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The Boys - Let Me Show You A True Hero!

I became Homelander at the start of his Career and let me tell ya! Being a hero is not worth all this troubl- “Thank you so much for saving me from that big bad monster! Mr. Homelander!” The adorable kids from the orphanage he just saved, thanked him. … Ok. Maybe it was worth being a hero.

Writing_Shirou · Anime & Comics
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17 Chs

Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

 

Butcher looked over the files that he gathered for Mallory, managing to keep a few copies before handing them off to her.

 

His stomach twisting at the information that lay on the table before him. The various photographs, reports, and scrawled notes painted a picture so grim that it might as well have been taken from the palette of hell itself.

 

As each file passed through his hands, the façade of heroism began to crumble. The glossy images and heroic stories were replaced by harsh realities and questionable actions. His disillusionment grew with each page turned until all that remained was a shattered image.

 

Rape, murder, torture, racism, and corruption are all perpetrated by men and women the world admired as embodiments of justice and all that is good.

 

The acts were all the more appalling due to the cloak of secrecy surrounding them. There was no public accountability or courtroom trials for these deeds, just concealed records buried and left to be forgotten. And all of it was made happen by the very company that his wife worked for.

 

Butcher couldn't quite fathom the depth of his repulsion. The room grew silent and still as the revelations sank deeply into Butcher's consciousness. He felt the frigid chill run down his spine.

 

"Fucking hell."

 

One file in particular stood out: a photo of an innocent young girl barely older than nine, her eyes filled with fear scant moments before her life was snuffed out. Her head brutally ripped off her body by a supe known as the Stacker during one of his drug-induced highs. The image would leave those with a weak stomach vomiting their guts out.

 

The girl's once vibrant life had been extinguished instantly by a man with more power than responsibility.

 

The Stacker, rather than being brought to justice, was being sheltered by the same agency that supposedly stood for righteousness and law enforcement.

 

Butcher clenched his fists until his knuckles were white and the veins on his forearms pulsed with strained control. The taste of bile rose in his throat, an acidic reminder of the raw anger simmering within him. Each breath was jet fuel to the flame of his rage.

 

Butcher snapped the file shut, the echo of its closure reverberating throughout the room, a grim knell in the silence. His hands trembled as he flung the damning document onto the table. His mind was in turmoil, a nest of hornets that had just been poked with a burning stick. The truth was far worse than he'd ever imagined.

 

He found himself staring at his reflection in the window, his features contorted by the dark revelation. An unfamiliar man stared back, shadowed, haunted; a man on the edge of a precipice whose leap into the abyss seemed imminent.

 

"All this time..." he muttered; each word laced with venom. "All this fucking time!"

 

His wife's involvement gnawed at him like a rat devouring its own tail. The woman he loved was entangled in this vile web and he feared she may be too deep to be saved.

 

He looked back at the files, rage growing.

 

Before him, spread across the cold desk were more files: Spaceman, Crimson Comet, Siren - all Supes who had once been symbols of hope. But every file was now a gravestone marking the death of another illusion. Every supe was a monster hiding behind a mask of heroism and every act they committed was swept under the rug by Vought.

 

Collateral damage. That's what they called it. As if such words could excuse what they did.

 

His mind made up and decision made, Butcher grabbed his phone and made a call. The phone rang three times before someone answered.

 

"Mallory," he gritted out, his voice raspy and harsh like gravel under a boot.

 

"Butcher," came her reply, equally stern and just as hard. There was no surprise in her voice, no shock at the hour of his call.

 

"Before I accept your offer, I want you to answer a question of mine," he began, his voice as chill as the frost creeping up the windowpane.

 

"Ask away," Mallory retorted, her voice unflinching. Despite being hundreds of miles away, he could imagine the hardened look on her face.

 

"Is my wife...is Becca part of this? Does she know?" His words were barely more than a whisper, the question clawing its way out of him like a wounded animal.

 

He heard Mallory take a long breath on the other end, her sigh an echo of his dread. The silence that followed felt like an eternity.

 

"…No, she doesn't know anything about what is going on behind the scenes of that fucked up company."

 

A deep breath of relief escaped Butcher's lips, tinged with the bitter aftertaste of dread.

 

His heart clenched at the thought of his wife being manipulated by the company she worked tirelessly for. It made his blood boil, his anger flaring like a fire that threatened to consume him.

 

"Good," Butcher growled into the phone, his voice low and dangerous. "I want it to remain that way you hear. I don't want her mixed up in this fucked up shit."

 

With that, he ended the call not waiting for her response. He wouldn't give her the satisfaction of hearing any hesitation in his voice. Butcher knew that from this moment onwards, there would be no turning back. His course was set; a collision course with Vought and every monster they harbored.

 

___________________

 

 

"So, these are the crazy bastards that joined you huh?" Butcher asked observing the motley crew that Mallory had assembled.

 

"Yes," came Mallory's austere voice through the speakers, "They've all got scores to settle. Motivated, same as you."

 

"Quite the assortment," Butcher muttered under his breath as he met each pair of eyes.

 

"All willing to take on Vought," Mallory said, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning back against her desk. Her gaze was steady, her faith in these people unwavering.

 

"And you think this ragtag group can bring down an empire?" Butcher questioned, a skeptical brow raised.

 

Mallory merely shrugged lightly. "Stranger things have happened."

 

Butcher snorted at her response, the incredulous lilt to his voice not escaping the ragtag team around him.

 

"I want it clear," he started, locking eyes with each individual before him. "I'm only doing this for Becca. Once Vought is brought down and all these Supes are dealt with... I'm out."

 

A murmur spread through the group, but no one voiced any objections. They all had their reasons for being here; Butcher's was as valid as any of theirs.

 

"And we will respect that," replied a burly man named Frenchie, his thick accent underlining his every word. A silent nod of agreement passed through the group.

 

"Good," Butcher said and turned his focus back to Mallory. "Now, let's talk strategy."

 

Mallory nodded, shuffling some papers on her desk before looking back up at the motley group in front of her. "Strategy is simple. We hit them where it hurts."

 

Butcher's eyes narrowed and a muscle twitched in his jaw, signaling his impatience. He didn't need, nor did he have time for vague cliches.

 

"And where might that be?" His voice was sharp, showcasing his driven intent.

 

"Their public image," Mallory responded simply, her gaze not wavering from his challenging stare. "Vought's power isn't just in its superhumans. It's in the way they have convinced the world to love and trust them."

 

"So, what? We expose them?"

 

"Precisely," Mallory retorted, allowing a brief smile to flit across her lips before returning to business. She took out a photo, one that Butcher was all too familiar with, it was a picture of compound V.

 

"This," she said, holding up the photo and letting everyone have a good look at it. "This is their dirty little secret. Compound V."

 

"Compound V," Butcher muttered under his breath, the words leaving a distasteful tang in his mouth. He glared at the photo as if it were a venomous snake ready to strike. "The bloody drug that turns humans into Supes."

 

Mallory nodded, placing the picture back down on her desk. "That's right, Butcher. But the world doesn't know that. The world thinks these Supes are born with their powers. They're seen as God's gift to mankind."

 

"We expose this," Mallory continued, pointing at the picture. "We show the world what their heroes truly are: man-made monsters, born not from god or nature, but from a test tube in a lab."

 

"You think people will believe us?" Butcher asked, his mind racing with potential scenarios.

 

Mallory shrugged nonchalantly; her gaze unwavering on Butcher's tense form. "They will if we provide enough evidence,"

 

She lowered her arm and gestured towards the towering stack of manila folders, each one filled to the brim with damning evidence and incriminating photos.

 

"And I believe you have someone who can help us."

 

"Becca won't be involved..." he spat out, his protective instincts flaring.

 

"I'm not asking her to be," Mallory reassured him, her eyes softening for a brief moment. "We have another asset in mind."

 

She slid another photo across the table towards him. Taking a look, Butcher recognized the face immediately; it was Hughie, Becca's timid assistant who always had a knack for finding himself in the right place at the wrong time. Not to mention the fact Homelander was the one who personally hired him.

 

"Hughie?" Butcher balked, his hand tightening around the picture. "The kid can't even swat a fly without breaking into a cold sweat."

 

"He doesn't need to fight," Mallory responded calmly, "He just needs to access and leak information. He's our best bet."

 

Butcher grumbled under his breath, rolling the picture between his fingers. Hughie, despite his flaws, was a good kid. He didn't deserve to get caught up in all this chaos. But then again, neither did Becca...

 

"Alright fine," Butcher grunted, tossing the photo back onto the table. "But if anything happens to the kid..."

 

"We'll handle it," Mallory cut him off smoothly, her face betrayed no emotion.

 

"…Alright," Butcher conceded after a long pause. "But only because we don't have any other options."

 

Mallory gave him a nod, her face still devoid of any emotion. She was as stoic as ever, a quality that Butcher was starting to appreciate more and more.

 

Butcher swallowed back his protests and instead nodded in grim acceptance. "What's our first move?"

 

Mallory leaned forward on her desk, interlacing her fingers as she spoke. "First, we need to gather as much evidence as possible about Compound V without raising suspicio-"

 

"But we'll need him on our side first," Frenchie pointed out, interrupting the two of them before they could get ahead of themselves.

 

"Right," Mallory said, turning her focus to the Frenchman. "That would be the best course of action. We need to convince Hughie to join us and then use his insider access to gather the evidence we need."

 

Butcher glanced at the photo of Hughie again, taking in the innocent look on the kid's face. Convincing the kid to betray Vought and the heroes he'd once admired would prove a tricky task.

 

"I'll talk to him," Butcher said, his voice rough.

 

"Good," Mallory nodded her approval. "But remember Butcher, no strong-arming. We need Hughie to come aboard of his own accord."

 

"I know how to handle it," Butcher grumbled in return, not appreciating the suggestion he might rough up the kid. Especially since his wife took a liking to him.

 

"Alright," Mallory conceded, picking up a stack of paperwork and flipping through it as if the conversation was already closed. "Keep me updated. The sooner we get this operation started, the better."

 

Butcher nodded and got up to leave, but then paused at the doorway, looking back over his shoulder with a hint of trepidation in his hardened eyes.

 

"Homelander."

 

Mallory raised an eyebrow at the unexpected mention of the leader of the Seven.

 

"What about him?" she asked, her tone neutral.

 

Butcher glared at her as if she had purposely ignored the elephant in the room.

 

"I never found a file on him in the Vought database," Butcher replied, wanting to know if she had any information on him.

 

Mallory's eyebrow arched a touch higher at his revelation. "That's...interesting. Are you sure?"

 

"I've scoured the whole damn thing, not a single trace of Homelander." Butcher insisted, his expression strained. "It just doesn't add up."

 

Mallory folded her hands, leaning back in her chair and regarding Butcher with a calculating stare. "That's not surprising. Homelander is their golden boy, their poster child. Vought wouldn't risk having any damaging information on him that could be easily found."

 

Butcher frowned, clenching his fists at his sides. He knew Mallory was right, but it didn't make the situation any less frustrating.

 

"So, what do we do?" Butcher finally asked, his voice laced with impatience.

 

"We stay focused on our goal," Mallory replied evenly. "We expose Vought and the rest of the heroes for what they truly are, using Compound V as evidence. Once we shake their foundations, it won't matter if there's a file on Homelander or not. The world will see them for the frauds they are."

 

"But what if he's different?" Butcher couldn't help but raise the question that had been gnawing at him for quite some time now. "What if he's not like the rest of them?"

 

Mallory held his gaze for a moment.

 

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there."