Here's the first chapter of my Kick-Ass fic. The basic concept of Crusader is something I created a long time ago when I was writing a comic book that a friend was going to illustrate for me. I'm retooling him a bit for this story, and I've given him a partner. Don't worry about Crusader and his partner stealing the show though; this story is about Dave and Mindy. Please review and let me know what you think.
Feeling fatigued and spying a convenient milk crate, the armor-clad figure known to the people of his city as "The Crusader" seated himself near his prisoner – a crumpled and broken man whom the Crusader suspected of attempted rape. Though the would-be rapist still lay shivering and bleeding on the ground, the deviant's target had long since disappeared, thanking the masked hero and fleeing in shock. The Crusader settled himself on his new chair and leaned forward on his sword, redistributing the considerable weight of his armor. The point of the sword rested mere inches from the deviant's face, driving home the idea the villain was still at the Crusader's mercy. A cursory brutalizing would be enough for a mugger, but this pathetic excuse for a man warranted something more. In this brief stretch of calm, Crusader spoke.
"What is your name, damned one?"
Through gritted teeth and with deep self-pity, the twisted man on the ground answered: "Dennis."
"Dennis, do you understand why your arms and legs are broken?" Crusader inquired in the manner of one reasoning with a child.
The man spat a wad of blood into the growing puddle under his face and replied, "Cause you fucking jumped me, you crazy fuck!"
Crusader looked down at the vermin lying at his feet and took great care in forming each word of his reply. "No. I 'jumped' you because you were trying to destroy a part of that young woman. What you were going to do is something that I believe there may be a separate hell for. You were going to take from her something that should only ever be given. If I wasn't here making you pay for it, I don't think anyone else would be. That is why you're choking on your own putrid blood. The sad thing is that there are even worse things a person can do. The world would be greatly improved if raping a stranger was the worst thing a person could do." He spat with a look somewhere between a sneer and a rueful smile. "But it's not." He said simply, and it seemed as though the breath had left him all at once. "Let me tell you a story."
At this point, the man on the ground interrupted the Crusader. "Am I gonna die?" He moaned.
Crusader looked down at the writhing, abject figure whose blood was nearing the tip of his shining boot. He repositioned himself, avoiding the stain and the evidence. In a matter-of-fact tone, he replied in the affirmative. "At least if I get my way. I will not kill you myself. I feel that in this dark age, assistance is needed in the areas where evil is thickest, but I leave decisions of life and death to a higher power. However, I will feel absolutely no regret or remorse if I learn that you died in the hospital before you could be carted off to prison. Your wounds are significant. Many men in your position would probably welcome death. If you do end up surviving long enough to see prison, you would do well to remember that certain crimes are frowned upon by even the most hardened criminals. If they find out what you've done, they may not be as forgiving as I have been. In any case, I'm going to tell you a story."
Crusader adjusted his posture for a moment, then suddenly became frustrated and stood up. It was the kind of story that made one feel weak and unsure – best not to tell it sitting down. "The story was first told to me by its protagonist. She… came to me in search of a benevolent ear." At this, Crusader paused. He recalled the trembling voice of a young woman reverberating off the walls of a confessional.
"She told me how her father had sexually abused her and her older sister when they were young." His heart seemed suddenly as though it weren't pumping nearly enough blood, and he paused as he waited for it to catch up. "I'd like to repeat myself: Her father sexually abused her when she was young. I've told you that there are worse things in the world than what you tried to do; I have yet to encounter something worse than the idea of that girl's father. Her father. Molested her. When she was young and unable to defend herself. The man tasked with teaching her right and wrong and protecting her from evil violated her for years." His voice had risen from a low, controlled simmer to a shout as the hate within him boiled over. He huffed out a few deep, foggy breaths, attempting to compose himself.
Having grown somewhat weary, the Crusader sat down again and gazed once more over his crippled prey. "You are scum, Dennis. But I don't think the average scum would do that. There is one part of her story that I found especially difficult to process. As we spoke of the horrific excuse for a childhood she endured, she mentioned lack of sleep. Do you know why? It wasn't because the demon kept them awake at all hours. No. Those little girls slept in shifts. Shifts! One was always on guard duty so that she could wake the other when the horror began. She would wake the other not for safety in numbers, but just so that the other would not wake to that. Just so she would have some amount of warning, even though there was nothing either of them could do to stop it."
"Picture that, Dennis." The Crusader whispered, the hate and anger leaving his voice, and suddenly he was imploring Dennis rather than giving an order. "A little girl curled up on her bed, weary-eyed and fatigued, waiting for her father to come in and defile her. Most veterans of war cannot describe a scene so terrible." He shook his head. The anger welled up once again.
"She has flashbacks. Debilitating flashbacks. The wrong smell or phrase can send her right back to the hell she experienced whenever that demonic man forced himself on her."
The Crusader stood, slowly raising himself to his full height. "All because of someone… like you!" With his last word, he pumped his sword into the air, bringing the hilt down with a sickening crunch on Dennis's spine, somewhere near his kidneys. Dennis tried to scream in agony but found his lungs empty. He couldn't feel his legs. After a moment of gasping for air, he passed out.
Crusader surveyed the broken body at his feet, sheathed his sword and began to drag his prey to the street. As he checked Dennis's pulse, the masked hero heard a car approach. Snapping his head up in the direction of the sound, he was relieved to find that it was only the car that had brought him there in the first place, piloted by his new friend.
A heavily-tinted window rolled down to reveal the face of Lateral G, mostly obscured by a hood, the bottom half covered entirely by a black molded ski mask. A tablet computer velcro'd to the dash bathed the interior in a dim orange glow. "He dead?" G asked, his voice annoyingly muffled by his bandana.
"Probably soon." Crusader replied. His tone implied a measure of regret. "I… went a little overboard." He rose to his feet and pulled the passenger door open. Rather than entering, he paused, glaring at the seat with deep contempt. This did not escape Lateral G's notice.
"Yeah, I know, I'll take the right bolster off the seat as soon as I can." He let out a frustrated sigh. They'd been over this before. "I know it's a bitch with all the armor." G said apologetically. "For now, just wedge your ass in here so we can move on."
With no small amount of effort, Crusader did as G had asked and crammed himself into the car. As soon as he closed the door, they began to move. "You could just get a bigger car. Maybe one that could hold more than two crazy vigilantes and some electronics?" He suggested, letting his gleaming bronze-colored helm clink against the window. Headroom was also an issue.
"Bigger is slower." G waved his hand dismissively. "The Chariot's been good to me, and unless I wake up in a pile of Benjamins, it's all I've got."
They approached a red light and rolled to a stop, alone at the intersection. At length, the Crusader spoke. "We should call someone to pick him up."
"Yeah, probably." G agreed, though he did nothing.
Lateral G took off once the light changed.
The Crusader shook his head and took the cheap burner phone he'd purchased out of the cupholder. "I've really got to start having the victims do this part for me. Keep the police off our trail." He dialed 911. "There is a rapist lying in the gutter near-"
Tires squealed. The Crusader paused and stared through the windshield with Lateral G, who'd brought the car to a rather abrupt stop. There was someone in the road pointing a gun at them. A few seconds ticked by.
"Autocross brakes? Money well spent." Lateral G panted, clutching at his chest. The adrenaline of the sudden stop had caught up to him. The caped figure began walking toward the car, keeping the gun pointed at G's face.
As the small shape drew nearer, recognition dawned on the two shanghaied heroes. "Is that..?" Crusader began.
"Hit Girl? No fucking way!" G yelled with a sort of incredulous delight. He moved to roll down the window, but Hit Girl quickly gestured for him to freeze. He put his hands up in surrender, suddenly quite worried. Pretty much the only thing the world knew for sure about Hit Girl was that she was incredibly dangerous, and right now she appeared to be very much on edge. She came around to the driver's side and opened the door, keeping her gun trained on G the whole time. The open door activated the overhead light, revealing the two oddly-dressed men and putting Hit Girl at ease, though it was a puzzled and surprised ease, and she didn't lower the gun.
Finally, after looking them over for a second or two, mostly focusing on the Crusader's elaborate armor, she spoke. "More heroes?" She choked out in happy disbelief.
"Yes, ma'am." Lateral G nodded, hands still in the air. "Fighting the good fight and all that. Could you maybe point the gun somewhere else?"
The small girl holstered the gun and pointed at the Crusader. "You, big guy, I need your help. Come around the corner with me. I can't lift him alone." The Crusader got out of the car and jogged after Hit Girl, who had run into a nearby building. His armor squeaked and clinked noisily the whole way.
"Him?" G wondered aloud, almost not daring to believe it. But they were usually seen together, weren't they? "Kick-Ass?" He got out of the car and was about to follow them when it suddenly occurred to him that the back seat was full of crap. He turned swiftly, stopping to pop the trunk before opening the back door and grabbing an armload of junk. After a few trips, the back seat was clean. It was just as well, since he turned from his final inspection to find that the rest of the group was upon him.
The Crusader was carrying Kick-Ass bridal style, and before G ducked out of the way so that he could be loaded into the back seat, he noticed with a wave of nausea that at least a third of Kick-Ass's iconic green suit was stained dark red.
After their cargo was in, the Crusader returned to the passenger seat.
Suddenly G found himself staring over the roof of the car at Hit Girl, who was saying something. "You're taking us to the hospital. He's losing blood." G nodded mutely, his eyes unfocused. He got into the driver's seat and buckled in. Hearing a door gently click shut he cast a single glance over his shoulder at Hit Girl, who was stuffed up against her door, cradling her partner's head in her lap.
"Drive like you mean it. Your life's at stake." She said without looking up from Kick-Ass.
"Don't you mean his life's at stake?" G asked without thinking, gunning the engine and taking off at full tilt.
"No." Hit Girl closed her eyes and clenched her jaw, then looked at him in the rear-view mirror with an intensity he would never forget. "If he doesn't make it to the hospital I'll killyouboth!"
"Right." G agreed, head on a swivel as he ran one red light after another. After seeing the look in her eyes, he believed her.
Hit Girl was silently grateful that fate had provided them swift and trustworthy transport. She was almost equally grateful that the black of her mask and the grit in her voice hid the fact that she'd been crying.
Review! The ferocity of Hit Girl's gaze compels you. And for those of you who are wondering, "The Chariot" is a 2nd-gen STI with racing seats.