Act I Numb. He couldn’t think of any other way to describe it. His head was in a fog, unable to form coherent thoughts. Lost in the dark without a light. Trapped. Suffocating. There was a tightness in his chest he couldn’t seem to get rid of; a lump in his throat he just couldn’t swallow. He kept going through the events in his head. Dr. Horrible showing up to crash things shouldn’t have been a surprise. In fact, it wasn’t. He had been half expecting it like always. Always aware. Everyone should have been fine with him there, they always were. So where did he go wrong? How could it all have ended with her dying? Hammer flexed his hands (that were now gloveless), looking down at them intently. He could punch through walls. No, he could punch through anything. His strength went completely unmatched. He taken bullets to the chest (though it was extraordinarily painful) before. He’d been run over by cars, trucks, and motorcycles. As well as, more recently, survived an explosion point-blank from a death ray. An explosion he’d helped cause. The realization was grim and unsettling. He kept trying to convince himself that this was all Horrible’s doing. Had he not shown up to try and kill him yet again none of this would have happened. He would still be the hero, the one people loved and adored and all Horrible would be is another washed up, pathetic excuse for a villain. And while quite a bit of that reasoning may be true, he couldn’t bring himself to believe it. Not entirely, anyway. After all, he had been the one to pull the trigger after Horrible warned him not too. He was the one that caused the explosion that killed Penny. He was the one who had just been thinking about the fame and glory; catering to fans. Captain Hammer. From hero to zero in a matter of minutes. Hero. Who was a hero? What was a hero? He wasn’t sure he understood the meaning of the word anymore. There had been a time when he thought he knew. A hero was someone who helped others, put their lives on the line to protect the people. The normal people. The people who now worshipped the Worst Villian Ever: Dr. Horrible. Not The (Ex)Hero Who’s Girlfriend Was “Murdered” By Said Villian. He wanted to hate Dr. Horrible. It should have been easy, right? After all if it weren’t for him he would still be the hero. He would still be the one people loved and adored. There should have been nothing easier in this world that hating Dr. Horrible. But he couldn’t. As hard as he tried he could not find it in his being to hate the man. As much as he wanted too. He hated not being able to hate; it was an odd and wildly unpleasant sensation. More than anything else, he found it much easier to hate himself. To loathe himself, really. The plucky washed up hero. Had he ever been a hero? He wanted to think so, but now he wasn’t so sure. He had saved peoples lives before. He had stopped the villains from their dastardly deeds. He had helped a few souls less fortunate than he. But now that he looked back on it, he had begun to ask himself why. Why had he done all of those things? Had it been for the public? To protect and serve? To keep people safe? Or had it been for himself? To ensure his fame? For the ridiculous stacks of money? Did it matter anymore? He rubbed his hand against his temples, fighting the headache he could feel coming on, struggling against the tears that come so easily now. He hated it when he cried. Made him feel less… manly, less powerful. Actually showing his weakness, even if he was in the privacy of his dwelling. They were flowing freely now, even though he wasn’t sure why. He cried often as of late, and it usually didn’t stop until he either fell asleep or punched something as hard as he could. He was a mess, no point denying it. Broken, a shell, parts of him missing, other parts flaking away. It hurt. It was killing him. The idea struck him as morbidly appealing. Perhaps he should die. That is what would make everyone happy, right? For him to disappear once and for all? The Guild wouldn’t mind; he had resigned from it. The Legion would be ecstatic to hear of his death. Captain Hammer was no longer a threat. He brushed it aside, aware he was fooling himself. He already was no threat. He was no one. He was no hero. He couldn’t even consider himself a person anymore. So, he leaned back against the wall and cried. It was all he could do, all he knew how to do anymore. Tears streaming down his cheeks and neck because he was unwilling to wipe them away. There was no sobbing, he didn’t sob. The tears just seemed to come freely of their own power. He forced all the emotions that swirled in his head and chest into his gut, gathering them up into a tight, compact ball. Then, breathing in a deeply as he could, Captain Hammer yelled. He didn’t stop until his lungs were empty until his face was a fiery red. Slowly his slid down the wall he was leaning own, coming to sit on the floor, his knees pressed tightly against his chest. Resting his head on his knees, the tears continued to come, but less intense than before. He was so unaware as to his surroundings that he never noticed when Dr. Horrible came to stand in front of him, a death ray, not quite unlike the one that had failed him previously, aimed pointedly at Captain Hammer’s head.