Technically, this is kinda' like a Nightwing/Justice League crossover, but no one looks that up, and I want reviews, but IT'S GOOD! SO REVIEW PEOPLES!
I OWN NOTHING.
WARNINGS: Blood, minor language, torture, um... i think that's it.
Chapter One: Torture
How he had managed to be sneaked up upon, hit on the back of the head with a car jack, dragged halfway across Bludhaven, strapped to a metal table by leather and chain restraints, and not even managed to hit his emergency button, Nightwing would never know.
Even worse- it wasn't some creep from Bludhaven that had found him.
It was some creep from Gotham.
Sure, Bludhaven's crimes were up more, but there were waaaay more psychopaths in Gotham.
But, that's really irrelevant right now.
He suspected he was in the clock tower- actually, he knew he was in the clock tower. The gigantic, 17th century bell kinda gave that away. And the bricked, gothic walls and floor and peaked ceiling that ended at a sharp tip, where, above on the roof, it would be topped by a gigantic hawk, holding an olive branch and a sword, a cross sitting on its head.
He struggled a bit against his bonds, but his head was swimming too much from the hit he had sustained earlier.
There was an eerie dripping noise in the background- drip, drip, drip- that was driving him bonkers. Someone had taken away his comm unit, and his belt, and his gloves, and his boots, and his hidden thigh-knife, but, odd enough, left his mask on.
Why would someone pass up the opportunity to figure out the identity of Bludhaven's savior, the Nightwing, and, in repercussion, the identity of Gotham's savior, the Batman. Even from there, you could link them to other heroes- Superman, Green Arrow, Flash, Arsenal, Huntress- the list went on and on and on and on.
Just like the headache Nightwing had now.
His brain was beating against the back of his skull as he rested on the table. There was a bright light above him- an old, 1800's-looking lamp that was leaking scalding oil on his chest. Luckily, his suit kept it from burning his skin.
Nightwing closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. So far, sight hadn't helped him. What about taste?
The leather straps were coarse, as if they were old, but not old enough to snap. Darn it... And the headache, that was something he didn't want to feel.
Mildew, rust, lamp oil, fire, and- blood...
Well, yes, his head was a testimony to that.
Alright... now, sound.
He listened closely, his eyes shut tightly to block out all light and allow for his sense of sound to take over.
Drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, dri- Okay, that leak was really getting on his nerves.
He heard no cars or gunshots and shouts, like you would normally hear in Bludhaven...
So, if he wasn't in Bludhaven, where was he?
Had he been dragged farther than halfway across Bludhaven?
Was he even in the States anymore?
Okay, Grayson, chill... You're smart... You got this, Grayson... You got this...
What else did he hear?
Hoo... Hoo... Hoo... An owl?
Okay, so it was still night, and he had only been out a few hours- unless, of course, it was the next night.
He groaned. So... I have nothing. Brilliant! C'mon, Grayson! GET THIS!
But nothing came to him.
Then, there came a loud creeeeeeeeeeak, like the opening of a door that needed a thorough oiling. Then, there came an evil howl of laughter.
"Hello, Bird-Boy... It's been a while..."
He was still as creepy as ever, if not creepier with his old age and wrinkles that crackles around his eyes, nose, and evil, gut-curdling smile. His hair was still stringy, greasy, and green, sticking out at odd angles and clashing terribly with his same old torn-up violet, pin-striped suit and rusty, metal-toed dress shoes. His smile was still as evil as ever, looking like it had been carved into his sheet-white skin with a meat-cleaver.
"Oh, Boy Blunder! How I've missed you in Gotham... You see, I've been having tons of fun with the new Bird-Boy, but you hold a special place in my heart..." Joker was walking in a circle around the supine table, looking up into the air, waving his hand about, his rusty shoes going click, clack, clock, click, clack on the damp stones. "I mean, you were the first Bird-Boy, the first Boy Blunder! How could Daddy Bats have replaced you without telling me? Ah, well. When he wasn't as much of a, well, shall we say, jokester as you, I knew it wasn't my Bird-Boy! So, I've left him be, for the most part... Now, I have you..."
His voice drew out when he said 'you', and it creeped Nightwing beyond the edge of creeped, closer to terrified-with-a-deep-and-infinate-passion-to-the-point-of-spandex-wetting.
Nightwing took in a deep breath, then asked, "Where am I?"
Joker completely ignored the young man before him. "About how old are you?" he asked, not quite directly to Nightwing. "21-ish? 22-ish? Harley was 23..."
Nightwing cocked an eyebrow.
"She was 23... I was 32... Ah, those were the days... She was my first side-kick, my partner-in-crime... We were a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde! Now," his voice grew melodramatically low and pained, "she is goooooooone... Ah, the days where we'd get locked in Arkham, and, a week later, be terrorizing Gotham only to be replaced back to the Asylum! I call that place home, ya' know, Birdie? I do, I really do..." He was continuing his circle around Nightwing, his long pale fingers and gunky, yellowed nails pulling on his suit jacket. "See, when Harley-" he sobbed dramatically "- was murdered by the Bat-"
"He didn't kill her," Nightwing snapped, defending his father... But why was he? He hadn't seen Bruce (non-professionally) in what- three years?
Joker's face suddenly darkened as he stopped at the head of the table. He dug his nails into either of Nightwing's cheeks, making the young hero's lips jut out. "Now, you listen to me, Boy Blunder, he did it... It's all his fault!"
He walked over to the bell, back towards Nightwing.
The bird cried out, "He didn't kill her! She fell off a roof! He tried to help her back up, but she let go, rather than be taken back to Arkham again! She. Was. Insane! Just like you!"
This was the wrong thing to say.
In an instant, Joker had crossed over and had hunting knife, long, thick, and teethed, against Nightwing's stomach. "He. Killed. Her."
Suddenly, his smile grew wider- if that were possible.
"Now, I think I'll return the favor..."
Joker had the knife pressed up against Nightwing's gut. Swiftly, he cut straight through the thick fabric. Just then, lamp oil decided to fall, right smack-dab in the middle of the young man's white chest. Not being able to brace himself, Nightwing cried out in pain.
Joker howled with laughter as he pranced around the table.
The wax kept falling. Drip... Drop... Stinging, burning pain... Drip... Drip... Drop... Drip...
Joker froze at Nightwing's side, his knife pushing harshly against the hero's pale cheek, drawing blood. "I know you're probably wondering, 'Hey! Why didn't he take off my mask?' Well, I'll tell 'ya why! Harley Q. died in her second skin, so you will, too!"
And he plunged the knife into Nightwing's side, just above his hip bone, deep into the crevasse of his slim body. Nightwing's eyes popped and he gasped loudly as the searing pain mingled with the burning wax on his chest.
Joker chuckled. "Ooh... But I'm only starting!
Nightwing lost count of how many times Joker stabbed his arms and legs. He stopped at twenty-three.
In that time-frame, about an hour, Joker had ranted on and on and on about how much fun he was having.
Joker suddenly stopped, licking the blood from the knife gently. "I'm bored with this..."
Nightwing breathed a sigh of relief, feeling his blood pooling beneath his arms, which were pressed to his sides, and his legs, which were chained together.
"Let's go on to my next toy!"
Nightwing now had burns on his stomach, pectorals, arms, legs, and chin. Joker tossed the lighter over his shoulder as he watched Nightwing's naked body (besides his black undies) involuntarily shake.
The young man was freezing, and, he had severe blood loss- and to make it all better, the lamp wax was still dripping on his chest- right onto a white and red, almost black, welt that the Joker had given him.
Joker massaged his chin, then snapped his fingers, eyes lighting up. "I know..."
Three bullets to his left knee, two to his right bicep.
Blood cascaded down the man's legs and arms, completely soaking his skin and long, black hair. The locks flicked at his shoulders, plastering to his neck with blood and sweat. Nightwing continued to shiver, trying to keep his teeth from chattering. It was late November, almost December, and snow was falling outside the clock tower. Some of it had even been blown inwards.
Joker grinned. "Oh, right! Ice... Ice... Where is my ice?"
Nightwing's prayers that Joker wouldn't find his ice had not been answered.
The dry ice was placed over his burns, making him scream in anguished pain as the below-zero, solidified water re-burned his blisters. Third degree burns, almost fourth degree (if there was a fourth degree) covered his chest and shoulders, mostly, but also colored his legs and arms, a few ever on his chin and neck.
His head swimming, Nightwing looked up as Joker brushed the half-melted ice from his chest. Nightwing shivered, knowing that the wounds would certainly become infected.
Joker then decided to use his almost in-human strength to torture the ex-Robin.
Grabbing the chains that were wrapped around his wrists, Joker pulled, stretching Nightwing's body fiercely.
He tried not to scream.
He really, really did.
But it wasn't working out very well for him.
Screaming only uses up your breath, Grayson! Just-
Joker tugged again, dislocating Nightwing's left elbow and should at the same time, with a sadistically satisfying POP! SNAP!
In his anguish, his mind half-dead, his lungs burning, his heart churning, Nightwing deferred to his first language. "Opriti-va! Va rog! O, Doamne! O, Doamne, va rog! Va rog!" * Stop! Please! Oh, God! Oh God, please! Please! *
Joker stopped and approached Nightwing, a pedo-smile on his face. He giggled drunkenly, then looked over Nightwing's wounds. "Ah... I think this'll do..."
He turned to leave.
The door shut, and the lock turned.
For several minutes, Nightwing just lay there, panting in the black shadows. The candle had long before been burned out, and the wax was now drying on Nightwing's chest. His vision was fuzzy, his head was numb, his body throbbed everywhere.
But he had to get out.
He had to get help.
Where was his comm unit?
Slowly, painfully, Nightwing craned his burnt neck. It popped and began to sting, but he ignored it- or at least, tried.
To his left was the bell.
To his right was the window, snow building up just on the ledge.
He made his decision.
First, though, Nightwing face his first problem-
He pulled up his shoulders first, grunting over the pain that shot through the bloody limbs. After he was sitting up on the table, his torso hunched over his legs, Nightwing grit his teeth as he willed his legs to move.
His right did, but his left didn't budge.
"Rahat..." * sh** *
Slowly, he shoved his left leg over the table, but, sadly, that dragged him over the edge. With a loud thump, Nightwing fell onto the ground.
His head swimming, his lungs burning, stomach churning, heart yearning, he pulled himself up, dragging his upper body towards the window.
Once he got there, he turned slightly, seeing his own blood coming towards the window in streaks. It also fell over the edge of the table.
Drip... Drip... Drip...
He closed his eyes tightly, shaking his head to rid the image from his mind-
But he immediately regretted it.
His head burst into stars, and he moaned.
After about five minutes of catching his breath, Nightwing pulled himself up to a standing position, using the ledge as a crutch. Once he had that down, he looked outside.
Snow covered the little grass that there was, and the sidewalks, in almost thirteen inches. Straining to see past the blood on his eyelashes, Nightwing saw a church that he recognized from Star City.
Star City?... Well, it's o-o-out of G-Gotham where B-Bruce could f-f-f-find me... And out of B-B-Bludhaven...
Peering over the edge, Nightwing saw that there was a flat roof just about two feet down.
Carefully, painfully, he pulled himself over the ledge and plopped down onto the roof, into the snow.
It froze his bloody feet so instantly that he fell face-first into the white, loose powder.
C-c'mon, Gr-Gr-Grayson... Even his thoughts were having a hard time. Y-you've g-g-g-gotta get outta this s-snow b-b-before you f-freeze to d-death...
Somehow, in some way, Nightwing found his feet and slowly edged down roof-by-roof until he was on the two-way street between several poor-houses, run-down motels, and hole-in-the-wall bars. Shivering, clad in nothing but his tight white briefs, Nightwing limped (dragging his left leg) towards a pay phone.
He got to it, then reached for his pocket-
Too tired to do anything else, he fell down onto the snowy bench, curled into a ball, and waited to die.
Arsenal shivered and scowled. Sure, Ollie was out of town, and sure, Roy had been born in Star City, but why the heck did he have to watch it in this weather? It had started as a small snow-fall, but it was quickly turning to a blizzard.
I'd best be getting home...
He sighed at that thought.
A warm fire-place.
B- oh, wait. He already said beer.
Smirking to himself, Arsenal jumped from roof to roof, his orange hair a bright beacon in the white.
Then, he slipped on a patch of ice on the roof.
He fell from the roof and into a large pile of snow. Sitting up, he shivered and spat it out. "Ugh... G-G-God... At least it's not y-y-yellow s-snow..."
Standing, Arsenal brushed himself off and pulled out his bow to shoot up a rope, climb back onto the roofs, and go home.
The blizzard was rising, and the air was too thick for him to shoot a hay-bail. So, he squinted left and right behind his black mask, read the street-signs, and headed left, going past the old clock tower as he did.
While he was walking, he saw a pile of white on a bench- a man?
The man had black hair, and was almost fully nude.
Roy then noticed that the man was bleeding heavily.
He then noticed that it was-
Swiftly, faster than Wally could have been, Roy had himself next to Dick. Rolling the younger man over, he saw that Dick had blood and burns all over his body. His elbow and shoulder hung limp, and his leg was bleeding profusely, even in the cold weather. His hair was matted with blood and wet from snow, and it stuck to his face like glue.
"Dang, Dick, what the Hell have you gotten yourself into?" Roy swore as he pulled off his thick coat, pulling it around Dick's shoulders.
Slowly, Dick hissed painfully, "R-R-Roy?"
Roy pulled the blood-soaked mask from Dick's face, making Nightwing into Richard Grayson once more. His eyelashes were glued together with blood and sweat, a fatal combination, and he peeled them apart as his eyes opened. "Yeah, kid," he said. "I'm here. I'm here." He tried to heft Dick up into his arms, but the 'kid' was too heavy- all dead weight- or at least, half-unconscious weight. "Dang it..." he hissed under his breath.
Looking back up at Dick, Roy saw that his nails and lips were turning a frightening shade of violet. "Hang on, Dick. I'm gonna get you out of here."
He couldn't even nod.
Roy thought of all the options in moments.
No car... No plane, no duh... No bike... Can't carry him...
He had no other option.
Pressing his comm unit, Roy said, "Arsenal to Watchtower, I repeat, Arsenal to Watchtower."
J'onn was at the controls when the call came.
He could hardly hear the panicked voice over the loud noise of swirling wind behind it. "Arsenal... Watchtower... repeat... Watchtower..."
J'onn pressed the 'intercept' button.
"This is J'onn at the Watchtower."
"J'onn!... Dick... help... hurt real... need a..."
J'onn growled mentally at the background noise. "Arsenal, Arsenal you must speak up. I cannot hear you over the noise."
Arsenal screamed into the comm. "DICK IS HURT! I NEED TWO BEAMS! AND A GURNEY!"
J'onn took no time to ready the teleporter. As it beeped on, it displayed the time: 4:23AM.
In a flash of bright blue light, a wet and snow-covered Arsenal appeared, hugging a small frame deeply.
J'onn immediately sent (my mental note) for a gurney as he flew down to the pad to see the two younger heroes.
When he reached Dick, a breath caught in the Martian's throat.
Completely blood and sweat and snow-soaked, the man seemed more like the eight-year-old boy J'onn had met years ago, his body looking so tiny and frail. He was shivering furiously, and he was almost completely naked, minus the underwear and a thick, now-bloody winter coat.
J'onn crouched down next to Arsenal and pulled the wet coat off of Dick, helping the broken hero lay down gently. He shivered and gasped as J'onn lightly ran his hands over the wounds, inspecting them.
"Call Batman," he instructed.
Huffing, Roy pressed his comm unit.
Just at that time, the gurney, followed by Flash and Green Lantern, arrived.
When Flash saw Nightwing, his best friend since childhood, his heart dropped. "D-D-Dick..."
In the blink of an eye, Flash was next to Dick, his cowl down, now the red-headed, green-eyed, freckle-freak named Wally West. He put a hand on Dick's forehead and felt that the young man was burning up, a high, high fever. "'!"
Dick was picked up to be placed on the gurney. A sharp wail emerged from his bloody lips as J'onn laid him down. Eyes fluttering open, Dick saw where he was and almost smiled. "T-t-thank G-G-G-G-God..."
THIS STORY IS MUCH MORE THAN NIGHTWING BEING TORTURED!
just be patient and bear with me, okay?
And, while you're waiting...
(if u do, u get Alfred's e-cookies, and I WON'T send my evil communists to bite your head off, so...)