|Of Course, a Cape's Date Never Does Run Smooth
Author: Esther-Channah PM
Tim and Tam are taken hostage when armed gunmen crash their dinner date.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Romance - Words: 2,578 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-17-11 - id: 7091169
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: All characters owned by DC Comics. I am not receiving any financial remuneration for this work of fanfiction. However, a donation was made to the Red Cross disaster relief efforts in the Helpthesouth fandom auction in exchange for my writing it.
Thanks to Karraparis for the winning bid!
Thanks to Debbie, and Aiyokusama for the beta.
Of Course, a Cape's Date Never Does Run Smooth
It was supposed to be a nice quiet date. Tim and Tamica had decided to meet in an upscale restaurant in the theatre district, where they could be seen and photographed without being badgered by the media. The romance was staged for the benefit of the paparazzi, of course. Tim figured if he let them get a few shots of him and Tam every now and again, they wouldn't hound him nearly as much when he really needed his privacy.
Of course, the Farrington Brothers, just recently released from Blackgate, simply had to pick tonight to announce to the Gotham Underworld that, despite having been away for the last six years, they were still a force to be reckoned with. And when the five armed gunmen burst in and began terrorizing the patrons, Tim suddenly found himself too far from the men's room to slip away inconspicuously—not when he was surrounded by the media—who would be quick to notice if he left without his crutches. And there was no way that he would be able to avoid attention if he took the blasted things with him.
Tim groaned inwardly. Dick had tried to warn him that faking a long-term injury had its drawbacks. He should have listened. If he left the crutches behind and tried to sneak away when nobody was looking—no. He'd spotted a half-dozen reporters in the crowd. Worse. He'd seen twice as many photographers. All he needed was to be caught on film, moving unaided and he could kiss his cover goodbye.
What if he simply told them he needed to use the facilities? They'd probably let him. Probably escort him, more likely.Even assuming that he could get into costume and find another way out of the bathroom—and he was hoping that the goons didn't yet know that he was Bruce Wayne's son, because if they did, they'd probably refuse to let him out of their sight for a moment—once they found him gone and the crutches remaining, it would be 'game over' as far as his cover was concerned.
Maybe he could call for backup. He grimaced. Bruce was out of the country. Dick and Damian were over forty-five minutes away in Tricorner, trying to break up a turf war. Stephanie was investigating a situation at the school...
"Shouldn't you be doing something about this?" Tam whispered.
"Got any ideas?" Tim shot back. "I'm open."
"Um..." She thought for a moment. "Can you do something about the lights?"
"Too risky. Plunge the room into darkness and someone in here is going to scream. Someone screams, it could start a panic. Start a panic, and there's a good chance someone could get shot."
The two youths looked up to see that one of the mobsters was standing only a few feet away and had a shotgun pointed directly at them.
"Sorry to break up your little tete-a-tete, but I need you two to join everyone else down on the ground." He used the barrel of his gun to point toward an open area on the floor. Most of the staff and patrons were already sitting there with their hands on their heads.
Tim sighed. Then slowly, deliberately, he lifted up the tablecloth and folded it back, taking care that the mobster could see the crutches leaning against the padded booth bench. "Give me a minute," he said, allowing a note of fear to steal into his tone. "I can't move that fast."
As he reached under the table, despite the mobster's wary gaze, he managed to slap a small microphone under the table and flip it on.
"Tim's in a situation," Barbara relayed over the commlink.
Batman dodged the swinging chain effortlessly and retaliated with a kick to the solar plexus. "How serious?" He ducked, and the fist that had been coming straight for the bridge of his nose impacted instead against the forehead of another opponent. He spared a glance for Damian, and noted with satisfaction that the newest Robin seemed to have matters well in hand.
"Hostage scenario and he's stuck in civvies."
Dick absorbed that as he sprang up, chopped one teen in the throat and caught the other in a headlock. "He okay?" He heard a loud noise, felt something hit him from behind with stinging force, and blessed the bulletproof qualities of Kevlar, yet again.
Dick pivoted about, cape swirling behind him. Half of the street fighters lost their nerve and ran. "Tell him I'll be there when I can, but he's going to have to hold down the fort alone for the time being," he said, as he flung up an arm to block the night-stick.
"Can't. He's not wearing his radio," Barbara sounded disgusted. "I guess he'll figure it out though. He's usually pretty smart." She sighed. "When he's not letting a bunch of gun-toting mooks get the drop on him anyway." A moment later. "I know. That wasn't fair. Just..."
"Yeah." He somersaulted out of the way of another assailant and came back with a roundhouse kick. "Robin! Sniper at two o'clock high!"
The newest Robin was already on the ledge, wresting the gun away with a disgusted, "Ttt. Did you only just notice him?"
"Little wiseass," Dick muttered under his breath. Then he turned his attention back to his commlink. "Sorry, Oracle. We'll head for the restaurant as soon as we finish up here. Meanwhile, see if they have any systems you can link up with. Give Tim a distraction."
"I'm on it. Oracle out."
The link clicked shut.
Tim sat miserably on the floor. His legs were cramping up, but he wasn't sure how much he could shift position without calling attention to himself. He scanned the room carefully. The goons were doing a good job of keeping their captives away from the exits. Every door leading out of the dining room was either guarded or barricaded. They were too far away from the tables to try to scoot under them. As Tim watched, one of the gunmen walked around, lifting the tablecloths and folding them back over the plates and cutlery. They were thorough. This was bad news.
His eyes slid to the surveillance cameras. Slid... and then snapped back to the one directly over the bar. The tiny red recording light was blinking erratically. No... no it wasn't. It was blinking in Morse code. He waited for the message to repeat.
Are you okay?
Tim blinked back his reply. Everything but my pride. You aren't going to let me live this one down, are you?
-I might. Damian on the other hand...
-Need a hand? I can set off the smoke alarm if you need a distraction.
Tim shook his head. Trying to avoid a full-blown panic. We need something quieter. He took a mental inventory of the contents of his pockets, then expanded it to include those compartments of his costume that he could get to inconspicuously. Ver-sed and other knockout sprays were out of the question. He'd need to get close enough to spray each hostile in the face. Even if he were to blow his cover and ditch the crutches, he wouldn't be able to get to all five of them. Oracle? Is there anybody else in the restaurant? I mean, someone not in the dining room?
-How about outside? Did they post a lookout?
-Hang on. Interfacing with EOS satellites... no. Looks like everyone you need to worry about is right there with you.
Tim permitted himself a brief smile. Thanks Oracle. That helps. He cleared his throat. "So, um... what do you guys want, anyway?"
One of the goons turned to him with a scowl. "Shut up, kid."
Tim spread his hands in a placating gesture. "Sure, sure. I just thought maybe I could give you a hand. What are you after? Money? Jewellery? A trip to Euro Disney? I can arrange it."
One of the other gunmen laughed mirthlessly. "Sure, you can."
"He can," Tam retorted. "You're looking at the controlling shareholder in Wayne Enterprises."
Tim shot her a grateful look. "I'm just trying to make it so we can all get out of here and go home," he said, still talking to the first mook. "What'll it take to make that happen?"
The gunman mulled it over for a moment. "Sure, why not?" he smirked. "I was going to wait for Gotham's finest to send some negotiator in, but we can start the ball rolling without 'em. Twenty-five million in unmarked one hundred dollar bills, but," he waggled a finger, "I want Batman to deliver it. Think you can handle that, Mr. Controlling Shareholder?"
Tim thought fast. "B-Batman?" He feigned shock. "Maybe," he said. "I... I have a few contacts. If I could use a phone somewhere a little more private, I could try to..."
"No tricks!" the gunman snapped. He strode forward and grabbed Tim by his shirtfront. "You call the cops, I promise you someone here will be leaving in a body bag." He waved the gun muzzle in Tam's direction. Tam froze. "Maybe your girl." He swung it in a wide arc. "Maybe just someone at random," he continued, ignoring the gasps from the crowd. "You say you can get Batman here, get him. But don't tell him anything about what he's walking into."
Tim blinked. "Then how am I supposed to explain to him why he's got to bring the twenty-five million?"
"You know what, kid? You get him on the phone. I'll do the talking."
Tim took three seconds to consider his options. "Okay," he agreed, coaxing some reluctance into his voice. "But not in here. Too many people." He tugged at his shirt collar. "Plus," he said apologetically, "my leg's spasming." Was that even a word? "I need move around a little."
The gunman thought for a moment. "Kitchen. Now. And no funny stuff."
Tim nodded and used the crutches to get carefully to his feet. "Come on, Tam."
"Oh, no," his captor snapped. "She stays."
Tim did his best to look nervous. "But..."
"Well?" The gunman kept his weapon trained on Tim. "What's taking so long?"
Tim looked at him apologetically. "Sorry. I... guess I've never tried to make a call with a gun pointing in my direction. It's making me nervous." He held out the phone. "You want me to tell you the number?"
"Make the call, kid," his captor snapped, although he did shift the gun barrel away slightly.
Tim nodded and dialled his own number. "Um..." he dropped his voice to a low whisper as his voice message began to play. "I need to get in contact with Batman. It's urgent." He waited a few seconds. "No, he won't be able to call me back," he said, stifling the urge to look around and see if the gunman was buying any of this. He pretended to listen for another thirty seconds, which seemed to take forever. "N... no, I... Yes I realize he's a busy man, but this..."
"Gimme that!" The mook lowered his rifle, snatched the cell phone away and held it to his ear. "Now listen, you! I..." Even though the phone was now several feet away, Tim still heard the beep that indicated that the voice message had exceeded the allotted time. "What's going on, here?" The mook demanded.
That was when Tim delivered an upward elbow strike that caught his opponent full on the chin, sending him staggering. Before he could recover, Tim advanced and struck at the pressure point on the thug's left arm.
The rifle dropped.
That was it; the mook was down for the count.
Tim looked around. Spying a large meat freezer, he pulled the door open and dragged the unconscious man inside. Then he pried the phone loose from his former captor's clenched hand and called another number.
"Situation's under control, Oracle. I'm about to change into work clothes." He paused. "When you alert GCPD, let them know that there's one perp locked in the freezer. I'm adjusting the temperature to forty, so it won't kill him, but he'll probably appreciate a warm squad car, just the same."
"Copy that, Red Robin. Oracle out."
It was a lot easier in costume. It took Red Robin all of forty seconds to disarm the other four gunmen, and less than two minutes after that to incapacitate them. By the time the police arrived, he had changed back into his dinner attire, and limped back into the dining room. Tam smiled as he entered, but in the excitement, nobody else even noticed that he'd returned.
"What happened?" she whispered.
Tim glanced about quickly, making sure that nobody else was in earshot, before he quickly brought her up to speed.
"You can go back to your tables," one of the officers called. "We'll come around to take your statements. Once you've given a statement, you're free to leave, if you wish."
"Come on," Tim said, walking slowly back to their booth.
It wasn't until they were both seated that Tam asked him, "But aren't you worried that the guy you told me you locked in the freezer will tell everyone what happened?"
Tim leaned back in his chair. "Am I worried that he'll tell people that he got kayoed by a kid on crutches and put on ice? Not really. He's got a reputation to protect, especially where he's headed."
One of the waiters approached, set two menus down before them, and moved on.
A few minutes later, one of the reporters sidled up. "So," he beamed, "what did Batman have to say?"
Tim looked away. "I... um... didn't actually get to talk to him. He was busy. But the person I did speak with told me that there was someone else in the vicinity they could send." He rubbed the back of his head. "The other guy got so angry when he heard that, that he slammed me into the wall. I... I must've blacked out, because the next thing I knew, it was all over and the cops were here."
"I see." The reporter turned to Tam. "And what do you think about your boyfriend being able to call on Batman at a moment's notice?"
"No comment," she said automatically. "No, wait." Tam grinned and covered Tim's hand with her own. "Actually, I do have a comment. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other. Tim's all the hero I need." She winked across the table. "And you can quote me on that!"