Scott was sitting in a corner of the back room when Heather opened the door and walked in. The lights flickered on. It felt like a parody of their usual ritual. He barely looked up before casting his eyes back down at the floor. He wasn’t there at the veterinary office. He was in the alley, trying to help that cop hold onto life. There was blood everywhere.
“Is that your blood?” Heather asked, kneeling down in front of him. Scott supposed this was one of those situations where you skipped ‘hello’ and other pleasantries. Although, as he thought about it, they never really did pleasantries.
“What?” He looked at her like he hadn’t heard the question. She gripped his wrists in return and looked into his eyes.
“Is this your blood on your hands. Are you injured?”
“No it’s not my blood.” Scott said and wrenched his arms out of her grip which was easy to do with the blood still being a little slick.
There was a long silence and she stood up and stepped away from him. “Whose blood is it then?”
“You don’t want to know. I don’t even want to know.”
“Why?” She asked, her voice stern. She was pushing him into answering her questions whether he wanted to or not.
“Because the answer is a bad one. I caused something horrible to happen.” He answered, softly.
She shook her head. “Look, I know who you are. You’re the Mystery. You’re the hero I’ve patched up over a dozen times so far.”
He looked up at her through the beginning of tears. “I’m not a hero. This is who I am.” Scott said and peeled his mask off and tossed it on the floor in front of him. He looked up from that spot and into her eyes. There was another moment of silence.
“If you were expecting shock, I hate to disappoint you. I don’t recognize you. Not at all.” She said. “Just tell me what happened.”
He sighed. There was no use fighting it, he had to talk to somebody. “I was just about to take down Trixshot but this guy in impressive gear took her down instead. Then he tried to recruit me I think. I’m not entirely sure but the answer was no. Then he shot a cop and I barely got away.” It felt good pouring all of that out onto the floor between them. There was no risk as the police already knew all of that.
“He sounds crazy. I mean, as long as we’ve had our arrangement you’ve helped a lot of people. I study you. I know you’re a good man.” Heather said. She pulled up a chair and sat facing him, her expression had softened a little.
“You studied me?” He asked, he looked up at her. He knew what the answer and the explanation must be but he wanted to hear it.
“I’m not going to donate medical supplies to just any crazy guy off the streets. I made sure you were helping people. I kept news clipping and asked anybody I could on the street for information. I found that you were honest in your intentions and that you really do want to help people. If it was any different, I would have called the police on you a long time ago.” Heather said. She grabbed a notebook off the back shelf and paged through it for him. It was full of newspaper clipping and scribbled notes.
“It doesn’t matter. I couldn’t save that cop. He’s probably dead now.” Scott said. Those words were the hardest of his life. He wanted to believe the man was still alive but a gunshot at that range was unlikely to leave a survivor. If Azaria and Parker had saved him it would have been a miracle.
“Maybe.” Heather said and her eyes went down, knowing just saying that hurt both of them. “But you’ve saved other people before. You’re also not responsible for this psycho’s actions. One way or another, he’ll face justice.”
He looked up at her and pushed himself to his feet. “Now there’s something I want to be involved with. I don’t know how to deal with him yet but I won’t let him kill again if I can help it.”
Heather smiled. “That’s the Mystery that I know.” She took the mask off the ground and pushed it into place over his eyes. “I recognize you again.” She grinned.
He smiled in return. Everything wasn’t sunshine again but there was at least a single ray of it. “I have to go.”
“Alright, where to?” She asked. “Or should I not know?”
“I’m not sure but I’ve got the start of a plan. And Heather?”
“Thank you for always being there.” He said. She had always been there since the night he had first stumbled into her clinic.
She looked down and blushed slightly. “You’re welcome. I kind of like being your sidekick.” But when she looked up, he was already gone.