Ultimate Knights #4: Death Walks Gotham Jan 19, 2015 19:34:35 GMT -5
Post by Drake on Jan 19, 2015 19:34:35 GMT -5
#4: Death Walks GothamBy Drake and Adrini
”This child is Damian Wayne, son of your mentor, the Detective—son of the Batman.”
The thought seemed ludicrous to Dick Grayson. Bruce—his Bruce—had a child? With…oh God, if the kid was living with Ra’s, if his skin was so tanned, then the mother could be…
What had seemed like at least a full minute of silence was revealed to Dick as just a couple seconds when the clattering and cracking of china hitting the ground drew his attention. Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce’s butler and right hand man, stood frozen with his jaw agape. Coffee soaked into the ground as Alfred looked between the boy and Ra’s.
“That boy is…is…” Alfred tried, but he too was at a loss for words.
“Intruder!” Damian—the apparent son of the Bat—leaped towards Alfred and held the sword less than an inch from his chest. This action shook Alfred out of his dazed state, and before Ra’s or Dick could say anything, the butler dropped the tray he’d been holding, grabbed one of the napkins and used it to cover his hand as he pulled the sword away from his chest, twisting his body to the side as he did so in order to dodge the blade further. Damian attempted to flip over Alfred and pull his sword away for a lethal blow, but the older man grabbed him by his collar and threw him to the ground.
Pinning the child’s arms behind his back and forcing him against the cavern floor, Alfred smirked, “Not so tough after all.”
Ra’s smiled and began to clap. Soon enough, Dick followed. Damian was the only one not amused.
“Who the hell is this man?” Damian growled, “Gah! Let go of me!”
“Damian, that is the man I told you about: your father’s butler, Alfred Pennyworth,” Ra’s explained, before addressing Alfred, “I must admit, that was an impressive show.”
Alfred let Damian go. The boy muttered a few curses as he stood up.
Alfred’s smile faded while he responded, “MI-5 for more than a dozen years. As much as you like to think you made Bruce the man who he is today, I’m the one who taught him to fight.”
Ra’s’ expression also darkened, “The Detective was nothing before he encountered me.”
“Bruce is a Wayne; it didn’t take your training to make him a good man.”
“No, but I forged him into a better one.”
“Girls, girls, you’re both pretty,” Dick interjected, stepping between the two. He pointed towards the back of the Bat Cave and to a sleek black armored car pulling smoothly into place. “But I think that’s enough. Dad’s home.”
The top to the Batmobile slid open and Bruce Wayne—the Batman—hopped out. Dick made sure to be the first one to meet him.
“Hey, Bruce, guess who came to visit?” Dick pointed back to Ra’s al Ghul and Damian. Bruce frowned, but Dick could tell he knew the two were already here before he’d arrived by the lack of twitch in his movement, “They knew it was your birthday and everything!” The ex-Boy Wonder joked.
“Your humor is not amusing, Grayson,” Damian grimaced.
Dick ignored the statement, “Oh yeah, almost forgot, Bruce. Barrel of fun over there is—“
“My son,” Bruce interrupted.
“Yeah,” Dick looked between the father and son, their gaze intense and equally matched, “I think the scowl’s the giveaway.”
"That's amazing!" Babs heard a man's voice say as she got to the door. The Federal office was insane as she stood at the door. Seemingly hundreds of people moved everywhere, carrying and calling for information in barely organized chaos. Within the main room the new and eager DA was obviously having a pretty good day. "This place is huge, we're going to expand everything here."
"It's ten after. I was told I had a two o'clock." He said as the door opened and a still rather young man walked out. "Is she here?"
"Mr. Dent." Babs said and he turned. Tall and fit, he was open and friendly with brown hair and an excited spark in his eyes, as well as a wide smile on his face as he saw her. "I can see you're busy."
"Harvey, please." He waved her into the office and the others left after them. She could see how he Ollie and Di got along. He had the Star City optimism.
He closed the door after them. "Di told me all about you, you're a friend already. How is she? It's been years."
"She's great, better." Babs said as they sat down, the room was a mess but as it was his first day that wasn't surprising. "Really happy."
"She sent a picture. Little guy really takes after his Dad. Poor Di." The new DA laughed. "And she sends you, just the person to help me take this town on. Get right on the ground floor and do this right.'
"It's a good plan." Babs said, wondering how long the hope would last. Her bet wasn't long. Nonetheless it was an ally in a very key spot and she wasn't going to turn it down. She took out the information that she was starting with. "It's not as much as I wanted you to have but he made sure that you knew the major issues in the area. More to come."
Taking the zip drive Harvey looked it over and put it into the machine, when the green masked icon showed he looked wary.
"My information source" Babs filled in. "You can trust him. One of the good guys."
"Fair enough." He began to click through the information and nodded, impressed. After a few minutes he closed the windows and turned to his guest. "I'm guessing that filling me in on this person is impossible."
"Most people are fairly closed off here, and in Blüdhaven just next store. There isn't a lot of reason to trust people." He nodded, pulling out a box of his own, pushing it to her.
"Really hard to hack paper files and people see them as too much work now." He winked and she grinned, glad he was smart. With all the flurry of activity she wouldn't stand out much carrying the new intel out. "I know corruption is a major problem. Not only from reputation but from cases I worked. Every other city would get me whatever I needed but information from here would magically be missing or severely redacted. Subtle, very subtle."
"Can't say you weren't warned." She had to laugh. He was just as promising as she had been told. "There will be updates as information comes up, help you know what to do here. Maybe you could pass some back in return, like the database?"
"Better chance together than separate. I'll arrange for access for you. Di only said you met in school; that was a long time ago, right? I didn't see you at university." He leaned back, the important matters settled.
"Ages ago, she was in high school, I was in junior high." She filled in. "We had fun."
"After the bullies were taken care of, I bet." He smiled, enjoying the small bait. He was playing with a small coin, flipping it mindlessly. Everyone had a tick. "She told me all about it, hated leaving you behind in case it happened again. They're good eggs, were there for me too when Mom passed. You would know, they helping us out? I can use all the help I can get."
"Mr. Dent." Barbara leaned forward and grinned. "We're two of their favorite people. They couldn't stop themselves. We're not alone."
It had been a tense half hour since Damian’s arrival had turned Dick, Alfred, and most certainly Bruce’s life upside down. The Batman had wasted no time getting right down into the meat of things, asking—or as Dick teased, interrogating—Ra’s al Ghul about the boy. Damian, like Dick, always seemed to have something to say. The difference was that the thirteen-year-old never knew when to shut up.
“Pennyworth only managed to defeat me because I underestimated him. He appeared old and weak,” Damian interjected after the end of Ra’s’—and sometimes Dick’s—story.
“Then why attack him in the first place?” Dick massaged his head. The boy was a handful.
“I thought he might be—“
“Quiet, Damian,” Bruce demanded. At his father’s order, the boy quieted, but Dick knew it would only be for a moment. Meanwhile, Ra’s and Bruce remained in a ocular deadlock. His cowl down, the vigilante looked the master assassin eye-to-eye, both coolly examining the other for any sign of weakness, any hint of a lie. League training, Dick assumed.
“Where is Talia?” Bruce asked. That’s where Ra’s’ story had gotten weird. It turned out Talia, the daughter of Ra’s himself, had drugged Bruce eight years ago and essentially raped him to conceive Damian. The “why” for Damian’s age, Dick thought, was even weirder.
“My daughter is dead,” Ra’s stated.
Bruce’s eyes widened, “But the Lazarus Pit—“
“Is no more,” Ra’s said. Bruce only now noticed the anxiety behind his eyes. The great leader of the League of Assassins was terrified. “The Lazarus Pit in Nanda Parbat was the last of its kind. Half a year ago, it suddenly ran dry. It appears even the pools of eternity cannot last forever.”
Bruce, one of only two people to remain standing—the other being Damian—began to pace around. Dick took a deep breath. That wasn’t a good sign.
“Talia was murdered, wasn’t she?” Bruce said. Ra’s nodded. “Your body language is giving you away, Ra’s. You’re terrified of someone…or something. The League’s being systematically dismantled. That would explain the recent rise in terrorist activity throughout the world. Moreover, you think someone has a personal vendetta against you. They’re hitting close to home, perhaps? Every strike, a location of something or someone important to you. In Saudi Arabia, a small town—and with it, a small base of operations for the League—was destroyed. Seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but not to you. That town was the place of your birth.”
Ra’s tried to calm himself, but Dick could see he was shaking. Bruce, similarly recognizing this, continued, while Damian just stared at him, anger slowly bubbling to the surface.
“In Paris, your great grandson was killed. Now Talia too, what—two days ago? Just one? And the Lazarus Pit…you don’t think it went dry. You think it was drained.” Bruce stopped pacing and faced Ra’s, crossing his arms, “Someone wants to destroy everything you idealize, everything you hold dear, and you have no idea who or what it is. You’re terrified, Ra’s, because for the first time ever you’re losing everything—“
“STOP IT!” Damian stepped between his father and grandfather and glared at Bruce, “Can’t you see you’re hurting him?!” Damian pointed back to Ra’s, who was staring weakly at the ground, still shaking. All of his pride was gone. He was being broken down, and Bruce knew it.
Bruce frowned, “Why the hell—“
The older vigilante made the mistake of looking his ex-protégé in the eye. Dick’s gaze made it all too clear that he needed to stop.
Bruce sighed, “Yes…I…I’m sorry. Ra’s, I know you want me to watch Damian until this blows over. I will.”
Ra’s’ shaking finally stopped. He looked up and into Bruce’s eyes. The master assassin smirked.
“I played you, Detective. You thought I was really scared? Ha! Not Ra’s al Ghul, the Demon’s Head! I feel no fear,” Ra’s stood from his chair and turned away, masking his face from the others, “I will be leaving now. Take care of the boy.”
“Of course,” Bruce agreed.
And with that, Ra’s leaped into the river flowing through the Bat Cave and swam away, towards the exit. Damian gazed longingly after his grandfather as he disappeared into the darkness. Dick smirked and nudged the boy.
“Missing him already, Damian?”
Damian jerked upright and held his chin high, putting on the toughest, proudest expression he could, “I do not ‘miss’ anyone.”
“You’re just like him,” Bruce interjected, much to Dick’s surprise. The younger detective could read Bruce like a map. He didn’t believe Ra’s’ façade before his exit. The Demon’s Head was scared.
“Y’know, I think he’s actually a lot like you, Bruce,” Dick retorted.
“I am like nobody but myself!” Damian argued.
“He can’t be. He’s never even known me,” Bruce replied at the same time as his son.
Dick grinned, “Right. Next thing you know, he’ll be the one putting on the cowl.”
“That’s actually not such a bad idea,” Damian agreed.
“No such thing will happen!” Bruce demanded. Before either Damian or Dick could speak up, he continued, “Dick, from now on you are to watch Damian and to protect him—“
“—I can protect myself—!”
“—Bruce, that’s bull—“
“—Under no circumstances should either of you enter Gotham City until I deem it safe. Have I made myself clear?”
“You can’t keep me cooped up with him. I’m a hero in my own right—“
”Have I made myself clear?”
Dick sighed, and before Damian could argue more he put his hand on the boy’s shoulder to silence him and nodded, “Yes, Bruce, I understand.”
“What?” Damian exclaimed.
“Thank you,” Bruce said. He flipped on his cowl again. “Don’t let him do anything stupid, Dick. I’ve got work to do.”
And with that final word, Bruce ran towards the Batmobile.
Ignoring Damian’s incessant complaining and argumentative commentary, Dick waited until Bruce had left to speak.
“…and I will not just sit here and—“
“Shut up, will you?” Dick demanded, “We’re not going to stay in the Cave, or even the Mansion for that matter.”
“Oh,” Damian muttered.
“We just had to wait for Bruce to leave. As it turns out, your father’s an annoying asshole like you,” Dick grumbled, turning away from Damian and walking to the costume cases.
“I will not take those insults from you, Grayson!” Damian said, running after him.
“Enough with the weak comebacks and macho behavior,” Dick pushed the glass panel over his Nightwing costume in, unlocking it and allowing it to swing open.
“Enough with the rude insults,” Damian retorted, now at Dick’s side.
Dick paused and turned to Damian. He let loose a small smile. “Fine. I will if you will.” The ex-Boy Wonder extended his hand. Damian eyed it carefully before taking and shaking it.
“Partners?” Dick wondered.
Damian nodded, “Partners. But only until my father realizes my true potential.”
“That’s cool with me,” Dick agreed. He turned back to the Nightwing case, leaving Damian to stare out over the other costumes.
“And what exactly am I supposed to wear?”
“I really hate you, Grayson.”
Damian leaped effortlessly between buildings in Gotham City as his cape fluttered gently back. The boy was dressed in Dick’s old Robin costume, a Kevlar-grade spandex/body armor combo suit colored red, green, and black with an even more obnoxiously bright yellow cape. A simple black domino mask covered the boy’s face. However, neither the colors nor the mask made the suit. The emblazoned golden ‘R’ over Damian’s breast—like the bat symbol over Bruce’s chest, or the blue bird over Dick’s—not only drew every criminal’s gaze, but was the physical embodiment of the ideal, of the name—
“Robin—“ Nightwing tried to interrupt his overly loud partner as they traveled over Gothamites’ unsuspecting heads, looking for trouble.
“No, enough of that!” Damian said, “I will not be privy to that horrible name, or this…this abomination of a uniform! As soon as we return to my father’s cave, I will change into one of his Batman suits. Or, better yet, just wear my League robes.”
“Robin, kid, shut up—“
“Stop with that stupid name!”
“I can’t!” Nightwing abruptly stopped, and before the boy assassin could pass him, he grabbed ahold of Damian’s collar and pulled him to a halt. “We always use codenames while we’re in the field. Nobody can know our real identities. People like Alfred, or—or…” Dick’s face sunk, but only for a second. Still, it was long enough for Damian to notice. “People we love could get hurt. Sorry, but as long as you’re in that suit, I’m calling you ‘Robin.’ And seriously, treat it like an honor. God knows it is.”
Dick sighed, “I still have no idea why I didn’t stick you in one of her suits…”
“Give me a break, Dick. You know I’d kick your ass if you let that kid anywhere near my costumes.”
The two bird-themed heroes looked to the water cooler across the roof. Atop the machine, calmly resting in a three-pronged position was Barbara Gordon, better known as Flamebird. Her bright red and yellow suit made Damian’s Robin costume seem as dark as the Batsuit.
“Who is this? One of Father’s ‘Rogues’?” Damian said the word with disgust as he cracked his knuckles, ready for a fight.
Flamebird dropped to the roof and smirked, “I could ask the same of you.” The redhead looked up at Dick, “Didn’t realize Batman was in the crib-stealing game again.”
Nightwing put a hand on Damian’s shoulder, “Don’t make a stupid mistake here, Robin. For one, that girl—“
“—Woman, Flamebird, would kick your ass. Moreover, she’s one of the good guys. She used to go by Batgirl, and acted as one of your father’s protégés and partners for a long time,” Dick finished.
Flamebird raised an eyebrow with curiosity, “’Father’? When the kid said it, I thought he might just be one of Batman’s brainwashed lackeys, like you, but Nightwing…this child can’t seriously be…?”
“The Son of the Bat,” Damian agreed, arms crossed and head held confidently, “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to give you my name while I’m in this suit, so you can just think of me as the next Batman.”
Flamebird looked back up at Dick, “Reminds me a lot of you, Dick, especially as a kid. Stupid, loud, and has serious daddy issues. Of course, you’ve only grown out of one of those…or one half might be more accurate.”
Nightwing frowned and held his hand out to stop Damian from lunging at the heroine, “You got a reason for being here, ‘Bird?”
Flamebird sighed, “Yeah…yeah. I tried to get Bruce to help, honestly, but he wouldn’t pull off that Owls case of his.”
The young woman reached into her utility belt and produced a small zip drive, “I thought you might like to know, things are getting bad in Blüdhaven. There are these groups…”
“The Court?” Nightwing asked.
Flamebird shook her head, “No. Couple new ones. The first’s not as much a secret, but the other’s…different. Here,” She handed Nightwing the chip, “Take it. Just look at it yourself.”
“Too lazy to do your own work?” Damian chided.
Suddenly, the boy was on the ground, Flamebird standing over him. Damian didn’t even try to get up, instead just holding his cheek, stunned.
As he dazedly stared at the female vigilante, Damian whispered, “Nobody’s hit me like that since…”
“Shape him up, Nightwing,” Flamebird turned away, “If you can.”
Nightwing gripped the drive in his hand tightly and nodded, “I can handle this. You know me.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of,” Flamebird retorted, before walking to the edge of the roof. Before she could leap, Nightwing stopped her.
“Hey…Babs, we could work together on this case. Just you and me, partners again.”
Flamebird looked back, but only for a second, before leaping away and firing her grappling gun without so much as a goodbye. Nightwing shrunk back, defeated. Damian finally stood up again and looked between where Flamebird had once stood and Dick.
“That’s a…special woman,” Damian muttered.
Dick nodded, “Sure is.”
“Someone’s here to see you, Harper.” A Red Hood messenger peeked her head into Harper’s tent. Long past awoken, Harper had spent her day off training. It was different, certainly, working out without weights. The things she’d taken for granted with Cam...Harper sat up, having finished a sit up. “He says he’s your little brother.”
Harper’s expression lightened. She had a good feeling about this. Today would be the day Cullen admitted he understood Harper’s reasoning; the day he’d come and live with her. She stood up, grabbed a towel and quickly dried off her sweat-covered hair. Dressed in nothing but a sports bra, leggings and tennis shoes, Harper exited the tent.
Naturally, Cullen was the one waiting outside for her. It took just a glance for Harper to realize today wasn’t the day.
“Hey, Harp,” Cullen managed, trying his damndest to not be awkward.
“Cul,” Harper greeted, “How’ve you been?”
“Yeah…” Cullen looked at the ground meekly, “Let’s not play this game. I’ve tried just talking to you. I’ve—“
“No!” Cullen exploded, before catching himself, and breathing deeply. He continued, “I’m here to give you an ultimatum. You quit the Hoods now, leave with me, and we do…we do whatever the hell we want to, or I leave town and go get Batwing to pull you out.”
“Excuse me?” Harper exclaimed, “What the hell do you think you’re doing? I’m your older sister.”
“You’re acting like a brat, Harper,” Cullen retorted.
“Screw you!” Harper said.
“That’s it. That’s all I’m saying. I’ll be back in a day,” Cullen turned away. Harper ran for him, but he shrugged her off.
“You think you can decide this for me? Fine, Cullen! Bring Cameron! I’ll kick his ass in front of all the Red Hoods!” Harper shouted as Cullen walked away, drawing the gaze of the people around them. “I’ll make my own fucking decisions!”
"You have everything you need, Miss Barbara?" Babs turned to see Alfred walking over to the desk with a tray of food, and grinned slightly. "This looks important."
"Connections I know are there but I'm missing key pieces. There have to be groups involved. They're just way more off the grid than I'm used to." Alfred nodded and sat down. "I'm not seeing something."
"Perhaps what you seek is outside, not here." The man suggested, sitting down and looking at the screen.
"Most of it is, but I learned the hard way that jumping before doing homework, or assuming you'll always be ready if you skip it altogether is a bad idea." Alfred looked down, her assuming that the Joker wasn't aware of her apartment was how she had spent so much time in a wheelchair. "I'll find what I can here and go then, no shortcuts."
"Fair enough, Miss Barbara. Have you spoken to Master Bruce, or Master Grayson? Both might be able to assist with information." Alfred was correct but Bruce was busy and Dick, well, she would like to avoid him as much as possible.
"I'll have to see when either are free, that might be hard right now. Thank you. It looks great." She looked at the tray, a light salad and bread, and the man took the hint and left.
The information was infuriating. The three key groups involved, and Cobblepot was tied to at least one of them. Even with what little information she had some things were clear. There was the find of the fear toxin that was a thorn in everyone’s side, and though it had a center no one knew what it was. There was a second group. They had regular run-ins with the first but very secretive and entirely off the map. That would have to be footwork. Bruce was doing a lot of work on the Court of Owls, and the League seemed to be quiet for the moment. Quiet or just not making enough noise, which was more likely.
However she had been trying to ignore the file of reports from the SCPD. They were often a distraction from the larger aims of the more major groups. Given that she was having such trouble finding clues it might be worth digging.
It was fairly common stuff until she got to the second page, missing persons. The page had exploded, and several of those missing were in the early teen range. The time when most metas woke up. Several of the teens were being looked into when they disappeared, all signs of the same thing - Meta Brawls.
Her phone was out before she knew what she was doing but she quickly ended the call. It would likely be Dinah or Mia who got the phone and neither needed to deal with this again. She dialed again, this time to the one person who might be able to really help.
"Hey, Babs." Kate said a few moments later. "Emergency so soon? You haven't been gone a month."
"Roulette. Roulette is in Gotham. Metas are missing, a bunch of them. All teens." She hurried to get the news out, trying to stave off the panic. "What do I do?"
"You call me, and we finish the job that should have been done in the first place." Kate responded, no longer casual but focused. "Find the bitch; we'll go from there. She's started her last Brawl."
Tim Drake sat across the table from his father, Jack, a middle-aged man with clean cut black hair and a broken expression Tim had long past gotten used to. The two quietly ate dinner, neither speaking up until Jack decided to break the ice.
“How was school today?” Jack asked. He didn’t look up. Tim, however, did.
“Fine,” Tim said.
“Good. Your internship with Wayne Enterprises going well?”
“Yeah. Mr. Grayson’s a great guy when he’s around. Been gone to Gotham for a little while now.”
“Mr. Grayson or…?”
Tim looked back down at his plate of steak, broccoli, and pineapple, his appetite suddenly gone. Maybe it was the fact that it was the same old food he’d eaten a thousand times. The same food his father had made their private chef cook at least three times a week since Tim’s mother had died. After all, he had said he loved it so much as a child.
Maybe it was the fact that he couldn’t stand to be around his father.
“Dad, I’m taking a trip to…Gotham over the weekend. Mr. Grayson wants me to see the headquarters,” Tim blurted. He didn’t regret it. Jack actually looked up, but still didn’t meet his gaze. Almost there…
“Oh. That’s…I was hoping we could order a movie in, or….” Jack paused.
“Dad, I really need this,” Tim said.
“Fine. Go ahead.”
“No argument?” Tim pleaded, “I mean, it seems crazy, right? For me to leave town with a man you haven’t even met?”
“You’re a grown man.”
Tim stood up, “I’m not hungry.”
“You’re excused.” Jack responded gently.
And as he had so many times before, Tim walked up into his room, and soon after jumped out into the night.
Harvey had mixed feelings about his new job, though he certainly had to admit it was interesting. Gotham was intense. Nothing here was done half way. If there was a murder it was grisly, an attack was large. A serious assault was enough to make front page most places. Here these things made page five, and that was on a slow news day.
Still he had found reason to hope. The people he worked with were hardened, but also very professional. Despair and terror had long ago given way to a brisk and business-like realism. Things were what they were here. His advisers were not even a little shy of shooting down ideas that were not going to work, and on balance this was a good thing. Once the unrealistic ideas were out of the way all parties involved were quick to move on ideas that had actual merit. Some worked, some had not been tried, but if they saw a real chance they took it. He could respect that.
Those were his above the table dealings. Below the table he was even more conflicted. It was reasonable that Gotham had heroes. Rumors had persisted for long enough. Rumors that even hinted at the possibility of the cops working with the Batman. A Bat signal above the GCPD building certainly didn’t hurt to fan the fires.
A knock took him from his thoughts, and the office messenger walked in.
"The Commissioner for you, are you free?" She asked, making sure to not open the door too much.
"Of course. Please, send him in." He said and got up. The woman opened the door fully as he got a couple cups of coffee ready.
"Mr. Dent." The man said as his visitor walked in. "Glad to see you breathing; can never be sure in this town."
"Commissioner Gordon. I'm tougher than I look. I've been meaning to contact you, actually. A few ideas have occurred to me that you could be a real help on-" Harvey didn't finish his thought.
"A month. I give you a month." The man said forcefully. "Every man for ages in this post has been a figurehead, done what he was told. Then you, actually moving against these assholes. You find a way to watch your back or you'll be gone before they turn the bay green for St. Patrick’s Day."
"You would know, I suppose." Harvey didn't know what to make of the man, but he was resolved about something.
"Now I like you. I've seen a lot of putzes in this town and you're not one of them. You might actually do right by these people, so I'm going to throw you a rope. You know the Queens, with them is a woman who used to work for me, damn fine officer, hated to see her go. Babs can get her your info." Harvey only nodded. "She knows some clean cops. I know the rest. We're giving this town its own 'untouchables', and you get to direct them. Let’s see if that bravado of yours has anything to it. And one more thing."
"Of course Commissioner." Harvey sat up quickly.
"I can't stop Babs from working with you, but if you get her hurt, you will answer to me." He said before leaving. "That's a promise."
Gotham City, New Jersey
Raining. This city is always fucking raining. I’ve been on more jobs here in this hellhole than I’d care to count, and every goddamn time it rains. It’s like God—or whatever it is that screws with everything—decided that this place wasn’t depressing enough. Rain had to go right along with the murder, rape, and corruption.
The piece ‘a shit running for his life in front of me is learning firsthand just how much the rain sucks. Jimmy Falcone slips and falls on his face. His last two living bruisers stop briefly to consider helping him, before running off. He yells after them. Should’ve known better than to hire rats. Just his luck though. Rats attract other rats.
I leave the two bruisers. They aren’t on the contract. No point in killing if you don’t get paid for it.
My katana unsheathes easily enough, sliding out of its holster on my back as it had a million times before, but the movement hurts. It has for the last few thousand times. Not a wound or a scar. I’d heal out ‘a that quick. It’s age. Age is finally catching up to me. Even a healing factor can’t stop it forever.
Got to forget it. Push past the pain; don’t dream of easy days on a beach. Your girl needs you. A girl who’s dreaming of college. A girl you’d like to help support till she gets herself figured out. ‘Course, knowing that girl neither of those’d be a problem. Rose has got herself figured out. More importantly, she’s got friends with deep pockets.
If only I’d had friends with money. Maybe I wouldn’t have ended up here, killing for cash. Can’t wonder too much though. If I hadn’t been who I am then I’d’ve never met Rose’s mom. Never have had Joey or Grant. Never’ve been the happiest Dad alive.
I step onto Falcone’s chest. By this point, he’s probably pissing his pants. Shit comes next as I raise my sword. He deserves this. Just keep thinking that. He’s a drug dealer, a murderer, a piece of shit who’s going straight to Hell. So am I. Forget it! This is for Rose! This fucker’s a monster! Like you. No!!
I bring the blade down, but it never finds its target. I didn’t stop. Hell no I didn’t stop. I’ve lived with my shit conscience for years. No…no, someone else stopped me with a bloody boomerang. Someone dressed in the stupidest looking black and blue bird costume. Nightwing. I’ve heard ‘a this guy. He’d fit right in with Rose’s friends. ‘Course, like them, he’s got a sidekick. Some kid dressed in his old red suit.
“Drop the sword, Deathstroke, and get the hell out of my city,” Nightwing growls out, trying to act tough. Kid can’t scare me. I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen his Pop.
“Make me,” I say.
I mean it. You don’t mess with one ‘a my jobs, ‘cause if you do, I don’t care if you’re a cop or a mask, I’ll bring the pain. I always complete my contract. After all, they don’t call me The Terminator for nothing.