Wretch Like Me

By PaBurke

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, no money made, no copyright infringement intended.

Spoilers: Season 3 or so of any Batman, after the Ghost Rider movie

"So you're Carter Slade's apprentice."

If there was ever a statement that was designed to get a Ghost Rider's attention, than that was it. Johnny Blaze turned, ready to reach for his power, and surprised that the Ghost Rider hadn't already taken over. The man who stood in front of him was a surprise too. He seemed human, not demon. He was younger, or so it seemed, than Johnny. He was the rich, cultured kind that the Ghost Rider had never rubbed shoulders with. He was so out of place in this biker bar. He sparked rumblings of familiarity from the Rider, but no animosity.

"Who wants to know?" Johnny finally asked.

The red-headed man smiled. "Jason Blood. I was a friend of Carter's. I brought him things while he exiled himself to hallowed ground."

Jason Blood was most certainly a very informed person. Perhaps was even telling the truth, but… "What do you want from me?"

"Answers. And to give you a bit of advice. For one, I sent all of Carter's things to Batman in Gotham."

"That kook?"

Blood laughed. "That's awfully judgmental from a bonehead. Batman's good at reference and he can keep secrets. He also keeps close to his city and is relatively easy to track down. If you have any questions about a demon you're chasing, he can find it for you."

Johnny had to smile at the chide. Only a friend would know that Carter called other Ghost Riders 'Bonehead.' "Okay. What's this going to cost me?"

Blood took a deep breath, like he was going to ask a question and he feared the answer. "Carter. When he died. Did he? Was he? Did the years of good outweigh the bad?"

Johnny blinked. Blood must be in a similar situation. "How should I know?"

"You'd know. The Rider would know. The Rider was originally used for good, but one was corrupted centuries ago and until Carter and then you, they were all pawns of Mephistopheles. When Carter died, you would have gained the power to refuse the Demon. Did you?"

"Yes."

Blood smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. "There is hope."

Johnny shrugged. "Yeah, but I think you have to be at the end for it to work."

"Of course." Blood looked around at the men who were eyeing him. "Could I buy you a drink?"

"Not right now, I'm on a trail."

Blood nodded and then bowed. Johnny had seen many a showman attempt to bow but nothing compared to this man's… gallant ease with the move. "Very well, Rider. Good hunting."

Johnny watched the man leave and murmured, "You too."

*