The bat-computer whirred in the background as it analyzed the samples that had been collected from Joker's cell. Batman, cowl up, sat motionless eyes locked on the screen with his chin resting on folded fingers as he replayed what happened what seemed only moments ago.
"Do you want some help?"
"Yours is useless to me right now."
"Ok. I get it Bruce."
The dark knight's teeth ground against each other with barely restrained rage. How could he say that to the one person he swore to never hurt? A ray of light pierced the darkness of the cave as the sound of footfalls broke the silence.
"How dare you? How dare you."
"I don't believe you did that."
"This is simply unacceptable father."
Three boys bombarded his vision and other senses, each with his own level of fury.
"Shut up!" Jason roared over the rest. Only when it was completely silent did he continue. "Bruce." He paused again and ripped the cowl off of the billionaire's head. "Bruce, we all heard what you said to Dick." The rouge folded his arms and stared pointedly at the billionaire who adverted his eyes.
"You've been down here for two weeks. That's two weeks Bruce." Tim waved two fingers in his adoptive father's face.
"I know. But the Joker's-"
"If I hear even one word about the Joker I swear to God Bruce you won't like what happens. The psycho clown is dead, be happy and move on." Jason cut him off.
"Right now you have more important things to worry about instead of chasing after ghosts. Dick didn't deserve that Bruce. You are more than enough aware of how much he puts up with you and still keeps this family in at least a functioning manner. You had no right to treat him like that." Tim glared harshly.
Bruce sagged into his chair suddenly exhausted, "I know…I know. I-I need to go apologize to him."
"He's not here father. He left right after the fight." Damien spoke for the first time. His eyebrows furrowed and his eyes hard. "Go after him father."
"But the analysis results-"
Again he was cut off, but this time by his loyal butler, "You will go out and bring master Dick home or else you will see my resignation letter on your desk first thing tomorrow morning Mr. Wayne." His tone left no room for argument.
Sagging further into his seat, Bruce knew he was defeated.
Nightwing jumped from rooftop to rooftop trying to calm his raging emotions. He knew how Bruce was, heck he lived with the man for more than ten years, he should have known better by now. Yet it still hurt him so much inside. A scream in an alley way below caught the black and blue clad hero's attention. That's exactly what he needed, a simple mugging to get his mind off of his depressing thoughts.
Nightwing dropped down into the alley way right behind the crook. He quickly swept the crook's legs out from underneath him and knocked him out with a quick jab to the temple. He turned around to check on the victim only to seize up as electricity coursed through his body, bypassing his insulated costume.
"Well, well, well, looks like I caught myself a little birdie who strayed too far from the nest. I should take him in; after all, I don't want him to catch cold." Maniacal laughter was the last thing Nightwing was aware of before he succumbed to the darkness.
The sun set on the city known as Gotham, darkness fell like a blanket and with the darkness came the bats. Four figures jumping and flipping on the rooftops, single minded in their goal.
"Anything yet?" a gruff voice broke the silent night. Gotham was abnormally quiet tonight, as if the city itself was afraid to invoke the wrath of the Batfamily.
"Not yet but-"
"Rendezvous at east ally. There's something here you'll all want to see." Damian's voice crackled over the com's, instantly three shadows darted to said location. This could very well be just the break they were waiting for.
Chains rattled against each other as the soft sound of feet barely scraping against the concrete ground. Nightwing's limp body hung suspended from the ground, high enough for the man to feel the weight of gravity, yet low enough to just touch the tantalizing freedom of relief. His wounded arms hung shoulder width apart and his breathing was labored. Despite the fact he was only there for a few hours, that was plenty of time for his captor to inflict some serious wounds. The crimson red that spilled from each cut puddled below him.
"Wakey, wakey, time to get up." a pale hand reached out and spun the suspended vigilante. "Are you ready for round two?"
"You…..you were alive after all…how? We *cough**cough**cough* we had a body." Nightwing rasped weakly. The blood loss certainly not helping.
"You should stop worrying about how I was dead, and start worrying about how you're going to be dead!" broken glass like laughter bounced through the high rafters. Yes. The plan was certainly an entertaining one.
"What is it, Robin?" Batman asked. His other two birds arrived only a second after he had.
"Looks like you were right all along." Robin held up a playing card. On it was a clear Joker design, but someone drew a bird over it with a blue sharpie, and the whole card was stained with fresh blood.
"That's besides the point. Nightwing is in danger. We need to find him, and soon." Red Robin explained, still slightly shaken up by the new developments, but his worry for his eldest brother easily overpowered such emotions.
"There's only one place he would be." Batman turned stalking hurriedly out of the ally. "Back to the beginning. Back to where this whole thing started."
When Nightwing woke the second time, he was tied to a bed. A gag was tied over his mouth and his blood easily stained the worn sheets.
"Well boy blunder. Now that your beauty sleep is done, we can start the show." A single bare light bulb hung in the center of the room. "Try not to die too soon." With that said the madman swung down his trusty blade and buried it deep within the tender flesh of his captive's stomach, his crazy grin growing as Nightwing's screams filled the air.
"Mmf mmm dff ffft dmmm." The vigilante screamed explicits through his crude gag.
"Naughty naughty bird boy." The blade was ripped out of his abdomen and the trip traced its way up a vein to the man's neck. "I'd watch my tongue is I were you, I wouldn't want to have to cut it out." the knife again trailed downwards, but this times towards the blue covered fingers. With great glee the madman slowly sunk the blade into the body below him and traced the blue finger stripes up his arm, over his chest, and down the other, letting out a satisfied chuckle when the blue completely turned crimson. Though the only thing missing was tortured screams.
A frown scrunched bleached features and in a swift motion, an equally as bleached hand plunged itself into the abdomen wound. Anguished screams echoed through the place, easily cutting through the gag. Tears escaped unwillingly through masked eyes as the hand twisted in its fleshy prison.
"There we go. That's what I like to hear. Let's make you scream some more." Yet again retrieving the blade he plunged it straight through Nightwing's knee cap, tearing a more pain filled scream from the vigilante than the one before.
Leaving the blade embedded in the cartilage and bone, the madman walked over to a standing metal cart and wheeled it over, whistling a nameless tune the whole way. The man carefully examined the tools that were lain out before selecting a long thin blade, holding it up in the dull light the tool reflected the evil grin. The second blade soon joined the other in the fleshy sheath, though this time it was plunged into the vigilante's shoulder.
Nightwing screamed so loud that when he tried to muffle his shouts, his teeth severed the flimsy cloth acting as a gag.
"You. Why did you fake your death? What's your plan? Why are you doing this?" Nightwing huffed out, pushing back his overwhelming want to gag. "Answer me Joker!"
Laughter sounded again, but it was easily covered by another bout of screams when the Joker retrieved another blade from the cart and buried it deep into the man's thigh, opposite to the blade still left in the knee.
"Does there have to be a reason?" Joker bared his weight on the blunt object, forcing it deeper. "It was FUN no other reason needed." The joker backed off, laughing to himself again. "Time to say good-bye, boy blunder."
Taking the last knife Joker hovered it over the vigilante's eye, grinning as he slowly lowered it to where it was just millimeters away from actually piercing the fragile organ.
A black fist connected to pale cheek, sending the man flying into the wall.
"Don't. Touch. My. Son."
A/N: One more installment after this and it'll be done. For this little arc anyways. Sorry I haven't updated for like….a month. Oh! There was actually a chapter for the last one you know that right? Anywho, yea, that's my attempt at torture….idk if its good or not cause I don't go back and read it…which also explains any mispeeled words. Just my natural laziness. EVERYONE IS WHO THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE.
I don't own Batman, review please.