Author's Notes: Guys I'm so sorry this is taking so long, I've just been busy as fuck. Wanted to get this up and out of the way, so, uh enjoy I guess? Feedback is appreciated!
Chapter 3 'Light Up the City'
"A terrible thought has moved into my mind, a giant rat that's nibbling on my pride. It's tearing away my patience and my wit…I must take proper measures set a trap for it." -Poe
A normal day for Dexter Douglas and Freakazoid was probably not what everyone else considered a normal day. That being said, 'normal' was a relative term Freakazoid assumed applied to others in varying levels. For instance his personal normality was his other half woke up, spent the day doing whatever it is Dexter's do while Freakazoid himself lounged about and made hilarious commentary so he could hear Dex's cute laugh, and then at night, the fun started.
The Freakazoid got let out, and he made sure to take any shred of normalcy and toss it out the window on his own way over the sill. (Doors were for weenies, and anyway Dexter didn't want him to wake up his parents or his brother. So Freakazoid didn't out of pure respect for his boy's wishes.)
And right now? Oh Freakazoid was loving life.
"Ahhh patrol. Best way for a superhero to spend their time, right Cosgrove?"
"Sure is kid." The cop didn't sound as thrilled as Freak was, but then again he never did, so Freakazoid didn't dwell too much on it. Freakazoid just grinned and let his buddy get back to his custard cone, and Freak himself flicked his tongue through some sprinkles and fudge.
Patrol meant look out, it didn't always mean something would happen, that was entirely dependent on what the villains were up to tonight, but if they were indeed up to anything—
"Zzzt—Car 19, Car 19, robbery in progress southwest of you, repeat, robbery—" The radio from Cosgrove's patrol car crackled to life as the officer scooped up the mic in his free hand and responded. Freakazoid on the other hand, downed his cone whole and bounced in the passenger's seat eagerly.
"Ohhh cool! A robbery!" (Robbery's aren't exactly a good thing, Freak.) Dexter's soft voice commented in the back of his head.
(No, but they're better than sitting here doin' nothing Dexxy!)
The equivalent of a mental sigh. (I suppose.) And whatever his little geek might have said next was drowned out by Cosgrove turning on the sirens as he revved the engine.
"Let's go kid."
It's at this point that Dexter, sitting safely in his own mind, blinked a little and looked around.
It was very hard to look around in ones' own mind, but after a couple years he had gotten it down to a science, and now what he saw was this: Pretty much nothing actually. For one thing, what he looked away from was a single computer in the modest sized room. The screen showed him what Freakazoid was seeing, so Dexter was limited to that, but no more limited than he would be if he were in control, really, so it wasn't as scary as someone might think it was. That being said, Freakazoid did tend to see differently, and a little…oddly.
There was a window he could use that said 'Dextervison' but Dex kind of liked seeing how Freak saw, and rarely used that window. In 'Freakvision' mode, the monitor showed where Wifi was, and phone lines glowed blue sometimes when they were in use. Sometimes the Freak's vision went to black and white, then back to color, and sometimes it showed things Freakazoid targeted in on, like villains for example. There were times when Freakazoid got peeved and the edges of the monitor turned pulsing red and Dexter watched his hero's eyes pinpoint on 'glass jaws' or easy to break bones, listed several painful ways to delete an enemy and those rare times scared Dexter a little. On the side of the computer in another window a chat box was open and that recorded their mental conversations when Dexter was in this room. The keyboard didn't work, even though there was one, and there was a mouse that also didn't work. Dexter simply spoke out loud or thought and the chat box sent it to Freakazoid.
'10:45:46 pm, Dexter: 'I suppose.' For example.
For the past few minutes as Freakazoid dealt with the 'Real World' Dexter sat alone in his…in his Dexterzone, and he suddenly felt a little funny.
So he tore his eyes from the computer screen and looked around at the soft blue, empty walls save for a picture of his family in a plain frame. Over to his right on its own wall was a door with a knob. Dexter knew where that led, to the second layer of their shared brain, what Freak called the middle part. It housed the door to Freak's Freakazone (never to be confused with the Freakalair) and also opened to the larger subconscious of Dexter Douglas's mind. Dexter had asked once a while ago, curious whether Freak had his subconscious housed there too. Freak had only grinned and shrugged a little, then switched subjects as he was apt to do. It never occurred until later to the little geek that maybe Freak had changed topics knowing full well he was doing so. But Dexter didn't dwell on it.
Also in the Dexterzone there was also a simple bed with a side table and a lamp, and the lamp gave off a yellowed glow that was aged and comforting.
Except right now Dexter didn't feel very comforted.
The chat box added an extra line accordingly. '10:59:47 pm, Dexter: 'H-hello?'
Silence. Not even Freakazoid answered. Dexter glanced at the screen, Freak was focused on the robbery and Dex didn't blame him.
Then he turned away again when he heard a faint noise, almost like a slither from somewhere by the wall that had the door. The geek blinked. 'I must be hearing things.' He thought.
'11:00:01 pm, Dexter: I must be hearing things.'
Dexter now had the choice between turning back to the familiar bright computer screen or continue trying to figure out what was going on his mind, and if it weren't for the fact his lamp hadn't literally just turned off with the sound of the bulb bursting, he might have taken that first choice.
As it was, the Dexterzone went darker than Dex was accustomed to and he yelped a little, the computer screen bathing him in sharp white light, and he whirled to look at that too, but ended up having to raise his arms over his eyes to shield them from the strong light that poured out. That ended too though, and when the spots in front of his eyes finally blinked away, Dex found the monitor to look as normal as usual…with the exception that the chat box was utterly wiped clean. Dexter's brows furrowed in confusion, and without thinking he tapped a key. Nothing, of course happened.
He tried jiggling the mouse. Nope. Freak's gaze swiveled from Cosgrove, said something Dex couldn't hear—the speakers weren't working?—and then back to the bank room as they faced down the robbers.
The walls suddenly groaned inward, and Dexter cried out in pain a second time, because oh God it felt like—it felt like his brain was being crushed or something! What, what was going on!? Confused and hurting and freaking out in the bad way, Dexter called for the one thing that never failed to rush to his aid.
The chat box didn't send it through.
Freakazoid's mind went on as if it had never heard the boy, and Dexter felt something akin to terror curdle in his stomach as he stared at the empty chat box.
"Freak? F-Freakazoid! Please!" Dexter called again, terrified.
And then the chat box made a line, and Dex felt a warm rush of relief, it was going through! Freak would hear him and come get him and everything would be alright—
'11:00:01 pm, Dexter: 010ssdldl.
Dexter stared, mouthing a soft 'what…?' But the chat box wasn't done.
'11:59:59pm, Dexter: whA7 ?
00:00:00 am, Dexter:
13:00:00 404: SDFSSDASDSDsdDEEEEEXXXXYYYYY YDSSFDfvdbgbvfb
"My….n-nickname?" Dex mumbled through cold lips, deciphering the middle without thinking about it. But only Freak called him that…?
There was that slither again, soft and faint, and Dexter ripped his eyes from the monitor, over to the door, because maybe he could get out and to the Freakazone and—Dexter's blood ran cold for a second time, leaving him numb and shaking there in his computer chair. The knob was gone.
For that matter the whole damn door was gone.
With absolute alarm squeezing his mind and thoughts, Dexter only whimpered.
Outside in the Real World? Freakazoid sneezed.
And picked himself out of a dent in a brick wall that looked an awful lot like him. Boy the force of that one was bad!
"S'cuse you, kid." Said Cosgrove amiably, standing up from his duck that he'd done to avoid the blast of fizzling electricity Freakazoid had sneezed out.
"Ick, excuse me is right, sorry Cosgrove! Fifth one this night, think I got cobwebs up in there." The hero winced and glanced at the scorch marks he'd left on the side of the van where the robbers were loaded into. They'd just been about to head to the station for the boring part or patrol, (dumb paperwork) when Freak had felt…funny. And sneezy.
"Yeah, well, why don't ya call it a night Freakazoid, and go home and have some soup. Soup's good for ya when you feel urpy."
"But I don't feel up—GYAHHACHOO!" FZZZSSST! Freakazoid sniffled and slumped over; wincing at the hole he'd left in the bank's door.
"Uh…oops." Freak said meekly, glancing at the cop.
"Like I said kid, soup." Cosgrove pointed to him and Freak nodded.
"R-right…uh…night Cosgrove, sorry." The hero sniffed, covering his nose and trying to NOT sneeze anymore.
"Don't worry about it, ya did the hard work, go home kid." Freak smiled gratefully, Cosgrove was the best!
"Bye then!" Freak took his starting pose—
"See ya, Freakazoid."
And took off like a rocket. Or arguably the speed of one, anyway. God it was great to have super powers again!
On a normal night it'd take Freakazoid about 30 seconds to get from downtown to Finickulee Finiculy Drive, and then bounce from a telephone pole into the Dex's bedroom and that would be the end of it.
The problem was tonight was apparently not a normal night, because it took Freakazoid 19 minutes to get back to the Douglas house…because for 18 of them he actually had to walk like a normal person since his sneezing had gotten so bad he couldn't hold the ability to streak over the rest of the blocks like, well, lightning.
Okay, that was a bit unsettling, to be fair.
"Guess I'll have to use the door for once too," Freak muttered as he walked up to the Douglas porch.
(Hey Dex, is the key still under the second plant to the left of the door?) Freak waited, oddly patient for once.
Freak blinked, checked the plant as he mentally called for his other half and found the key easily. He didn't dwell on Dexxy not answering, it WAS late, and his little geek needed all the sleep he could get. It'd be good for him if Dex's mind had fallen asleep before patrol ended, and Freakazoid really didn't mind.
So Freak got in the house the normal way people tend to do (unless you're a robber or Freakazoid.) and tried to get to Dex's room without out any more…funny stuff. He actually managed to make it to the top of the stairs before he sneezed a small bolt of lightning and broke a vase with a sharper crash than was necessary for such a cheap thing, Freak thought angrily, wincing as he stood before the broken ornament.
A light turned from behind Dex's parent's door, and the Freakazoid winced and shot for Dexter's room, shutting the door quietly as possible and pressing his ear against the wood, super hearing or not.
There was the sound of his dad grumbling wearily about Duncan's late night clumsy excursions for food, and then a door shut and there was silence. Freakazoid let out a sigh he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
(THAT was a close call…that musta woken ya up buddy, right?)
Again, no response from his other half.
"I….Dex?" He tried vocally; just to see if that made a difference.
No answer. Freakazoid frowned and looked around Dex's bedroom as if that held some answers. He glanced at Chubbykins sleeping in Dex's computer chair before checking the door once more and flopping gracelessly on Dex's single bed.
"Le'see…" The crazed superhero settled on his back, wiggled a bit and forced his body to relax. "Freak in!"
And then he was lying on his couch in the Freakazone, and looking up at the endless black of his 'ceiling.' Huh, he really should put a poster or something up there, just to give his eyes somewhere to go when he lay on his back on the couch.
Maybe of Davey Jones. Wait, wasn't he dead? Eh, nevermind. So Freak sat up, intending to ask Dexter, and then remembered…Dex hadn't been answering him.
"Well…better go check on him…just in case."
Freakazoid may have been lackadaisical about literally everything else in his life…but Dexter was not one of those things he took lightly. He whistled quietly and strutted for the Dexterzone, grinning when he saw the door and not bothering to knock for once, just twisting the knob and pushing it open, looking expectantly at…an empty bed.
Was…was that a whisper? Did Dexxy just—? So Freak headed all the way in, eyebrows pulling his mask down in his confusion as he looked over at Dexter, sitting with his boney knees drawn up to his chest in the computer chair, his arms tucked around his legs as if to appear as small as possible.
"Yeah, I…Dexter? Whatcha doing buddy?"
That sent off a small warning bell. "Yeah, I can see that Dexxy," Freak gave him a chuckle instead of letting his worry show right away. He walked over to Dex's desk and ran a hand through his stand-up shocked hair. "For any particular reason?" He prodded with what he hoped was an encouraging smile, and Dexter only blushed faintly and turned to look at the computer screen to his right.
Freak looked too, "Hm?"
The monitor was black but that wasn't shocking, considering both their mental minds were withdrawn inward and they were an almost coma like state of existence. Dexter's body was breathing, yes, but that was about it.
"Something the matter Dex?" Freak tried again, glancing at his little human with a raised eyebrow.
"I just…thought I heard something, out there," A thin hand pointed but withdrew rather quickly, and for some reason Freakazoid felt like he wasn't getting the whole story. But Dexter stumbled on, tripping over his words.
"M-Maybe it was something in the s-subconscious—"
"Oh! Wait, want me to go check? Hang on, be right back!" Freak whirled around cheerfully and headed for the door without thinking.
"Freakazoid! Wait, no—"
Freak stopped so quick his boots made a tiny squeak and he whirled around, because when Dexter said no, Freakazoid listened. He blinked expectantly down at the boy, head tilting ever so slightly in his confusion.
Dexter blinked up at him from his computer chair, lips slightly parted. He paused, like he hadn't expected Freak to actually do what he'd said, Freak's eyebrows knitted in confusion under his mask as he walked back over to his little geek and took a knee before him. Kneeling like this he was nearly eye level with Dex and god those wide heterochromatic eyes aimed at him were filled with worry and relief all at once and that made Freak's stomach do funny things.
"Aww Dexxy," Freak smiled reassuringly, settling a white gloved hand over Dex's cheek in a friendly touch.
"Hey…what's up buddy huh? You're white as a sheet Dex…" He searched those big eyes, expression turning from soft fondness into worry when Dex didn't immediately tell him his problems. Cause Dex always knew he could tell Freak anything and rain or shine Dex would know his alter ego would fix it in a heartbeat, right? Even if he couldn't fix it he could damn well sympathize and listen to the little guy.
A very small, meek nod. It wasn't very convincing.
"Dexxy's it almost 3:30 in the morning," Dexter's eyes widened, and Freak didn't miss it.
"So why don'tcha go take over, get something to drink to settle yer nerves and then let yer mind catch some Z's, okay? Go on buddy, I'm right here." The hero coaxed gently, to the tune of another meek nod as Dexter swallowed, closed his eyes softly and faded before Freak's eyes. Freakazoid just smiled, withdrawing his hand that was now touching air. He stood up and glanced around the room, giving it a once over to see if maybe it could give him a hint as to why Dexxy looked so…bent up when he'd come in here.
But…nothing was out of place. Simple and clean, just like Dexxy was. Hm.
"Ah well. I'll ask him again in the morning, bet he'll tell me after he's slept on it." Freak hummed easily and headed back to the Freakazone, where he plopped on his couch and let his attention be held by one of his favorite episodes of Rat Patrol.
He'd been so focused on Dexxy, he'd forgotten to ask Dex what he thought about the sneezing he'd been doing.
Dexter's eyes flew open. HIS eyes, color and unable to see in the dark, not Freak's eyes.
It was normalcy, and Dexter clung to it as he lay there on his back in his bed, staring at the dark ceiling.
It had been 11 when the door had… Dexter stopped his thoughts from recalling what had happened, because he didn't want to shiver anymore. But anyway Freak had just said it was 3am, (and quick glance at his digital clock on the bedside table confirmed this to be true) which mean that he'd been trapped for almost 4 hours. So why did it feel so much longer? Dexter's hand turned to fists, gripping his bed sheets as he took several deep breaths to prevent throwing up.
Dexter Douglas tried to sleep and ended up staring at his ceiling for a good hour or so. Huh, he really should put a poster up there or something, right now the street lamp was just lighting up tile, and it was a little boring.
In retrospect, maybe boring would be a nice change for once.