"What? You did not take down Thirty four."
Nightwing grinned, "Count em'n 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 Batman and Robin 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 further down the alley, securing the last of the thugs. As he was about to finish up his conversation with Gordon, Batman's head snapped to the right, his ears picking up the deep, angry throttle of a motorcycle.
Before he had time to act, it was upon them, tearing around the alleyway corner; its rider whipping a length of chain as it bore down on his partners. Batman shouted a warning cry through their comm-link, watching as Nightwing ran and dove into Robin, thrusting him to the side before lunging out of the way. He was almost clear of the bike when he felt his shin explode with white, hot pain.
The sound of his oldest's anguished cry assaulted his ears and Batman saw red. He didn't need to look and see that Nightwing was protected and taken care of. A man was down; Robin was the closest. Batman knew he'd 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, inviting a flood of over-confidence and thrill to encompass his opponent and distorting his concentration.
Lips snarled back to reveal rotten teeth; the biker hunched over the handlebars with a sneer and gunned the throttle. The motorcycle's single headlight bore down on Batman and its driver snarled as he brought up the chain, readying it for another whirl, but was robbed of the chance to give it even one full rotation before the bike turned on him, bucked and sent 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."
His stomach knotted when Robin answered his transmission instead of Nightwing. He could hear his oldest's gravelly groans of pain over Robin's comlink and drove his knee between the thug's shoulder blade and spine. He felt no satisfaction from the 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; tibia's broke through the skin just below his knee– It's okay, Wing. You're gonna be okay; try not to move..." Batman listened to Robin attempt to soothe his brother in a quiet voice.
"Morphine." Batman ordered and cinched the zip cord around the thug's wrists tight- a little too tight.
"Five mil already in– No. You've got to stay still for me, Nightwing. We'll get you out of here in just a sec," Robin said and placed a gloved hand to his brother's arm, keeping him exactly how he'd found him.
Finished with the thug, Batman remote called the Batmobile to his location as he sprinted the short distance down the alley and dropped to his knees opposite Robin. He took a second to assess the situation. It wasn't pretty.
Nightwing lie on his right side, his head pillowed on Robin's cape. Although he'd been given a dose of morphine, Nightwing continued to squirm against the incredible, blinding fire shooting throughout his leg.
"Do something...!" he growled, pushing off the pavement with his left hand and turned his face into Robin's cape.
"Hang on, Nightwing. Just a couple more minutes," Batman said, giving his son's shoulder a squeeze then jumped up as the Batmobile screeched to a halt beside him.
"Give him five more." He said, pointing at Robin as he hurried to the Batmobile, popped open the trunk, grabbed the necessary supplies and then slammed it shut again.
"Still with us, Nightwing?" Batman asked while unpacking various items from the field kit as he eyed his partner, who was lying very still.
"Good. Let's roll you over." Dick felt Batman take hold of his leg and hold it steady as Robin took him by the shoulders and, together, they helped ease him onto his back. Batman removed the dressing Robin had been holding on the open wound and glanced up at his son while choosing an item from the field kit, "I know you've probably got more drugs running through your system than you've had in the past few years combined, however, I want you to stay on this side of dreamland. Okay?"
"...'k," 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 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-but, 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.
"Look at me, Nightwing." Batman waited until dopey, blue eyes met his. "I've got to set the bone before we can get you out of here. You know the drill."
"Yeah," he 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 the medic blanket from the field kit covered him from chin to knee.
"You're trembling," Robin said as he tucked the blanket snugly around his brother. "Resps are getting shallow, too. I need you to focus on not going into shock on me. All right?"
Nightwing attempted a smile but it was more along the line of a grimace.
"Robin." Batman said and Tim knew it was time. He leaned down to look in his brother's eyes, "'k, Dick," he spoke in a low voice, "gonna get the bone realigned, slap on a brace and get'cha outta here. Ready?"
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 back into place.
"Nnngahh...!" 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 usual black gloves for a set of sterile latex and was now pressing his index and middle fingers to the downed hero's carotid artery, "Nightwing, give me your symptoms." He instructed, assessing his partner's shock level, and also, to keep him talking.
"Woozy, … tired..."
Robin was flickering the soft beam of a penlight over his brother's pupils when he had trailed off, "Anything else?"
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 Nightwing's head. Robin knew it would keep his brother warmer than the kit blanket he'd been covered with.
While Robin was helping him to sit up, Nightwing got a good look at his leg and, while he's seen others with this sort of injury, or worse, it is always different when you see it on your own body. Leaning heavily against his brother as he worked fast to wrap the cape around him, Nightwing watched as Batman wrapped a roll of gauze around the wound, which had already began to bleed through. "How much did I lose?"
Batman glanced up, "Not too much– pint and a half... maybe two," Batman answered while he finished dressing the wound, and then put a short brace on his calf to keep the bone in place. "Alright, son, let's get you up and back to the cave."
"Yeah," Tim snickered, "it's been a while since Alfred's had to deal with an open fracture... Hey, who had the last one?"
Dick blinked a couple times as he was slowly helped into a vertical position, then to his feet. His world began to spin and Nightwing instinctively clutched onto Batman's free arm.
"Steady, Dick. 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 spew," he said, taking a subtle step to the side as he wrapped an arm around the back of his brother's waist while taking a firm hold of his bicep.
"Nuh...Nuthin'... in there to...-urg-... to...– hurrrk-..." Nighwing 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.
He began to try to stand upright when, suddenly, he was carefully scooped into Batman's arms.
The weary, young hero voiced no protest to this, his head lolling against his mentor's chest with each powerful stride the Dark Knight took toward his vehicle.
Tim 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 keeping one fidgety, energetic and extremely bored acrobat in bed for the next week.