The voice was oddly familiar.

"What? Wait. What?" Dib blinked as his thick lock of hair hung over his face.

"I didn't expect to be dropped off in a garbage dump…" The man mumbled to himself before realizing he wasn't alone. "Um. Excuse me."

Dib suddenly narrowed his eyes and waved his knife. Surely it would be enough for the man to get the message that he didn't want visitors.

"Ah!" The man hopped backwards a bit. "Calm down… I just want to know where I am."

"Does it matter?" Dib leaned back against the car. He was getting so sleepy.

"Well, yes. I'd like to try to find my way home."

"Home?" Dib raised a brow at the strange man. "Home is where you make it."

"Yes. Home… Though I've been gone a really… I mean, REALLY, long time." He put a hand to his chin in thought. "I wonder if they would let me back in my apartment… They probably threw away all my stuff."

"Are you some crazy…" Dib stopped himself. He wanted to say 'drunk', but he was just as guilty of the fact.

"No. No. I just… Hey. Tell you what. Can you just point me in the direction of the nearest phone…?"

Dib suddenly burst out laughing. He doubled over slightly, nearly dropping his knife. When he was finished, he was stricken with hiccups. "How the"hic"hell can you" hic "use a phone if" hic "there hasn't been electri-" hic "-city in years?"

"I don't think I'm quite getting--" The man started, but was soon interrupted.

"Look, weirdo. I'm tired, I want to sleep. Just go off and babble your stupid questions elsewhere." Dib's hiccups slowly died down. "I dunno if you suffered from some sort of freak accident, or radiation, or SOMETHING…" Dib waved the knife to prove his point. "But you're not going to find a phone. Not one that works, at least."

"May I ask why?" The man nervously leaned back on his heels.

"Why? Why!" Dib twitched angrily and the leather bound handle of his knife squeaked under his tightening grip. "When they came… when they… destroyed… everything." His breath quickened and his mind ached. It was obvious that the boy was losing his cool. It only made the stranger even more nervous, angry people and knives don't mix.

"Whoa. Whoa… Calm down." The man backed up a little, as if the teenager would stab out his eyes at any moment. "You mean, this…"

"Look around you, moron. Look there." Dib pointed the knife in the direction of the dim city, which was lightly encased in the predawn dimness. "All destroyed. All broken."

"Oh my…" The man gave a nervous shudder. "Is this real? I'm not…" He pinched himself and gave a slight 'ow'. "I'm not dreaming, am I? This has to be some sort of alien…"

"Don't say that word! Just don't say it!" Dib barked and moved forward, the gravel crunching beneath his boots as he waved the knife in the man's face.

"Ah! Sorry! Sorry!" He nervously chuckled. "I just wanted to… Hey. Don't I know you?" The man raised a brow as the growing light began to reveal more and more of Dib's details.

"Maybe. Who knows nowadays? Doesn't matter." Dib shrugged and looked off to the side, distracted by his own jumbled, drunken thoughts.

"Yes. Yes I know you… You are…" He squinted as he tried to inspect the boy's face, tapping his chin as he pondered before he had an eureka. "Dib!"

Dib jerked his head at his name and narrowed his brown eyes a bit. "Who are you?"

"Don't you remember me?" The man grinned before nervously putting a hand behind his head. "I'm your old skool counselor… Mister-"

"Dwicky." Dib interrupted him. He stared at the man with wide eyes, unsure of how to react. "You left…"

"Yes. I did."

"And you came back."

"I sure did."

"You… MORON!" Dib growled and suddenly shoved Dwicky. The man stumbled and tripped, landing on his bum with an 'oof'. "Why the hell would you come back! With all that," Dib's body twitched as he hung onto the next word "alien… technology and you couldn't figure out to stay the fuck away from Earth!"

"Ah! I didn't know! They didn't know. I just wanted a quick drop off." Dwicky watched the troubled teen above him. "And… are you drunk?" He raised a brow. "Aren't you a little young?"

"They… Just… I…" The boy struggled over his words, too filled with rage and alcohol to properly order them. "It doesn't fucking matter how old I am! There isn't a government anymore, there is nothing. Only people. Dirty, dirty… Ugh! I'm going to sleep." With that, he turned around and stomped back over to the car, tossing himself on the old, springy backseat.

Dwicky sat there for a moment, absorbing it all in. He sighed and slowly lifted himself up, dusting the dirt off his black pants. He stood there a moment, feeling quite helpless and lost. His eyes traveled to the city that looked as if it had seen many a bombing. It felt like he was in some bad 1940s movie, and he shuddered. Eventually, he glanced over to where Dib had planted himself. With a sigh, he walked over. "Hey…"

"What?" Dib grunted and tried to curl up on himself.

"Umm… Mind if I stay here for the night?" Dwicky leaned with his arms folded on the roof of the car, his forehead pressed against them as he watched the boy.

"I don't care. I can't stop you."

"Well. Could you explain a little more tomorrow?" Dwicky moved to climb into the front seat of the car, and it groaned under his weight.

"Yes. Tomorrow. Whatever. Go to sleep." Dib wrapped his long jacket tighter around himself and Dwicky frowned to himself as he settled himself down to stare at the rusty car ceiling.