Summary: Ronnie McGorvey goes for a bike ride and realizes just how much members of the community hate and fear him. One-shot.
A/n: This was a request from my friend DogWithHeadSplitOpen on the WatchmenComicMovie forums.
"Be careful out there, Ronnie," May McGorvey said in a quietly concerned tone. Ronnie sighed, fighting the urge to roll his eyes at his mother. He knew she meant well and that she was concerned for his well-being. Even though he played his off mother's concern, Ronnie knew it was justified. How many death threats had he received since moving back to Blueberry Court? He'd lost count and frankly didn't give a fuck anymore. The people here were too scared of him to actually try anything, save that Larry Hedges dickhead. He was probably the one sending the threats, too.
"I'm not stupid, Mommy," Ronnie replied, an embittered bite to his voice. "I can take care of myself, you know."
May shut her eyes, looking as though she wanted to wrap her arms around her son and tell him she wished she could trust him. Instead, she opened her eyes and spoke.
"Be careful, Ronnie."
McGorvey rode off on his bike, the late afternoon sun warming his back. His fully unbuttoned plaid work shirt flapped around his sides, the white T-shirt underneath rippling a little in the gust caused by his movements. It was a small luxury, this time alone. He wanted to prove that he could live without his mother's protection.
Who are you trying to prove that to, Ronnie? asked a little voice in the back of his mind. Have you figured that out?
"Myself," said McGorvey aloud as he neared a small mom 'n' pop candy store he'd assumed had opened during one of the three years he'd been in jail. He dismounted his bike and walked into the store, suddenly deciding to get some peppermint snaps for his mother and some crystallized ginger for himself.
"Oooh!" said a little voice behind him. Ronnie set down a small box of candy he was eyeing and turned around. A little girl, perhaps six or seven years old, stood on her tiptoes against a shelf. Her fingers reaching for a box of gummy worms, but only succeeded in pushing it a few inches away from her grasp. Ronnie smiled politely, took the troublesome box from the shelf and handed it to the child.
"Thanks, mister!" said the little girl with a smile.
"Julia Elizabeth, you get away from that man right now!" the girl's mother screamed.
Ronnie saw the cashier stride over to him. The man was bigger than he was, an adult version of the grade-school bully.
There was little time to react as Ronnie could only feel the sensation of being grabbed and then blinding pain as he was thrown out onto the sidewalk. He'd hit his head against his bicycle, stars flashing across his field of vision. It took everything he had to keep from falling unconscious.
Don't you dare pass out, he told himself. You pass out and Mommy will be forced to bury you in a closed casket. Get up. Get up, get up, get up…
Ronnie attempted to get to his feet when the cashier's foot connected with his face. His lower lip split open and his nose broken, Ronnie heard himself yelp in pain as blood streamed from his face.
"Get the hell outta here, pervert!" the cashier said, kicking Ronnie in the ribs before toppling his bicycle over the beaten man's bleeding form. "The other prisoners should have killed you like they killed Dahmer!"
Ronnie remained on all fours for a moment. He looked at his bruised and battered reflection in the store window. His left eye was already becoming encircled in a large black bruise, the lower half of his face was drenched in blood. Breathing hurt, making Ronnie assume one or two of his ribs had been broken. McGorvey looked past his reflection the window and saw the little girl he'd helped looking back at him, scared tears falling silently down her face.
Is that what he was to people? Have parents transformed him into the boogeyman in the minds of their children? A monster…he remembered when his own mother had called him that…
It was visitors day at the prison were Ronnie was being held. He'd been there for a few weeks. May had come to see him, wearing a black dress as though she were at a funeral. She was, in a way. May had cleaned Ronnie's room shortly after the police came and took him away. There had been a suitcase hidden under his bed. May had been horrified when she'd opened it. Pictures of children who were…May felt sick at the thought. She'd taken the suitcase, dumped those evil pictures into the bathtub and set them ablaze, sobbing the whole time. It was the first time she wondered if her son, her Ronnie, really was the sick monster the newspapers made him out to be.
A guard stood beside Ronnie and May. Ronnie's hands were handcuffed behind his back and he rubbed his cheek against his shoulder as though trying to scratch a rather annoying itch. His thin face looked sharper with the five 'o' clock shadow he'd grown.
"I found those pictures, Ronnie," said May quietly. Her voice was strained, as though she were trying to not cry. "Why? How dare you bring that filth into my house!"
Ronnie said nothing, his cold blue eyes staring into her eyes with that intense look that scared her sometimes. He didn't care. After a thoughtful silence, Ronnie sighed.
"Mommy—" he started. SLAP! May couldn't believe she'd struck him. It was as though she were somewhere else when her hand had connected with Ronnie's cheek. Ronnie looked stunned, even angry. The guard had quickly led him back to his cell while May collapsed into a chair, sobbing.
"A monster," she wept. "My son is a monster."
Ronnie pulled himself to his feet, staggering a little. The cashier had a shotgun pointed at him now, threatening to blast him to kingdom come if he didn't get the fuck away from the store.
Just shoot me, Ronnie thought as he picked up his bicycle and began the limp home. You'd be doing me a favor.