Disclaimer: Don't own anyone. Maybe the random minions.
Thanks: to InvisibleBrunette for the beta
Notes: Found a prompt on Tumblr and my imagination decided to run away with it. Partly inspired by Rob Thurman's Korsak Brothers series - if you love the rapport between Dick and the 'special' character who appears in Chapter 5, I suggest you give this series a try.
Notes2: I have a couple of other fics waiting to be posted. I just couldn't wait to post this one hehehe.
Notes3: What is it with all the 'episode reviews' and 'blogs' entries? FFnet isn't a blog site. It's a fanfiction site! My policy has always been: you don't like what you watched/read? Post a fic about it instead of a commentary.
The night was mostly silent, broken only by cars speeding towards home. It was different from the usual honks and whistles of a busy city life; but if he listened closely, Dick could hear distant murmurs of a radio or television broadcast. A cool breeze blew past him, blowing his cape behind him but he'd held fast to the corners and all the wind did was puff up the yellow underside like a balloon.
So far, this stakeout was proving to be uneventful, for which Dick was thankful. He had a Chemistry test the next day and though he'd already studied for it, he wanted to at least be well rested for it. He could have asked Wally for help in studying but the speedster was busy. Dick gave a mental snort. Wally was busy alright, busy finding the most minute thing to complain about their archer teammate.
He sighed and tracked the armed goon with his binocs. The man was carefully watching the perimeter, his back military straight and his finger steady on the rifle's trigger. Dick switched to watch another goon and saw the same disciplined stance. These guys were obviously not part of the usual gangs that run around the Gotham Harbor.
He shifted his weight to his left leg. He'd been crouched in the same position for an hour now, and his right was tingling in the signal that meant it was starting to go numb. Still, he watched and waited.
His commset crackled. He put down his binocs and acknowledged the call with a frown. Communications static might be a normal occurrence for most people but it doesn't happen often enough for people like Batman and Robin, for which Dick was thankful. Bruce had tinkered with the JLA communicators so the signal would be received stronger; there shouldn't be any static at all through the comms unless there was a jamming signal nearby.
"Yes?" he said cautiously into the speaker. If the signal was being jammed, there was a chance someone was listening in, too. So he had to keep from mentioning names or locations.
But instead of a voice answering, there was a series of static clicks and murmurs. Dick recognized the unique code Bruce invented and he faked a confused, "I can't hear you clearly. There's too much noise."
The clicks continued and his mind translated even as he kept up the ignorant replies. Wrong information. Too many guards. Ten minutes. Do not engage.
Robin sent back a couple of clicks. Copy. Then he pulled out the pair of binocs and returned to his stakeout. Denny the Gulch had said there was something going on in the sixteenth storage locker tonight. The petty thief squealed like the fairytale pig as soon as Batman's shadow loomed over him.
"D-dock three!" he shrieked, his hands raised to protect his head. "I heard from Dim-Dum who heard from Johnny who heard from Bulldog-"
"Get to the point!" Batman growled, giving the thief a shake.
" 'S-S-Stay away from Storage Sixteen, Dock Three!'" Denny cringed further. "T-that's what they been telling us! That's all I know!"
Batman dropped the thief and wordlessly, the Dynamic Duo left.
Bruce had them split up when they were a block away from Gotham Harbor. He'd had intel that there was an illegal shipment of arms coming in tonight and he didn't want Robin to join him. So Dick was sent to watch the storage locker despite protests while Bruce staked out Dock Three. Batman must have found something in the docks to make him break his stakeout and rush over to Robin.
Dick reached up towards his commset, wanting to ask what Batman had found. Only for a minute though, because movement by the storage locker had him sending an urgent coded message to Bruce. Hostage present. Moving in.
Denny had said word on the street was to stay away from the locker. The sight of several armed men and one woman proves that there was something suspicious going on, and it was happening tonight.
He shot out a line and was swinging for the warehouse before Batman could send another message. The eight guards outside didn't even notice him flying past them to land on the sloping roof. Dick quickly shimmied up to the open cleft in the middle - it was wide enough to let his small frame through but not someone like Batman. From there, it was a short leap to the rafters.
The warehouse light hung in long lamps from the ceiling, keeping everything dark from roof level up; perfect for ninja-trained vigilantes. Armed men were milling around the wide interior, their movements casual and not at all nervous. Crates and boxes were stacked high on all sides, with silent forklifts standing idle among them.
Robin frowned and pulled out his binocs again to take a closer look at the men. Something wasn't right. They were all on guard; not one of them was slacking off. While he could connect the men's alertness to discipline, a closer look at their faces told him it wasn't that at all. Their eyes were wide and anticipatory, like they were waiting for something...or someone?
And right smack in the middle of them was a tall woman. She was wearing a dark, skin-tight dress and she walked confidently among the men. What Dick thought to be a woman under guard was actually a woman under armed escort. She was never a hostage at all.
Then one of the guards glanced up.
Dick had a half-second to think, Oh crap. Then he was running along the girder with bullets buzzing all around him. One passed fairly close to his ear, leaving a line of heat that ruffled his hair. He suppressed the panic that was starting to bubble in his chest. Batman was coming. He only needed to be safe for seven minutes. His eyes darted to a stack of crates a few meters away, its top just one short leap away from a row of windows. If he could reach that stack-
A burst of fire shot through his side and he almost fell. But his arms managed to catch the beam at the last minute and he swung back up to safety. His side was screaming. He took a quick glance down but the men were still shooting at him; their bullets ricocheting all over with dull pings.
And it was that sound that alerted him.
The slug that hit him was lying nearby and he grabbed it, expecting to see blood. Instead, it remained black and dry, if maybe a little hot from being fired. And it was also slightly...malleable. Like rubber. The goons were armed with rubber bullets?
Another of the bullets bounced off an adjacent girder and hit him on the same side. This time, he couldn't catch himself.
In the second it took to fall, one arm went to shoot a jumpline while the other clutched at the burning on his side. The grapple caught on, barely keeping him from hitting the floor. Instead, he was swung towards the stack of crates he was aiming for. But the line was too long, the crates too near. He wasn't going up and over. He was going smack into the pile.
Dick made a desperate twist so he wouldn't hit the crate face-first. But his side shrieked and he ended up crushing his protective arm into the crate. He felt something give, before agony seared through him again. The world spun around him as both his side and his arm vied for attention. To cap things off, his stomach threatened to revolt. It was all he could do to keep his dinner and figure out which way was up.
When everything finally settled, he found himself lying face down on smooth cement, surrounded by combat boots. He didn't have to look up to know he had a dozen guns pointed at him too. Slowly, so as not to aggravate his side, he pushed himself up with his good arm. The other was throbbing and only added to the several complaints all over his body.
Then a pair of sandaled sun-bronzed feet broke through the boots.
"Sedate him. Then we leave. Do it quickly." The voice was rich, cultured, and feminine. He tried to sit up but one of the men grabbed him roughly by his good arm and hauled him to his feet. His vision tilted dizzily. His knees were rubber and wouldn't support him so he hung limply in the man's hold as he tried to tell the world to settle down. Then he felt a sharp sting on his arm and a sweeping numbness. Batman- He reached for his comms to signal an emergency - but he'd forgotten it was his broken arm that was reaching and the pain flared again and he...