I'd like to thank ruthrod97, Willow D'Forest, FireHawk2400, roy23, Violently Red, Icpham, xxxSojournerOfTruthxxx, ChristinatheHobbit, Pegasi1, RDFitzy, evilpetal, and NuclearRogue for favouriting and following.
Sairey13: That is the question, isn't it :P? And Bruce's response will be in the 4th Chapter, and it will get a lot more complicated.
soccernin19: Thanks, and I was hoping to channel some emotions into the chapter, I'm glad it worked.
Broken Antler in Winter: The suspect is in the fourth chapter :)
REBD: that will be revealed in this chapter.
Disclaimer: I do not own Young Justice. Why Greg, why? Couldn't I have bought it from you? I wouldn't have cancelled it.
Sirens wailed through the streets of Gotham and its inhabitants slept on. Wails, screams, gunshots, sirens…they were normal occurrences for its citizens, and they slept on. No one peered out from behind closed blinds as the ambulance sped past their house. Parents and couples didn't share worried glances as they speculated the trouble. No, everything was as quiet as a mouse in all houses.
They had no clue of the immense struggle going on outside their doors.
Inside that speeding ambulance, paramedics were trying to keep a dying boy breathing, and to keep his companion from tearing out their throats.
An oxygen mask had been fitted over the pale, thin face, and several hands were attempting to stop the last bits of the boy's blood from leaking out of his abdomen. Two more hands were holding the hysterical redhead back.
"Is he breathing? Is he? Have you checked? You should check," Barbara Gordon strained against the arm that was wrapped around her shoulders.
"He is, and we're doing all we can, sweetie," the woman said softly.
"That's not enough! I-"
"Listen, girl. The more you talk, the more time is wasted. Sit down and shut up before I make you!" One of the men trying to stop the bleeding sent her a death glare.
Barbara Gordon shut up and sat down.
There was one long minute of silence as Barbara stared at her friend. She knew about his 'extracurricular activities' and she had never really viewed him as someone to protect. She had always seen him as Robin, and her best friend. Not a victim, never a victim. But now…
He was so pale, and she had never realized before tonight haw small…tiny…he was.
How could she have let this happen? How could she not have known in some kind of bestie-sixth sense? Your friend's in trouble, spider sense starts tingling. Or something like that.
She watched the heart rate monitor spell out the slow and erratic heart beat of her friend. Beep beep…a wait for the next one…even more waiting and a tinge of worry…beep beep beep beep…and then an even longer wait. She caught herself holding her breath at each pause, silently praying for the next beat, and the next one afterwards.
Suddenly merely talking seemed like a crime.
"Um, excuse me?" she whispered very softly, but there was no response.
She didn't dare try again. Distracting them at a vital moment and killing her best friend was not an option. She slowly raised her hand, but lowered it almost immediately.
"What is it, girl?" The gruff paramedic broke the silene.
"I, um, I don't meant to get in the way, but…can I please…"
"Just spit it out."
"Can I please hold his hand?" It all spilled out of her mouth in a garbled, hurried thing.
He gave a small smile at that, and she almost jumped at the shock. She was that riled up. "I'm not going to stop you. He's your friend, after all…and it might help. It's better when they have something to fight for."
Barbara reached out tentatively; everything seemed so much higher stakes now, so much more to risk once you thought about it. She slipped her fingers around Dick's cold ones and held on tightly. He didn't squeeze back.
Don't give up, Dick, don't give up.
The commissioner sighed and rubbed at his eyes behind his glasses. He had been worried that there would be no evidence and that the murderer would escape, but…there was a breakthrough. It was a surprising find, one that James had never considered looking or hoping for in a thousand years. They had found a security camera in the alleyway.
That was rare enough: most storeowners didn't bother to guard their loading zones (though most probably should, as that was where many thieves struck). But this one was in mint condition, very good quality. It would catch the criminal in the act for sure.
Now all he had to do was access the feed to find out what happened.
"Sir, we've contacted the owner of the building, and he didn't know that the camera was there. He doesn't have the video, or any way to access it."
All of James's thoughts went up in smoke. How could he do his job now that there were no leads? If there were no leads, the investigation would just be scrapped, and then he would have no chance of getting that murderer off the streets.
"Yes?" James turned to his lieutenant, who was looking up at the camera in shock.
He followed his gaze and saw what was causing the extreme look on his friend's face. The camera had turned to look at them, and it had revealed a crest imprinted on the side. A stylized bat.
"Jeff…light up the bat signal. We need to look at that video recording."
The case wasn't lost yet.
"Move, move, move!" The doors to the emergency ward were flung open and a stretcher was wheeled through as breakneck speed. "He's going into cardiac arrest. I need paddles primed, stat!"
Doctors and surgeons raced after Barbara Gordon's best friend, and she was stuck watching Dick disappear into surgery.
And she couldn't even follow. She was stuck in a chair, waiting.
"Miss, are you family?" A nurse walked up to her with a note board.
"I'm a close friend."
"Do you know his blood type? Or someone who does know?"
"He's AB negative."
"Thank you, Miss."
And she was left alone again.
She tried to be patient, to have faith in the doctors and in Dick. She knew she should sit quietly, that riling herself up would only make her state of panic worse. But she couldn't, she couldn't when all she could do was strain to hear any shred of sound coming out of the room.
There were the calls for instruments to be brought, for more thread, two more blood bags, more light. They were normal, and it was good to know that the surgeons were doing their job, that they were patching up Dick.
He would be okay. He was Dick Grayson, crazy acrobat and mathlete extraordinaire. For him to be gone was the world to stop spinning and for all reason to cease to exist. It just couldn't happen.
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppp. She jolted up. She knew that sound, it was bad, it was very bad. She heard the yell for the paddles to be charged and she heard the sickening zap.
Barbara had to see him. It was a non-negotiable. She raced for the door, dodging a couple of startled nurses.
When she got into the surgery room she almost threw up on the spot. His shirt had been removed and his wound had been half-sewn shut. White skin contrasted to ugly, black thread, and dark blood oozed out from between the stitches.
The worst part was the sickening thu-thunk of the paddles being applied to his chest. His torso jolted up like he was a marionette being pulled by its strings and his head lolled to the side.
The part that did it for her was the smell of singed flesh. She ran out and emptied her stomach contents in a nearby potted plant, tears sliding down her cheeks.
She felt hands pull her hair away from her face and guide her to a chair. A woman with kind eyes and nurse's smock held her as she sobbed and hiccupped and just let everything out that she had been holding in tonight.
In the surgery room, the call to increase the charge rang out, and the long beep continued.
Bruce Wayne sighed and forcibly directly his eyes back to the stage. He hated the opera house, and he hated the reminder of that night. Even walking to the theatre was painful; he had to pass by that alleyway and it just brought the memories back with so much clarity.
He had actually been lost in that moment when he passed by the spot, and he had stopped for a moment to catch his breath. He had had to stop all the images from flooding his eyes, to slow his heart rate.
His date had been as ditzy as ever and had started yammering on about some odd thing, he had no idea. All he saw were his parents falling to the ground. All he heard was the gunshot, his mother's pearls shattering on the pavement.
"Brucie, aren't I right?" He had shaken himself out of his thoughts to see stupid Vicki staring at him. She had that look on her face, the look that he had encountered many times in women. It said 'you'd better agree with me or you're sleeping on the couch tonight. Agree, I'm right, even if I'm wrong you'd better say I'm right.'
So he did.
He laughed with her and kissed her cheek. "Of course, Vicki, dear." He linked arms with her, "Now, let's go see that show, shall we?"
So there he was, trying not to scream as the opera singer howled on about love and sacrifice and heartbreak. He hated it, he hated it. He hated Bruce Wayne. He wished he could just put away all of his feelings and become Batman.
It was during intermission that several calls came. One was from Alfred, saying that the camera he had placed in the alleyway, the one where he had lost everything, had picked up strenuous movement and that the bat signal was blazing the night sky and had been for the past half hour.
The other phone call came five minutes later. It was from the hospital.
Thank you to Sairey13, Violently Red, Moth165, PeaceLoveNINJA, sharyvargam, Lavendersalamander, and RollingUpHigh for voting for my Disney princess story.
If some of my other readers would take a few seconds to vote, it would be greatly appreciated.
To gollywog76: I get that some people might not want to read the Disney princess story, and I understand your reasons why, but there is no way that I am not going to write and post the story. And yelling at me will not change that. I would have been fine with all of your disagreements, except for one comment you made that I have to answer to. Referencing the "Gay Seal meme" and saying that the idea was gay is really insulting, and I am very upset about that. Gay isn't an insult, it is something that someone is that should not be taken as derogatory. That is called cyberbullying. You can say that you don't like an idea without inserting insults in.