Birds of Prey Chapter 10: Shattering Jan 28, 2015 16:24:06 GMT -5
Post by adrini on Jan 28, 2015 16:24:06 GMT -5
Birds of Prey
Chapter 10: Shattering
The room was loud with excitement and laughter. Though the show had not started yet the area was packed, empty seats were few and far between. In the ornate auditorium was most of the cities officers, elected officials and the pretty people waited for the show to begin. It was friday night, the big one. The whole underworld had shown up to see the star attraction, Black Canary, in her best battle yet. Ticket sales would later show it was the largest turnout in the history of the show.
Behind the scene things were less rosy. Tall, very thin and angry Roulette was pacing the under tunnels. Her eyes were slitted in sheer frustration as she saw the guards standing at attention.
"Care to run that buy me again?" She said sharply, glaring. "I don't think I heard you right."
The guards looked at each other and shifted their feet. Pulling up the floor length dress from the floor Roulette stormed down the hall and looked in the room herself, eyes quickly glancing around the space.
"I know she didn't walk out so someone tell me how this happened!" She hissed, her stiffly set black hair shaking a little.
The men never had to respond, a good thing for them, as they all heard screaming from above. Roulette cursed and dashed up stairs, only to gasp at what she saw.
In black and red Batwoman was taking out her bouncers, the men falling to the ground as the fighter advanced to the center of the room. The veteran fighter was taking out the last in the current bunch, a bruiser that should have lasted longer when she spotted the club owner. The red heads eyes were cold, but sharp.
Taking the hint she ran to the exit, one of several she put in, but found it sealed. Around her the other guests were franticly trying to escape as well. It was only then that she understood the gotham based vigilante hadn't come alone.
Barbra Gordan was under the stadium running though tunnels. Over her she heard the screams of terrified attendees, below she heard the cries and sobs of people she could actually bring herself to care about.
The hallways were large, almost expansive. Yet the nearly endless stalls were overwhelmingly filled, most with at least one terrified teen. It was going to take forever to figure the people here out, but she still hadn't seen anything of the person she was looking for.
"This is-" Babs heard as Zatana rounded a corner, not far from tears. "I covered the two wings over there, no sign."
"Four more to go then, she's here somewhere." Zatana nodded and started down the next path, where guards were opening doors, the bad guys Kate and Jade had wondered about began coming out, eager for a fight. "And now we know."
"Time for the other half of the battle." Batgirl responded and rushed forward. Zatana stayed behind and took her common long range position.
The bruisers were standard fare for 'haven, and having been pitted against kids for so long they were also over confident. The first one took a simplistic throw at her and was surprised when he was easily tossed. The second took some of a hint but still went down with a rudimentary kidney punch. The last of the three grabbed a spiked baseball bat only to have it used against him. Brawls made street things lazy.
"I assume you can get the rest of these kids out?" She asked the tux wearing woman behind her.
"Work of a moment." Zatana said happily, muttering a few words before opening the doors, a few heads stuck out but nothing else happened. The hall was quiet, no one moved.
"I know you're scared, but help is coming. The main room in the center has been cleared out, go there and help - real help- will be here soon." Babs said, Zatana was already hurrying to the other areas to open more doors.
It took a few moments but one person, a young asian teen, slowly walked out.
"Who are you?" She asked, shaking. "Why are you here?"
"To help." She said, then swallowed. "And find a friend, if she's still alive."
"Who?" A second person, a kid of maybe nine joined the conversation. "Meta or fighter?"
"Both, the headliner." She said, steeling herself. The news might be terrible and she knew it.
"They're friends of Di, it's safe." The two girls smiled weakly and relaxed, motioning to the other cells.
"Seems she got around." Zatana said, walking back. There was a crowd of kids behind her who were also talking about the lost hero.
"She did her best." A young man said, he was badly battered and would need help. "Whatever that was. Taught us a few moves, tended wounds, helped us hone our gifts. Got in trouble for it but never stopped."
"Past tense." Babs said, the new reality just sinking in. That she had died a heroes end was fitting, it was a legacy that suited her. Zatana only closed her eyes. "We're too late."
"I hope she can get help." One teen said, late teens. "They, they hurt her, bad. It was personal."
"Wait, where is she?" Zatana asked, grabbing onto the comment. Babs was still busy trying not to think about what had occurred here. "She's alive?"
The hall went quiet again, the kids looking at each other. Finally the young man spoke again.
"We don't know." He said, upset. "They caught her trying to get a few of the younger ones out and dragged her away, already had the needles out. She never screamed, but-"
"We could all hear it, it went on for hours, shook the walls. She was just blood and gashes when they dumped her in her cell again, didn't move or anything." The asian teen said when the kid couldn't keep going. "A couple people came for her yesterday. But we don't know if it was to get her out or-" She stopped talking herself. "-you know. Help her find peace."
"She meant a lot to us, she couldn't do much but what she could." Babs nodded, it was exactly what her friend would do. "We're sorry we don't have more to tell you."
"Main room." She said, motioning to the kids as Zatana finished the last of the locks. She looked at the woman. "Kate isn't going to like this."
The kids, most already roughed up, put the truly hurt among them on blankets to be carried and headed to the waiting area. The two winced as they saw the 'young ones' Di had been trying to save, while just as hurt as the others they couldn't be older then five.
Kate had never seen her companion use her talon nails before, though she knew she had them. Jade, or Cheshire really, wove through the crowds of thugs leaving fine lines of cut skin that quickly swelled and turned red. Following after Kate easily took out the weakening men. They were all a distraction of course, the real target was running just up ahead in a silk gown and heels.
Leaving the convulsing men behind, Jade hadn't told her what solution she had chosen to go with, the two hurried after to catch the long awaited prey. When they reached the office Roulette was in the corner with a small pearl handle handgun.
"She's not here." Roulette said, the finger cool as she looked at the two. Kat's suit could take the bullet but aside from a few tools Jade's wouldn't. "Take your party and go."
"We both know that's not going to happen. You'd say anything to keep your star." Jade said, walking forward. "Hand her over."
Taking the cue Kate pulled out a gun of her own as Roulette fired two shots, each deflected with a thick bronze wrist guard.
"She's gone!" The woman half screamed, frustrated. "There is no one for you to rescue!"
"Actually yes, yes there is." Zatana said as she and Batgirl hurried into the room. "Almost a hundred kids down there, all hurt and we saw a mortuary oven on the way up. It explains the-"
"-Lack of bodies showing up." Kate's rage for a moment was mixed with grief. Kids who, even in death, would never go home. "And Di? Speak again bitch, I will cut you."
"She's telling the truth, or part of it." Batgirl said, Roulette was aware that the angry red head wanted nothing more then to kill her and didn't say anything. "She left recently, a couple people carried her out yesterday. We saw her cell, she's not there."
"Oh no." Jade looked at them, tears forming. "You can't mean-"
"We don't know." Barbra said, eyes burning with her own rage at the owner. "This one had her tortured, the kids say it went for hours and they had no idea if she was alive after. He cell was plastered in blood, floor and walls. Maybe she got help, maybe-"
Jade lost the tough facade and Zatana was there as she began to shake with tears, her worst fears confirmed.
"Maybe she was beyond. They didn't know. They just know she was a hero to them, kids barely out of diapers." Barbra walked to the computers and worked to download the information. "But this woman ordered it, and I won't actually complain if you take her out. I might even watch."
Kate grinned widely, considering what exactly she wanted to do. Now shaking Roulette was aware that she was facing not only Batwoman and Cheshire but friends she had been barely aware they had. Kate concidered for a moment then grinned even wider.
"Chesire, come here." She said, Jade looked up and her features went dark. "A little fun is in order I think. And she has such a pretty, perfect face. What is among your funner potions?"
"Something fitting, I think." Jade said, one nail being dipped in the bright green container. "She likes dragons."
James Gordan had been pulled from Gotham by the current DA for a mission that didn't make any sense. A number of young Gotham kids had gone off the grid, but Gotham being what it was that was sadly common. It was only once he arrived that he knew why he was there.
Nearly every member of the top class of 'Haven was in the club, judges, officials, even most of the cops. Leave it to this place to make Gotham look good.
"Almost processed, sir." Said an eager officer, he grinned at the sight. "Just a few more."
"Good. Long time, Officer Montoya, how have you been?" She nodded professionally and grinned slightly for a moment.
"It's 'haven. The kids are downstairs, we're still calling in EMTs." She pointed to a small service stairwell and they two walked down. "A number of the kids are going to have issues for awhile, a handful from now on."
"Meta's?" He asked, he knew Roulette.
"Each and every one. Guess she thought that here she could get away with it." Renee led him into a center room where a sea of kid were being treated, some painfully young. After their ordeal they should have been crying, but they were all quiet. "Trauma, sir. They've seen too much. It'll take time."
James sighed but shook his head, some things you never got used to. When you did it was time to go home.
"There are a few more things, sir. You know the reason so many were here tonight of course." She asked and he nodded, a hero he had a sneaking suspicion he knew. "The lead cell was at the end of the hall, and mess, but it was empty. Then we found this."
The large iron door was in the back of the rooms and several forensics officers were there putting down flags and taking pictures.
"At least sixteen sets of remains so far. They aren't done yet." Renee said, looking down. It was hard to look at the blackened remains. "What do we do, sir?"
"Where is she?" He forced himself not to react to the sight.
"Up stairs, under guard, sir." Oddly Renee had an ironic look on her face. "We weren't the first ones here."
At the office James Gordan smirked. Roulette was out cold, but the left side of her face was a very well executed art motif of the local hero team.
"I'm sure her cell mate will love it, bring her in."
It had taken less then one look for the attending to grab the blanket wrapped young woman and rush her into the emergency room, he hadn't even waited for a gurney. A small army of other medical personnel followed after. That had been hours ago, several hours. Yet Adrien was still in the reserved hospital room alone, waiting for word.
Now having seen that she was being helped and away from the horrors of those tunnels Adrien was processing what she had seen and heard. She could only assume what occurred in that hell, but she knew what she had seen. Young Miss Lance, as hurt as she was in the ride over, was still fighting. After everything she still wanted to try.
The tv in the room told Adrien why, several reporters were standing in front of a renovated opera house where they were talking about the take down of the brawls. Ambulances were loaded as quickly as they were showing up, the majority of those being carried were children, some very young. The list of those charged with taking part of these brawls was staggering, it was every leader Adrien knew in the city. 'Haven was showing it's full colors. The long time hero hadn't been fighting for herself, but for the innocents she knew needed her. Sadly she hadn't been able to save them all.
Almost every leader, the thought ran circles around her head. The leaders and crooks of 'haven and Gotham were linked, had been for ages. Miss Lance wouldn't be safe in either, she needed somewhere else. A place away from all this, where the Roulettes and 'haven cops of the world wouldn't be able to touch her. Somewhere remote and unknown. A chance to recover and work though what she had lived through. Preferably a place she could be checked in on, to make sure she found her way out of the struggles that were to come. It wouldn't be an easy road.
The door opened and a few medical staff slowly wheeled in the much better looking form of Dinah Laurel Lance, once again resembling the picture in the files Adrien had memorized. The stitches were visible but she was resting peacefully.
"She'll be out for awhile, but her physical wounds will heal." Said the exhausted doctor as she was moved into place. "She's a Meta, so that will help, they tend to heal fast. You registered her here. Are you family?"
"Family friend, she lost the last of her blood family last year." Adrien hoped it was only a lie for now. "How is she?"
"Physically, she will heal." The explanation seemed to be enough. "The rest I can't say. We found evidence of assault, torture, malnutrition, I can't tell you what kind of shape she'll be in. But I am going to heavily insist she get help, this isn't getting better without it."
The last of the equipment got set up and the lights were dimmed, leaving the two of them alone. In that light, looking at the scars of the bone thin patient Adrien knew what she had to do. Once she was on her feet she could come to Queen Manor, but until then she needed to hide. She needed to get help, and give it.
She needed Africa.
The boxes were heavier going out then going in, or so it seemed to Jade as she loaded the last of the things she cared to keep into the car. Thomas was off on business, but that had become the norm. It just wasn't a norm she was willing to deal with anymore, not when there was more at stake.
It still wasn't real yet but she had come to accept that Di was gone, she had died a hero, but died none the less. It had taken almost a two weeks to come to terms with the idea. A few months from now she would hear that they had found what was left of her in the incinerator. Or not, this was 'haven. They might just cover it up, either way she wasn't coming back. Neither of them were, the real haven in this hell hole was over. It was time to move on.
The halls and rooms she had run away from so long ago hadn't changed much, and she tried not to think about her past life here. The sweet cheery smoke that always could tell her where her mother was drifted into the air and she looked into the center lounge to see the ever elegant Lady Shiva resting and taking in a moments rest.
"You knew, it's why you didn't want me looking." Jade said as she walked in and leaned on the frame. "You knew she wouldn't make it."
Sandra stood up and in a show of real affection pulled her daughter close for a moment.
"I suspected, but I hoped I was wrong. Please believe that I am so sorry, I know she was a friend to you." Sandra said, actually upset. Jade understood, any teacher hates loosing their star student. "What can I do?"
"More then you think, actually." Jade laughed dryly. "I moved out, still have a room or two?"
"Or two?" Sandra said before her eyes got wide. "I, but, I had no idea-" She hurried to put out the smoke.
"Nor did I, till a few days ago. I just, well, there's no where else to go." Jade shrugged. "And if either of us are going to make it we have to stay safe somehow. You're a good bet for that. I can't loose anyone else."
Sandra nodded and this time really held her daughter close. Loosing people was something she knew too well.
"You won't have to. Lets get you settled in and talk nurseries." She led then both into the hall ways. "I'll all work out, you'll see."
Kate hadn't called for over a week. In that time all Renee had heard of her lady love was reports of business meetings and financial reports. Secrets of deals in back rooms in the dead of night. Yet for her not one phone call. The least she could do was send a break up text.
But for now all there was to do was take each day as it came. As Di still hadn't turned up it could only be assumed that she was one of the charred remains they were still digging out of the building. There wasn't much reason to think otherwise now. That cheerful thought in her head she grabbed one beer, then two more and planted herself in front of the tv for a night of drunken MMA watching. It had become her new hobby.
The knock on the door was welcome, the food was here. However once there she saw Kate instead, carrying a very large duffle bag and purse. Slightly buzzed, Renee was confused by this.
"Told Dad to eff off, took official claim of my part of the company, took what I wanted from the pent house and came here. Di was family, the birds were family, you are family - but that bastard is nothing of the sort. And I said so." The red head said simply. "So either I move in with you or I'm homeless till I find somewhere else. At this point I'd prefer the first but I can take either. I'm just done."
"Um, okay." Renee said, moving out of the way. That did explain the absence. "That works."
"Beer, perfect." Kate said as she unceremoniously dumped her bags just inside and took her old place on the sofa. "And good call on the fight, ten bucks says he uses the thunder leg move in this one, it's his thing now."
"Only if he's turning cheap, it's getting old". Renee smiled, somehow the world was right so long as she had her girl sipping beer at that exact spot.