Spoilers for Red Robin #25. I do not own Batman... and I can just say that CRICKET NEEDED MORE LOVE AHHHH ONE PANEL AND I'M HOOKED~~ And since we've never heard him speak or anything and don't really know mannerisms, I decided to take 'chirping' as literal and to mean Cricket was a talkative kid too. Hehheh. Enjoy~


i¦i

"I can't believe you caught me. No one has ever, ever, ever," the hand-cuffed assassin at Damian's feet stressed each fascinated 'ever' with a shake of thin, white blond hair, "ever caught me!"

Damian scoffed. "You aren't so much a formidable opponent as I was informed you were."

"You talk funny. Big words. Stuck-up attitude. You're kinda young to be acting like you're a forty something year old, ain't ya?" Cricket wiggled impatiently on his waist-coated belly, spitting out a mouthful of blood from his bruised mouth and cocking his head up at the other boy. "So what are ya gonna do to me? -Chiirp-?" The previous self-indulgent pout on his face melted into an expression of grave contemplation. "Throw me in jail? Get them to lock me up in the big house or so the phrase goes? I'll just get out in ten minutes. That's boring." The white-blond boy turned away to stick out his tongue in lengthy, exaggerated disgust. Damian temporarily dismissed the urge to rid of the vulgar appendage. "Maybe you're thinking about keeping me as a hostage?"

"I gain no benefit from keeping you as a hostage."

"Will you torture me then? Throw me in the Gotham River with some cinder blocks strapped to my arms and legs? -Chiirp-?" Cricket cast a meaningfully glance towards the nearby boating dock not three yards from them — as meaningful as one could appear when looking through ridiculously thick and dark goggles.

Damian muttered under his breath, tapping a knob on the comm.-link in his ear, "...could be promising."

"I can hold my breath underwater. I dunno for how long."

"Stop talking before I make you."

Cricket yanked and screwed his gray-gloved wrists trapped and lying on his lower back by the Bat-cuffs. "What are these made of anyway?" He observed with mild concern, "I can't seem to get out. But they're so light. They gotta be made of something harder than steel." Damian unceremoniously stomped the flat of his Robin boot to the center of the other boy's navy-coated back.

"Stop asking me frivolous questions," he demanded, frowning with disapproval as Cricket renewed his wiggling under what should have been a crushing and painful weight, and he was pouting again, what sort of assassin was he anyway, "Once Batman receives my location signal, we'll be the ones interrogating you—what ever are you making that face for—?—!" Damian snapped down at him.

"…Why do you look like a walking traffic light?" An unkind snicker. "It doesn't look very put together, does it?"

Damian's cheeks flushed with anger.

"Why are your bangs such a repulsive color?" he countered, regretting his decision immediately as the other boy started babbling on. Again.

"These?" Cricket blew air through his lips, blew his nose-length, lime green bangs from his bleeding forehead. "Can't remember. Ever tried really hard to remember something you knew was important and then tried retracing your steps, thinking that if you did you would remember? It never works. I can't remember a lot of things. I think I had a bird once. A parrot. Or maybe it was a canary. It went chiiirp-chiiirp-cheeeeep!" An irritated twitch from the masked boy. Cricket's enthusiasm showed no signs of stopping anytime soon. "I only know the name I was given and I can go really fast so I use it to get money for what I want by killing for hire, oh, and I like gummy bears," he said offhandedly, and then wrinkled his nose, "But not the yellow ones."

"Who do you work for?" Might as drill him since the enemy was feeling so chatty.

"People can't catch me. They never see me coming. That's boring." Cricket said pointedly, half-smiling over his shoulder, "I like you, Robin… you don't talk much but you're definitely not boring."

Damian bent over him, foot still grinding into Cricket's gravel-dusted back, yelling, "Tell me who you work for, assassin!" When Damian ripped off the goggles, the other boy forced Damian's foot backwards with his upper body strength — amazingly strong — and whipped out from under him, jumping backwards through the cuffs so that his arms were in front of him once again.

Another few seconds and Damian found himself trapped with Cricket's handcuffs pinching behind him as the white-blond boy looped his arms around Damian.

A pair of violently green eyes, a near identical shade to the lime green bangs, peered straight into Damian's mask lenses just inches away, noses barely grazing. Damian tilted his head away, curling a lip. "…What the hell are you?" Damian's arms clenched into his sides ached as he worked one of his hands touching a far compartment on his utility belt to ease the flap open.

Those peculiar, sickly eyes blinked at Damian's criticism.

Cricket's voice cracked a little in dolefulness, arrogant smile drooping at the edges, "I was hoping you might be able to tell me…"

Damian's pinky fingers clicked the compartment's inner switch and he sucked in a deep breath, leaning as far back as his body would allow and turning away, holding that breath sternly as a spray of bluish knockout gas doused Cricket's face. "… …shoo~oot," Damian heard the confounded, euphoric statement before the other boy fell forward, sliding against his Robin tunic limply. Damian's hands caught under his padded, suited elbows, heaving Cricket to an upright position before letting him drop onto the street unsympathetically. Tt. Pathetic.

"Batman to Robin. You signaled me."

Damian waved his airspace cautiously before answering, "Robin to Batman. My coordinates should be on radar."

"Is everything alright?"

"Cricket has been apprehended. Drake is a fucking moron."

"Roger that. And watch your language."

"Stop wasting time."

"Batmobile heading your way, Robin. Batman out."

i¦i

Just before midnight, the Bat-signal returned into the cloudless night sky.

An exceptionally dangerous criminal had broken out of an isolation cell in Gotham City Police Headquarters, on his way out taking the time to snap the necks of three officers and severely injuring and blinding five more. Up on the top of one of Wayne Enterprises' Towers, Damian managed to locate and corner the heavily goggled boy crouched at one of the roof's corners before Dick could appear with Gordon and the rest of the authorities.

"Ten minutes. I told you that's all it would take." Cricket casually gestured to the gold watch on his wrist with one of his bloodstained-gloved hands, pushing up his pinstriped sleeve further and scratching his head. " At least I think so. I was never good at telling time with the numbers. Is this where the forty-five minutes line is, Robin?" he asked, displaying the watch's face to Damian.

Damian gritted his teeth, balled up fists presented in front of him.

"I will not allow you to escape. The GPD have proven themselves to be ineffectual pawns under the nails of scum like you and should have handled your transfer to prison with superior measures."

"You gonna follow me then? -Chiirp-?" A fleeting glimpse over the edge of the building. Lime green bangs fluttered above Cricket's healed forehead. He smirked, indicating, "Long way down."

"If I have to." Damian snorted at him. Approaching voices. The roof's entrance gathered with uniformed men with guns held high.

With a sudden, fiendish suggestion, Cricket snapped his jaws playfully in Damian's direction before standing and raising his arms over his head in false surrender, before kicking out one foot and tilting backwards into the air headfirst. Damian sprung over the edge after him, the rushing wind carrying the sound of his field name cried out from Batman's lips and the click of Damian's grappling gun as it shot a secure line for the free-fall.

Paracapes were useless at this velocity. Would have to remedy the impossible notches in the design.

A putter of a nearby helicopter. The leather toe of Cricket's laced boot within reach.

Damian's fingertips grazed it before losing its potential grip as the other boy snatched onto a rope ladder hovering from the cockpit of that rather large and unmarked helicopter, before a weapon fired into the night air. Damian's right shoulder blossomed with unexpected agony and bright blood over fabric yellow. He clutched his wounded shoulder loosened around the handle of the grappling gun but did not break clench as his free-fall slowed with his wire line.

The helicopter took a U-turn from twenty feet above him, and Cricket waved cheerfully to the masked, panting boy in the distance, offering with a grin and a bellow of, "Rematch sometime—?" before soaring into the sky as a dark spot over the hot-white spotlight of the Bat-signal.

The sight left Damian with a sour taste in the back of his throat. Or maybe it was just the nausea from the increasing shoulder pain. He separated his legs with feet planted to the side of the building wall, emptying his stomach.

i¦i

Cricket crawled through the entrance of the helicopter, rolling out of the path of one of the darkly attired men pacing the inside area, and sitting up to dust off his swallow-tail coat.

{You are arrogant,} spoke the woman buckled in one of the backseats, delicately fingering the eyes of her ceremonial, cat-like mask, {Though gifted, you allowed a mere boy to best you.}

He answered her in equally fluent Cantonese, clearly amused, {Robin will become my rival. He poses the challenge I require. I look forward to killing him during a serious battle.}

Her amber eyes peered up at him lucid. {Do not expect the Golden Dragon to save you next time.}

{...Understood.}

i¦i