Meh. I regret nothing.


Danny shivered violently, his thin bones rattling. The cold seeped up through the metal under him, freezing his backside and thighs. He wanted to curl up into a ball and get warm but he stopped being able to move his legs ages ago; they were broken and mangled now. He would probably never walk again if he survived this. He had been cold for so long now he thought the goose bumps on his arms were permanent. His clothes were so ratty and torn he was almost naked, but he did have a small, dirty quilt that offered some warmth and protection.

He saw their shadows sometimes outside his cage, his captor's; but never once did he see more, or even heard them speak. Sometimes they banged on the cage bars, or threw things at him, but they stopped doing that as much once they realized he stopped being able to run away.

Danny didn't remember how he got here, the last thing he recalled doing before he was put in this cage is his mother driving him to the hospital for something. She wouldn't tell him for what. They put him on a cold metal table and told him to look away because they were going to take a blood sample. He felt something going into his arm instead, a freezing liquid that made his arm go numb. He had yelped and jerked his arm back but it was already too late. Drowsiness pressed him down onto the table and strapped him in place.

And he woke up in this cage.

They feed him sometimes, rotten fruit, banana peels, occasionally moldy breed. It was as gross as it sounded but it took the edge off of hunger.

Danny shifted slightly, putting his hands into his armpits for some semblance of warmth. He didn't know the year or the month, he had no sense of time in this light-less pit.

He couldn't even keep track of the days, five minutes in here seemed like years. It felt like Monday, although it always felt like Monday.

This kind of isolation usually would drive people mad, or to talk to themselves to quench he loneliness; and Danny might have if he wasn't afraid to speak out loud. He didn't even remember the last time he heard his own voice, he didn't remember the last time he heard someone else's voice.

So he was startled into almost peeing himself when he heard two pairs of footsteps coming his way and a boy yelling.

"Get off me asshole! Untie my hands and fight me like a man! I'll beat the shit out of you!" The person who was leading him just shoved the boy forward, making him stumble.

"You coward!"

They were in front of the cage now and Danny eyed them like they had three heads. He tried to shrink away from them but the cage was only so big and it's not like he could get up and run.

"You better not put me in there, it smells like piss!"

Danny blushed despite himself, he was well aware of his unwashed body.

The metal door to the cage clanged open and for a split second Danny was free, he left this hellhole and went outside, felt the sunshine like a warm blanket over his skin, smelt the breeze and the grass underneath his feet. And then the door banged shut again and the image vanished.

Danny almost sobbed with sorrow.

"Hey! Come back here you dick! Let me out!"

Danny stared, wide eyed at the boy, not fully believing he was there. The boy kicked the metal door and cursed in frustration. Danny shivered in fear and cowered against the bars, wishing now more than ever that he was skinny enough to fit through them. Suddenly the boy spun around toward where Danny was sitting.

"Who's there? I can hear you breathing!" Danny realized belatedly that he was near hyperventilating and tried to stop his panting, but the damage had already been done.

The boy stormed over to him with his fist raised and a pathetic whine escaped Danny's throat. The kid stopped right in front of him and even in the darkness, Danny could see the whites of his eyes widen.

"Holy shit." He breathed, his hand slowly lowering back to his side. He just stood there over Danny, too shocked to move.

Danny tried to squirm away from him, his breathing getting ragged and desperate. A whimper snapped the boy out of his shock and he crouched down next to Danny.

"Hey, hey it's okay. I'm not going to hurt you. Just breathe. Breathe okay? Don't pass out on me." His voice was quiet and strangely gentle, but it did nothing to calm Danny down. Weak whines came from him and he brought his hands up to his face to hide behind.

The boy backed up a few steps, looking concerned and lost.

"I'm Cain." He said weakly, not knowing what else to do but talk. "I don't know how I got here. My uncle was taking me to the dentist; they put me under and I woke up in the back of a god damn truck." Cain paused, stealing a glance at Danny who remained quiet.

Cain cleared his throat softly before continuing.

"So who are you?"

Danny opened his mouth and a loud, steady nothing came out.

A frown appeared on Cain's face.

"You can't talk can you?" He asked, his face creased with sympathy.

Danny's eyebrows furrowed in frustration. He could speak, it had just been too long since he used his voice.

"Dan." Danny croaked, feeling like a wheezing old man. "My name is Danny."

Cain flashed him a binding smile in the darkness.

"Nice to meet you Danny. Now do you know where the hell we are?"

Danny shook his head meekly, his quivering finally starting to calm. Cain looked at him closely for a moment before another frown tugged his mouth down.

"Jesus, you look like shit. How long have you been down here?"

Danny had half a mind to glare at him but he couldn't deny it was probably true.

"I don't -" his voice cracked and he cleared his throat unsuccessfully. " I don't know how long I've been here. It feels like forever."

"Have they even been feeding you? You're so scrawny!"

Danny lowered his gaze miserably.

"Sometimes." He whispered.

Cain silently watched him for awhile.

"We have to get out of here. Especially you, you need to go to a hospital; you look like death."

Tears brimmed Danny's eyes and for once he was thankful it was so dark.

"Yeah." He agreed, pulling the blanket over his skinny legs. "We need to escape."

XXX

Danny didn't know how much time had past, a few days maybe? Cain had lost some of his steam since he was thrown in here, but that by no means meant he was broken, not like Danny was.

He didn't know why he was pretending like he could leave. Why he indulged Cain inmaking up escape plans. Why he didn't show Cain how messed up his legs were.

No, he knew why he did it.

Cain was the first friend he had in forever. The first person to show him hope, and Danny knew that would change once Cain saw his legs. He would stop including him in his escape plans, stop showing him hope; because there was no hope for him.

Danny was a lost cause.

A goner.

He might as well already to be dead.

"Danny!" Cain snapped his fingers in front of his face. "Hey, Dan wake up."

"Hmm? What's up?" He asked.

"Something's going on, I can hear them walking around, whispering, in the other room."

Danny blinked.

"You can hear them whispering?" All the time he has been here, he never even heard them sneeze!

"Yeah, come here. You can hear them better up front."

Danny panicked.

"Um, no thanks. They um creep me out, I'd rather stay back here."

Cain gave him an odd look but dropped it.

"We'll, they're planning something. Maybe since its so dark one of us could taunt them into getting close to the bars and then knock them out and get the keys from them. They won't see it coming!"

Danny gave him a look that Cain couldn't see.

"You have watched too many movies if you think that will work."

"Just so you know, I'm flipping you off right now Dan."

Danny let out a startled laugh.

"Try it then, see what happens." He was grinning.

"I'll do it without your help! But I'll have bragging rights for life!"

"Deal."

"You don't think I can do it do you? You think I'm just a joke huh?" He said in mock accusation, humor lying underneath his tone.

"What? No of course you can!" Danny replied with equal mock reassurance.

"You little bastard." Cain laughed and jabbed Danny in the ribs with his fingers.

Danny hollered out laughter, his eyes burning with tears.

"I give! Uncle, uncle!"

"Say it! Say it like you mean it!"

"Okay, okay! You're batman!" The fingers ceased their torture and Danny just knew there was a smug grin on Cain's face.

"Damn right I'm batman."

XXX

It was only when Cain went back up front that Danny heard them. Whispered voices coming from the room next to this one. Footsteps paced the room back and forth. WithCain not next to him making jokes, the situation suddenly seemed a lot more serious. Nervousness filled the spot where amusement once was, and he had a sudden urge topull Cain away from the front of the cage.

The footsteps stopped right outside the door and the uneasy feeling grew.

"Cain." He whispered. The boy turned to look at him just as the door burst open.

Light poured into the room, stabbing Danny's eyes, but he refused to look away.

Light.

Cain's plan wouldn't work. They could see him.

Turns out, he wouldn't even get a chance. The cage door banged open and five mendressed completely in black, with white mannequin masks on their faces stepped into the cage.

Danny was really hyperventilating now.

"C-Cain." He stuttered, trying to get up, to move toward him, but it was no good and it was far too late.

They grabbed Cain and hauled him off his feet like a rag doll.

"Danny!" Cain yelled as he was dragged through the cage door.

Danny was sobbing now, pain piercing his useless stumps as he struggled and fought to move.

"Don't take him! Please don't take him from me!" He screamed, his lungs burning, he hadn't screamed longer than he hadn't spoken.

He caught a glimpse of Cain's face, a split between horror and anger. He was kicking and fighting, but it was useless against the mannequins. And then the door to the room slammed shut behind them, the light disappearing.

Danny was by himself again.

Only this time it was worse.

XXX

Angry, desperate sobs escaped Danny; rage boiled like a storm in his gut. His hands shook with the effort not to punch something as he choked back a scream.

It was unfair.

It was unfair he was locked in this cage, unfair he couldn't walk, and it was unfair Cain had to suffer in here with him. They could be experimenting on him right now, giving him three eyes or five arms. They could be breaking and twisting his legs his legs like they did to Danny.

They could be killing him.

Danny pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes and wailed. He couldn't do this by himself again, he wasn't strong enough.

He would rather be dead.

His cries cut short when he heard loud footsteps in the other room again. He perked up despite his fear. Were they bringing Cain back? They didn't hurt him! Danny barely breathed as five men with the same mannequin masks on came into the room. He waited, still holding his breath, and crossed every finger he could manage.

Nobody else walked in behind them.

No Cain.

The mannequins opened the cage door.

They were coming for him.

XXX

Everything was blurry and tilted, like he spent too long on a carnival ride. He didn't know what was going on, but he couldn't move his arms and he was strapped down to a metal table. He didn't remember them carrying him out of the cage, part of him was glad for it because he was spared that horror. He was just glad he didn't lose any important memories, and for the thousandth time he wondered where Cain was. Did they send him home? Was he enjoying a nice orange soda right now?

Or was he on the table beside him, being experimented on?

Danny really, really hoped Cain was drinking a pop somewhere else, having completely forgotten Danny and this place. Despite having wished it, Danny couldn't help the tears that slid down his face at the thought of being forgotten.

Again.

Danny closed his eyes, tired of the blurry fog. He would be happy if he could fall asleep and never wake up. Not like dying, but like when you're in a coma. He didn't want to die because he wasn't so sure if be would go to heaven, but if he went into a coma he wouldn't feel pain or loneliness and be wouldn't risk having demons snack on him.

Coma was a win-win.

Voices above him almost startled him into opening his eyes again.

"Cut him loose, we have all we need from him." A deep voice boomed over him. "As for this one-" Danny felt a hand touch his forearm. "Extract more blood and have a look at his legs. If they're not salvageable go ahead and cut them off."

A panicked yelp escaped Danny's throat and his eyes shot open, this time his vision was crystal clear. There was a blinding light directly above his chest, shining down on him, and thick leather straps held him down onto a shiny metal table. Danny was also very embarrassed to note that be was completely stark naked. At his side he saw two very startled men looking down at him. One was dressed like the other mannequins, but the other was wearing a black suit and didn't have anything obscuring his face. He had hard, narrow eyes, a strong jaw, and a mustache covering his entire upper lip.

And behind them, parallel to Danny, was another bed. And it was filled.

Cain.

His face was pale and clammy, his eyes were closed but his lids moved slightly like he was dreaming. He never really saw his features before because it was so dark in the cage, but looking at him now he was surprised to find he had a soft face for all of his cursing and yelling. Dark brown hair lay lank and dirty against the table.

And then he saw, to his horror, a bloody white sheet draped over his chest and legs.

The part of his chest he could see was smeared with blood.

A choked gasp came out of his dry lips and his body jerked against the restraints, like it was tying to move toward him.

"Why is he awake?" The man with the mustache growled. "Put him under, quickly!"

"No, please!" Danny begged, but the needle was already in his arm. "Please..." Danny whispered, his eyes slipping shut on Cain's face