Chapter 5: Batgirl and Nightwing

The light from the police blimp flashed across Babs' face as she perched herself onto one of the many gargoyles that protected Gotham. The ACE chemical building was directly across from her and the Monarch Theater not too far to her left. In other words, she had positioned herself in one of the worst sections of the city. Though, Gotham itself was a monstrosity of a city, there'd be news clips every night about some mugging, shooting or carjacking that usually ended up with one casualty or two. Barbara had sought to end that trend in this city, she and her "family." She reached into her utility belt and pulled out a pair of military grade binoculars and scanned the streets below.

"zzz …zzz…three more of Joker's thugs have been spotted near Prosper Street…zzz." Batgirl pressed a finger to the side of her head, brushing away some of her red hair off her shoulder, and pushing her ear closer to the radio, listening to the police scanned imbedded in her cowl. Three clowns? I'm sure the GCPD can take care of them, she thought to herself. She felt a slight gust of wind behind her that startled her. Her eyes turned behind her and a slight smile stretched across her face.

"What are you doing here, Nightstick?" she teased, turning her attention back to the street below. He walked up behind her and crossed his arms across his chest, leaning back on the steeple of the building. He twirled one of his escrima sticks in his hand.

"Figured you'd be out and about after those escapes. I'm guessing you'd need my help, Babs," he said with a smile. He knew she was more than capable of taking on some low life punks, but he loved any chance he could get to tease her a bit. Batgirl rolled her eyes and placed her binoculars back in her utility belt. Placing one hand on the building, she lifted herself off the gargoyle and strolled towards Grayson.

"Me? Need your help? HA! If you're here because YOU need help, just come out and say it, I won't judge you…probably," she replied. He smiled at her cockiness. He loved their verbally jousts, mostly due to the fact that he barely got a chance to. He didn't get many chances to see Babs often, or as often as he wished. They had grown quite fond of each other over the years.

"Bruce talk to you much about what happened a few weeks ago?" Batgirl asked.

"He's barely said a word about it, but what I gather from the others, it wasn't good. They saw a lot of disturbing things over there," he replied.

"I wonder what our parallel selves were like? Did they say if they saw you or me?" she asked.

"No, I didn't," he said. He looked down towards the streets as three squad cars raised down the street, sirens blaring, tires screeching on the pavement.

"Anything on the scanner?" he asked, looking at Babs. She again put her finger to her ear hoping to get a clue as to what was happening.

"…zzzz…-rvey Dent seen…zzz..Gotham National…" the scanner read. There seemed to be a lot of interference, more than usual, but they got what they were looking for.

"Sounds like Gotham National Bank is getting attacked by Two-Face," she said. She pulled out a grappling hook and looked at Nightwing. "Race you there!"

He leapt off the building, diving down towards the streets, his arms at his side, head first.

"You're on!"

The alarms were blaring as henchmen, dressed appropriately in uniforms split half white and half black, ran out of the building carrying bags of cash and holding automatic rifles in the other hand. The civilians screamed in terror as the automatic rifles were jammed in their face, and masked men yelling at them to get on the ground. Nightwing and Batgirl landed on the building across the street from the bank, looking at the chaos below. However, they noticed something that seemed strange. Large vines seemed to wrap up the squad cars that they had heard earlier.

"Looks like Ivy's here," Nightwing remarked.

"But those are Two-Face's goons? They working together now?" Batgirl asked out loud. Nightwing leapt off the building.

"Only one way to find out!" he yelled as he soared to the ground. His kicked off the side of the building and landed gracefully on the balls of his feet, his years as an acrobat proving very useful. Batgirl wasn't far behind, gliding down with her cape and making her way towards the side of the building.

"GET ON THE GROUND NOW!" one thug yelled, jamming his rifle in the face of a terrified citizen. He instantly dropped to the floor like he was told and placed his hands over his head. Suddenly, the thug felt a sharp pain in the back of his head and he found himself falling forward with no control. Before he blacked out he caught the shape of Nightwing taking down another thug in front of him.

"Evening fellas! Mind if we join the party?" he asked as he engaged two more thugs. He grabbed one thug by the collar of his shirt and launched him through the main doors window. He hurled his escrima sticks towards a group of armed thugs. It ricocheted off the wall and struck the man in the throat.

Batgirl joined in from the side of the building, landing behind the group of thugs. She turned towards Nightwing who was engaging all of the thugs.

"I've got this! Get to the vault!" he yelled. He hoped that Ivy would still be there. This didn't seem right to him, in all the time he knew Ivy, and she wasn't some bank robber. Not unless she needed the money to protect her plants which he highly doubted was the case.

Batgirl made her way deeper into the building, making her way towards the vault, drawing a batarang. She moved cautiously as she felt uneasy about this situation. The lights in the hall flickered and she could hear debris fall in the passageway ahead. She switched her sensors in her cowl on and a thin, glass covered her eyes, the lenses turning a light purple. Sensors engaged-pollen detected. The lenses retracted.

"Gotchya!" Babs exclaimed to herself. She walked down the hall some more. "Come on out Ivy, I know you're here!" Batgirl exclaimed. Suddenly, a large vine broke through the wall to her left, collapsing a large section of the wall as it did so. Barbara barely had any time to react and quickly found the large vine coiling around her neck. She gasped for air as she reached into her utility belt for anything to free her.

"You made a mistake showing up here tonight Batgirl. Tonight, we take over Gotham," Ivy said. She walked into the room and stood in front of Batgirl. Babs managed to pull out a batarang from her utility and tossed the batarang towards the end of the vine.

"A batarang? Surely you could be more creative?" Ivy mocked, as she looked at the batarang embedded in the base of her plant.

"A batarang? Nah, that's a concussive," she said with a wink. Poison Ivy's eyes opened wide as she looked back at the batarang and as soon as she did so, it blew up in a flash of colors. The explosion rocked Batgirl as well, but the impact caused the vine to retreat and Babs found herself free.

"All right Ivy, let's do this," she said, her eyes were piercing as she crouched down in a ready stance, three batarangs were placed between her fingers. Ivy launched two large vines towards Batgirl, but she easily dodged them, using the wall to leap over the foliage. Flipping backwards and tossing one of the batarangs towards one of the vines. It struck the vine and a coil wrapped around it and connected it to the ground.

"You came looking for a fight, you got one!" Batgirl exclaimed, bringing her leg forward. Her foot smashed underneath Ivy's chin and the villainess was propelled backwards with a grunt of pain escaping from her lips. Ivy landed on her stomach, struggling to push herself up, still dazed from Batgirl's powerful kick. She looked up just in time to see Babs charging at her. Her eyes grew fierce as she prepared to face her opponent.

Inside the main hall, Nightwing continued to battle Two-Face's thugs. He kicked, punched, and tackled his opponents effortlessly. He could hear the commotion coming from the vault, figuring that Barbara had found Ivy by now. Outside the bank, he could see droves of citizens crying through the street and running.

"It's alright, police should be here soon!" he cried out to them. He wondered what the commotion was about, they seemed to be far away from the action here.

Batgirl ducked under one of Ivy's plants as she landed a two-punch combo to Ivy's abdomen and followed it up with an uppercut that sent the fiery redhead to the ground. Ivy wiped the blood off her lips, realizing that she was losing this fight quickly.

"You've made a serious mistake striking me, Batgirl!" she hissed. She sent a vine towards Batgirl and it coiled around Barbara's wrist. She struggle to release herself from its grasp but it was useless. Poison Ivy swung her around and released it into a wall. Batgirl broke through the wall with a loud grunt, part of the wall collapsing after she broke through it. She winced in pain as she got back to her feet. Lucky shot, you won't be so lucky now! She thought to herself. She pulled out her batclaw from her belt. The cable sprang from the weapon and coiled itself around Ivy's waist, pulling her towards Barbara. Batgirl's fist was waiting for Ivy, and she landed a vicious blow to the side of her head knocking her out instantly.

"You never had a chance red," Babs remarked with a wink as she dusted off her gloves against one another. She tied up Ivy for the police and made her way into the main hall where Nightwing was waiting for her. He was standing there with his arms crossed, a look of genuine concern in his eyes.

"Ivy's taken care of and it looks like you've taken care of these creeps," she said pointing to the pile of unconscious Two-Face thugs.

"Why wouldn't the police be here by now?" Nightwing asked. Suddenly, a familiar voice rang through the building as both Batgirl and Nightwing turned around to see who else was in the building with them.

"I think they're going to be busy tonight, I hear there's a few parties going on tonight," she said with a smile. Both Barbara and Nightwing looked at each other and back at her.

"What are you doing here, Catwoman?" Nightwing asked. She smiled and walked towards him, seductively.

"I was in the neighborhood, just stopped by to see if you needed any help," she replied with a quick smile.

"Yeah, thanks but we've got things under control. I bet there's another reason for you being here," Batgirl snapped. She was aware of Selina's new reputation as being on their side, but she still didn't trust the cat burglar.

"Still don't trust me yet, huh? How can we fix that?" Catwoman teased. She started towards Batgirl but suddenly the building shook. "What the hell?" They looked around the building and could see dust coming through the ceiling. Suddenly, another loud explosion rang through the halls and the outer walls collapsed, falling on the three of them.

Nightwing finally regained consciousness and he looked around himself with blurry eyes. The wall was missing and the interior of the bank was now covered in rubble and fires had spread from the building to the street. He could hear citizens screaming and could make out their figures against the firelight. Suddenly, everything was coming back to him as he rubbed his head. Oh my god, Barbara! He thought to himself. He pushed himself up and he saw Catwoman throwing chunks of debris off one side, digging for something. Dick stood up and jogged over to Selina.

"Quick, she's under here, we don't have a lot of time," she yelled, frantically throwing off junks of rocks. Nightwing quickly joined Catwoman in removing the debris, hoping they weren't too late to save Barbara. Finally, they saw a hand.

"Batgirl! Can you hear me?!" he yelled, panic starting to set in. God please let her be alive, please, he thought to himself. He couldn't bear the thought of losing her after what happened to Damian. Soon, they were able to push the debris off of her and pulled her out of the rubble. She coughed and began to sit up.

"W-what happened?" she asked. Catwoman and Nightwing shared a collective sigh of relief as she seemed to be alright.

"I have no idea," Nightwing replied, Selina headed towards the entrance. Her green eyes grew wide as fear gripped her.

"We need to move, NOW!" she said. Nightwing helped Babs up but she gasped in pain and clutched her side.

"My side…I think it's cut deep," she said wincing. Nightwing threw his arm around her waist, careful not to touch her affected area, and wrapped her arm over his shoulder.

"What is it?" he asked, but realized once they made their way towards the entrance. In the sky were hundreds of harvest ships, circling above, launching landing pods from them.

"…No…it can't be…" he said, "let's go! We need to get out of here!" he yelled. Catwoman followed close behind. The streets erupted in gunfire and explosions. The rounded the corner and witnessed a squad of police easily dispatched by the pods. Once the pods had landed, large androids made their way out of them firing at anything and everything. They shuffled into an alleyway when Babs pulled at Nightwing.

"…Dick…my dad…we need to make sure he's alright," she pleaded, hoping that he was safe.

"We can't, Babs, we can't, it's too hot, once we're to the Watchtower we can send in reinforcements," he said. It pained him to say it, but it was the truth. There was no way they could go to make sure Commissioner Gordon was safe. And it killed him to see her eyes drop in disappointment, but he needed to get them out of there.

"Ok, this should be a good spot," he reached inside his utility belt and pulled out his radio, "Batman. It's Nightwing, we need extraction at these coordinates," he said plugging in the coordinates to his communicator.

"We can't just leave these people to die!" Batgirl exclaimed. Nightwing looked at the civilians that were being slaughtered by the androids. He took his arm off of her, and gave her to Catwoman.

"Take care of her," he said, taking off after the group of civilians, "see you soon," he said, smiling to Barbara.

"NIGHTWING!" Batgirl cried as Catwoman grabbed her. Nightwing pounced on the android and slammed his escrima stick into its heart while battling two more of them. He felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck and collapsed to the ground as he felt another blow to his abdomen.

"Nightwing, we're ready for extraction," Batman replied on the other line. Catwoman held the radio to her lips.

"Batman…it's Selina…we're ready for extraction," she said, trying to keep her emotions from taking over her. She never knew what kind of leader Nightwing was until this moment, when he distracted the androids from noticing the civilians and the two of them. She held Barbaba close as the streets of Gotham began to fade. Barbara stood there, tears ran down her cheeks as Nightwing gave a weak, thumbs up before he was knocked down by a large android, presumably their squad commander.

Nightwing looked up into the sky to see the Skull ships blanketing the sky, but was suddenly interrupted by the commanding android.

"Richard Grayson…you have been approved for assimilation…preparing ascension…" His eyes went dark and the night sky of Gotham began to disappear.

Selina and Barbara found themselves aboard the Watchtower, greeted by Batman, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter. J'onn took Catwoman towards the infirmary to dress her wounds while Batgirl stood in front of Batman and Aquaman

"Where is Nightwing?" Batman asked. Batgirl looked at him wearily with red eyes.

"He was taken," she said. Batman's eyes grew fierce and he looked back on his monitors. "We should have known. We should have known he would be back," Bruce said.

"It all happened too quickly, Bruce, there was no way to know for sure," Aquaman replied, hoping to offer some sort of comfort.

"You know who this is?" Barbara asked. Batman's head dropped and he clicked a remote control that lit up several monitors showing several cities. Gotham, Metropolis, Star City, Central City, Coast City, Chicago, Washington D.C. Moscow, London, Beijing, and countless more cities popped up on the screen, all engulfed in flames and enveloped by the ships.

"Yes…its name is Brainiac."

Next Up: Green Arrow