Rating: MA (Lemon/Disturbing Themes/Darkfic)
Word Count: 2,000+
Pairing: Horrible/Penny/Hammer, Horrible/Johnny Snow (One-sided)
Spoiler: For All Three Acts of Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Comic Book Backstory Not Used
Summary: One part continuation, one part alternate universe, shake and stir. A bounced Wonderflonium accident disrupts events in not one but two parallel timelines and forces Billy to pony up to his inner demons.
I. The Reign of Dr. Horrible
II. Warning: Don't Bounce
III. Penny for Your Thoughts, Hopes, and Dreams Part I  
IV. Penny for Your Thoughts, Hopes, and Dreams Part II 
V. Shattering Apart and Crashing to the Ground 
VI. Parade of Horribles
Timeline A – In the Not too Distant Future… 2055
Moist hated graveyards. He really hated them. Hated and loathed. Wait, didn’t that mean the same thing?
At first he sorta hated him, but he knew for sure that he hated them now, like a hated thing that he hated. Whoa, that was more than a bit redundant, come to think of it.
They were cold and damp and made him feel slimier if such a thing was possible. This wouldn’t have ordinarily been a problem because he didn’t make the graveyard or any other place of the dead a haunt. His mere presence was probably making them rot even faster. Not that dead cared. But he was pretty sure Billy would even if he had been dead for over a year.
Damn him. He had told Billy over and over that perusing revenge against the ELE for “robbing him of a nemesis” was “idiotic” and “just wait for your reassignment, you’ll have a new nemesis in no time. Isn’t that Johnny Snow guy requesting (loudly) that you be his nemesis?”. Billy wouldn’t listen. He was “Dr. Horrible” now or at least that’s what he claimed to be. He wasn’t Billy anymore and for that matter, William, even though he hated being called that name. He was Dr. Horrible and even snapped at Moist if he dared called him different.
Moist thought that Billy was a self-righteous nutcase, which in his own opinion contradicted being evil. All talking about how he was going to make the world better, but in the end he was no different then those he railed against. And still he stood beside Billy as hard as it was. If not him, then who else? Their original gang of villains and henchmen had dissolved with the induction of Dr. Horrible into the ELE. All of a sudden the henchmen he had Moist casually call up (“Hi, you free? We’re having a heist in two weeks, wanna come?), became was a stack of papers for requisitioned minions named Pitbull, Tough Guy, and Tougher than Tough Guy. Names like that. Those were the minions Billy hung out with.
Moist didn’t approve of them.
Billy no longer cared what Moist thought.
And no matter how much Billy whined; he was still going to think of him as Billy and not Dr. Horrible. Dr. Horrible was just the name he went by and it didn’t change that fact his name was Billy. Guy had gone completely loony in the days leading up to Penny’s death. First he had changed the locks on the apartment. The thing didn’t even belong to Billy and for Pete’s sake; he had yet to see any consistent form of Billy’s share of rent. Sure, he got non-soggy food and better-textured doorknobs, but what was the use of that if Billy was going to be such a control freak?
The odd thing was Dr. Horrible or at least how Billy acted as him, wouldn’t do that. He was a braggart and more than a bit crazy, but he was kind and oddly good. Billy on the other hand, was a bastard. There was no way around it. Billy openly scowled at people on the subway and tripped grandmas on purpose. Personally Moist preferred the old Horrible to the new Horrible. Before it was Billy pretending to be a better person. Now Billy stopped pretending and just was an open jerkass.
Moist found it hard to explain to people that the reason he still referred to his boss and friend as Billy as because Dr. Horrible’s causes and idealism had died with Penny. Plus Dr. Horrible made sure Penny was okay, minus stalking. Billy on the other hand, apparently needed night vision goggles, a box of tissues, and some lotion.
“ And yet, they’re the same person?” someone would always ask and Moist had to explain that if Billy and Dr. Horrible were different people, Billy would be happy and Dr. Horrible would be a world of misery. But Billy was constantly miserable and he couldn't summon a smile and laugh as the horrid doctor. Dr. Horrible was happier and if Moist had it his way, it would have been better if Billy had just become him. Then they would have fun, not scary stuff that got the Doc killed.
No, don’t think of the recently resurrected, but not in a zombie way, in that way. It was rather petty for him to think of that as he tried to plunge his shovel into the dirt of a grave marked D. Howser. Damn bastards hadn’t even given Billy the courtesy of a proper name let alone just living him on a table and spraying a nice scent when the smell got overwhelming.
Much to Moist’s dismay, the shovel somehow flew out of his hands even with thick gloves on. There was just something wrong about that. Damn it, his powers had gone up a notch.
The dirt at his feet stirred. Moist leapt back as a clump of dirty just barely missed his only somewhat good pair of shoes. They only mildly strongly smelt of mold.
It occurred to most he was stand where Billy was trying to scramble out. Chalk white fingers poked out of earth, wiggling like worms. They were joined by an equally blanched hand and wrist, marred with scratches. Just as Moist's hand closed around it, Billy’s face emerged, skull-like with grey lips peeled back to reveal a mangled mouth with only a few teeth remaining. His hair was matted to his scalp and he rightfully looked like death warmed over. “Billy, I’ll get you out,” Moist said, scrambling at the dirt with his slimy useless hands. There was no time to find the shovel. “Just give me a minute.”
Billy’s mouth opened. “Doc-trr Horr-buh-buh-le,” he said in a mixture of slurring, lisping, and stuttering.
“Okay, okay,” Moist said in agreement. Anything to get him to shut up. “Dr. Horrible.”
The figure at his feet gave a disturbing smile and weakly began scrambling out of the grave. “Maybe they would kill you for this?” Billy suggested, voice oddly clear for someone missing a good portion of teeth. “I’m supposed to free myself from this.”
Moist paused thinking over his words. “God, I hope not,” he said, shuddering. “Don’t joke about this.”
“Doc-“ Billy insisted again, a wane smile on his face. “You’re get-ing al-ong in age.”
The unsaid question was “When will your clock stop?” Billy thankfully remained silent.
It was really hard to hide the lie, but the sorry fact was, like in comic books, not everyone stopped aging. Sure, Superman had been mid-30s forever, except when the story called for it, but Batman, Robin, and all the rest… they were probably going to die. The only upside was his powers did wonders for his skin. Few wrinkles. The downside was all those decades of powers he couldn’t turn off had left him bloated like a corpse.
“You look like hell,” Billy commented casually, ironic words from a recently reanimated, but in no way a zombie, corpse. The slur to his voice was gone. “My mouf hurts.”
“Why did you have to do this?”
Billy shrugged as best as he could when he was still partially entombed in the ground.
Timeline B –
Billy coughed wetly once again, splattering blood onto the asphalt, still in his pot hole of hell. This copper-sweet taste in his mouth was getting on his nerves or what was left of them. He was pretty sure that all of his nerves were busy being in pain. After all that was what was expected when a car landed on and possibly crushed your back.
No, back still was intact; he could feel the pain in his broken leg. And if his back was crushed, he was pretty sure he would be numb below that point. Pain was good and unwelcome, but there was a bit of that which proved to be good. Pain meant the nerves were still working. It would be horrible if he, the future ruler of the world were a cripple. Damn, he thought to himself. If only the freeze ray hadn’t disappeared. Bad enough that it was malfunctioning. The problem was he didn’t have the ray on hand to discover the malfunction. His broken arm gave a twinge of pain at being left out.
Bitter tears solved nothing. They were a good way, however, of letting it out.
I think I always hated myself… I’m not sure when I started hating myself, so I’m pretty sure it’s been always.
Is that your view this week?
You always change. You can’t decide if you’re evil or not. Heck, this isn’t a weekly thing come to think of it. It’s more of a montly thing.
It’s either or, pal, either or. And right now you’re starting to contradict yourself.
Saint and demon. Protector or conquer. I guess for you, they’re interchangeable. It’s what you believe… at least this week.
There are worse things to be.
What are they?
You’re smart. You figure it out.
You’re supposed to be the freaking genius here. Went to high school before you were ten.
Public schooling is a joke. It always has been. Unless you want to change your mind again?
“I don’t believe this.” How could anyone believe it anyway? It was one of those bad twists that Shmawhathisname kept making. One of those things that just did not happen. “This just isn’t right?” She pinched herself hard but the world kept not making sense.
Penny stood stock still staring at the spot where Dr. Horrible… no Billy had been. Impossible… she knew that Billy was neurotic, but psychotic? How had he hidden this from her? No, he hadn’t hidden it from her, not very well. Penny had just wanted to see the good in his heart so much that she tried to forget all the times he had frightened her. No, no, he had to be good, just mistaken.
No, she didn’t want to believe this, to be honest. That didn’t make what she saw any less real. Billy was a villain. An honest-to-God-arch-nemesis. The monster under the stairs, the nightmare made real, a boogeyman with a raygun… Billy was all of these and more. He was the nightmare made real. Suddenly that cold look in his eyes that always seem to make them seem like clouds rolling across a clear sky than waves on the sea made sense. Penny didn’t want them to make sense, didn’t want Billy of all people, to be evil.
Please, please, please, let him have multiple personalities. That would be the best explanation. Please let him be good and kind, because she had seen that in him. Every time she was scared of him, he turned around and showed a hint of a heart, of human kindness.
Penny chewed her lip and wrung the skirt of her sundress. There were sounds of fighting in the background, heckling, and the occasional scream.
Paul’s a bully, she dully realized without looking that way and Billy’s a villain. I just can’t win. Penny, you’re doomed to be alone, making sure your father takes his blood pressure medicine, while you live in your one room apartment and dream of good in everybody’s heart.
As soon as the doubt flared up in her heart, it vanished. If the good was just smoldering embers, who was to stop her from fanning it into a roaring blaze? Did she have to give up on Captain Hammer? If she did, she would have to give up on Billy as well. She didn’t know, but in a different timeline, she had run with the rest of them.
And the gears of time kept turning.
Captain Hammer was mocking him, poor sweet confused Billy. They all were. They were supposed to be superheroes, not bullies. Billy looked like he wanted to puke when Captain Hammer threw him into the nearest wall. He stumbled away. Desperate, Penny turned away, hands over her ears. The crunching sound and high thin scream echoed even through them.
Why? Why? Why?
Sure Billy was paranoid and a wee bit on the dark side, but Billy was Billy.
She reached the sound of the horrible crunch. The car had made a direct impact, pinned to the side of the building, but somehow making an odd morbid lean-to. There was a thin shape underneath, clothes so shredded that only a breeze could cause them to fall apart. A foul stench lingered in the air. The glove handed grabbed her ankle and grasped hard. Billy was draped in a shredded labcoat, eyes hidden by shattered mirrors. She could see herself in them, pale and frightened. “Oh fuck,” escaped her lips.
“Penny doesn’t curse,” Billy whispered and then it was like a he donned a mask to keep her from his shattered form.
Dr. Horrible looked at her past shattered goggles that had fallen onto his face, eyes barely visible past them. “Are you safe?” he rasped softly.
“Why would I be hurt?” she asked in reply.
A bit of glass fell away revealing the second clear inner lens and a pale blue eye. Billy took off his metaphorical mask. “Well, fuck me sideways.”
He passed out just as the sound of ambulances grew in the distance.
… to be continued.