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Black Flames

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    There were plenty of things Django knew to be painful.  Falling down and skinning his knee was a common one until he'd turned ten.  Another, more recent discovery, was the pain of loss.  Watching his father die to the Count and then being forced to kill his mother, as well as the aunt he'd never known, was an excellent way of learning this.  Then there was the normal pains of being a Vampire Slayer in a world nearly overrun with the Undead.  Exhaustion, bruising, and other familiar aches and pains that no thirteen year old should be used to.  So naturally he had assumed that the bite of an Immortal would be the single-most agonizing thing that he had ever experienced before in his rather short life.  Unfortunately for the Solar Boy, he was often wrong about these types of things. 

    It wasn't the fangs tearing into his neck that hurt.  It wasn't even the knowledge that this was his father who was biting him that hurt, though that did send a sharp pain through his heart.  No, the Dark Matter being forced into his veins was what truly hurt in this moment.  Django couldn't even manage a sound that was stronger than the weak, choked gasp when he was thrown to the ground thanks to the burning.  Vaguely, he could hear Sabata saying something but he couldn't make out the words over the pounding in his ears.  Had he gone blind?  No, he'd only closed his eyes in pain from the aches that were overtaking his body.  There was a slight feeling of someone's hands on him, moving him for some reason, but Django couldn't lift a finger. 

    All he could feel was pain.  Pain like black flames coursing through his body, sending horrible aches and chills through him.  The blonde whimpered weakly, feeling whatever he was laying in (a coffin?) bounce against the ground.  Sabata was dragging a coffin with him in it.  Possibly to the Pile Driver?  And just that thought sent a wave of panic surging into Django's mind.  Sabata couldn't use the Pile Driver, his body had so much Dark Matter in it that he could die if he tried.  And if Sabata failed then that meant Django himself would have failed.  

    Failed to protect his family. 

    Failed to keep San Miguel and all it's people safe. 

    Much to his surprise the Solar Boy felt a different kind of burning in his eyes as his body convulsively shook from the pain of the Undeadening.  He was going to cry.  Whether from fear or the pain, he had no idea.  Everything was hitting him all at once and he was absolutely terrified.  His older brother could die and he could become a monster that would kill everyone.  Lita, Zazie, Kidd, Violet, Smith... All of them would be in danger if he became an Immortal. 

    Suddenly the coffin felt far smaller than it actually was and Django found himself gasping for air, clawing weakly at the top of it for... What, exactly?  

    Thankfully the solid sound of a fist tapping on the wood brought him back to his pained reality.  Sabata was speaking again and, even though the words didn't register, the tone of his older brother's voice did.  It was calming while also worrying because Django knew that even if the Pile Driver didn't kill Sabata, the older boy could still be hurt badly.  Unfortunately the Dark Matter decided to send another wave of blinding pain through him and the young blonde was left whimpering and clenching his teeth to keep from screaming.  In an almost idle way, he realized that the bite wound on his neck was still bleeding.  But that didn't seem important anymore.

    How much further was it to San Miguel?  Distance seemed impossible to calculate from within the coffin.  He could hear Sabata panting a little, odd how he could catch that sound, so they had to have traveled quite a way.  The thought that he was feeling cold barely was registered.  Everything felt like it was too fast and moving far too slowly at the same time, leaving Django dazed.  Was this because of the pain?  Most likely.  He remembered reading in a book once that the more pain a human felt the more likely they were to slip into shock.  His father had talked about it.  Something about how blood loss could contribute to it.  

    The coffin had stopped moving.  Django heard Zazie and Lita in the distance, though for all he knew they could be just a few feet away, saying something.  There was the familiar sound of the Pile Driver activating but even that barely registered now.  He was cold and in too much pain to do much more than keep breathing.  

    And then, the lid of the coffin opened, and the Sun touched him. 

    And it burned.

 "It's hot!"