Hello y'all, this is EACT. For all my dedicated readers out there. You may now Rejoice.

For this in which you are reading...is my new story.

I know it's been a while since I finished "How Many Ways Can A Robin Die"

so here is my new project.





There was a countdown. It read. 30. 29. 28. 27.

Nightwing shook his head and closed his eyes, wrapping his limbs around the bomb like a heat source in a blizzard. 25. 24. The longest 30 seconds of his life were speeding by with each painful bleep.

Nightwing started to shake, from fear. Regret. His limbs trembled telling him to run, to just let go. His mind was telling him to seek safety, to not do this stupid, brave thing that was about to be done. He knew with each shuddering second, this sacrifice, his sacrifice would not be in vain.

But some how that didn't ease him.

He knew that his body would absorb some of the explosion. That the "some of the explosion" might mean the saving of one of his friends, make the explosion stop short just a few feet sooner. But he also knew it would kill him.

He knew that there was no way it wouldn't.

He shivered in fear. Knowing that it was ok to show fear, that it was excused in this moment of dire consequence, he also knew that the years of pretending to have no fear. Of being strong. Didn't matter, and that Dick Grayson felt fear…

Even if Nightwing decided not to show it.

He always knew that he'd die protecting his friends…

Why wouldn't he run then? Run away from his friends.

Because to Nightwing dying for his friends…dying for his family…is the only way he saw fit to die. The timer read 5. 4. 3

And dying for friends…was perhaps the best way to live.


And he was wasn't he?




Nightwing stood in the shower, letting the water run down his face, his shoulders…his back. He felt the drops catch on his eye lashes, tickle down his eyelids and catch in the corners of his mouth, he felt the scalding water sizzle on his skin and burn in his fresh wounds, pounding on his old scars.

He opened his eyes and looked down at his chest.

Scars. Scars everywhere. Each one a tome, a book of history, a map of anguish. He turned off the water wrapping a towel around his waist. His feet slapped on the cold tile as he limped to the mirror.

He blinked, the mirror blinked back.

"Hello Grayson" He whispered rubbing a hand over his face, his eyes fell on his discarded mask on the counter, and he sighed…"Hello Nightwing" the mask was put on.

Minutes later Nightwing walked out of the bathroom with a toothbrush in his mouth and a towel turban on his head. He threw himself onto the couch and bowed his head. A cop car blared outside. How did I get here? He looked around his dingy apartment, Why did I get here? He reached for a discarded beer bottle by the couch and swirled it in his hand. He spat out the toothbrush and whipped off the turban.

He took a swig of stale beer. It clashed with the minty suds in his mouth but to him it tasted like nothing.

Everything tasted like nothing to Grayson.

He pulled on his black and blue uniform and fought with his boots…the gloves went on last. He shook them off, flakes of dried blood rained like dust from the black leather.

I should really wash these. But he slipped them on anyways and ran a comb through his hair; he shaved next. And took another sip of beer.

Beep. Beep.

He cast a sideways glance at his communicator. It was Wally.

He ignored it, and tipped the bottle to his lips once again.

Beep. Beep.

He snatched it up exasperated, and sighed.

"What?!" He barked, finishing off the beer.

"Hey Wings, someone weird showed up at the Mountain" Nightwing reached over and turned the digital clock to face him.

"Wally, its mid fucking night…" he tried a different approach "can't you handle it?"


"Wally, what are you doing at the mountain anyways?" he growled his voice dangerously low

"The sleep over, duh" Yeah, damn… the sleep over "all the kid's are wondering why you didn't show up"

"I had a rough night in Bludhaven" Nightwing winced and rubbed his side. "Just got in actually"

"Dude you need to take it easy with the hero stuff for a while…I'm worried about you…you're getting hurt a lot more than you usually do" Nightwing grimaced at the accusing tone in Wally's voice

"Yeah ever since the invasion ended and Arty and Aqualad came back…I've been a little unsure about what to do"

"You can't be thinking about quitting…Richard…" Nightwing slowly…painfully got up and limped to the fridge; he yanked out another beer and ripped off the cap.

"Aqualad resumed leadership…you guys don't need me anymore" a tear prickled at the corner of his mask and he took a long drink of beer to burn it away.

"Yeah right" Nightwing took a deep breath and opened his window, cops cars wailed in the distance

"Now about the situation with the intruder…" Nightwing slipped out onto the pane and slid the window shut behind him. He took off along the roof, moon casting shadows over his face.

"Some weird guy, dressed in black and orange" Nightwing's mind flickered to Slade. "Young guy" the thought was pushed aside Slade is dead…I killed him "but not to worry he's in custody…didn't even wake the kid's"

"Well that's a plus" sarcasm leaked out of Nightwing's lips like poison. Wally was oblivious

"So when can you get here?" Nightwing leapt over an alleyway, landing silently on the other side.

"On my way, oh and Wally?" Nightwing slipped into the telephone booth which hid the transporter.


"Try not to wake the kids"

"…" Nightwing chuckled as he literally heard Kid Flash deadpan, he hung up.

"You can't be thinking about quitting" rang in his head; his fingers hesitated over the key pad which activated the transporter, can't I be? Nightwing frowned should I be? Richard pressed his back to the glass and ran a hand though his hair…What if it is Slade? He subconsciously trembled and bit his lip.

Something tinged on the glass behind him and mentally yelped as he jumped and whirled around.

There was…nothing. His eyebrow arched voluntarily and he craned his neck to look outside the booth. He winced as his wounded side screamed in protest.

Check it out. His inner voice urged.

He inched out of the phone booth and hugged the ally wall pressing flat against it.

Forward, forward, slowly now he crept, he peered around the corner of the ally to the dimly lit street. Once again there was nothing.

There was always nothing.

Wasn't there?

Sometimes he teetered on the cliff of insanity, or so he felt. But growing up in Gotham and now Bludhaven tended to drive even the sharpest minds crooked. Bowels of darkness and uncertainty, these places were. But it was indeed his own choice to come here and he knew

He wasn't going insane.

He was just tired…and maybe a little paranoid.

But who wouldn't be?

Nightwing's skin prickled and his eyes darted up to the roofs. That familiar sensation of being watched; that eerie uncertainty of being stalked. The hairs on his arms towered and his flesh crawled, the sensation of a dozen spiders reeking havoc on his spine crashed into him like a brick wall. There was a glimmer of something, a gun perhaps, binoculars?

There was two clicks. Click, click. That only lasted the slightest intake of breath.

He now realized he was horribly in the open and un-protected by what lurked above, in another word he was a sitting duck.

And by now he could only assume he was lined perfectly in an un-known enemy's cross hairs. His eyes went wide and he visually tensed before diving to the side behind a dumpster.

A rain of bullets pelted the dumpster.

"Holy shit!" Nightwing yelled as he covered his head with his arms. His side screamed in protest. "Holy shit!" he repeated as his ears went numb due to the vociferous pounding of metal on metal. He felt a trickle of sticky blood ooze from his now reopened wound as he tore the stitches. He hissed in agony, and clutched his side as hot, white, searing pain shot through his ribs.

Such sudden silence, so sudden that his head pounded. He sat there breathing heavily back pressed against the cold steel of the dumpster, ears pealed for the slightest sound. He rolled onto his stomach and peaked from the side of the dumpster, his cheek flat with the crusty dirt. Not even the slightest glimmer, or sound.

Nightwing was now suddenly alone. His attacker had disappeared. Damn Grayson…didn't even get a good look at him.

Beep. Beep

Richard didn't breathe as his communicator bleeped, his eyes scanned the horizon of buildings, his hand inched up to his ear and he whispered hoarsely


"Dude, you said you were on your way like 20 minutes ago" Had the attack been really that long? "Where are you?"

"Behind a dumpster" he answered truthfully

"What the hell? Why?" Shock was evident in Wally's voice.

"Someone was shooting at me" Nightwing's eyes traveled the length of the roofs again.

"Are you ok?! Did you get hit?!" Panic. Pure panic consumed his friend's voice.

"Asterous…the dumpster may not make it though" He tightened his hold on his wound.

"Who was it?"

"Don't know, didn't get a good look at him…he attacked me before I got in the booth…sorry I'm late."

"Dude…you're excused" Nightwing army crawled to the teleporter as silently as possible. "Kids are awake though" Nightwing chuckled

"How's your prisoner?" He typed in his code and the machine whirred to life.

"Unconscious…still" Wally gave an innocent "Ha Ha" and Richard could hear the excited chattering of kid's in the back ground "you know, you're the only one who didn't show up to the sleep over"

"Wally, its like 12:30"

"Sleep over dude…that means... um sleeping over" Nightwing rolled his eyes and a blue light engulfed him.

Recognized Nightwing B0-14

Kid Flash was waiting by the teleporter. He engulfed Nightwing in a hug. He winced at the sudden pressure on his wound.

"Good to see you man…it's been what like 3 weeks?" It was true Nightwing hadn't seen anyone from the team in almost nearing a month.

"You have any idea how pathetic that sounds?" Richard shot him a dazzling smile, the best one he could manage, that is. Wally stepped back

"Dude…you've been drinking" the red head's eyes flickered with disappointment and worry

"Only a little" Richard said with a smirk "had to have breakfast, didn't I?" Wally flashed a toothy smile

"Red Arrow's going to be so proud of you, when he hears that" Nightwing looked around

"He's here too? Didn't know these sleep over things were his kinda thing" Wally giggled madly

"He only came because he knew there was free pizza" Richard rolled his eyes and winced. This time Wally notice

"Dude" He scrutinized Nightwing's face "you ok?"

Dick mustered a nod, and subconsciously clenched his teeth.

"Where are the others?" Wally zipped around his friend in a circle once, twice, three times.

"In the living room watching Chainsaw Massacre" Superboy and Red Arrow are watching over the prisoner."

"The kids don't know?"

"Nah…they're too busy being scared out of their minds"

"…" For a moment Nightwing's world tilted and blackness nibbled at the corners of his vision.

The pain was honestly excruciating. But he had to remain strong.

Nightwing was always strong.

Wasn't he?

He fought off the darkness but swayed as he did so.

"Dude" Wally caught him by an elbow "you sure you're ok?" Nightwing swayed again and took a stumbling step forward.

A single drop of blood splattered on the floor, at the side of Nightwing's black boot. Time seemed to slow as Wally's head swiveled to look at it,

It seemed to erupt on the floor like a blooming red rose. Time –still slowly in fact- seemed to tick on as Wally's eyes rested in Richard's. Wild, panicked, shocked, Kid's Flash's pupils growing wider with understanding.

But he didn't understand, only that he best friend was bleeding. Not that it was an old but re-opened wound…Wally believed that Nightwing had been shot just now.

But did it matter what he believed?

Nightwing sagged against Wally as the speedster still had him by an elbow. Then time seemed to snap back into reality as Nightwing's knees gave away completely and he collapsed…much too quickly for Wally to catch him.

With a sharp, echoing crack; Nightwing's head made contact with the floor and for Richard all went dark.

"Nightwing?!" Wally dropped to his knees besides his friend, blood was pooling around his head, he now noticed that it was soaking though his shirt and tainting the edges of his blue, crested bird crimson as well. Wally gently pulled up the corner of Richard's shirt. Bile role into his throat. As he saw what was one a stab wound, now hanging open with stitches torn free.

Wally pried open his best friend's eyes and saw that his pupils were dilated. Oh my god. Vibrations of anxiety ran the length of Kid Flash's figure. He leapt to his feet and back away from his friend,

"Juststaythere, buddy, I'll go gethelp, I'llberightback" He spun on his yellow soled heels and ran.

In a mere second Wally slid into the living room. Were the old and new Young Justice team resided, up to their chins in blankets and hiding their faces as a man got torn to bits on the screen. Megan was practically sobbing yelling

"Turn it off!" over the deadly heart wrenching screaming on the television. Wally was quick to comply as he rushed forwards and literally yanked the plug off the set. The mountain was suddenly deathly quiet. "Guysit'sNightwing!"

Several sets of curious eyes turned to him.

"What do you mean?" Robin asked, peeked out from underneath a mound of blankets, Wally wouldn't even have known he was there. He took a deep breath.

"I asked Wings to come here…we…uh…we had an intruder tonight." Those several sets of eyes went wide and alarmed a flurry of un-understandable questions bombarded the speedster. "Well, Nightwing sorta got attacked on his way here…and he just collapsed!" Wally suddenly remembering his friend "he bleeding and he hit his head!" They're was a derby of shoving and tripping on discarded blankets as the heroes sprinted towards the debriefing room.

There was a sudden halt as they saw their ex-leader sprawled on the ground in a illuminant puddle of his own blood, his forehead glinting with a light sweat, his skin pale as paper. Stiller than they had ever seen him before.

"Oh my god" there was an intake of breath and in the exhale "oh my god" repeated on the lips of the young heroes.

Orders were barked. Nightwing was carefully picked up and carried to the medical bay, his wounds dressed, bandaged, cared for. An IV placed carefully in the crook of his arm and the top of his hand. His bloody gloves removed, his shirt removed. His hair smoothed and patted. Gentle, reassuring coo's whispered in his ear.

The kid's minus Robin and Batgirl were sent home, bearing promises that they'd be updated as soon as Nightwing awoke. Only Wally, Megan, Artemis, Robin, Aqualad and Batgirl remained by Nightwing's bed side until

"What the hell is going on here?" Red Arrow and Superboy slammed into the room "Wings?" Richard looked small, waning in size against the gurney, innocent like they 13 year old that joined the team 8 years ago.

"What happened?" Superboy whispered as he touched Nightwing's hair "who did this to him?" Wally sighed and ran a hand over his face

"I don't know, it's an old wound…just re-opened…he was attacked though while coming here."

"By?" came the respectful question

"He couldn't tell" There was a sad silence.

Nightwing stirred.

Their eyes cast upon him in hopeful faith, and they silently offered him their support. Nightwing opened his eyes. They darted around uncertainly for a moment as he took in his surrounding. Then he managed a watery smirk

"Hey guys…long time no see" this earned him a smack on the arm by Artemis

"Are you kidding me?! You come in here half dead and that's what you have to say? You scared us half to death"

"Half dead? Please…" Robin was mysteriously silent

"It is true my brother" Aqualad stepped forth "you did have us worried"

"Sorry" Nightwing's eyes dropped "old injury…just-" small gasp of pain "-re-hurt" he smirked again "I came to see an intruder but I guess I never made it past the front door" he chucked and managed to sit up. Several hands helped him.

"Wally says you were attacked" Batgirl chimed, eyes narrowing "but by whom you couldn't tell" Nightwing nodded solemnly

"It's true…I couldn't" there was a sudden dangerous aura around Nightwing, as the black and blue clad hero's mind wandered back to Slade. That's just not possible out of the corner of his eye he saw Megan tense

"…" Damn I forgot she could read minds.

"Nightwing…what are you holding back?" Her voice radiated through the thickening air. He exhaled heavily and rubbed at his side.

"Nothing" the lie slipped out easily and convincingly, so much in fact it shocked him how good of a liar he had become

Nightwing…hero, leader, friend, son…liar. Somehow it all seemed to fit.

"I think I'd like to meet the prisoner now" He said tediously, this raised several arched eyebrows

"In the morning…rest now" Nightwing glanced to the bed side clock.

"It is morning"

"You know what I mean." The dangerous aura was back, dangerous and awkward. They rose to leave. What do you saw to your best friends that you've ignored for almost a month?

"Guy's I'm sorry" They turned to him. "I didn't mean to scare you…and I'm sorry I haven't…ya know…stopped by" He picked at his rough hospital sheet.

"It's understandable" Aqualad hoarsely whispered "we didn't know were you had gone"

"I don't understand!" Robin shouted tears in his eyes "A month! You left for a month! I thought something bad had happened to you!" Nightwing looked away and blinked at a tear

"Something did" He sighed there was a scared silence, he turned back to them and managed a weak smirk "have you ever heard of insomnia?"

"You've always had insomnia" Batgirl replied unconvinced Nightwing shook his head and leaned back into his pillows

"Not like this" he sighed "I haven't slept in days"

"Nightmares?" Richard nodded

"Like crazy" he shuddered "really, really bad ones…the stick with me too…all through out the day. So bad in fact I'm kinda afraid to try to go to sleep…so I just don't"

"What are they of?"

Falling. Death. Blood. Destruction. Screaming. Explosions. Death. Pain. Anguish.


Enjoy. Now review please. i want to get over 300 this time.

not on this one chapter though. thats a little too much to ask .

Nightwing: I'm Hot!

EACT: Ohhhh I know!


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Yep Right about here...