A piece I wrote some time back, when a friend of mine requested a story where I could explore a truly wicked Dr. Horrible. At three A.M., while on a caffeine high, this was born. I don't know that there's really anything objectionable in here; it's mostly rated T for creepiness.

I used the Johnny Cash version of this song because my family is pretty big into Johnny Cash music, so that's the version of the song I have always heard the most, and it's near and dear to my heart. It really doesn't affect the song at all, except for one line.

Enjoy, and please drop me a line to let me know what you think of it!

I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel.

He has a hundred little scars all over his body. Some are caused by blow after blow from Captain Hammer. Some are self-inflicted. Not out of any sick desire to harm himself: if anything, his sense of self-preservation is heightened, almost over-developed from years of avoiding peril at the hands of anyone he just happened to piss off. But some days he has to tear his flesh-to cut his arm, to prick his finger, to scrape his knuckles-just to make sure he still bleeds. Because if he bleeds he's still alive. And if he's alive then there's still time for someone to save him.

I focus on the pain—the only thing that's real.

He lives in a sort of hyper-reality, one that looks a lot like a black hole. It sucks in everything good that comes its way and destroys it with such elegance and efficiency that any person in the world would be a fool not to marvel at. He's the one causing the black hole. And he's the only one who knows how to stop it. But he's not going to. Because knowing how to do something and actually being able to do it are two very different things.

In his wake he leaves behind pain and torment and heartbreak, and it makes him smile because he's just so freaking good at it. In that screwed up reality of his, pain is the only thing that's left. He feeds off of it, breathes it, wears it like cologne. He clings to it.

Because it's the only thing he's got.

The needle tears a hole: the old familiar sting. Try to kill it all away, but I remember everything.

He gets mad every time he sees his own blood. He gets mad because it means he's human. It means he can hurt. It means he has hurt before. And he remembers everything that led him here.

Then he forgets again, within an hour. Forgets that he's broken, and that he hates being that way. Within a week he's always ready to try again, to cut himself open, to be sure he's still a living, breathing creature. So that, in a vicious merry-go-round cycle he can remember again that he doesn't want to be.

He wants this game to be over, but it won't ever be. Because once again he's the only one who knows how to end it. And once again he doesn't have the strength.

And he'll never find the strength. Because he'll never be anything but alone.

What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I know goes away in the end.

Evil has made him paranoid. He used to at least have a friend or two, used to trust in something, even if he was hard-wired with a cynic's brain. But now he's screwed all of that over. Nothing can be trusted these days. And he's forgotten the meaning of the word friend.

And you could have it all: my empire of dirt. I will let you down. I will make you hurt.

He has everything he ever wanted. His life is perfect. Except for all the ways it isn't. Except for the paranoia and the loneliness and the claustrophobic atmosphere of pain. And every little scar on his hands, his arms, his torso, his legs. Still, everything he ever dreamed of. He's worked hard for it. And now it's his.

And it's hers, too. It's hers. He made it for her, did everything for her. That kind of makes it a pity that she's dead. Kind of makes it a pity that he killed her.

I wear this crown of thorns upon my liar's chair, full of broken thoughts that I cannot repair.

He knows that she would want him to take it all back, to fix everything. But that's impossible. That's just one more thing he can't do. Because if he fixes it then she died for less than nothing. And he can't accept that.

Beneath the stains of time, the feelings disappear. You are someone else, and I am still right here.

He has stopped feeling again. He's got to cut himself open one more time. So that he can re-evaluate everything. So that he can lose his temper again and go kill somebody and watch them hurting and relish the fact that it's not him in pain this time. So that he can tell himself that the sorry piece of human flesh and bone and soul that he just obliterated deserved it because it wasn't her, and therefore had no right to live in his world.

Even if they do always look just like her as the light leaves their eyes.

If I could start again, a million miles away, I would keep myself…

He is a master of self-destruction, and there's no way he'll survive like this much longer.

He is a master of self-preservation, and there's no way he'll be lucky enough to die.

That makes it kind of a pity that his own death-rather, say the death of someone he used to know, so that he can live again-really is everything he ever wanted.

I would find a way.