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Always Laughing

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Fluorescent lights blinded Tim as he glared at the sluggish screen; he was waiting about as patiently as a child in a line at an amusement park, but to no avail, nothing popped up on the computer. His older brother was as missing as ever, and the longer he was gone, the emptier their disjointed family felt. In front of him sat a seemingly ancient, dinosaur computer, and it continued to beep on slowly as if it were loading something more than a few call records. His laptop had been broken fairly quickly after Dick ran away; the screen had cracked and the keys fell off after he threw it out the window in a fit of despair. Exhaustion and loneliness were making him act more like Jason rather than himself, because after all, losing Dick was like losing a limb.

Musky air engulfed Tim as he sat in silence. Jason was even partaking in the search for Dick, and he was currently skimming some old records– anything that could give them a lead on where their brother might have run off to. A few papers were scattered when Jason jumped up, wincing a little from a fresh paper cut. A pink cut lined his thumb as he smeared a strip of blood onto his ripped jeans. Frowning, Jason had been annoyed to discover that even he missed Goldie, and a pathetic cut wouldn’t stop him from finding his asshole, older brother. At least, it would not stop him from trying.

“Yo bat bitch, any updates?” Jason bellowed from across the cave, his voice echoing from the empty ceiling and stooping walls. Slowly picking up the dropped articles, back hunched like an old man, Jason listened for an answer but received none when Tim meekly shook his head no.

Without moving his eyes from the primordial desktop, Tim continued his moody searching in death silent pique, ignoring when Jason patted his shoulder in an awkward attempt at comfort; however, while they had found nothing on Dick– or even his pseudo personality, Nightwing– it was discovered that there was a new villain in Blüdhaven, and it seemed that Nightwing disappeared just before that monster made it to the scene.

Surely that psychopath would no longer be free if Nightwing were still around.

This monster was killing people in dozens; at minimum, thirty Blüdhaven citizens had gone missing in the past month, all of them found bashed in the head and tortured mercilessly. Normally, Red Robin or someone else would make their way to the crime-ridden city of Blüdhaven and help Nightwing, but– as selfish as it was– finding Dick was higher on their priority list.

And there isn’t any Nightwing to help anyway.

Shaking him from his thoughts, the youngest Wayne came racing down the cave’s stone stairs, his shoes clicking as if he were wearing tap shoes. Edgy about something, Damian’s dark hair was as wild as a lion trapped in a hurricane, and his face was taut in concentration, seriousness etched all over his features. Jason raised an eyebrow, and his nose crinkled as if he wanted to poke fun at the ever-so-frazzled Damian, but he stayed silent as if to honor Dick’s vexation against their bickering. Gathering his courage, Damian stood in front of the two heroes and waited a few moments to gather his thoughts. As of late, the Demon Brat seemed calmer– most likely due to loneliness too. Damn, who knew losing their annoying, older brother would be so difficult.

But when Damian actually spoke, Tim was even more shaken up:
“Dick only just left Blüdhaven,” he growled out, “We missed him by merely a few hours.”

And suddenly the search for Richard Grayson, everyone’s favorite hero, seemed impossible. What kind of detectives fail to look in the obvious, anyway? Their fuck up may have just cost them their brother.

---

Selling that cheap-as-shit apartment was easy for Dick; it was as if he were only throwing away a means to an end rather than the little bit he had left of his previous life. But that had been days ago, and since then he’d done his homework. He found that stalking his prey was fun, but Dick also took note of a few important details in the mayor’s life.

The mayor had a low-level security system and most of his servants left for bed early in the night, which made getting inside far easier than what he had thought possible. But it was an old house, which meant that the windows couldn’t open as wide as Dick would prefer. Nevertheless, Dick had a plan set in motion for the mayor’s execution.

Smiling sadisticly, Dick perched hidden away in a tree towering over the mayor’s pathetic manor. Silently, Dick sat watching as the Blüdhavian continued bumbling about his estate like an idiot. He’d be lying if he claimed to know the mayor’s actual name or even his political policies. At one point in time Dick would’ve known, but nonetheless, it didn’t matter to him now. After all, this was all one huge joke– a farewell gift to his once-beloved city.

But in his heart Dick knew this wasn’t the end, that it was actually only the beginning.
The beginning to his demise, sure, but it was not the end. At least, it was not the end for him yet.

Because tonight was the mayor’s final, and that had been decided even before the Blüdhaven Beast crawled through the attic window, before he hijacked the manor’s security and before he evaded the guards. Because tonight was the slaughter of one of Blüdhaven’s finest.

Disgustingly egotistical portraits hung on rundown walls; stained, floral wall paper curled at the edges, and if he didn’t know any better, Dick would’ve sworn he were in the attic of a homeless shelter rather than the home of a Blüdhaven elite. With the money the mayor had, Dick would have had at least made sure his house didn’t smell like spoilt bananas and mildew. Pushing revulsion out of his mind, the Beast creeped down the lightly singed wood, making sure that not a single floorboard creaked. And as Dick strolled down the winding staircase, he beamed warmly when his blade met an unlucky servant-girl’s neck. Wrong place, wrong time, he guessed. If the mayor hadn’t been his prey, then maybe crimson wouldn’t be leaking onto dusty stairs. But still, what’s a little extra death when he was really just giving Blüdhaven a gift: extermination of its’ filthy and poor.

In the master’s room, an over bloated man sat on the sagging bed, his tapiocca pajamas stained with tonight’s spilt wine. Tobacco breath fogged the mirror that the man was gazing into; the mayor had been too caught up in counting his chins that he didn't notice his nighttime intruder. Rolling his eyes, Dick casually creeped into the room unnoticed— God bless narcissism. A crinkled smile lit up his face as he strolled behind the half-asleep walrus and gagged him. Struggling a little, a meaty hand slapped the Beast but no damage was received. Instead, a throaty laugh escaped his chapped lips and a quick snap of his wrist knocked the man out. Collapsing, the man’s receding, tomato-colored hairline glistened with sweat, and Dick could feel the quickening of his heart. Pleased with the outcome, Dick dragged the man to the floor and kicked him awake, his foot meeting nothing but cushioned silk. What kind of fun is exterminating a helpless heathen, though? They have to be awake to scream, and terrified shrilling was music to Dick’s ears.

Muddy eyes snapped open and the quick pants turned into gasping and choking, fear paralyzing the obese atrocity. What sounded like a fish out of water resonated the near-empty house, which only caused Dick to laugh even harder.

“Shh, it’s okay, sir,” Dick whispered mockingly, “We’re all alone, I made that possible just for you. So why don’t we have some fun.” Hand clasped over the man’s quivering mouth, the Beast brought up his knife and slashed his stomach. Splitting open like a birthday pinata, the man’s guts started littering the already-grimy rug. Scarlet mixing with slick intestines and ripped organs, Dick looked at it as if it were actually sugary-sweet candy from a pinata.

Not quite dead though, the Beast decided that cutting off a few limbs might be fun. And while Dick was chortling at the mayor’s missing ear and sawed off joints, he knew deep down that what he was doing was wrong.

But damn, why did it feel so right?