I don't own Nightwing or Batman or the Titans. That's all DC and I'd really like if they let me just play with the brilliant characters they have. So, thank you in advance.
And to the readers, THANK YOU a million times for reading. I love you all.
p.s. sorry for the typos, I'm writing this fast and don't go back to edit. Also, sorry for the gaps in updates, things got super busy and the inspiration for this was MIA for a bit.
It was dark when his eyes finally opened. He didn't know where he was, what had happened, why his head pounded or why everything felt too heavy to move. A heart monitor beeped above him.
A nurse came in to check his vitals and smiled when she saw his sleepy, confused gaze on her. "Welcome back."
He tried to speak, but he had no voice.
The nurse held a glass of water to him and he drank it through a straw. The water was a miracle on his dry throat.
Finally he managed a weak, "Where?"
"Gotham General. I'm going to get your doctor."
Dick was exhausted, but he fought to stay awake. He wanted answers to the questions in his head, he wanted to know why he was there, he wanted to know what had happened. A doctor came into the room with a smile. Dick wondered why everyone smiled when they saw him.
"I'm doctor Stevens, you're at Gotham General. How are you feeling?"
He didn't know. "Tired?"
"That's understandable." The doctor shined a light in Dick's eyes. "You have been in a light coma for the past week and a half. Do you remember what happened?"
Dick's obvious questions didn't seem to bother the doctor. "Yes. Can you tell me your name?"
"Dick Grayson." He was at least sure of that.
"Good. Do you remember what happened?"
He tried, he really did. "No." That worried him, he had always had a fantastic memory.
"That's all right, it may come back in time. Can you tell me the month?"
It seemed to be a lot of work to think. "November?"
"Good. How about where you are?"
"A hospital." He paused, it seemed like he was just told which one. "I don't know."
"Gotham General." The doctor noted something in the chart. "I'd like you to take my hands and squeeze. I want to make sure that there is no weakness on either side of your body."
Dick took the doctor's hands and squeezed. He didn't realize he was so weak, it took a lot more effort than he thought it would. He was getting tired.
"Good." The doctor smiled again. "I'm going to let you get some rest and then ask you some more questions later. All right?"
"Sure." He sighed. "Doctor?"
The doctor Stevens met Dick's eyes. "Later, get some rest."
WEEK AND A HALF BEFORE.
Dick arrived home in once piece, though he could hardly stand straight for his dizziness. He turned on his window air conditioner and prayed as it sputtered to life. He let the cool air wash over him for a moment before he went to the sink and poured himself a glass of water. He drank it slow because it still hit his stomach like lead.
He stood at the counter and kept drinking water until the dizziness was simply replaced by weariness. He eased onto the couch and leaned his head back. He didn't mean to fall asleep, but he was before he knew it.
He woke to the room darkening around him. He felt better, strong enough to make an appearance as Nightwing. He had to do something, he never was one to stay at home. Not when there was a city to save.
By the time he had pulled on his Nightwing uniform, darkness had settled over the city. There was no cooler air to go with it, just hot night smothering everything. He could hear televisions, fights, conversations, music from the endless open windows. Window fans and air conditioners tried their best to fight against the heat, but they couldn't win. The city would have to wait it out, would have to suffer through until it finally broke. It would only get worse until it broke.
He swung in and out of shadows and felt the hot air rush past him. A confidant smirk on his lips as he did what came so easily to him. Sure, being a cop was good enough, but Nightwing didn't have to stay within the lines of red tape and procedure. All he had to do was stop the criminals, any way he could.
The flashing red and blue lights caught his attention, lights without sirens. He perched on top of the next building over. Seven police cars were circled around the front door, officers were armed and ready for a shootout. Chief Addad stepped from behind a car with a bullhorn. A SWAT truck pulled up. Dick looked for a way into the locked-down building.
"Kevin Anderton, this is the Bludhaven Police. Release the hostages and come out with your hands were I can see them." Addad had to try, even though he knew it would never work.
Dick noted that there were hostages and knew his job just got a little harder. He remembered Kevin Anderton, was a drug dealer two years ago and sort of slipped off the radar since then. Apparently he had bigger plans. Dick wasn't sure if the situation was a drug deal gone wrong or if it was something worse. His gut told him it was something worse.
A silhouette passed in front of a window only Dick could see, so he knew that there was at least one person in the room away from the street. Chief Addad was handed a phone and then a gunshot rang through the night. Dick didn't wait any longer, he swung onto the roof of the building and climbed in through the roof access door.
If he listened closely, he could hear faint voices. Two floors down if he had to guess. He silently moved down the stairs, ready for anything. Getting caught by surprised wouldn't save anyone.
Dick found the first body near the door of the landing. The girl couldn't have been more than fourteen. She had been shot more than what was necessary. He closed her eyes and wish he had been there sooner. The blood was already congealed, so she had been dead for a couple hours already. She was half dressed in a tank top and pink underwear. He wondered what exactly Kevin had been up to.
Dick slipped through the door, glanced back at the girl once and whispered "I'm sorry" before he slipped into the hallway. Only a few lights were on, and it cast deep shadows in the hall. He could work with that, but that meant that he'd also have to make sure nobody else was using the dark to their favor.
Paper had been taped over the window, all except for one small corner. When Dick looked through, he forgot how to breathe for a moment.
Kevin apparently had moved up from selling drugs, he was selling sex now and he catered to a very specific group of people. None of the twelve girls in the room were over the age of fifteen. Something cold slipped into Dick's stomach and he burned with fury.
"…Anderton, we will be calling you and you will need to pick up the phone. There is no reason for anyone to get hurt…" Addad's voice drifted in from the street.
Dick knew when it was time to call in some back up. Kevin was smart and never worked alone, so that meant that some of his goons were lurking somewhere. Their absence from the room did nothing to ease Dick's anxiety. He typed his coordinates and a brief summary of the situation to the one person he knew would be there.
He just hoped Barbara Gordon wasn't too wrapped up in any other case.
He turned to move further down the hall. The lead pipe came out of nowhere. Kevin was smart and he only used the best. Dick saw stars as he spun his fist into the attacker's face. The man dropped to the floor and Dick felt blood drip with the sweat down the back of his head. Dick blinked his vision clear and moved down the hall. He was in over his head and he knew it.
Dick took out three more guys and was no closer to saving the hostages. His head throbbed with ever heartbeat and he was damp with sweat. He was slightly dizzy and didn't know if it was the heat or the head wound. Another gunshot echoed through the building and Dick's heartbeat increased. He was running out of time and there were very few options open to him.
A door opened not too far away. "Take it out, dump it somewhere out of the way. And keep in mind, that's what happens when you try to run."
After years, Dick still recognized Kevin's voice. Dick stayed in the shadows, invisible.
A girl, thirteen maybe, dressed like the girl he found in the stairwell, staggered out into the hall. She was dragging something wrapped in a blanket. Silent tears ran down her cheeks. A small hand fell from the blanket wrapped blanket.
Dick's blood ran cold, too late again. He slowly stepped from the shadows. The girl was too scared to be startled and as soon as she recognized Nightwing's uniform, she ran forward and wrapped her arms around his waist.