The Guys and the Grudge Match
by Silver Miracles
Oliver Queen removed his Green Arrow hat, inspecting the rip with considerable disdain. The bandage around his head made him want to think about finding a more practical accessory. Like, a really sturdy helmet maybe.
"That's the last time I ever go on a mission overseas with Booster Gold," he grumbled.
He removed his green gloves, passing by the door to Black Canary's room. Ollie paused. He looked at the clock. Almost midnight. But it wasn't too late to check in on Dinah; after all, she was off-duty tomorrow anyways. He knocked.
"Dinah?" No answer. "Black Canary?" She didn't seem angry this morning, just tired maybe... "Pretty Bird? Can-Can?" Now she had to answer. She hated nicknames.
But the door never opened.
Batman scowled at the monitor. It was one thing to be stuck doing the night shift. It was another thing to be doing it alone. Not that alone bothered him. Only when it implied that a fellow league member was skipping out on monitor duty.
And when that skimper was one of the main seven, it was not good.
And when it was Wonder Woman...that was even more aggravating.
There were no big emergencies tonight that would be calling her away. He would know, because he was watching all of the monitors by himself.
This was a problem.
Flash polished off his twentieth burger with a serious lack of enthusiasm. After finally mustering up the nerve and asking, Fire had agreed to meet him for dinner.
Four hours ago.
A cafeteria hand gave him another plate of fries. "This is all," she said, looking at him with a mixture of astonishment and sympathy. "There's really, really no more food." Flash sighed, and two seconds later the fries were gone. He stood.
"Thanks, I guess."
Misery loved company, but GL was at his apartment. Flash decided to find Bats.
Just as Batman had stood to leave the blasted computer room (he was only a part-timer anyways, and monitor duty was not his problem, no not at all), there were several sudden arrivals-- the most sudden being the Flash's.
"Hey Bats," he said tonelessly. Batman scowled and tried to keep walking. He made it to the door, grimaced in annoyance, and turned around again with a sigh.
"What's wrong, Wally?"
Flash flopped into the chair. "Fire totally stood me up! I sat there for four hours, and she never came!"
Batman furrowed his brow. "Funny...I could say the same." He walked over to the computer and began typing. "Diana is missing as well."
"Wait-- are you saying you two had a date?!" Batman glared in spades at the Fastest Man Alive, who immediately dropped the subject. "Um...what a coincidence?"
"I don't believe in coincidences." He paused and returned the curious look Flash insisted on giving with a scowl. "She had monitor duty with me. That's all."
Green Arrow walked through the door. "Hey guys, has Dinah been sent on a mission? She's not answering her door."
Green Lantern's voice came over the intercom at the same time. "Was Vixen called away for something? I just woke up and she's gone. She didn't even leave a note. Do you guys need backup anywhere?"
The three men in the tower all looked at each other. Lantern grew impatient with their silence. "Teleport me, now!" he ordered. Green Arrow pressed the button, and John immediately flew up to join them. "What's the problem?"
"It seems that many of the League's women have gone missing," Batman replied, still typing.
Green Lantern relaxed. "What, like girl's night out? Those aren't serious, you know--"
"We can't locate them." Batman paced across the room to a control panel, pressing down a blue button. "Batman to Wonder Woman. Diana, do you copy?" There was only static. The same happened when he tried to connect with Vixen, Hawkgirl, Fire, and Black Canary. He frowned at the display, mirroring the expressions of the men behind him.
"Some people have said my Shayera was seen leaving the tower over an hour ago. Where is she going?"
"Oh no. Not him." Green Lantern buried his head in his hands. The referred-to Hawkman landed beside Batman, who promptly decided to walk back to the computer at the opposite end of the room.
Before Hawkman could voice a reply, the doors slid open once more and The Question walked in, holding a grey container of ice cream. Flash blurred beside him and opened the lid. "What flavor?" he asked jovially.
"Dude. No way."
"Yes 'way', actually. I discovered it earlier this evening."
Green Arrow walked over to the two heroes. "Um...I don't mean to interrupt, but my girlfriend is missing and you all are about to go gossip over a bowl of Bob and Terry's!"
"Um no, actually, it's the superhero ice cream, Bats and Robins," Flash retorted. He shot a mischievous smile at Batman's back.
The Question passed the container over to the speedster, who grinned like a kid on Christmas day and promptly began to shovel it in. "That is why I've come. Helena isn't answering her phone, hasn't for a couple of hours now. She made mention before of the fact that Black Canary had been acting strangely," he said, motioning towards Ollie. "At first we were going to jokingly presume an affair--"
Ollie bristled. "She is not cheating on me--"
"--But due to her subsequent lack of reply it seems there's something rather nefarious going on. A well-cloaked scheme, it would appear. But I've been investigating it since her last call and so I know where they might be."
The Flash smirked, cheeks full of ice cream. "You're a little overprotective. Who'd have thought?"
Batman snatched the ice cream from Wally's hands, setting it aside, and directed the men's attention to the screen, where there was a picture of Roulette and a large map. He reassumed position at the keypad.
"Something has been interfering with their comm-link signals," he said as he typed. "A wave pattern similar to Black Canary's scream. I'm trying to locate the source."
"Imitating her scream? Must be something sonar, then," Green Arrow offered.
"The villain Sonar has a ray that shoots that type of energy signature, hence his name. He's recently been in cahoots with Roulette of the ultimate fighting business known as Meta-Brawl that had Canary's former teacher Wildcat ensnared for a short amount of time, playing on his insecurities concerning his League duties. Although the grand ring was destroyed, Roulette has rebuilt the business somewhere else, possibly using financial backing from Lex Luthor, prison escapee. His current location is unknown, but I have attained knowledge of the whereabouts of Roulette's ring. She's probably been brainwashing the women into fighting for her, in order that she gets higher bets and therefore a larger income. That would explain the general air of fatigue that seems to have hit some of the female population of the Tower, mainly our girlfriends."
The whole room just looked at Question; slightly in awe, mostly weirded out.
Flash let out a chuckle. "You just said 'cahoots'." The stares were redirected at the scarlet speedster. "Yeah, uh...how do you know all this stuff?"
Question adjusted his trench coat. "It's my job, Mr. West."
"Hey, I never told you that!"
Ignoring Flash's complaining, Batman narrowed his eyes at the detective. "And you choose to keep this information to yourself?"
"Nobody ever asks."
"With good reason," Green Arrow grumbled. The Question took out his camera and snapped a picture of Ollie. "Hey!"
"The material that your vest is made out of is actually a key ingredient in--"
Hawkman lifted from the ground, waving his battle axe. "We must save Shayera! Where is this grand fighting ring?" He interrupted loudly.
"That's what we're trying to figure out," John said through gritted teeth.
Batman rolled his eyes beneath the mask. "The most likely place would be--"
"Bludhaven," Question finished. "The majority of her high-rolling clients were businessmen living and operating in that city."
Batman nodded in affirmation, and then glared. "Stop that." Question became intrigued by a patch of floor and scooted away from the dark knight, whistling.
"So do we get to take the Batplane, Batmobile, Batcopter, or the Batboat?" Flash zipped around the room and stopped with his arm loosely around Batman, hand dangling a set of keys with distinctly bat-like shape. "Or," he said, smiling widely, "We can all load up in my van and save the girls Flash style." He held up another set of keys with a lightning bolt keychain.
"Er...why don't you take the van, and we'll all go on the Javelin," Green Arrow suggested.
There were murmurs of agreement. Flash's shoulders sagged. "Et tu, GL?"
John shrugged his shoulders. "It sounded like a plan to me."
"There is little time. We must leave now." Hawkman stood at the teleport station, waiting to be sent to the launch bay.
The other men joined him, Batman taking his place next to Green Lantern.
"Now why are you coming along, anyways?" John gave Batman a look.
"Nightwing has been asking me to visit anyways," Batman replied stoically. "And this is League business."
"Yeah, sure, and saving Wonder Woman has nothing to do with it."
"I've already explained our relationship to you--" The teleport began, and before Batman could finish they dissolved into beams of light.
The men sat down in the seats, Green Lantern taking co-pilot to Batman. The Javelin made a smooth exit, and they soon found themselves on their way to the city of Bludhaven.
Flash leaned his head on his elbows, tapping his foot at superhuman speeds. The rapid-fire sound of his boot against metal made Green Arrow rub his temples. The speedster leaned over towards Ollie with a friendly grin. "Dude, you do realize that when we bail these chicks out of trouble, they're going to swoon and we'll all be out of whatever doghouse we'd have been put in for, like, months?! It's like we're getting diplomatic immunity, only lots better. Like, girl spazz-out immunity. Anti-PMS. Maybe..." his eyes grew misty. "Maybe Fire will go on another date with me and maybe another after that and then--"
"Do you ever stop talking?!" Green Arrow pinched the bridge of his nose and groaned loudly. "I still have a major headache from the thing in France and now Dinah had to go and get herself brainwashed..."
Hawkman leaned forward. "Are we there yet?"
John didn't look back. "No."
"...Are we getting close?"
"...No. Maybe if you just jumped out and frickin' flew there, you could let us know how long it takes instead of asking so much!"
"Uh-oh, I fell in love again, what am I gonna tell my friends? It just happened, walked in my door, now I don't wanna be alone no more--"
Batman whirled around, leaving the controls for a moment. "All of you. Shut. Up." He held up a batarang and sneered. "Especially you," he said, jabbing his weapon in the Question's direction.
The rest of the ride was conducted in silence.
"Bruce! It's been so long!" Nightwing led his mentor into the kitchen.
The six men were all crowded into Nightwing's apartment, standing and fidgeting. Flash, another old friend of Bludhaven's protector, was perfectly comfortable flopping down with the TV remote. The Question picked up an empty glass, inspecting it thoroughly. Green Lantern looked out a window as Green Arrow rubbed his bandaged head awkwardly. Hawkman tried not to knock over anything with his rather large wings.
"Hello, Dick," Batman began, eyeing his present company. "Sorry about them," he said, watching as Flash devoured some of the leftovers in his former sidekick's fridge. Dick waved it off.
"No worries, we're all a team." He glanced over at the Question, who had moved from the glass to a picture on the wall of Dick and Kori. "Um...why exactly are you all here?"
Hawkman stepped forward. "Shayera Hol is my destined love from thousands of years before when we ruled over the people of Egypt with kindness and love. I am here to help her."
Nightwing's eye twitched a little. "Right..."
Batman crossed his arms with a sigh and led Nightwing away from the group. "Have you seen Black Canary or Huntress pass through? Or maybe Hawkgirl and Diana? Or perhaps any female League member?"
Nightwing rubbed his chin thoughtfully and then snapped his fingers. "You know, I did see them! The first two girls-- both on motor bikes? And then later Diana flew by, I waved but she didn't do anything. I figured it was important business" He looked at Bruce and waggled an eyebrow. "How is Diana anyways?"
Bruce walked past him back into the living room. "Brainwashed," he dead-panned. His fellow League members looked up at his entrance. "They're definitely here," Batman informed them. He told Dick about Roulette's Meta-Brawl, and explained the full situation.
Nightwing left the room and returned with a small metal device. "Here," he said. "The most likely place will be one of the bigger buildings downtown. I've never been able to nail them down with some concrete evidence, but there are some fishy things going on there." He handed the remote to Batman. "You let me borrow this awhile back," he said. "You can use it to follow the signal of this sonar wave you're talking about." He opened the door for them as they filed out.
"Thanks," Batman said. Nightwing grinned.
"No problem. I'd come with you but I promised Kori I'd be somewhere," he replied, his smile growing.
"Have fun," Bruce monotoned. Nightwing shook his head good-naturedly.
"You too. Give Wonder Woman my best!" He shut the door with a wave. Batman scowled as the rest of the team looked at him knowingly.
"Come on," grumbled the dark knight.
The heroes, transported by Green Lantern's ring, landed at the entrance to a parking garage. "Well, according to the device, this is it," he announced. The men walked forward towards a large elevator.
The numbers above the doors began to ding, counting down to their floor. Batman took out a batarang, readying for a fight. Green Arrow drew forth a bolt as Flash positioned himself ready to run. The doors opened and Hawkman gripped his mace.
The surprised faces of Vixen, Wonder Woman, Fire, and Hawkgirl greeted them, unconscious body guards littering the elevator's floor behind them.
"Flash! I'm so sorry I missed it--"
"Oh dear lord not you again..."
The surprise gave way to an awkward silence. Vixen finally broke it. "What are you all doing here?" she asked.
There was another small pause.
"Well...we're here to rescue...you?" Flash scratched the back of his neck and glanced over at his companions, who suddenly looked equally unsure of the situation.
The four women gave the group of men a collective stare. And then they burst into hysterical giggles. Wonder Woman stepped forward, hands placed casually on her hips. "Gentlemen," she said above the laughter, "in case you haven't noticed--" here she winked at Batman, "we can take care of ourselves."
Hawkgirl was collapsed on the ground, clutching her stomach. " Ohh, my heroes! Please, rescue me! Save me!" She leaned against Fire, tears streaming down her eyes. Together the giggling women stood and walked past the men, Diana and Vixen following with lofty, playful strides.
"Um...what just happened?" Flash watched, confused, as Fire and Shayera continued to walk away.
"Women," Batman muttered. He turned around, cape billowing. "Come on, we're not needed." With that he, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Flash all made their way back to the Javelin, pride wounded and egos deflated by the girls of their dreams.
"Your girlfriend can really bring it," Green Arrow observed. "But I think Dinah's been a fighter longer. She's got more experience."
Question merely glanced at him and bent down to adjust one of his orange socks. "Helena happens to be quite the expert. So don't be so sure. We'll see who wins."
A moment's silence.
"I'll take that bet."
The two girls whirled on them. "Do not place bets on us!" Canary yelled accusingly. Huntress gave Q a withering glare.
Green Arrow shook his head.
"PMS immunity. As if that could ever happen."
"There have, actually, been theories..."
Gotta love those guys :D
(Under the Rose is coming-- I just had a moment of inspiration for this!)