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Not As Planned

Disappointed, she finally got up when the lights were turned off, leaving only the few ghost lights for safety. There was no sign of the bus which was late or maybe wasn't coming. She was tired and it had been a shitty day, both shifts. She had her car here, she did, but she'd promised her brother she'd leave it for him; he wanted to drive upstate for the weekend, he had a girlfriend.

She made her way outside to get a cab but she'd been asked to take out the trash (not part of her job description) and exited from the back of the building, near a darkened loading dock and, sighing, started to walk around to the front entrance.

He was standing there, alone, under a street lamp. No one else was around, they'd all gone home or wherever.

Impossible, her mind was playing tricks on her. There was no reason in the world why...

He was there, leaning against his motorcycle, the one with his logo on it, fiddling with something on the engine, trying to get it started from the look of things.

She watched him for a long moment, about to start over to him, to talk to him when she suddenly pulled back into the shadow thrown by the building itself. A car squealed around the corner, headed straight for him, straight for Nightwing, sideswiping him before he had time to react. The car didn't slow as it rounded a delivery truck double parked a few yards away, disappearing as she stared in horror.

The car struck Nightwing, hurling him into the air, slamming him into and over the cab of the truck then sliding to the ground on the near side, between the truck and a line of parked cars.


Running over, looking quickly around and seeing no one, she knelt down. "Shh, don't move, let me see how badly you're hurt." Maybe one or two of the doctors in the clinic were still there. They were all plastic surgeons, but they were still doctors and maybe they could help.

His mask was knocked off, his eyes slitted partially opened, his only response to groan and slightly writhe into a slightly more comfortable position.

"You need help, I think you have some broken bones and maybe..." She trailed off, thee was no need to frighten him—assuming he could hear her. She started up to go inside but his hand on her arm stopped her. Pulling out her cell phone she was about to hit 911 when he reached, well gestured, toward her. It was all it seemed he could manage.

"No, don't."

"You need help."

"No hospital; they'll find me and follow you. You'll be killed for trying to help."

"No, I'll be fi..."

"No. 'Safe house. Please."

She had no way to move him, he weighed too much for her to move, especially injured like this. She'd make the injuries worse and she wasn't a doctor, she didn't know what to do for him. She had to get help. Professional help.

"I'll call the Justice League or one of your friends, they'll..."

"No. No one. Trust no one." Another spasm of pain went through him. "'Safe house; they'll be back."

Her car was parked a few dozen yards away, she brought it closer and—somehow—maneuvered him in, lying across the back seat, the hell with her brother. "Where?"

"31 Heigh Street, go around back through the alley." It wasn't far, she did as he asked.

"Now what?" There was nothing there, just garbage cans and a couple of dumpsters under a single maybe forty watt bulb mounted on the brick wall.

"Tap the brick to the right of the bulb two times." He was having trouble speaking; she followed his directions. A garage door hidden behind a weathered and tattered sign advising readers to drink 'Pepsi—for those who think young!'slid opened. Driving down a ramp, the door closed behind them, lights came on and they were in a clean, ordered, well lit garage. A standard sized fire door was along one wall. "The code is 74369."

Looking, she found the keypad, the door clicked unlocked and she pulled it open. More lights came on automatically. Inside was a small, clean and well-organized one bedroom apartment.

"Help me."

She jumped at his voice within inches of her ear. Bleeding, in pain, he'd gotten himself out of the car and next to her without her hearing him. Arm carefully around his waist, he leaned heavily on her as she helped him to the double bed, lifting his legs for him and carefully placing a lightweight down comforter over him. He hissed out his pain with his breath.

"Where is the first aid?" Not that he didn't still need a well equipped ER, but she'd do the best she could.

There was no answer; he was asleep, unconscious or dead.

No, he had a pulse.

Checking closer and trying not to cause him any added pain, she found a large, frighteningly well stocked and obviously used first aid kit with scissors to cut off his clothing.

There was relatively little blood but his chest was massively bruised and she could see at least four ribs out of alignment. His right shoulder looked like it had taken a major hit or perhaps he'd landed on it when he was thrown. There was a bloody scrape around his right temple which was till oozing a trickle of blood down his cheek.

Feeling as gently as she could, she probed his chest and abdominal area; the ribs were broken, she was as sure as she could be. He might have some internal damage, possibly around his liver area and there was a fair to good chance of concussion. And his shoulder didn't seem broken or even dislocated, but there was a good chance of tendon or ligament damage.

But she knew she might have missed any number of things without tests of any kind. He needed more help than she could give him here. She started when he seemed to read her thoughts, she hadn't noticed his eyes had opened.

"No, I can't leave here. They're waiting for that."

"You need a doctor, I'm just a PN (practical nurse). Let me call someone."

"You can do this. Please." His energy seemed exhausted as his eyes closed again.

What, did he think she was just going to walk out and leave him? With no real choice, taking the medical kit, she began to do what she could.

It was a long night. Nightwing was restless, talking in his sleep and in obvious pain but she was afraid to give him anything stronger than Tylenol. She wasn't a doctor, she wasn't even an RN; she was just a PN; her usual job was to make appointments, take vitals and hand the chart over to the doctor when he was ready. That was it. Dealing with a hero suffering from potentially serious injuries was beyond her and she couldn't understand why he refused to allow her to call for help. Surely the Justice League or the Titans or Batman, for goodness sake, would be there in seconds to relieve her and make sure he had whatever he needed.

She couldn't do this alone, she didn't know how and she was frightened. She was one of those people who liked to live a quiet life, go to work, maybe see a movie or have a nice dinner with friends. Life and death was for other people, that's why she worked for plastic surgeons; almost no one died from a boob job.

She came close to calling; it was about four in the morning and he was moaning, groaning and in serious distress, more than she could bear. Cell phone in hand, the light made him open his eyes. "No. Don't. If they know I'm alive we'll both be killed; you don't understand."

"Who will kill us?" He was probably hallucinating or dreaming. No one had any reason to kill her, she wasn't important.

"The League."

"Which League?" The League of Villains? The League of Interplanetary Bad Guys?

"The Justice League."

"But—I'll call the Titans, they're your friends. They'll help us."

"No, they're in on it, too."

"But how...?"

"Don't call, don't leave here. It's both our lives."