A/N: Written because of one of the posters in Horrible's apartment.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Billy had never been close with his father.
No, he didn't hate the man, and there was no sad back story in his life, or abusive or absent parental figures of any sort. His parents had been decent people, and had done everything they could to accommodate their son and his unfathomable intellect as he grew up. He just never had been able to bond with his father, nor do anything that would make their relationship seem at all like the normal "father-son" relationship painted on television and in movies.
Not that his father hadn't tried. He tried to get Billy interested in sports, even taking him to a football game once. Only once; Billy had been utterly disgusted by the whole thing, from the thousands of people screaming and fighting and eating and burping to the group of over-sized men on the field below knocking each other to the ground for a leather ball. He tried to take his son fishing; Billy wound up distracted, writing some drawn out equation on his body due to the lack of paper, and showing an utter lack of interest in the fish his father caught. He even tried to teach the boy how to defend himself, after it became very apparent he was going to be the target of bullies throughout his school career; Billy wound up with a broken nose, and his father received nothing but glares from his mother for about a year after that.
He hadn't had that issue with his mother. Billy bonded readily with her, and it was always to her he took his problems, (Never of the mathematical kind; his parents could no longer help him with that after he hit about age seven) never to his father. It was with her that he talked when he needed to talk to someone; never with his father. It was with her he'd happily go somewhere with, or help with some chore; never his father.
Could he be blamed? Hardly. When he tried to take his issues to his father, he often got lousy advice that typically made the situation worse, so, after a while, he stopped asked for it, or disregarded it when he got it un-asked for. When he talked to the man, their conversations had a habit of turning into arguments, which often turned into the boy sulking in sullen silence for the rest of the day. When he went somewhere with him, or helped him with someone, he'd be forced to talk to the man, and those conversations turned into arguments, which turned into one of them giving up and leaving and Billy sulking.
They were too different from one another to be close on any level. Billy was against things his father supported, and vice versa. What his father saw as a cowardly move by some country in war, Billy saw as noble. Where his father saw violence as the only means to an end, Billy saw a chance for negotiation, or a more peaceful solution.
His father saw his views as unrealistic. Idealistic. That they'd never work. Billy saw his father's views as overly aggressive. Counterproductive. The beliefs of a brute.
It was to no one's great surprise that they hardly spoke at all after he went away from college. While his mother would sometimes get calls or emails from her son, his father got nothing. And after so many years of trying to bridge that gap between Billy and him and failing, he didn't try to contact his son, either.
Maybe that's why Billy was so surprised to get a package from his father one day.
It wasn't entirely true that his father never contacted him after he went away to college. The man called him once—only one time – but it wasn't a normal phone call. That call came a few months after Billy had picked up the persona of Dr. Horrible, and just as he was beginning to get attention from the media—And a certain hero—and just after he'd started blogging in his free time.
Apparently, in his preparations in becoming a villain, he'd overlooked a few things. Like who might know who he really was.
"…Who is this?"
"You know who this is, William."
"What do you want?"
"I want to know what the hell you think you're doing out there."
Billy hadn't known how to respond. Instead, he'd tried to act innocent. Played it off like he hadn't known what the man could possibly be talking about. "What do you mean?"
"There was a bank robbery in LA last night."
"There are a lot of robberies around here."
"By some new villain."
"Oh, Christ." He'd blinked, trying to think of something that sounded sane to say, something that would deter the man from that line of thought. "Do you actually pay attention to that crap? I mean, egomaniacal crazies dressing up in bright costumes and committing crimes for petty greed, or whatever reason. It's stupid."
"Do you really think it's stupid?"
"There's a new villain out there."
"Look, dad, I don't really pay attention to the news." That was a lie. He'd watched the news, almost religiously, since he was young.
"You're lying. You watched the news when other kids watched cartoons."
Well, damn. "I don't anymore. Look, what is this all about?"
"I want to know what you're doing, Dr. Horrible."
Billy had winced. That name, the one he had spent nearly a month trying to think up, a name that sounded quite classy when the news mentioned him (however briefly,) sounded like an insult coming from the man on the other end of the line. He closed his eyes, unsure of what to do next.
He said nothing. Maybe if he was quiet…
"How'd you know it was me?" He'd finally asked.
"I saw a clip of Hammer beating you up. I know what my son looks like when he's getting the shit beat out of him by someone bigger." Billy had winced again, narrowing his eyes and glaring at his wall, the skin around one eye still green and yellow, sign of a healing black eye. He wished his glare could translate over the phone. "Well, I didn't know right away. But it looked like you. So I found Horrible's blogs. I only had to see one for a few seconds to know it was you."
"So?" He'd growled into the phone. "What? Calling me to rub in your skills of deduction?"
"Going to the police, Sherlock?"
"Does mom know?" Why did the thought of his mother knowing he was a villain bother him more than thinking that anyone else knew? "Have you told her yet?"
"No. And I'm not going to."
This confused him. "Then why are you calling? Going to try and talk me out of this?"
Billy had actually pulled the phone away and stared at it for a second before shaking his head and returning it to his ear. "Are you serious?"
"You don't want to do this, Billy."
"Get out while you still can, before you get hurt."
"I don't care what you have to say, okay?"
"Then at least tell me why you're doing this!"
"Because someone has to."
"Has to what? Knock off banks and make a fool of himself on television?" He sneered at the phone. "Throw away any chance of a real future? A real career?"
"I have a real future—and a real career."
"No, you don't. Please, Billy, this is really—"
"—Stupid? It isn't. Look, I'm doing this. And I have my reasons."
"Then tell me!"
"So you can—what? Tell me they're stupid too? Unrealistic? Useless?"
"No. Stop calling me that. Look, I'm doing this. You can go do whatever. Tell mom. Report me to the police. Disown me, pretend we're not related, whatever you have to do. I have to do this." He'd pulled the phone away from his face again, holding the speaker to his mouth long enough to add, "just don't call me ever again," before slamming the phone down on the receiver.
And his father had followed his instructions. He never called again. Not only that, but the police never connected Billy to any of Horrible's crimes, and his mother never called about anything relating to the doctor, either. Actually, she didn't call at all, either.
But his father did send a package.
It was two weeks before Christmas. Annoying songs were played on nearly every radio station. Bright lights, blow-up snow men and Santa Claus, and reefs and trees began to litter lawns and streets. College students came home to visit their parents, and people fleeing the cold weather came to California if Florida was too much for them. In other words, typical holiday cheer was about.
In the background, though, other things happened. The suicide rate spiked, as did muggings, murders, and robberies. Places caught fire and homes burned down, due to electrical issues or carelessness as they cooked. The homeless became even more noticeable, and one was hard pressed to miss the litter and trash accumulating on the streets. But the bright lights, cheery songs, and festive airs of those who could afford it blinded most to what else was going on, and ensured that the bigger issues were ignored as people instead celebrated what they had.
It was all this annoying cheer that probably ensured that no one thought it strange that the quiet blond boy in the apartment down the hall from them got a long box delivered to his door. The only one that thought it strange was the man himself, who didn't get packages; especially not from his father.
Curious yet cautious, he knelt down near the package, pressing an ear to the cardboard—just in case it was a bomb or something else equally unpleasant. The box was silent, and he deemed it safe to pick up and carry inside.
Once inside, he sat the box down, unsure of what to do with it. Part of him wanted to ignore it, out of spite, but the other part was too curious for its own good, and demanded to know what was inside. After a moment of deliberation, he decided to go with the latter of the two intentions, and after getting a knife out of the kitchen, set to work undoing the packing tape that very nearly covered the box—the copious amounts of tape, possibly more than the sticker on the box declaring it from his father, clued him in to who had sent it. After nearly five minutes of fussing with the tape, he managed to rip the box open and peer inside.
The dull brown back of a long picture frame, at least two feet long, greeted him. Raising a brow, he pulled the picture out, discovering that it was a poster. The words "FIRST AID for your family" were most prominent near the top, and beneath this heading were descriptions of several injuries, from sprains to breaks to concussions to cuts, and detailed explanations on how to treat them, from how to set a broken bone to how to clean and stitch a deep cut.
He read this for a few minutes before remembering the rest of the box. Moving aside a single sheet of paper that hid the rest, he found several first aid supplies, from bandages to compression pads to latex gloves and needles to pain pills of different varieties.
Billy pulled everything out and set them in front of the framed poster, staring at his new found first aid wealth. This… would certainly be useful. Frowning, he took the poster and glanced around his small and admittedly dingy apartment, finding an open spot of wall near his door to hang it up. He then took the first aid supplies and set them back in the box, and moved the box to his kitchen, where he set it at the end of the counter, within easy reach should he need it.
It was only later that he thought to look at the paper that had been in the box. On the back, where he had missed it, was a very short note, handwritten in pen.
"For when you do get hurt."