Summary: A mysterious villain kidnaps Nightwing with a message for the Batman. 'You should have killed me when you had the chance. You know what I want. Wake up and smell the gunfire, Batman – you can't walk away from this one.' Young Justice unite with Batman to save their leader, but what will they lose in the process?
3rd January 2012
'Are you sure this is what you want?' A tall man seated at the head of an expansive dining table pointed his fork at the young boy occupying the opposite end. His short dark hair was combed to perfection and he wore an elegant black business suit with practiced ease.
'You bet,' the young boy grinned widely. His black hair, too, was combed and he was dressed similarly.
'I'm afraid you'll just have to accept it, Master Bruce.' An elderly man hovering by the end of the table interjected with a wry smile. 'Master Dick has made his mind up – I daresay there is no force on this planet capable of changing it.'
'Isn't that the truth,' Bruce muttered and then trained his gaze on the butler. 'Alfred, why are you still standing? I told you to come join us.'
'I wouldn't dare,' Alfred raised a shockingly white eyebrow. 'Dining with a Wayne? Why my ancestors would be rolling in their graves.' His light eyes twinkled, 'shall I fetch desert?'
'Could I stop you?' Bruce set his cutlery down as Alfred moved to take his plate, murmuring his thanks as he did so. His gaze turned to his ward who was obediently handing his plate to the butler with a typical 'are you sure you don't want help, Alfred?'
Alfred whisked the plates away, pausing at the doorway just before he left the room.
'By the way, Master Dick,' he said mischievously. 'Master Bruce has done nothing this past week save bemoan your impeding departure – I do believe he will miss you quite severely.'
Dick laughed as Bruce scowled darkly at the elderly man.
'I bet it's that he doesn't want to train a new side-kick.'
'You're damn right I don't,' Bruce shoved back the small flood of embarrassment that threatened to colour his cheeks. 'It took too damn long to house-train the last one.'
'Nice try,' Dick fixed his mentor with a hawk-like gaze. 'I know you already have someone in mind.'
'Is that so?' Bruce replied mildly. He met his ward's piercing blue eyes and set his chin resolutely, giving nothing away.
'Yeah, and I heard that he boosted the Batmobile – all four tires – that takes some guts.' Dick laughed, 'or a death wish.'
'Hmph,' Bruce's lip twitched. 'The walls have ears in this house.'
'You should know that by now,' Dick suddenly leant forward. There was an excited gleam in his eyes akin to the first time he'd put on his uniform as Robin. 'Ready to see my costume?'
'I can scarcely contain my excitement,' Bruce deadpanned. He folded his arms, emotions still tumultuous. He was proud – fiercely proud – of Dick and he knew the boy was more than ready to become a superhero in his own right, but at the same time he wasn't ready to lose him.
'Hah, don't lie to me.' Dick crowed, 'I know you're interested.' He swept off of his chair and darted from the room, almost bowling Alfred over as he returned with desert. The butler merely raised an eyebrow, far too used to such antics, as he set the steaming apple crumble down at either end of the table.
'They grow up so fast, don't they Master Bruce?' He sighed as he set his own plate down, to a nod of approval from the other man, at around the middle of the table.
'Too fast.' Bruce agreed gruffly.
10th November 2015
'This is Beast Boy to Robin; no sign of 'em yet.' The green pigeon turned its head to peek through the windows as it flapped past the warehouse. There was no movement inside so he flew right up to the sill and perched upon it. 'It's way quiet – maybe too quiet.'
'Well just keep an eye out,' Robin replied. He was crouched just outside behind a stack of wooden boxes, keeping well within the shadows. 'Is-is that right Nightwing?'
'Your mission,' Nightwing said shortly. 'Relax,' he added, sensing the younger boy's nerves, 'you're both doing fine.' He glanced to the girl sitting beside him in the bioship, a question on his lips.
She nodded simply, her short red hair bobbing with the movement, and then closed her eyes. Her hands were resting on the two protruding control panels, fingers twitching in a familiar pattern as she surveyed the area for signs of mental life.
'All clear,' she whispered as her eyes flashed open. The white light faded from them and her irises resumed their usual light brown hue.
'Good,' Nightwing relaxed into his chair. 'With any luck they won't show.'
M'gann glanced at him askance, a tiny frown dragging at her lips.
'You said they were ready,' she accused.
'They are,' he ran a hand through his dark hair. 'All the same, I'd rather minimal action tonight.'
M'gann stiffened suddenly, her eyes glowing white.
'Looks like you're out of luck.'
10th November 2015
Connor was lying stretched out on the couch, head pillowed on his folded arms, listening to the bizarrely calming sound of static. His eyes were closed, blocking out the grey fuzziness of the screen. He was the sole occupant of the mountain – everyone else either at home, or on a mission. The thought would usually have pissed him off but he was finding he quite enjoyed having the place to himself. It was quiet…
…bar the occasional, loud, phone call.
'Superboy here,' he sighed. He didn't bother to open his eyes – it was probably someone checking in from a mission.
'Connor.' Batman's deep, husky, voice floated eerily through the empty cavernous space.
His eyes shot open and he sat up quickly.
'Batman!' He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, 'what, er, is something wrong?'
'I need to speak with Nightwing.' The caped crusader's face, as usual, was swathed in his dark cowl. His expressions were hidden, his voice unreadable.
'He's on a mission,' Connor informed him apologetically. Something about the older man set his skin crawling and his nerves on edge. 'Should I have him-'
'Yes.' Batman interrupted him, and then vanished from the screen.
Connor scowled, the man was even surlier than usual if that was possible.
10th November 2015
'Beast Boy to Robin, my guy's secured.' The green boy surveyed his handiwork with a toothy grin. The drug dealer lay trussed up on the dingy floor, unconscious and looking as if he'd come out the wrong end of a fight with a particularly vicious monkey.
'All good over here,' Robin bent down to cuff the hands of a similarly unconscious man behind his back. 'But I thought there was a third one..?'
'There is,' Nightwing informed them. 'He's running out the entrance.'
'Crap,' Robin spun around and sprinted out of the small room and into the main area of the warehouse. He spotted the fleeing man's shirttail as he disappeared around the door and sped after him.
'BB, some help?'
'On my way,' Beast Boy transformed into a cheetah and raced for the entrance. He was out the door and past Robin in no time and hot on the trail of the escapee. The man glanced around as he was running and yelped in shock as he spotted the green shape-shifter. He stumbled once, panting heavily, and fell to his knees on the harsh concrete.
'Don't eat me,' he moaned. 'Don't, oh God, don't eat me.' He cowered, closing his eyes and an acrid stench filled the changeling's sensitive nose.
Robin reached them and grabbed the babbling man's arms, wrenching them behind his back and tying them tightly together. He tied his legs together for good measure and then nodded at his teammate, a triumphant smile on his face.
'Yes, we did it!' Beast Boy melted into his familiar half monkey – half boy form, his tail flicking in delight.
'Well done,' Nightwing praised them. 'The police are on their way.' He closed his eyes as he let out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding.
'That went well,' M'gann said carefully.
'Yeah,' he said absentmindedly as he watched as Beast Boy and Robin haul the last guy back into the warehouse.
'So why are you so on edge?' She eyed him speculatively having noticed his tense muscles and the way his fingers clutched the chair just that little bit harder than usual.
'I don't know,' he muttered. He looked up ruefully and sighed. 'I just have this terrible feeling that something's about to go wrong – drastically wrong.'
'What do you mean?' Her eyes narrowed as she commanded the bioship to drop the ramp to let the two younger members in.
'I can't explain,' Nightwing shook his head. 'I just – something isn't right.'