The New Titans: Transitionary Dependence, Chapter 5: Deep Pain Within

by Hitman 44077

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That night, Bane reentered the streets of Denton wearing a brown trenchcoat and hat. He knew not to do anything that might draw attention to himself and began his travels within a dark red van his partner supplied him. Though it wasn’t in the best condition, it did its job.

On one of Denton’s roads was a community of homes that weren’t of usual quality. Instead, these houses were built with a sense of royalty, even power, reflecting those who owned homes in this area. It was in one of those homes that Bane visited first.

After parking the vehicle, Bane exited it and walked toward the residence. Once at the front door, he knocked on it. He was well aware that his presence could cause some problems. But he also knew it was necessary to bring several users back with him so that his partner could examine them and see just how Ambrosia affected them.

A teenage boy of fourteen, with short black hair and glasses, dressed in semiformal clothing, answered the door. He was the only person home. “Yes? Who is–?” the boy began before really noticing the large figure in front of him. “Huh?!

“Quiet,” Bane said with a loud whisper. “I am looking for Jasper Collins. Is that you?”

“Y-yes, but what do you want?” the dark-haired boy asked, afraid of the person he was speaking to.

“I understand you have bought Ambrosia,” Bane started to say.

“Oh, no! Are you a cop?” the dark-haired boy said, wiping sweat from his head.

Bane was almost amused. If he wasn’t who he was now, he probably would have laughed. Instead, he merely answered the scared boy. “I am no cop, Jasper. In fact, I have what you’ve used — what you need. Ambrosia.” With that response, Bane opened his trench coat and pulled a still-capped syringe filled with the purplish drug from one of the pockets within and showed the boy.

Jasper looked in awe as various memories flooded his mind. He’d been teased without mercy at Denton Junior High School, which he attended on a regular basis. He’d even been severely beaten by a few classmates for no other reason than to focus their hatred on one living person. His parents weren’t any help. Sure, they tried to instill confidence in him, even taking him to self-defense classes, but they were more concerned with their own affairs, such as their law firm.

Sure, others told him that drugs were evil — that they killed. But Ambrosia helped him. It made him feel good. It changed him, made him into something he always wanted to be. He hadn’t tried it long, but he desired it just the same. Why couldn’t others understand that?

Jasper reached for the syringe, but Bane pulled his arm back, keeping the device out of reach of the boy. The boy bent his head down slowly and began to cry softly, as he remembered the pain his own life had been before the drug. And yet it also reminded Bane of someone — someone now dead to him.

“I see weakness in you, Jasper. But there is more I can see inside you. A threshold of power, of strength. Isn’t that what you want?” Bane asked.

“I hurt all the time,” the boy confided, not caring if the man speaking to him was a stranger. He wiped the tears from his face and looked straight at Bane’s masked face. “And only Ambrosia takes the pain away.”

“Come with me, Jasper. You will be given Ambrosia, and there is no cost. Abandon the scars of your past, and I assure you, you will never feel that type of pain again,” Bane said quietly, restraining any minute amount of emotion.

The boy stood quietly and turned around. He looked all about his home, searching for a reason to turn the stranger down. But the empty presence only reinforced the decision that was already made. He turned around and answered Bane. “Yes,” Jasper said quietly. With his answer, he quickly removed the pair of glasses he was wearing and threw them against a wall inside the home, where the lenses shattered upon impact.

“I am pleased, Jasper. You were only the first, but there are several others we must visit tonight. Others that feel pain just as you have. I feel that they shall join us as well,” Bane said.

“When… when will I get some?” Jasper asked, referring to the purplish drug.

“Later this evening, once all is ready. Let’s go. Your new life awaits,” Bane said, motioning the boy to a dark red van. Jasper followed, and once the two entered the vehicle, they drove away.

Unknown to Bane, he’d been watched from the shadows by Arsenal. He’d parked his bike when he noticed the large, trenchcoat-clad figure. He pulled a small pair of binoculars, which revealed just how right the crime-fighter was in his suspicions.

Didn’t think I’d get this lucky this quick. That guy looked big, and I do mean really big! But who is he? And the stuff in that syringe — is that the garbage Derrick was talking about? I don’t even want to know what it does to the user, Arsenal thought grimly. Enough thinking. I’ve just got to be careful, because I want to bust the people behind this drug as much as this guy. With that thought, Arsenal started his motorcycle and followed the dark red van as it began its travels.

Bane visited several more homes, where he used the promise of Ambrosia to convince more teenagers to join him. It hadn’t been all that difficult, as he knew just what to say and how to conduct these current matters.

One by one, they joined this man who promised them, among other things, the strange drug known as Ambrosia. Among them a tough seventeen-year-old with brown hair, dressed in shredded jeans and a ripped T-shirt, whose addiction to the drug was only his latest endeavor into illegal activities; and a sixteen-year-old girl with semi-short brown hair, dressed in a formal manner, whose life up to this point was filled with unrealistic expectations, some which led her to use the substance herself. Others included a fifteen-year-old, blond-haired boy, wearing what could be best described as well-worn hand-me-downs, who seemed to live on the very streets, collecting money any way he could, and a black-haired, twelve-year-old girl whom most regarded as a misfit, shunned for her looks and the way she was dressed. All of them had deep pain within, and the only thing that could help them deal with the pain in their lives was the drug promised to them by Bane.

But he also wasn’t oblivious to a faint figure on a motorcycle, something he’d noticed several homes earlier. He pulled the dark red van to the side of the road and parked the vehicle. “Stay here,” he commanded to his passengers. Eager to receive their share of Ambrosia, the five children complied. With that, Bane exited the van and walked toward an alleyway.

Arsenal noticed the parked van, and he decided to park his motorcycle out of view. Five houses this guy’s been at. He’s got something planned. But the real question is: how many houses do I let him stop at before he takes me to his little hideout? Arsenal thought with concern for the kids inside the van.

Bane moved quickly, and once he was out of view of the man on the motorcycle, he ran through another back alleyway that led him to a street close to where his follower was parked. He began running toward the man, noticing that his follower was wearing a red costume with yellow gloves and boots, and prepared to attack.

But Arsenal had training from several important individuals. He could hear the soft grinding of gravel under the running man’s feet as he approached faster and faster. Got to move now! Arsenal thought as he managed to turn and avoid the large man’s attack. He rolled out of the massive pair of arms set to smash him where he had been, and his motorcycle was instead hit — and hit hard.

The pain didn’t register with the muscled masked man, yet he stood still briefly, eying Arsenal as if he were prey. “Impressive,” Bane said coldly. “Not many would have been able to avoid such an attack.”

“I’m not like most people, pal,” Arsenal replied in anger, drawing his bow and arrow. He aimed it at the large figure and continued to speak. “Who the hell are you, and what are your plans for those kids?”

“You have followed me for quite a while. You tell me,” Bane responded, unafraid of the archer.

“I’m not in the mood for games, especially if they involve drugs. You’re going to take me to your hideout, and we’re going to put an end to this mess,” Arsenal ordered, his fingers tense.

“You cannot stop me, archer. Turn around and walk away,” Bane said without emotion.

“No!” Arsenal shouted as he fired an arrow at Bane. The man stood and took the arrow into his left arm. He barely flinched. “I told you I’m not playing games,” Arsenal said as he pulled another arrow forth. But he was unprepared for what happened next.

Bane looked at the arrow in his left arm, then stared at Arsenal. Without taking his eyes off the red-costumed figure, Bane pulled the arrow out of his arm even as his arm continued to bleed. He then threw the bloodied arrow at Arsenal, who ducked out of the way in time to avoid contact. He did, however, accidentally drop his bow and arrow in the process.

That was all Bane needed. Quickly pressing the button on his wrist device, Bane’s body was injected with another surge of Ambrosia, and his arm began healing right then. He also launched himself at the archer, engaging in combat with him.

The two men struggled, even as Arsenal landed punch after punch. What is that stuff? Some steroid? Arsenal thought as he continued to fight for his life. Though it appeared that he had the advantage, Bane simply swatted Arsenal with a backhand. The blow sent him several feet away, even as the action caused his arrows to fall to the ground. It was then that Arsenal realized what he was truly dealing with.

This guy’s impossible to hurt! How can one drug make this happen? Arsenal thought as he launched himself toward his bow.

But Bane made it to the bow quicker. He picked up the bow and snapped it in half, tossing the remains at the archer. “I tire of your toys, archer,” Bane simply said.

The action infuriated Arsenal, as he glared at first the broken bow, then the muscled man. “The kid gloves are off!” he shouted as he jumped toward Bane.

Bane was prepared, grabbing his opponent’s costume and swatting him as if he were nothing. “You have wasted enough of my time, archer,” Bane said without mercy between blows. The blows began to weaken Arsenal, almost to the point of unconsciousness. But he wouldn’t surrender.

“I… won’t let… you,” Arsenal said, weakened yet determined. “You won’t… win.”

Perhaps he was tired, perhaps he felt pity, or maybe he was impressed, but Bane finally landed one final blow, sending Arsenal into unconsciousness. Arsenal slumped in the grip of Bane, who placed his hand on top of the archer’s head, ready to squeeze. For a minute, he contemplated ending his opponent’s life, until…

“You may yet have a purpose, archer,” Bane said as he released his opponent’s head. “Very determined, much like myself. My partner could use someone such as you. And, in an ironic twist, I shall take you to him.” Bane dragged the unconscious archer toward the dark red van, even as Arsenal’s cap fell to the ground. Placing him inside, Bane proceeded to take both his young flock and his captive to the new whereabouts of his partner.

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