Red Hood's Hideout

When Kaine and Batman arrived back at Red Hoods lair the other teams had already returned. Upon seeing the dark knight Barbara let out a squeal of joy and quickly wheeled herself over to embrace him. Nearly everyone with the exception of Cheshire seemed happy at the duo's return. Red Hood also gave his mentor a glare from across the room.

"Well how did it go?" Kaine asked looking at the others.

"They attempted to assassinate quite a few of the most high-profile people in Gotham however we managed to save them all" Azrael began in his grating voice. "However we have had to send them into hiding which is the next best thing for the Owls" he finished his voice giving away his frustration.

"Who's the Knight in White Satin?" Kaine asked turning from Azrael to Dinah.

"Scarlet Spider this is Azrael. He saved our hides earlier from the Owls" Black Canary replied. Lane merely bowed his head slightly in acknowledgement.

"So whats next?" Catwoman purred from her place leaning against the wall.

"We take the fight to the Owls. I'm through playing the victim here. I say we find a way to royally fuck them up" Red Hood growled a colt M1911 spinning on his ring finger. Batman's eyes shifted to his ex-student before he spoke.

"I agree" he confirmed much to Jason's surprise. "We can't sit back any longer now we take them and take them hard."

"How did you shut down these creeps last time?" Helena asked looking around the room at the others who had been there during the first attack.

"The Talon's are nigh-unkillable thanks to the serum however they do have a weakness" Batman began putting his hand to his chin. "Intense cold temperatures can send them into a kind of comatose state."

"So we need to quite literally ice those suckers?" Dove asked.

"Basically yes" the Dark Knight confirmed.

"We lure them all into one place and flash-freeze them then?" Dinah questioned brow furrowed.

"You make it sound so easy" Jason muttered condescendingly.

Kaine didn't know exactly how it happened but suddenly the whole room erupted into an argument. He was about to open his mouth to speak when a strange feeling came over him. It was almost as if something where clawing across his brain. Some multi-legged monstrosity penetrating his mind with razor sharp talons. He placed his hand to his forehead and began to rub attempting to sooth the feeling but it persisted. He closed his eyes and shook his head. He froze as he heard a voice. It was almost inaudible.

"Decide" it whispered. It began repeating this over and over again getting gradually louder until eventually it was screaming in his head. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and the voice changed from the coaxing albeit it creepy voice to one of pure malice.

"PREY" it shrieked and Kaine's hand snapped out grasping the unknown's brutally. Helena winced as Kaine twisted her arm.

She had noticed his absence from the conversation and despite the mask could tell something was wrong. She hadn't expected Kaine to react like that and took a sharp intake of breath as he held her in place. Almost as soon as he'd done it Kaine let go of her arm a look of horror etched onto his face, ortunately hidden beneath the mask. For a moment there he'd legitimately wanted to kill whoever had been touching him for reasons he couldn't quite comprehend.

"Are you ok?" Helena asked saddling up to him.

"Yeah…..I'm sorry. I don't know what happened. I think I've got a headache or something" he replied exhaling deeply. "I'm going to take a lie down. Let me know when they come to a decision" he finished gesturing to the group of arguing heroes. Kaine needed rest. He needed time to think things over but was stopped in his tracks by Ravager who was stood in his path.

"So is she your girlfriend?" Ravager asked raising her eyebrow questioningly. This he didn't need.

"I…" Kaine honestly didn't know how to reply to this. He felt as though he and Helena were past just the physical side of their relationship and he wanted them to be something more but neither of them had actually talked about their current stance.


"I..I don't know" Kaine admitted. Ravager's sly smile returned and she took a step closer to Kaine entering his personal space.

"We'll then I'm not breaking any rules now am I?" she whispered in his ear. Kaine didn't need a spider-sense to know where this was going was dangerous and gently but forcefully pushed past Ravager. As the platinum blond stared after him a sly glint her eye.

Unknown to her Huntress had caught sight of the exchange and was none too pleased to say the least.

"Rose" she began icily. "We need to talk" she continued grabbing her by her left wrist and pulling her into the next room.

"Whats up?" Ravager asked innocently.

"You know damn well whats up" Helena replied angrily.

"Oh c'mon you're not mad because I hit on someone who isn't even your boyfriend?" Rose asked raising an eyebrow.

"What I'm mad about is that you seem to purposefully trying to divide us despite the fact this the time we should be sticking together" Helena growled. "Get your act together" she said turning away and heading back to the control room. "Oh and if you ever come onto my boyfriend again I'll kick your ass" she added a small smile gracing her lips as the words flowed out.

Kaine awoke only a few hours later. Despite needing sleep his body refused to obey. However he awoke to a rather rare occurrence. He was smiling and the reason for this was sleeping next to him her arms wrapped around him comfortingly. He'd been taken by surprise when Helena entered the bedroom last night and began spouting something before becoming tongue tied and throwing herself at him. One thing he did notice was that she no longer triggered his spider-sense. That was both scary and incredible at the same time. It took a great degree of trust and emotion to override an instinct like that.

During their night-time activities he'd managed to understand that Helena had made her decision despite the fact only a day earlier she had not wanted to give an answer until after the whole Court Of Owls thing had been dealt with. What changed her mind he had no idea and why she wanted him was even more of a mystery but he decided not to question it. Kaine pushed a lock of Helena's black hair from her eyes and again found himself in awe of her beauty.

"Decide" the voice cut through his mind like a knife followed by the migraine-like sensation he had experienced the night before. He quickly climbed out of the bed pulled on the bottom half of his suit and left the room clutching his throbbing head. This time though the voice didn't continue it whispered "Decide" a few more times gradually getting lower until it was impossible to hear and as soon as it had come the pain in his head was gone. Exhaling he realized he wasn't alone in the room. The black form of Batman sat in front of a flickering computer screen. Kaine approached cautiously to find the dark knight watching news feeds of the Owls attacking Gotham his jaw clenched in anger.

"I heard you helped save Alfred" Batman said not looking away from the screen. "Thank you". The Scarlet Spider could tell he was being earnest.

"No problem" he muttered pulling over a chair and sitting next to Batman. "We need to shut this down" Kaine growled watching the images splash across the screen. The dark knight didn't reply but nodded solemnly in agreement. "How did you manage to get into the system?" the Scarlet Spider asked changing the subject referring to the incident at the lab.

"I hacked it" the Dark Knight replied.

"Bullshit. At one point you were yelling at me to leave" Kaine retorted. Although whatever had happened in his fight with the Talon's had clouded his memory he could still here the faint cries of Batman telling him to stop and get out. However it was if he was very far away, his voice muffled. Batman's eyes narrowed and he turned away from the screen to face Kaine. "That was a bio-metric lock. You said it yourself. So how did you get in?" the Scarlet Spider insisted crossing his arms. Batman relented. He'd hoped whatever had come over Kaine during the fight had caused his attention to be drawn away from that. Super-human senses were a pain.

"Honestly I don't know" Batman replied. "It accepted my DNA but I didn't program it."

"Then who did? You got any family that might be pissed at you? Believe I know what it's like to have a messed up family" Kaine responded images of Reilly, Parker and Warren flickering through his mind.

"No. No family. I had a son but.." Batman trailed off and Kaine noted the tone of his voice and didn't press.

"Ok so whoever this is used your DNA to sequence the locks? That doesn't make sense" the Scarlet Spider said his brows furrowing.

"No. It doesn't" Batman agreed.

"Putting that to one side for the moment whats our plan to deal with the Talon's? Don't know if you noticed but there isn't exactly a shortage of them" Kaine sighed pulling over a chair. "You said they have some kind of weakness against cold temperatures yeah?"

"That's correct" Batman acknowledged.

"Can't we flash-freeze using liquid nitrogen or something like that?"

Batman raised an eyebrow. "You know that's not a bad idea."

"We'd still need to get them all in one place though" Kaine replied thoughtfully.

"The sewers" Batman stated bluntly.

"What about them?" the Scarlet Spider asked confused.

"If we can lure them into the sewers and pump liquid nitrogen through them we can take them all out in one blow" Batman stated getting to his feet suddenly looking invigorated.

"We're going to need a metric fuck-ton of it though" Kaine said instantly spotting the problem. "Where are we going to get it?"

"We'll make it" Batman said bluntly.

"With what gear?" Kaine asked almost condescendingly.

"I've got the necessary equipment" the Dark Knight confirmed.

"That could take ages even with right equipment. Making enough to purge the sewers would take weeks if not months" Kaine said given a defeated groan. Batman's brow furrowed beneath his mask as he realized what Kaine was true. Suddenly Kaine's eyes widened with realization. "The sewers run on an active pump right?" the Scarlet Spider asked looking directly at Batman.

"Yes" Batman replied suddenly jumping to the same conclusion as Kaine.

"If you've got the right gear we can hook an air compressor directly up to the pump" the Scarlet Spider stated also getting to his feet a small smile spreading across his face.

"And create the liquid straight away using the pump to send it straight into the sewer system" Batman continued finishing his sentence.

"We're going to need cryogenic distillers, cryo containers and some air regulators so that the right temperature for the Jule-Thomson effect can be reached and maintained long enough to create enough of the stuff" Kaine muttered thoughtfully. Batman glanced at him a look of genuine surprise on his face. "What?" Kaine growled noticing Batman staring intently at him.

"Nothing I just wouldn't have taken you for a scientist" Bruce replied cocking his head.

"Well I'm not but Peter liked that stuff so as I have his memories I've got that knowledge too" Kaine thought. "Everyone has a hobby right?" the Scarlet Spider said to appease the Dark Knight.

"You mean dressing up a spider isn't one?" Batman replied snorting.

"That's rich coming from someone who dresses up as bat" Kaine retorted.

"Touché" the Dark Knight replied the hint of a smile on his lips.

"Come on let's make a start on the pump modification" Kaine said turning away and moving towards the door that led to the armory.

Helena rolled over and to her dismay found just an empty space beside her. "Shit" she thought shooting upright. Had she come on too strong? She had been an emotional train-wreck last night. Tripping up over nearly every word. Quickly getting out of bed and pulling on her costume she left the room to find the others all congregated in the main room talking amongst themselves.

"Where's Kaine?" Huntress asked walking up to Black Canary.

"He and Batman are in there working on some plan" Dinah replied gesturing to the armory.

"Kaine and Batman?" Helena questioned raising an eyebrow.

"I know who'd have thought they'd ever get along" Black Canary replied her eye shifting to the door to armory. Huntress left Canary talking with Hawk and made her way towards the door. She opened it to find Kaine turning some vials over in his hands and Batman welding something to a strange disc-like object.

"I feel like that dude from Breaking Bad" Kaine muttered as he turned the vials round in his hand watching the smoke rise from them.

"Breaking Bad?" Batman questioned not turning away from his work.

"Seriously? Do you sleep all day or something?" the Scarlet Spider muttered.

"Actually yes" Batman replied as he twisted something into place.

"Oh hey" Kaine said noticing Helena at the door-way.

"Hey" she replied eyeing the room. Neither of them were particularly good with words but they knew that. "How long have you guys been at this?" Huntress asked noticing how tired Kaine looked.

"Whats the time now?" the Scarlet Spider asked putting the vials down.

"11am" Huntress replied folding her arms.

"Then 10 hours" Batman replied simply from across the room.

"Christ, you guys need a rest" she gasped looking at them both in disbelief.

"We'll rest when we're finished" Batman countered.

"Well maybe you will but he needs rest after saving your ass" Helena snapped pointing at Kaine.

"I'm sure he can handle it" Batman muttered backing away from the device as if looking for something.

"Dear god he's not like you" Helena said looking from Kaine to Bruce. "He's not some machine. He needs rest or he might screw up and hurt himself." Blinded by concern it was easy to forget that Kaine had an inhuman metabolism however that fight with Cobb had significantly drained him and she could tell.

"Honestly hun I'm ok" Kaine insisted smiling at his girlfriend's concern. Huntress's eyes narrowed.

"You've been working non-stop for 10 hours now and you are going to take a break!" she insisted enunciating the last seven words and placing her hands on hips, giving the Scarlet Spider a stern glare.

"He already said he's fine Helena" Bruce said as he turned to a computer screen. Huntress continued glaring at Kaine in an attempt to get him to back down but she knew it was useless. He was as stubborn as she was. Kaine saw her defeated expression and smiled reassuringly.

Suddenly her expression changed as if she'd had an idea. A predatory glint flickered across her crystal blue eyes and Kaine subconsciously took a tentative step back. He knew that look. She approached him slowly swaying her hips with each footstep. Her face taking on a look of complete innocence. He didn't know how she did it but her eyes seemed to get larger and she stared at him from beneath her thick jet black lashes. Helena stopped in front of him, wrapped her arms around his neck and made sure to flush her hips against him.

"You know there are other more relaxing things you could be doing right now" she said leaning in and whispering in his ear. Kaine's throat went dry and he tried to ignore the smell of her perfume and the hot air rushing across his ear. Suddenly she moved away taking her scent and warmth with her. She walked over to the door and opened it before turning to look over her shoulder at him.

"Don't keep me waiting" she said huskily before leaving the room.

"Really?" Bruce muttered. He'd been watching the events with slight amusement. "I'm impressed you managed to resist that" Batman joked slapping Kaine on the shoulder as the Scarlet Spider took a few deep breaths. "Any normal guy probably would have snapped."

"Sorry mate but you'll have to do without me for a while" Kaine said his eyes focused on the door. The choice Helena had given him was a no-brainer.

"What are you doing?" Bruce asked in surprise as the Scarlet Spider lept towards the door.

"Snapping like a dry twig" Kaine replied chuckling.

"Great. How long are you going to be? I'm probably going to need help soon" Batman replied comprehending and rolling his eyes.

"I think only the lady with dark hair knows the answer to that" the Scarlet Spider said as he left the room.

"Kids" Bruce muttered shaking his head and smiling before turning back to his work.