Double or Nothing (Part Six)
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. This is the conclusion so everybody R/R and send it out with a bang.
Cass had provided the distraction. Robin moved his leg to knock Two-Face's arm away, causing the shot the maniac just fired to become buried in the carpet instead of in Tim's chest. Robin quickly rolled backwards to get back on his feet and make sure that his opponent was still in front of him. He looked to Cass and could tell that she wasn't performing up to her usual standard of excellence. He also knew that she wasn't the type of person to let something like that keep her from her job.
"The cops are going to swarm this place," stated Robin, "When that happens, both of you are going straight back to Arkham."
"Not tonight, kid," assured Two-Face as he leveled his gun at Robin, "Tonight's the night we take both of Batman's kids out and rule this city."
"I think you've sampled some of Crane's poison," said Robin as he ducked under the shot, moving towards Two-Face and smacking aside the gun with his staff. He figured he'd let Cass get her fill of the Scarecrow. She probably would've loved to rip him apart since he was the one who had created the drug in the first place. Tim mentally checked himself and hoped that she wouldn't rip him apart literally.
"Better be careful about playing with sticks, boy," sneered Two-Face as he blocked Robin's bo and quickly turned the staff back into its owner's face, "You might put your eye out." Robin took the metal pole in the face and stepped back. He wondered how much Batman had taught Harvey so that Dent could watch over the city.
"You've gotten better," said Robin as he came at Two-Face again, "Those lessons from Batman must've been good ones."
"Maybe better than what you got," mused Two-Face as he blocked the staff again and quickly disarmed Tim in one motion, "Only one way to find out."
"I thought there were two ways for everything," shot back Robin as he moved low and jabbed Two-Face in the stomach.
"That's my line," reminded Two-Face as he blocked the next punch and gave Robin an uppercut. Robin took the punch and then turned his backwards momentum into a spinning roundhouse that connected with Two-Face's jaw, sending the crook sideways and into a blackjack table.
"Cass, I've got the antidote," assured Robin as he looked over to where Scarecrow and Cass were dueling. He could tell she was in pain and it wasn't just from the fight.
"Perhaps you do, perhaps you don't," reminded Scarecrow as he ducked under Cass's kick and tripped her, "That all depends on how much you trust me, dear boy." Robin muttered under his breath as he jumped and hit Scarecrow in the jaw with a flying kick.
"Hey," said Cass as she looked at him from her position on the floor.
"Hey," replied Robin as he smiled at her, "Here." Robin gave her the vial of serum that would supposedly take away the addiction she had gained. He turned and took a punch to the jaw from Scarecrow. Cass quickly scrambled backwards and rolled into a small alcove where she could have a few minutes alone. She stared at the vial.
"It's not going to make me leave," assured Cassandra, "You think that drug is the reason I'm inside you? I was always here and I always will be."
"You're not me," hissed Cass, "Not anymore."
"I could be again," said Cassandra, "We would've killed both of them by now if you had let me do the job. Let me take care of this and then you and Tim can live forever in happiness."
"No, you and Tim," said Cass, "It won't be happy either." She unscrewed the top on the vial and prepared to drink the concoction.
"You trust Scarecrow more than me?" asked Cassandra, "Really, Cassie, I'm crushed. If you can't trust yourself then who can you really trust?"
"Better I die than turn into you again," stated Cass as she shakily brought the vial to her lips. Her body was fighting against her, knowing that she might take away the burning inside her. The voice in the back of her head screamed at her not to do it. Cass drank the formula, downing the whole vial.
"Gross," hissed Cass as she coughed and felt like she was on fire from the inside. The searing pain shot through her whole body and then faded into a numbing sensation after a few seconds. The gnawing hunger inside her dissipated and she felt the control she had once had over her body now return. She turned and saw Robin roll into the alcove with her. She didn't flinch at the gunshots that nicked the edge of the wall they were using for cover.
"Are you back?" asked Robin.
"Yeah," replied Cass.
"Good," said Robin as he suddenly kissed her quickly, "I was really afraid I was going to lose you for good."
"Never," assured Cass confidently, "Plan?"
"I think backup just came," said Robin as he peeked out from behind the wall and noticed that there were lots of lights outside. He figured the police had finally shown up. With the attention of both Two-Face and Scarecrow diverted from them, Robin was pretty sure he and Cass could get the drop on them and take them out.
"Move now," ordered Robin as he sprinted towards Two-Face. Cass followed behind him, intent on taking out Scarecrow.
"Better not get too excited about that, Cassie," sneered Cassandra from inside Cass's head, "You never know what might happen." Cass shook the voice away as she saw Scarecrow turn and swipe at her with a sickle. Her mind was moving two seconds ahead of Scarecrow's body. Cass ducked the telegraphed attack and hit him in the throat with her fingertips. The blow made Scarecrow reflexively choke just like she knew it would. By the time he had already felt the bile in his throat, his hand was missing the weapon it was previously holding. By the time Crane had swallowed the bile back down, Cass's foot was in his face.
"You've got one ace," said Two-Face as he drove his knee into Robin's stomach, "You wanna go for the pair?"
"You're not getting away," assured Robin in between breaths. Two-Face didn't bother to stick around to hear what Tim had said. He was already making a mad dash for the elevator that would take him up to the roof.
"I can take him," assured Cass as she sprinted after him while Robin watched the police finally break through the door and begin flooding the place.
"Right behind you," muttered Robin as he gave chase. He told himself that the reason he was backing Cass up was because she was still recovering from the effects of the drug. The real reason was that he was afraid of having to save Two-Face from Cass if she got too violent.
"Stairs," said Cass as she watched the elevator doors close with Two-Face inside. She quickly moved towards the door and jumped, kicking it in. She didn't even bother to stop the forward motion. The second her feet hit the floor, she started running up the stairs. Her body felt more alive now and it felt like an eternity since she had felt like this. She wanted to catch up with Two-Face and hurt him for shooting her up with that drug.
"You can't wait to beat him senseless, can you?" asked Cassandra, "You can't wait to wrap your hands around his throat and squeeze the life out of him." Cass couldn't deny that she felt the desire to get a little payback. She could still feel the remnants of her addiction, the gnawing hunger that had threatened to consume her. He had put that in her without her consent. He had violated her. He deserved everything that was coming to him. She intended to give him exactly what he deserved.
"Figured you'd be the one to come after me." The second she barreled through the door to the roof, Cass felt a hand hit her in the back of the neck. It was a precise blow, the kind that people used when they knew what they were doing. She had heard what Two-Face had said to Robin. Batman had given him training when he was Harvey Dent and Gotham needed a protector. They weren't that much different now, she and Two-Face. Both of them had failed Batman. Both of them had earned the trust of the Dark Knight and then had thrown that trust in the garbage.
"You're through," assured Cass as she turned to face Two-Face. She rubbed the back of her neck where he had hit her before taking a fighting stance.
"We already flipped for it," assured Two-Face, "Harvey wanted to just run away. I figure there's still something worth salvaging from this thing."
"Who won?" asked Cass.
"Take a guess," replied Two-Face as he came at her. Cass could see it in the way he moved. He had definitely had some training, more than the average criminal would have. However, that didn't mean he was anywhere in Cass's league. He led with a right cross that Cass easily blocked. She grabbed his wrist and flipped him over Judo-style, slamming his back against the concrete of the roof. She moved to strike but his foot rammed up into her jaw.
"Not bad," admitted Cass as she rubbed her jaw and backed off while Two-Face got back to his feet.
"Harvey and I share everything," assured Two-Face, "Everything."
"Too bad I'm better than both of you," said Cass simply as she came at him. She kicked high which he ducked under. That had been her plan. The leg quickly folded in and then straightened out, this time aimed at Two-Face's stomach. The kick caught the maniac in the gut. Cass wasn't finished yet. She hit him with the same snake-style strike that she had given Scarecrow before finishing it with a roundhouse across his jaw, the move that she had gone for the first time and had known that he would block.
"That's good, Cassie," said Cassandra, "Now you know what you have to do." Cass breathed hard and stayed her body from following through on its impulses.
"You think I can't tell what's in your eyes?" asked Two-Face as he wiped the blood from his mouth, "You're split in half just like me." He saw it when she was drugged and he saw a glimmer of it now. There was another person living inside Cassandra Cain, a person that was more than likely her darker half. Two-Face knew all about how that went. Most people had another side to them. He and Harvey were more synchronized these days but he still knew that most people fought against their other half.
"No more talk," assured Cass as she hit him in the jaw again, "You've done enough tonight." Two-Face took the blow and staggered backwards, positioning himself closer and closer to the edge of the roof.
"C'mon, let's see what you're really made of," jeered Two-Face, "Let me see how ugly you are underneath that pretty face."
"He deserves this," assured Cassandra, "He deserves everything he gets."
"I'm not like you," assured Cass as she kicked him in the throat to shut him up. Two-Face choked but still stayed on his feet.
"You think Bats can accept you like this?" asked Two-Face as he pointed to the bad half of his face, "You think he'll let you protect his city when you're torn apart just like me?"
"I'm not you!" shouted Cass as she grabbed him by the throat. They were so close to the edge now, in more than just the literal sense. It would be so easy to just dangle him off the edge and let him go. He deserved it for bringing out the demon in her that she thought she had exorcised. Everything would've been fine if he didn't have to inject her with his poison.
"Not according to the Bat," gasped Two-Face, "According to him, you're just as ugly as me."
"I can change," stated Cass, "You can't!" Her grip around his throat tightened as she stepped closer to the edge. She felt his feet leave the roof and dangle out into space, his body suspended in the air by her effort alone.
"They'll never change," hissed Cassandra in Cass's ear, "If you want to be safe with Tim then you have to take control. You can't let the law handle him. Make your own law."
"A little conflicted?" asked Two-Face with a grin as he saw the struggle in Cass's eyes. At some level, Cass knew it was true. The law would coddle him. The law would allow him to escape so that he could hurt more people. The law was soft. She had a better law, a better way of making sure criminals didn't harm innocent people.
"Drop him!" hissed Cassandra, "Do it and earn the happiness with Tim that you want."
"Cass!" Cass turned and saw Robin standing there staring at her. She felt ashamed as she looked into his eyes and then turned back to Two-Face.
"This is justice," stated Cass as she threw Two-Face over her shoulder, slamming him onto the roof but keeping him alive, "Learn it." She looked up and saw Tim smile at her as she moved towards him and hugged him.
"I knew you wouldn't do it," said Tim as he kissed her forehead, "I believe in you."
"I know," replied Cass, "Can you . . . take me home now?"
"Yeah, I can manage that," assured Robin with a grin.
His body was bruised and battered but he still wasn't beaten. Scarecrow had slunk off into hiding once Robin and the girl had gone after Two-Face. He figured that Robin owed him one for Crane letting him have the antidote. Scarecrow decided that his escape would be the perfect way of Robin paying him back.
"Don't think we're through though, Robin," muttered Scarecrow as he managed to make it out of the casino before the cops could arrest him, "I still want to hear you and your girl sing for me." He would come back for them later. First he needed to find a new hideout since the security of his old one had been severely compromised. No matter though. Such things could always be fixed. What was important was that, like all good contemporary horror films, the monster was still out there watching and waiting for the chance to terrorize the innocent once more.
The car was silent as it wound its way through the dimly lit streets of Gotham City. It was bordering on sunrise and that meant that it was time for all bats to be indoors. Batgirl watched the city pass her by through the window of the Batmobile as the car headed for home.
"How have you been feeling?" The question didn't exactly shock her but it surprised her nonetheless. She knew that Bruce Wayne had changed since the year he'd taken off with Dick and Tim. She could tell he was different. He wouldn't have bothered to ask her that question before.
"I'm . . . okay," assured Cass as she peeled back her mask and looked at him. It had been a few days since the incident involving Scarecrow and Two-Face. Batgirl wasn't sure if the drug was completely out of her system. She occasionally felt a pang or two but those had been lessening each day. Cass assumed that eventually it would go away completely.
"You did a good job with that case," said Batman, "It doesn't mean you're off probation but still, you did a good job." Batgirl nodded her head as a sign of thanks.
"What did Two-Face tell you?" asked Batman. Cass wondered why exactly he was being so talkative. She never knew him to be like that before.
"He told me about Harvey," explained Cass, "You gave him . . . the city. It hurt him when . . . when you didn't trust him."
"Harvey was a very good friend," said Batman quietly, "I let him protect my city even though he had done a lot of bad things. I suppose I let my faith in him blind me to that."
"You wanted to . . . give him a chance," said Batgirl, "It's not wrong."
"I trusted him even though he had once been a criminal," stated Batman, "I accepted him back with open arms. Maybe I should've done the same for you."
"You do your best," assured Cass quietly, "It's not wrong . . . to not trust. Don't worry about me. I won't leave." Batman flicked his eyes to meet hers and almost smiled. Almost. It was enough to make Cassandra Cain think that maybe he trusted her again.
Tim Drake sighed deeply as he gently tossed the sponge into the bucket and watched it land with a plop into the water inside. He was certain this violated some sort of child labor law. It was then that he painfully remembered he was no longer a child anymore and was now an adult in the eyes of the law. That meant he couldn't complain to social services about this.
Tim continued washing one of the Batmobiles, this being the third one that he was in the process of washing and waxing, with another sigh as he took a rag and began polishing the car. Thanks to his little fiasco with Scarecrow, he was enjoying a month of grounding from all things crime-fighting as well as helping Alfred with all the chores for that month. There was also the extra sparring sessions he had to endure against Bruce once his chores for the day were completed. While some may think he was getting off lightly, getting smacked around by Batman every day for a month wasn't exactly what Tim considered a light sentence.
Tim was really considering calling a social worker and complaining about slave labor when the Batmobile currently in use pulled into the cave and came to a stop. He felt his mood lighten as he watched Cass get out of the car.
"You can wax that one tomorrow," said Batman as looked at Tim, "Get some rest, Tim. You've still got more work to do."
"I know," replied Tim as Batman went to change out of his costume and then go up into the mansion, "Any luck on finding Scarecrow?"
"Not yet," replied Bruce, "He'll turn up sooner or later and we'll be ready when he does." Tim nodded silently as Bruce went upstairs, leaving him and Cass in the Batcave looking at one another.
"This really sucks," whined Tim. Cass just gave him a smile and kissed him on the cheek as she moved behind the screen to change out of her outfit.
"Tim?" asked Cass while she was still behind the screen, "The Scarecrow thing . . . you did that for me?" Tim looked at her as she came out from behind the screen in a set of black, satin pajamas that she had bought when she had returned to Gotham. He thought she looked really good in them.
"I shouldn't have," admitted Tim, "I took a huge gamble and I was lucky enough that it worked out. I went completely against everything just because I couldn't stand the idea of losing you. Funny thing is that I'd do it all over again too. I'd do anything for you, Cass. Don't you know that by now?"
Cass smiled too and blushed slightly. She really did feel unworthy of all this love. Part of her was still struggling with the notion that Tim had forgiven her for all her mistakes and all the things she had done wrong. She still couldn't believe that she deserved him.
"I love you, Tim," said Cass as she kissed him. Tim wrapped his arms around her as he returned the kiss. She loved him for coming after her when she was lost in the dark. He loved her for finding her way back into the light. She loved him for throwing out all the rules when it came to her. He loved her for wanting to play by the rules just to win back his trust even when she didn't need to. They loved each other because of not only who the other was but also because of who they were when they were around each other.
"I love you too," whispered Tim as they separated.
"You care if . . . I stay over?" asked Cass with a grin.
"You really enjoy pushing your luck, don't you?" asked Tim as he took her hand.
"Anything for you," assured Cass as she let him walk her back to his place, "You're worth the risk."
"So are you," agreed Tim with a smile, "So are you."
(Author's Note): That's all, folks. I'm thinking of writing a sequel to this to make the entire saga a trilogy. Be sure to keep looking out for it and review it if it ever comes along. Thanks.