Disclaimer: I don't own any of them and make no profit. Happiness Is A Warm Gun is a Beatles' song and I get nothing but pleasure from its use.

Rating: PG, some language

Description: I have no idea how to describe this. A tiny exploration of how Murdock defines 'hero' maybe. Or just Murdock's reflections after a bad day.

To Drea, who said I don't write Murdock's POV enough.

Happiness Is A Warm Gun

By Wendybyrd

It's your choice.

No no no! Go 'way! Go away! Murdock squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head, trying to make it all disappear, the way the memories did sometimes. I don't wanna remember.

Come on, it's your choice. That voice again, sounding, echoing in his ears, rattling around inside his skull like the ping-pong ball in a video game. Jamming his fingers in his ears just trapped it in there and taking them out only made it louder.

Come on, the man started again tauntingly and Murdock tried to think of something else, anything else.

No no no! he thought firmly, picturing greener things, familiar fantasies—tall mountains from thousands of feet in the air, piercing through the clouds, soaring faster, higher, than a hundred birds, howling maniacally into the air.

I'll kill him, the voice intruded roughly anyway and shot him from the sky. He was plummeting now, unable to straighten up.

No no. Murdock shook his head again, trying to keep the flying in his mind, not wanting to see—

And there was Superman, dashing in heroically to save Lois and Jimmy who were in the clutches of a dangerous villain, his red and blue suit brilliant in a dark city, a lock of curly hair falling between two surprisingly beautiful eyes, true and sure of purpose, full of mercy, flying swiftly away once the bad guy was arrested, his cape waving cleanly in the breeze like a banner. No plane. No Huey. All in the line of duty, because he had to.

I'll kill him. I'll do it. That voice returned and even Superman couldn't stop Murdock's dive back to earth. He was going to hit the ground, smash into the cement into bloody pieces, fall back with wide, staring brown eyes.

No, God! Murdock was shrieking silently into the blackness of his own mind, knowing the image was going to play out before him again anyway. Don't make me!

Batman came swooping out of his own shadows, not quite flying but still in the air, coming to the aid of a fallen Robin—the red of his vest like blood. No no! He was beating up the Joker with rapid, strong, carefully orchestrated, painless punches. Bam! Pow! Smack! Until the Joker was tied up with a super strong rope from the handy utility belt, until the police came to take him away, until he breaks out and Batman has to return to battle him again, swinging down from the sky, leaping up from the earth, out of the shadows.

I had to do it. Which voice was that? His? A weak argument at best, Murdock sneered at himself. As if there hadn't been a choice.

It's your choice, Smith. That was what the man had really said, pressing the rifle into Face's back, his dark eyes flashing at the threat. Had it been only this morning? Picture perfect in Murdock's mind now, like he was there again. Why couldn't he fade out now? It's your choice, Smith. Let me walk out of here or I'll kill him. I'll do it. That was the complete line, what Murdock had heard clearly, even hidden away on the second story balcony, looking down into the alley. Seen it clearly too.

No—but it kept going, playing out in his mind like a black and white newsreel.

Hannibal and B.A. frowning furiously, never wavering, but knowing that if they put down their weapons, that creep would kill them too. Face knew it too—a rare look of peace stealing into his eyes in the tense quiet, his gaze trained on Hannibal. Like a good soldier, accepting what is to come, without question. He hadn't known Murdock was there, none of them had.

1 It's your choice—

No! Murdock squeezed his eyes closed even tighter. Didn't want to see it. He wanted to see…cowboys. He had always loved cowboys too, how they rode off into the sunset at the end of every adventure, bathed in gold like real heroes, sure of what they'd done.

Wyatt Earp was easy to picture, with his honest but weather-roughened face, squinting into the morning sun as he stood in the dirty street, brothers and friends behind him, waiting tensely for the Clantons to make the first move—Showdown—the widening of eyes at the realization that blood would have to be shed, and then moving to defend, to do his job, without question. Bang! Bang! Shoot! Shoot! And then just men, bodies, lying in the Arizona dust with staring eyes.

Staring brown eyes, almost black, startling even from fifteen feet away. Staring at him as the body fell and hit the pavement, Face's jump out of the way and his sighs of relief were faint, barely there.

"Another one," Murdock whispered at the inescapable memory, shaking now. "Oh God." He'd had to. He'd had no other choice. Right?

It's your choice. A dead man's voice. Not his.

No no no, he thought again, but he still heard it clearly and opened his eyes at the sound of bang bang shoot shoot, and saw the team, blocking his view of the man now, smiling up at him gratefully, urging him to get his crazy ass down there to join them.

There'd been no other choice, really.

The End