Greetings dear readers.

This story came to me from out of the blue. I just thought it would be an interesting look at Dave's thoughts and feelings as he suits up for patrol, some seven years after he first put on his costume.

I hope everyone enjoys this. Right now, most of my mental energies are focused on getting out my major Let Me In story, "Eternally Bonded". Once that's done, I'll be looking at doing another major Kick-Ass fic.

As all my regular readers know, I'm a total addict for reviews. Please feed said addiction.

And awayyyyy we go. :-D

It always began the same way for Dave Lizewski.

First, he would stretch out a bit, then shake his arms, turn his neck a little…just to work out the kinks.

Then, he would strip off his shirt and pants. Invariably, he would hang them neatly on a hanger, should he want to put them on again afterwards, versus getting right into a shower. He'd forgotten why he'd gotten in the habit of leaving his civilian clothes in such a neat condition. All he knew was that he did it every evening. He'd always returned to them afterwards, so perhaps it was good luck to do so. Dave had heard that a lot of athletes, when on a winning streak, refused to change their pregame routine. Well, he'd been doing this for seven years now, and was still in one piece. In the game he played, being alive and well was definitely winning.

Dave paused to look at himself in the mirror. The first night he had ever done this, all those years ago, he had been a scrawny, geeky looking high school student. Now, he was a college graduate. Years of intense iron pumping and even more intense combat training had built and transformed his body from scrawny into something that was a cross between Christian Bale (Batman Begins version) and Chris Evans. He was still something of a geek though, when it came to his cultural tastes. However, he was fine with that…and Mindy thought it was endearing too.

Aside from the pumped up physique, his body had been changed in more ways from the seven years of fighting the war on crime. His body bore bruises from recent battles and scars that dated back years. Every scar told a story. There were stabs. There were punctures. There was one memorable one, from about four years prior, where ambushing a gang at the docks had resulted in a guy sticking a baling hook into his leg. As he recalled, Mindy had broken both of that thug's hands, wrists and arms in retaliation. There were also souvenirs of when bullets had grazed him, finding the weak spots –generally the joint areas- of the Kevlar he wore. Years ago, when he was still with Katie, he recalled how she'd been so fearful every time she saw a new injury on his body. In hindsight, he really couldn't blame her for feeling that way.

Most these wounds hadn't hurt, at least not much. His long-ago disastrous first outing as Kick-Ass had left him with dulled pain receptors. Over the last seven years, he'd been thankful for that many times. That's not to say he didn't feel sore afterwards. Sometimes he felt so sore, he was terrified to think of what condition he'd be in with normal nerve function. That was usually afterwards, when he and Mindy had gotten home and –as was often the habit following a rough night- she would rub some liniment into him. (He had to admit that Mindy doing that was always worth taking a few knocks out on the streets). But, the pain was a byproduct of The Mission. It was a price to pay and he accepted it.

Dave reached into a drawer and pulled out a white, cotton t-shirt and pulled it on. The cotton, he'd discovered was helpful by helping to absorb perspiration. That was a little tidbit he'd shared on the Real Superhero Registry boards and was amazed at how many others followed it. Of course, he and Mindy were regarded as simply THE best crimefighters in the city…if not the country. Hence, any suggestions they made to the rest of the community were well respected.

Next, Dave opened a drawer and pulled out a heavy-duty Kevlar vest. He put it on and strapped it tight. His costume now had Kevlar sewn into it, over most of the body area. However, he still liked to wear an extra layer of protection over his torso.

Now, Dave opened a wardrobe and removed a green garment from a hanger. His wetsuit had long been replaced by a fireproof garment and had Kevlar sewn into it. On a mannequin, in a corner, was his old wetsuit. It was the one he'd worn when he'd wound up on YouTube. It was the one he'd worn when he met Mindy. All in all, it did look a little ridiculous –especially compared to what Mindy and her dad wore- and couldn't begin to compare to what he wore now, in terms of functionality. But that was his start. Now, criminals all over New York City would piss themselves with fright if they even caught a glimpse of anything green (or purple).

He grabbed a can of talcum powder and shook some inside his costume. Mindy had suggested he do that. At first, his male ego had balked at the idea. But, he finally gave in and tried it. To his delight, he found it stopped any chafing while in costume. (Mindy had just rolled her eyes and called him a dumbass for being stubborn about it in the first place).

The next step was his belt. For his birthday one year, Mindy had gotten him a utility belt, in the same style as what she wore. It was yellow and had "KA" engraved on the buckle. Dave did a quick inventory of it. He had his wrist-ties, extendable batons, pepper spray, a heavy-duty stun gun, a small grappling hook and line, a miniature digital camera (for crime scene photographs) and a few other pieces of equipment.

Bending down, Dave stepped into his boots. His yellow Timberland boots had long been relegated to being used whenever he and Mindy took a weekend off and went hiking in the Hudson River Valley. Now, his work boots were steel-toed and had Kevlar plates beneath very high-traction soles. As well, an emergency lockpick was concealed in each calf-section, with the heels being removable to contain teargas pellets.

His gloves were similarly upgraded. His gloves were now sap gloves made with a fireproof nomex. The knuckles had Kevlar reinforcement on top of them and the seams between the thumb and forefingers were padded enough to stop a knife attack.

Now, came the final part of the ritual. It was the part that affected him the most. He removed his mask from the shelf and looked at it, as he always did. The mask…the face of Kick-Ass, the face that criminals now feared; Dave sometimes reflected on the first time he put that mask on. Then it had been fun and games. Now, he'd long realized it was life or death. This mask…had it become who he was? Katie had once commented that sometimes she feared that it was becoming his true face. The face of Dave Lizewski was simply becoming a disguise for Kick-Ass.

Long ago, when Katie moved out to Colorado –right when he and Mindy were in the middle of their first big case, the Santa Claus Strangler investigation- she had told him that being a costumed crimefighter, being Kick-Ass, was his first, best destiny. It was what he was meant to do. It was his calling. He'd come to realize she was right. Still, every night when he reached for the mask, he reflected. It was always the last thing he put on when suiting up and the first thing he removed when he and Mindy got home. It was where Dave Lizewski disappeared and Kick-Ass took his place. This mask; it was so simple. The green cowl (they'd actually melted down some Kevlar and molded it so there'd be some head protection) with the slit for the eyes and mouth. (In wintertime, Dave switched to one without a mouth opening, when it was particularly cold out). Yet, it was where he faded from sight and a new persona –the one that had changed his life in more ways than he could count- took his place. It always made Dave stop and reflect. Putting the mask on was an act. It was an act of consecration.

Dave's dad, Casimir Lizewski, after learning of his son's costumed activities, had found himself attending Sunday Mass more and more regularly. In time Dave started joining him –something he hadn't done since before his mother's passing. He recalled how the most solemn part in the Mass was the Consecration. In time, Dave felt he understood that a bit more, when he donned his mask.

Dave took a breath and closed his eyes briefly. Then he pulled on his mask. This was his act of consecration. As he did every night, he was consecrating himself to The Mission; to the work that chose him.

A hand on his shoulder took him out of his reverie.

"Hey. You ready?" Mindy asked him. Dave looked at the two of them reflected in the mirror. She had on all of her costume except her wig, mask and gloves. Mindy always put her gloves on last, so she could adjust her wig properly. Dave never voiced his feelings on the reverence he felt at putting his mask on last. That was his and his alone.

"I'm good to go." Dave said with a smile. Becoming Kick-Ass had changed his life in more ways than he could count. It brought a lot of hardships, but it brought many rewards too. Bringing Mindy into his life was, without a doubt, the greatest reward of them all; Dave reflected as Mindy slipped on her mask, adjusted her wig to her liking and reached for her gloves. "Aren't you forgetting something?" He chuckled at her and he looked down at her hands.

"Huh? Oh." Mindy grinned. She removed a small and simple diamond ring –that had once belonged to Caitlin Lizewski, Dave's mother- from her left hand and placed it in a box on her dressing table. It had only been a few weeks since Dave had proposed to her and she was still getting used to wearing the ring. Sadly, she couldn't wear it on patrol since she couldn't get her gloves on properly while it was on her finger. It was the last thing she took off before putting her gloves on. She put the ring back on her finger as soon as she'd gotten her gloves off when they returned.

"I guess I'm still getting used to it." She smiled at him as he nodded his understanding.

"You ready?"


"To the Mistmobile." Dave chuckled. Seven years and he still felt a thrill of excitement when they set out. One of these days though, he thought, they really had to come up with a new name for their car though.