For two weeks after his release, Watercrest pretended he was an ordinary man living an ordinary life. He went to work, he paid his bills, he ate, he slept, and he watched television. He tried to disassociate himself from what he'd once been, and tried to ignore the crimes of the world.
Then, the dreams returned. The black dragon no longer pursued him; instead, he rode along with it, observing all the violent crimes and nights of terror. Sometimes, when he was awake, he heard screams and shouts just outside his window.
It was soon clear what Watercrest had to do. The decision to costume himself and fight was the easiest- Wonderman and the other super heroes already did it. By keeping his identity a secret, Watercrest could ensure that his parole officer would never learn that he regularly got into nightly fights, or that he had associations with criminals (although those associations were adversarial.)
He found plenty of black clothing at used clothing stores, and it was all very cheap. He bought pants, shirts, scarves, dresses even, and cut them up to re-sew them into a versatile costume and cape. His first pair of gloves he bought at a hardware store, but they were too thick and were almost useless. Ironically enough, he found exactly what he was looking for at a drug store for a quarter per pair. He bought twenty pairs of latex gloves and spray-painted them black when he got home.
His mask was the easiest to create. He found it on sale at a costume store a few weeks after thanksgiving. It was rubber and fitted over the wearer's entire head- a bit of artistry and some glow in the dark paint, and a faintly reptilian green mask became the black dragon's face and white horns that would hopefully frighten criminals the same way it had frightened Watercrest in his guilt-ridden dreams.
The first night, Black Dragon found no criminals. He practiced prowling over the rooftops, taking courageous dives and somersaulting through the air in a personal test to see if he would fall, and if he was brave enough to try something even more daring when he was finished.
After the first week, Black Dragon noted a mugger approaching a young couple. He'd learned a thing or two about law during his tenure in prison, and waited until the mugger drew his gun before he swooped down and quickly way-laid the criminal. He convinced the couple to wiat for the police to arrive, made the anonymous call so useful to so many masked heroes, then disappeared.
His first fight was hardly a challenge, but it was a thrill nonetheless. He felt one emotion even stronger and more positive than the adrenaline rush of a good fight, though. He felt pride in his actions- a feeling that was almost alien.
When Watercrest remembered Krista, he only experienced shame for what he'd done. After his first heroic action, he imagined that if he did enough good, maybe he could somehow atone for his past. He hopefully sought out evil each night in order to beat it down and to beat the evil that had resided in his soul for too long. Perhaps with time, he would feel redeemed. The hope sustained him.
Thus was a hero born.