"What? You did not take down Thirty four."
Nightwing grinned, "Count'm and weep, bro."
Batman glanced over his shoulder at the sound of good-humored, brotherly banter and a smile quirked the corner of this mouth. Nightwing had been working with them in Gotham for the past week trying to take down a murderous, drug-dealing street gang. Tonight the fight was long and grueling but in the end they'd taken the upper hand and put an end to it all.
Batman called in a report to the GCPD while Nightwing and Robin were still securing the last of the thugs further down the alley.. As he was about to finish up his conversation with Gordon, Batman's head snapped to the right when he heard the deep, angry throttle of a motorcycle. Before he had time to act, it tore around the corner, heading straight for Nightwing and Robin; its rider whipping a length of chain as it bore down on his partners.
Batman shouted a warning through his comm-link and watched as Nightwing ran and collided with Robin, thrusting him to the side before lunging out of the way himself. Batman held his breath, watching and hoping Nightwing would clear the bike also, but then his comm delivered a painful cry from his oldest, and Batman saw red.
Clenching his fists, Batman strode to the middle of the alley, daring the motorcycle to choose him as its next target. He didn't need to look to make sure Nightwing was protected and taken care of; a man was down and Robin was the closest. Batman knew Robin would be at his brother's side in an instant. That left this poor soul to deal with the wrath of The Bat.
Producing two batarangs, Batman stood in the biker's path, taunting him. He wanted its rider to experience a flood of bold overconfidence in hopes that it would distort his concentration. He waited until the right moment and then with a flick of his wrists, two batarangs shot out from under his cape.
Lips snarled back to reveal rotten teeth and the biker hunched over the handlebars with a sneer, gunning the throttle. The motorcycle's single headlight bore down on Batman and its driver snarled as he brought up the chain. He began to whip it over his head again, but his bike turned on him and bucked as batarangs lodged in his front wheel, sending him flying over the handlebars.
"Nightwing. Report!" Batman demanded as he redefined excessive force by snatching up the dazed criminal by his torn leather vest, lifting him in the air and then slammed him face-first onto the dirty pavement.
"He's down, Batman."
Batman cursed to himself when Robin answered his transmission instead of Nightwing. It must not be good. Rough groans of pain transmitted over Robin's comlink and Batman drove his knee between the thug's shoulder blade and spine. He felt no self-reproach from the criminal's cry of pain, not while he was hearing worse from his son. "Status." He barked and wrenched the thug's wrists behind his back.
"His leg's broke. It's bad, Batman. Open fracture; left tibia, just below his knee– It's okay, Wing. You're gonna be okay; try not to move..."
Batman listened to Robin attempt to calm his brother in a quiet voice. "Morphine." Batman ordered, cinching a zip cord around the thug's wrists, a little too tightly.
"5-ml already in," Robin opened a packet of gauze and applied gentle pressure to the wound, wincing sympathetically when Nightwing groaned and tried to sit up. Using his free hand, Robin grabbed his brother's shoulder firmly and pressed him against the ground. "No, Wing; you've got to stay still." Nightwing dropped his head back against the ground, gritting his teeth and Robin gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze, "We'll get you out of here in just a sec, bro."
Finished with the thug, Batman pressed a button on his belt, calling the Batmobile to his location while sprinting the short distance down the alley. He dropped to his knees opposite Robin and took a second to assess the situation.
Nightwing was laying on his right side with his head on Robin's cape and, although he'd been given a dose of morphine, he continued to fight against the pain; clearly in distress. Batman laid a hand on his son's side to let him know he was there and gently peeled back the field dressing to look at the injury.
"Do something...!" Nightwing growled as blinding fire shot throughout his leg. Pushing off the pavement with his left hand, he turned his face into Robin's cape and tried to breathe through it, but instead groaned with frustration.
"Taking care of it now," Batman said, pulling a morphine syringe from his belt. He quickly removed the armor to Nightwing's thigh and injected the narcotic, his cape billowing out behind him as the Batmobile skidded to halt. He pointed at Robin, "Keep talking to him." He jumped up and rummaged through the trunk, grabbing the necessary supplies and then slammed it shut again.
Back at Nightwing's side, Batman began to unpacking various items from the field kit as he eyed his partner who was lying very still. "Still with us, Nightwing?"
"Good. Let's roll you onto your back. You going to be able to help?"
Nightwing's head was floating and he had to take a second to process the question, "... yeah."
"Alright, easy now. Go slow,"
Nightwing felt Batman support his leg and on Batman's count, he sucked in a breath of air and held it as he dragged his good leg out and pushed off the ground enough to turn his hips and get off his side. Robin had him by the shoulders and helped lift him during the process and Dick was grateful because, honestly, his whole body felt like it was floating and he wasn't exactly certain how much of a help he was being. He was pretty sure they were doing most of the work.
Batman removed the field dressing and glanced up at his son's face while choosing an item from the med kit. He was relieved to see that the second dose of morphine was working. Even though he could still see faint lines of pain across Dick's features, his breathing had evened out and he was able to remain still. "Nightwing."
"I know you've probably got more drugs running through your system than you've had in a long time but, I want you to stay on this side of dreamland. Okay?"
"...'kay...," Nightwing mumbled then was quiet for a moment; he could hear sirens in the distance and knew Gordon would be on the scene any moment to clean up the gang members littering the alleyway. Turning his attention back to his present situation, he listened to the bits and pieces of conversation between mentor and protégée as they worked together, swiftly preparing him for travel. "It's... bad. Isn't it?"
Batman exhaled deeply as he cut away material from Nightwing's suit, allowing him better access to the wound, "Well, I won't lie to you; it's not good. However, I'm not seeing a career-ending injury either; Iodine," Batman warned him a second before pouring a generous amount over the wound. It was their greatest weapon against infection and with this type of wound, infection was a big risk; not only to the tissues, but to the exposed bone itself.
Batman leaned over his son, "Nightwing. Look at me." Batman waited until dopey, blue eyes met his. "I've got to set the break before we can get you out of here. You know the drill."
"Yeah," Dick answered in a breathy voice, closing his eyes, "I know the drill..." He could feel Batman palm either side of his calf while he spoke in a low tone to his younger partner for a moment. He knew Batman was assessing the break and visualizing what would be the correct alignment. Dick looked up, forehead knitted together in confusion as he was covered with the emergency blanket from the field kit.
"You're trembling," Robin said as he tucked the blanket snugly around his brother. "Resps are getting a little shallow, too. I need you to focus on not going into shock on me. All right?"
Nightwing attempted a smile, but it felt more like a grimace.
"Robin." Batman spoke and Tim knew it was time. He leaned down to look in his brother's eyes, "Alright, Dick," he spoke in a low voice, "almost out of here."
Dick gave him a half nod. He was feeling so tired all of a sudden.
Robin gave his shoulder a couple firm pats and moved into position. He took hold of Nightwing's leg just below the knee and held it firm while Batman gently pulled back until the bone slid into place.
"Nnnghh...!" Nightwing clenched his teeth, digging gloved fingers into the loose gravel on the pavement. Morphine be damned, it still hurt like hell.
Robin had long since replaced his combat gloves for a set of sterile latex and was now pressing his index and middle fingers to the downed hero's neck, "Nightwing, give me your symptoms." He instructed, assessing his partner's shock level and also to keep him talking.
"Anything else?" Robin asked when he trailed off.
Nightwing shook his head.
"Alright. Here, I'm going to sit you up some." Robin placed a hand to the back of his brother's neck and lifted gently, pulling out his cape out from under him. Robin knew it would keep his brother warmer than the med blanket.
While Robin was helping him to sit up, Nightwing got a good look at his leg. He leaned heavily against his brother and watched as Batman wrapped a roll of gauze around the dressed wound. It was already beginning to show spots of bleeding through. "How much blood did I lose?"
Batman glanced up, "None more than would be expected with this type of injury," he answered while he tore off a piece of tape, smoothing it against the gauze, "Not enough to require a tourniquet, so that's good." he added while putting Dick's calf in a splint. "Alright, son, let's get you up and back to the cave."
"Yeah," Tim snickered, "it's been a long time since Alfred's had to deal with an open fracture. I can't remember who had the last one..."
Dick heard Robin talking as he was helped slowly into a vertical position, then to his feet. His world began to spin and he instinctively clutched onto Batman's arm.
"Steady, Nightwing." Batman coached, "Take a couple deep breaths."
With support from his partners, Nightwing bent at the waist and breathed deeply through his nose.
Robin leaned over and peered at his brother, "Gonna pass out?"
"I'd like... to say no, but..." Nightwing panted with ragged breaths, "but, I... –nugh– I, uh..."
Robin shot his partner a look from over Nightwing's back, "He's going to hurl," he warned and took a step to the side while he took firm hold of his brother's bicep.
"Nuh...Nuthin'... in there to...-urg-... to...– hurrrk-..." Nightwing was amazed at how long an empty stomach could heave and, by time it was all said and done, he was trembling from head to toe. When he began to stand upright again, the ground tilted and he pitched to the side, unintentionally slumping against Batman.
Since the car was right there, Batman simply draped Nightwing's arm around his neck, lifted him by his good leg, and carefully deposited him into the passenger seat. The fact that there was no protest to this spoke volumes as to how crappy and dazed his partner felt.
Tim radioed in the casualty report to the cave and remembered the last time he had the joyful experience of an open fracture and, with a deep, painful groan, thought of the fun he, Alfred and Bruce would have dealing with one fidgety, energetic and extremely bored acrobat during his recovery.