Disclaimer- . . . Really? You guys haven't figured it out after almost two years of writing fanfiction? (If you truly haven't, that is just sad.)

Okay, before you guys attempt to shake my shoulders through your computer screen (trust me, I have tried that and failed epically), please allow me to explain my absence. Now I have put my reasons into a list to make my case clearer:

1. I had a family reunion where, on the second day, I passed out three times . . . Or so my mom says. The way I remember it, I passed out only once but that is beside the point. I was waiting to get on a go-cart when I passed out. Yeah, I'm so glad that my family and I decided to go let some teenagers to go in front of us so we could go together. If we hadn't, I would've passed out on whilst driving a go-cart. Yay.

2. By the time I got back from that reunion, school started back up. T-T

3. Simple procrastination. Seriously, who doesn't do it?

4. I started (and finished) this show Heroes and spent every waking moment devouring it whole. (And its fanfiction.)

5. I watched the movie Star Trek: Into Darkness and loved it. Yeah, I wasn't into Star Trek until I saw that movie . . . And that led to looking up its fanfiction where I learned that a certain captain had a painful past. xD You guys know how much I love that. Oh and the guy who plays Spock (young Spock) is one of the main bad guys on Heroes! I love that! xD And this also led me to writing one of my own fanfics in its section. Trust me, I hate my muse.

Chapter 17

Dick didn't understand this meeting.

Not at all.

He didn't understand why Red Arrow (yeah, he recognized the guy; it had been too easy) wanted to meet him, why he seemed to think he would be helpful. Dick didn't understand that at all. He didn't get how Red Arrow thought that he would help with whatever he and his band of heroes needed. If anything, Red Arrow should be hunting him down and dragging him to jail for all the dirty work he had done for Slade. Well, for the dirty work that they knew about which was stealing and trying to kill them.

They knew nothing about what horrible things Dick had done as Red X.

Shifting his arms to lean more comfortably against a bookcase, Dick tried to not think about what he had done under the alias of Red X. He tried to not to remember the fear that lit up his victims' eyes as he tortured them for information. He tried to not remember how Slade would let him have mercy on some of the victims and let them go. He tried to not remember how other times Dick would be forced to-

It doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter.

But no matter how much Dick told himself that, his heart couldn't believe it. No, it did matter and that was made it so much worse. That was made him such a horrible person, someone who deserved to die. Because it did matter and what he had felt during those times mattered. Those actions and deeds, whether he liked it or not, were a part of him, a part that he had dubbed as Red X. No matter what he did in the present and future, no matter how much he changed, no matter how much guilt he felt, he would always have that part lurking within him. He would always bear that persona, a persona that had swallowed a part of his soul whole and spat it back out in Red X's image.

His hands would always, always be red with the blood he had spilt and the rush he had when he tortured his victims within an inch of their lives.

Oh, the rush. How he had forgotten it! As he had loomed over their cowering forms, Dick would feel this rush that raced through his veins and up to his brain. Oh, how it had screamed power, power that he didn't have in his and Beth's lives. Dick, at first, had shrugged it off and dismissed it. But it only got worse as he tortured more and more people, becoming an addiction of his. He tried to fight it but it was just so intoxicating. To have power, to have control . . . It was his drug, something he needed if he was to survive working for Slade.

But when he would come home and hug Beth, something in his mind would scream and claw at him. It would wail and cry at him, asking him something that he couldn't answer.

How can you touch Beth with those hands, hands that torture and kill?

That was what made Dick start to think about giving Beth to a family that could take care of her, that would love her and hug her with arms and hands that weren't stained with suffering. But that hadn't lasted for long. Soon, all too soon, he had realized that he couldn't hang onto his sanity without his sister. She was his anchor, something he needed desperately. Yes, his sister needed him too but not like Dick needed her. She wasn't on her way to becoming insane-

As the clock stroked twelve, Dick's mind was dragged out of his train of thought and he was reminded of the meeting.

"Beth," he called out softly, turning to look down the aisle where his sister was humming as she looked at a picture book.

"Hmm?" Beth answered, her blue eyes locked onto the book before her.


Looking up from her beloved book, Beth tilted her head. "Why?"

"Do it."

Groaning as she got up, Beth picked up her book and pouted. "I never get to know anything."

Dick resisted the urge to chuckle at her childlike behavior. "I need you to be hidden in case . . ."

"In case of what? Onii-chan?" Beth asked softly, suddenly frightened by the look on her brother's face.

"Nothing. Just go hide and make sure to be quiet."

Still concerned, Beth nodded and started off to find a place to hide. "Okay."

"I mean it, Beth. This isn't like playing hide and seek."

Beth didn't answer; she was too concerned with her brother's behavior. Everything was okay, right? She didn't have to worry, right? Thoughts like those swirled around her mind for a few more moments until her six-year-old instincts kicked in. As a smile found its way onto her face, she sneakily found one place that wouldn't be her brother's first guess.

On top of the bookcase that he was leaning against.

_Five Minutes Later_

"Sorry I'm late!"

Dick swung his body around, startled to hear not Red Arrow's rough voice but instead Kid Flash's voice. So Red Arrow hadn't kept his mouth shut then. Did he tell just Kid Flash or had he told his entire team? If so, was Young Justice lurking in the library, keeping an eye on him? Were they planning on attacking him when his defenses were down? Or were they seeking out his sister, hoping she'd tell them his secrets and weaknesses?

I knew this would be a bad idea! But I had to agree to get him off my back. I don't need him and his superhero buddies exposing me to Slade.

"Where is Red Arrow?" Dick asked the redhead coldly, hiding his fears behind his Red X mask and voice.

Kid Flash smiled brightly, seemingly comfortable with Dick's greeting. "Oh, him? Yeah, the idiot got sick. He asked me to come in his stead . . . even though he knows that you might carry out your threat and cut off one of his arms."

"Just you?"

"Yep, just me."

"Why?" Dick asked without thinking, curious as to why a superhero would trust him, an ex-apprentice of Slade, to not use this opportunity to kill him.

"He wants your help and he knows to get that, he has to play by your rules. You obviously don't want to feel like you're being ambush by heroes so you agreed to meeting him alone, right? Or maybe you don't trust heroes? Hmm. I didn't think about that until now. I wonder why," Kid Flash answered, his smile still bright.

Dick, confused by the guy's honest, open musings, decided to skip over that and get straight to the point. He didn't actually have too much time to waste. He and his sister needed to get away from this town, possibly this country, as soon as possible. Sure, he was the one who named the meeting place but that was because he didn't want them knowing what town he was currently hiding in.

"What did he want from me?"

Kid Flash's smile died a little then and he sighed. "Can I, I don't know, be honest with you?"

Frowning with confusion under his mask, Dick nodded.

"Red Arrow wants you to help us track down Slade."

A/N- Dun, dun, duuunnnn! What will Dick say? Only I know! This was published on 11-4-13 with the length of 1,554 words.