The room was dark and cool. He couldn't see anything, but that might have had something to do with the fact he was face down on the cold hard cement floor. All he could feel was pain. All he could hear was the sound of a metal bat breaking bones…his bones. He wasn't even sure he remembered how he got here.

He could barely move…well, to be honest he wasn't sure how much he actually could move, because at the moment, he just didn't want to move. Moving meant stretching the few broken ribs he knew he had. Moving meant finding out where exactly all this blood was coming from, and how serious the injuries really were. Moving meant possibly injuring himself more, but lying still on the ground, quite possibly, meant death. Between the thought of death…of this death in particular, and the sound of whomever it was beating him laughing, his mind jumpstarted into a rant of enormous proportions. Suddenly he remembered exactly how this fight had started and how it had just been moments before that the other guy was down; and to say he was angry was an understatement.

He's playing with me. I'm here fighting for my fucking life, and the bastard is playing with me. I'm giving it all I've got…fighting with everything I've ever been taught by both the streets and by the bat, and it's not enough. Not only is it not enough, it isn't even making him sweat. He's laughing at me, and taking joy in my struggle for life. He's playing with me like a cat with a mouse. I want nothing more than to shove that damn metal bat down his fucking throat, and see if he can laugh then. I didn't go through all the hell I did just to have it end this way. Well screw this. I have a rule. If you are going out take the bastard with the metal bat with you.

Jason kicked out randomly and felt his boot-clad foot connect with his assailant's kneecap. The man fell to the ground clutching his leg as Jason got to a standing position, and whipped away the blood that was dripping down into his eyes. "Who the hell are you?"

"No one," the man choked out a response as Jason hit him again.

Jason grabbed the man by his hair and dragged him over to a nearby wall. "You attacked me out of nowhere, brought me to this cold, dark, dank hell, and yet you take no pride in your work. It doesn't sound like your employer will be happy with you." Jason shook the man. "Now, who are you? Why did you attack me?"

"I am a man without a name or an employer." The man spoke calmly.

"Cute, but wrong answer." Jason smacked the man's head off the wall. "Look, we just met, so you probably don't know this, but I don't take cryptic messages well." He smashed the man's head off the wall once more to drive the point home.

The man began to laugh. "You and I are the same. Neither of us belongs where we are, and yet we refuse to return to where we should be."

Jason dropped the man. "Okay, I get it. You're crazy, and you were bored."

The man sat up. "I came to give you a message. There will come a time when neither of us will have the choice to stay."

"But we'll always have the choice to fight." Jason finished for the man. "You beat me half to death to deliver a message? You really are crazy. I'm allowing you to live, mainly because I'm tired, but if I see you again you won't be so lucky." Jason turned to leave, but stopped when the man began to speak again.

The man stood, and watched Jason carefully. "I had to get your attention, thick-headed one--and you may have a few broken bones, but you aren't actually that hurt. Are you?

Jason turned toward the man slightly. "I hurt like hell, thanks."

The man shrugged. "Sometimes pain is a necessity. It is a means to learning."

"Of course it is. I'm leaving." Jason turned to leave once again.

"The one known as Damian will be the undoing of all." The man watched Jason, expecting to see him tense, but Jason never was one for giving people what they expected.

Jason shrugged. "Probably, but Timmy's got a plan for that. The kid has a plan for everything."

The man smiled. "Ah, but so do you."

Jason continued to walk away. "The only plan I have involves a nice cold beer."

The man watched Jason leave. "For now, but soon you will learn."

The End (for now...I think)