"ack..ack..." Roy waved the dust away from his face and unsteadily got to his feet. When he had decided to pop in and say hi' to Nightwing while he was patrolling in Bludhaven, he never expected to find himself at the bottom of a pile of debris, coated in drywall dust and wood chips.
"Ni-ack- Nightwing.." Roy called out, trying to remember what had just happened.
They had been standing on the roof of a two-story department store, talking about Lian's latest philosophical thoughts on the pros and cons between the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause.
Roy was putting in his own two cents, then realized his friend was no longer listening. Instead, Nightwing was crouched down, studying a black van parked two blocks down the street.
"What's the deal?" Roy asked, peering over Dick's shoulder.
Dick nodded his head in the direction of the van, "That van. It's been parked there for the past six hours. It was there since before I started patrolling."
Roy nodded his head. "A mystery black van is never a good thing. No houses nearby for it to belong to a resident, and none of the shops or businesses are open at three o'clock in the morning."
Dick didn't reply. Instead, he got up and moved stealthily across the rooftops until he was directly across from the building the van was parked in front of.
Roy sighed and followed suit then crouched down again, "Soooo... what's the deal?"
Dick thumbed his chin in thought, "There's been rumors that Black Mask is back in town, looking to set up business again. I'm thinking that's why it's parked outside Divinci's restaurant. He's the top Boss in town and the only one to stand in Black Mask's way."
Roy pulled out his own night vision goggles and zoomed in through the window, then switched to infrared. "Yep, there's definitely something going on in there. A meeting of some sort. About eight of them. I doubt one of them is Black Mask though."
"Nah. He wouldn't dirty his hands with grunt work. He'll sit back and let his hench men do the work for him for now... uh oh."
Roy glanced at his friend and noticed his body had become rigid in an instant. "What?"
"sigh What?" Roy asked, getting impatient.
"There." Roy looked to the front of the restaurant and saw four men exit. One stood on the front step and took a long drag on his cigarette as the other three got into the van and started it up. The van pulled up in front of the man. He looked around a couple times before flicking the cigarette in the street then climbed into the van.
"What do you ..." Roy's allowed his sentence trail off when saw Dick was no longer crouched down beside him, but rather, had already swung across the street and was sneaking around the back of the restaurant.
"Damn, silent, antisocial, Bats..." Roy muttered under his breath as he shot off a line arrow into the restaurant across the street. He snapped the pulley on and jumped off the rooftop.
He was about drop down on the sidewalk when the building burst into flames. The force of the blast ripped his hands free from the pulley and slammed him to the ground.
The next thing he remembered was the sound of his own pulse roaring in his head with a blinding force. His lungs burned from the dust and smoke of the former restaurant, now completely leveled and engulfed in flames.
Roy pushed himself out from under the rubble and tried to focus his vision while cutting through the murky consciousness clouding his thoughts. Dick!' Roy remembered. He had gone around the back of the building even before I made it across the street to follow.'
"Nightwi -ack ng!" Roy called out, ignoring the pain that ripped through his head. "Nightwing!!" he paused and strained to hear any signs of life.
"Nightwing, answer me!" Roy yelled, barely able to hold back the panic that edged its way into his voice as he stumbled forward through the wreckage, desperate to find his best friend.