Disclaimer: I don't own. I'm not profiting.
Context: Aftershock (Between Cataclysm and Road to NML)
Thanks to Kathy for the beta!
"You okay with that, buddy?"
Nightwing settled his stance and nodded. The steel I-beam wasn't light, but he could hold it up for a few minutes. That was enough time for the two other men to shift some more of the debris. "Gotcha," the uniformed police officer said as he pulled a young woman forward and lifted her to her feet. She swayed for a moment and clutched the other man's arm.
Nightwing recognized him from Bruce's files. Joe Tersigni, enforcer for the Aquista family. He'd stood accused of crimes that ranged from racketeering to murder—but never been convicted. None of that mattered at the moment. Right now, he was another pair of willing hands. Gotham was currently experiencing a shortage of those. Nightwing carefully lowered the girder to the ground.
"I've had paramedic training," he said. Already, his emergency kit was on the ground. He approached the woman. "Was anyone else down there with you?"
She looked up at him blankly. "Ha?" She asked. She mumbled a few words in a foreign language. It took Dick a moment to recognize them.
"Ikinalulungkot ko," he said as he checked her over gently for injuries. "Nagsasalita ako ng kaunti lang Tagalog." I'm sorry. I only speak a little Tagalog.
The woman relaxed. "Is okay," she said. "I… understand some Ingles."
Nightwing couldn't be sure, but he thought she might have a broken collarbone. The best he could do for her at the moment was to immobilize her arm to keep her from moving the bone. Luckily his first aid kit had a large triangle bandage which would do for a sling. As he worked on that, the officer asked again whether there were any other people trapped under the building.
She shook her head. "I do not think so."
"Quiet!" Tersigni snapped. "Hear that?"
For a moment, there was silence. Then Nightwing heard it too: a faint cry.
"It's coming from over there," the officer said, pointing.
Nightwing finished tying off the sling. "I'm on it."
The sound was coming from the remains of an elevator shaft. As he shone a light down, he could see someone moving feebly. He frowned. The best way to get down would be to attach a line topside and slowly climb down. The trouble was that if the cable came loose, he might end up trapped down there as well. The line wouldn't travel too far if he launched it straight up, and the vertical shaft was too narrow for him to do otherwise. But if he tied two lines together…
"That support beam," Tersigni said. "Anchor one end of your line to it."
Nightwing nodded. "Good thinking." He hesitated. "If I can't climb up with whoever's down there—"
The mobster cut him off. "Give a holler and I'll pull you up." He smiled. "Never hurts to have one of you capes thinking you owe me."
Nightwing fastened the line to the girder and grinned back. "I'm not hauling you down to Central right now. Some might say that makes us even."
"The night's still young."
As he made his way down the shaft, it occurred to the young vigilante that there was at least one positive thing that had come out of the quake so far: a real, if tenuous, truce between the various factions that made up Gotham. A mobster, a vigilante, and a police officer had fallen in easily one with the other, ignoring past animosities. This, he reflected, was what would bring Gotham back from the dead. Restoring a city was a task too daunting for any one person. This was a job for all who could perform it, and for all who cared to. And so far, all manner of people were in fact rising to the occasion.
"Hey," he called softly to the person below. "Need a hand?"