A/N: Hey guys! Sorry for the wait. You'd think with quarantine I'd have more time lol, but between watching Tiger King and fighting with unemployment, time sort of gets way from you. Anyway, I hope you're all still sane and healthy. I've been getting some writing done and I'm happy to say chapter 35 is officially done... that only took me a year to write. Sooo close to end! I've also made some progress on the Rose Jason story I started a few years back and I'm hoping to start posting it in the next few months. That's only taken me like two years and counting to write. But I'm also outlining a Dceased story that I'm really excited about so let's hope I can finish these stories soon and start working on something else for a while. I do love this story, but I think I need a break from it after part one. I wanna get back into writing horror and maybe do a few one shots here or there.
But anyway I wish all the best and I hope you're all well and safe.
With Love -Ophelia
We Watch the Devil Do His Work
"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you."
The group waited in the apartment, not much being said as tensions were high. X kept looking down at his phone, waiting for a call that everything had gone just the way they'd planned, knowing perfectly well that call might not come. He glanced up noticing Raven looking out the window, deep in thought. Rose seemed upset, her cold nature more apparent as she visibly moped from her chair.
"So Dick, you have any ideas on what to do about Santo?"
Dick exhaled and rolled his eyes. "Not yet, but I saw him at the Iceberg Lounge."
"So you think it's really Cobblepot?" the thief asked.
He nodded. "It looks that way."
"I got a call earlier from a contact. Apparently he's willing to pay some big money to anyone who can deliver his daughter. We might be able to use that?"
"You mean that bitch Raven clobbered?" Rose asked, disgruntled. "I thought you guys gave her a pussy pass?"
"Yeah," Dick groaned at her term of phrase, "we wouldn't actually deliver his daughter."
"So then what do you plan on doing, put somebody else in her place?" Rose questioned in a challenging tone.
"I don't know, Rose. We clearly have more pressing matters to deal with," Dick drawled looking at a pile of weapons and drugs. His mind completely baffled at just how deep they were in.
Rose rolled her eyes. "Well you're the one who wanted to let her go, should probably figure that out."
"Do you have a plan you'd like to share?" Dick asked, knowing that she had a point, but nothing to back it up with.
"No, that's your job, Obi Wan," she replied removed, "I'm just the Padawan, remember?"
"Great, another nickname."
X rolled his eyes. "You guys realize we have more important shit to deal with, right?"
"You mean like the girl you guys let off scot free?" Rose replied, her face red with irritation.
"Rose, we're not trading people for intel," Dick asserted.
"But kidnapping them is okay?" X added a little vindictively.
"Fuck off, X," Rose spat. "The only issue you had with it was because she was a girl, and secondly: Why not? She and her shithead boyfriend tried to kill us and if you hadn't unloaded your fucking gun," she added pointing to Dick, "she would have shot you right in the fucking face. So please, spare me the sensitivity training. That bitch knew she should have been punished for that. Not to mention her boyfriend. Chuckles Jr. had no fucking problem killing his men. I mean do you even remember that, or were you too busy getting shot at point blank range?"
Dick could only glare at her a moment as she laid into him, questioning his leadership, and part of him really couldn't blame her. "Alright, I get it, Rose. You think I fucked up, but I'm not your boyfriend, and I don't kill people."
"Just in self-defense, right?" Rose dared to say coldly.
Dick's face fell, his eyes wide as the words fell from her lips. The hero left utterly speechless.
"Wow," X said, "that was um…"
"Cold," Raven said, glaring back at the girl, who realized she'd let her anger get the better of her once more.
"Shit…" Rose replied a little embarrassed. "Dick, I'm sorry—"
"Whatever, you're right," the hero replied with dejection, not even looking at her. "Either way, we're gonna have to figure out what we are gonna do about Santo, but for now we have Moth to deal with."
"Well we gotta figure it out soon," X added, "cause I don't see the Big Guy dropping any answers on our doorstep."
"Just dead girls," Rose quipped, removing her pack of cigarettes. "So while you guys figure that shit out, I'm gonna have a smoke and throw myself off a bridge," she added motioning to the door and walked out.
"Shit what's her problem?" Mia asked as the tension lifted a bit.
"Something's wrong, she's really scared," Raven added.
"No shit," Dick said stepping toward the door.
"Where are you going?" Raven asked gruffly.
"To talk to her," Dick said, getting ready to open the door. "I'm Obi Wan, remember?"
"Even after that shit she just said to you?"
He nodded. "Yeah, lost kid whisperer, tis my duty?"
"Yeah well most of them aren't within an inch of ripping your head off," Raven reminded as he opened the door.
"True, but we're gonna need her head in the game if we're gonna pull any of this off. Plus she's sort of my responsibility now."
"Yes lucky me."
Detective Bullock looked over at his son, as their plan was about to proceed. The heavy Detective recalled one of the steps seemed a little weaker than the others and figured he'd take advantage of his portly size and began to climb up the steps. He heard the stair give a bit, the stress of his weight definitely strained more than the wood could handle. (Ironically enough, Jason had been bitching at Mutt and Schizo to fix it, but with the recent shit show at hand, everyone sort of forgot… Including me lol.) Still, Bullock stood there, the board cracking slightly, all it would take was one good stomp and suddenly:
"OH SHIT!" the large man scoffed, his thick leg now trapped between the splintered board.
"Oh what the fuck," Hogan groaned and raced to his aid as well as the other officers, the massive Detective acting as a rather bulbous distraction.
Harvey Jr. looked on at the display a moment, unable to fight his embarrassment, also to make sure that everyone accounted for was currently at work to free his obese father. He then turned his attention to the safe again which was still open and began to look through it. He ruffled through folders, quickly trying to read through legal documents, such as deeds and titles, but there was nothing that really showed itself as a red flag, until he opened a manila envelope.
"Desomorphine?" he questioned reading through what appeared to be a chemical analysis.
He could hear his father thanking Hogan for freeing him and quickly shoved the envelope into his shirt and turned away before anyone could see him. Signaling to his father that he'd found something.
His father nodded in approval, a prideful smile filling his beat red face, thinking: We'll show these punks.
Minutes later, Jason stood at the bar, the room itself in complete shambles. Broken glass littered the floor from bottles carelessly thrown about as tables and chairs were left turned over, and that was just the beginning of it. Jason rubbed his temple, a little overwhelmed by the mess and the cleanup ahead, shuttering at the thousands of dollars of profit loss. Not that he wasn't expecting such a result, but it was still a bit hard to stomach. His expression turned from stress to anger as Commissioner Gordon approached him once again.
"The place is clean," The Commissioner said in a low defeat.
"See, told you were you you wasting your time," Jason remarked with arrogance," and Gotham's tax dollars."
The Commissioner looked back at the young Outlaw with a little disdain. "I'm only doing my job, Todd."
"Does your job include destruction of private property?" Jason quipped looking around at the devastation.
Just then Bullock walked up, his leg cut up and bleeding.
"What the fuck happened to you?" the Outlaw asked gruffly, his brow furrowed.
"Oh, I fell through one'a your steps down there," Bullock replied casually, glancing down, "hurts like a son of a bitch too."
The Commissioner looked down with stale concern. "You alright, Bullock?"
"I think it might need stitches," he replied, sitting down as the small gash in his leg was rather painful. "I hope you have insurance, Todd."
Jason glared at the man, his face becoming quite vexed. "If you think for one fucking minute that I am paying your medical bills, you're outta your goddamn mind."
"What my client means is," Kaufman began, "your officers have accrued a costly amount of damage to his place of business and before he can even consider the cost of Mr. Bullock's medical treatment, he would need to be reimbursed for the damages. If you have anything else to say about it, then we can settle the matter in court."
"That won't be necessary, but I would suggest you fix those steps before you have another incident," Gordon said with a smug smirk.
"You mean an incident that is not only completely unnecessary, but also could have been avoided if Bullock wasn't such a fat fuck?" Jason droned bitterly.
"Oh fuck off," Bullock barked as his son came into the bar. "You think'y own this town, you fucking punk, but your days are numbered."
"Is that a threat?" Kaufman questioned, quickly jumping on the issue so Jason didn't have to.
As this was going on, his son left the bar, completely unnoticed, the Krokodil file in tow.
"That's enough, Bullock," Gordon snapped.
"I don't care if he insults your mother, not another word," he ordered and turned to Jason. "You can go ahead and send the city a bill for the damage and Bullock here will pay his own medical bill."
"Good," Jason replied smugly, happy he'd won. "Now get off my property, please."
And with that, Commissioner Gordon waved his police force out of the building, leaving Jason and his cohorts to tend to the mess. Once outside Jim Gordon became unglued.
"What the hell was that, Harvey?"
"Commish that little punk thinks he's above the law!"
"I don't care, Harvey!" he snapped. "Every time you step out of line with him or Grayson you put any potential investigation at risk. And if we are to put together a case to nail Todd to the Red Hood then you're outburst could be enough to prove prejudice and have the whole goddamn thing thrown out."
"But Commish I—"
"Whatever it is, Harvey, I don't care and the next time you have an outburst like that I'm putting you on desk duty, got it?"
The detective's face glared back at him as if a dog ready to bite the hand that fed him. "Yeah, got it."
The Commissioner turned away coldly, leaving the doggish man to stew. The younger Bullock, who'd witnessed the lashing, approached his father, a little wide eyed as he'd never quite seen Commissioner Gordon lose his composure like that.
"Well um that was—"
"Don't." His father demanded and turned to his son, taking his sight off Gordon. "What'd you find?"
His son looked around, making sure no one was paying attention and pulled the folder out. "It's a chemical analysis of a substance called Desomorphine known on the streets as Krokodil."
His father grimaced harder and took the papers out of his hand, looking at it quizzically.
"What do you think it means?" the officer asked.
His father shook his head and pondered, "I don't know, but it has to mean something if they kept it locked in a safe."
"So do we show it to Gordon?"
Bullock's face fell as he silently reasoned. "No, based on what he just told me, he'd probably just throw it away. We're gonna have'ta go over his head."
"A real nasty gash."
Just as this conversation was taking place, a young woman walked by undetected and entered the bar. The door closed behind her, her face showing a desperate conflict as she looked on to the man who still had his back to her.
"We're closed," Jason said hearing the door closed. "You can go get a beer at Lahey's down the street."
"I'm not here for a beer," she replied.
Jason paused feeling a set of eyes on him as he recalled her voice, the texture of its tone familiar in a way that made his blood boil. He turned, the sight of Helena Bertinelli standing there. "What the fuck are you doing here—"
"Wait! Before you say anything, I—"
"In case you haven't noticed, I don't really give a fuck about what you have to say!" Jason spat. "Now get the fuck out of my bar before I kill you in front of the entire Gotham police force," he added coldly.
"Because that wouldn't be incriminating at all," his lawyer said, collecting his things to make his departure.
"You should probably go, Kaufman," Jason replied. "Wouldn't want you to witness me committing a crime after all."
"That would be very counterproductive," the lawyer droned in agreement. "I'll get to filing the damages and call you once everything is ready to sign. But before I go, if I may, I don't know what this woman did to piss you off this badly, but I recommend not killing her, especially in front of law enforcement. I'm good, but I don't think I can argue your innocence before a jury when their star witness is Gotham's own police Commissioner."
"That's a really great point, Arty," Jason smiled sardonically. "I'll keep it in mind while I'm strangling her."
"I really hope you're kidding," Arthur said point blank.
And with that the lawyer left, Helena waiting for the sound of the door to close before pleading her case.
"Listen, I know you told me not to come back here, but I have no place to go!"
"That sounds like a real you problem?"
"You don't understand," she pleaded, falling to tears, "they—he killed Mikey!"
Jason grimaced with an eye roll, he truly didn't care. "And I should feel sorry for you, why? You both tried to kill me? Are you really that fucking dense?"
She glanced up at him at a loss, desperate, she needed his help regardless. "He's gonna kill me too!"
"Good, saves me the trouble and the jail time," Jason drawled with little feeling. "My lawyer will be really thrilled. Now get out."
"Please, you're the only person that can help me!"
"Sucks for you."
"You helped me before!"
"Only because the devil on my shoulder got over ruled by my older brother's halo, you stupid bitch. And in case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly in a giving mood right now!" He paused, glancing at the damage around him. "Now if you're not gone by the time I turn around, you're gonna be really fucking sorry that you and your dead boyfriend even looked in my fucking direction!" he growled as his phone rang. "What Grayson?"
Dick paused a little worried over the Outlaws tone. "Did the search not go well?"
"No it went fine, we're in the clear… for now anyway?"
"Then what's the problem?" Dick asked in concern.
"Unexpected visitor," Jason replied, vexed. "I told you we should have killed her."
"Wait, you mean Helena?"
"Yeah the little cunt's currently pleading for my help, something about daddy killing her shithead boyfriend."
"Jesus Christ," Dick hissed with shock, "Mikey's dead?"
"Apparently so," Jason confirmed. "And she's about to be too if she doesn't get the fuck out of my bar—Don't fucking look at me like that, we're not helping you," Jason added, barking at Helena from over the phone.
"You think she's lying?"
"I don't know and I don't give a shit, but if she doesn't leave in the next five goddamn seconds she's gonna have a bullet in her skull so it won't matter."
Dicks' brow furrowed. "Jason, she can't leave."
"We're not helping her, Grayson. We helped her before and just like I said the little bitch is coming back looking for favors."
"No, Jay. X got a call from a contact, Santo is looking for her. He's literally trying to pay people to deliver her. We might actually be able to use her as leverage."
"No," Jason said, "unless the next words out of your mouth are: Y'know what, JT, you were right. Then I don't wanna hear it."
"She might know something, and this time she might actually help."
"Or she's lying because that's all she's ever done," Jason snapped, attempting to shoo Helena out.
"Even so we could still use her," Dick reasoned. "Don't let her leave we will be right there after we talk to Moth," he added and hung up the phone.
"Dick? Dick? Hey DICKHEAD! FUCK!" the Outlaw exclaimed and threw his burner at the wall watching it shatter to pieces.
Helena looked back at him alarmed, her eyes still glassy as he stormed in her direction.
"Congratulations," he snarled, grabbing roughly her by the arm, "I guess you're staying."
Dick placed his phone back in his pocket and opened the door, stepping out on the stoop. Rose sat at the bottom, a lit cigarette between her fingers as she sat with her back to him and took a drag. He slowly approached her, taking his time as though she were a feral cat whose trust he needed to earn.
"Let me guess: you're gonna bitch at me for burning your ol'man?" she spat over her shoulder, clearly unaware to whom she was speaking.
"It's me," Dick said, feeling the burn on Raven's behalf.
She looked back at him and pondered, unsure what to think. "So it is…"
He nodded. "Yeah…"
"Listen, I'm sorry I said that shit. So if you came out here to tell me how much of a piece of shit I am, then save it. I'm already well aware of that fact."
Dick grimaced, hearing the distress in her voice. "That's not what I came out here to do, Rose."
Her brow furrowed as if she didn't believe him. "Then what'd you want?"
Dick shrugged. "You seem upset; thought I'd see if there was anything I could do to help?"
Her face took on a peculiar look. "Why?"
Dick's brow raised, her chilly tone cutting him like a harsh winter wind. "Cause it's kinda what I do."
Rose glanced away, her brow furrowing deeper.
"If you want your space, I can go," Dick offered, respecting her personal boundary.
Her head turned in his direction as bewilderment took hold of her face.
"Okay, then," Dick concluded backing off, "I'll go—"
"Wait," she blurted, hesitant.
Dick turned back to her, his expression open to whatever she had to say.
Her head swayed, as though searching for something palpable. "I'm… sorry," she finally managed. "I'm just not really used to guys being nice to me… y'know, unless they want something."
Dick smiled in understanding and looked down. "I get that. But I can assure you that I, and don't take this the wrong way, don't want anything from you."
Rose looked down and smiled thinly. "I know."
"Listen," Dick said sitting down beside her, "I know we don't know each other very well, but… if there's something bothering you, I wanna help."
She looked up at him and shrugged taking one last drag. "I don't know if you can?"
"Well we won't know unless you tell me," Dick said in an almost fatherly manner.
"I… I just… I don't know—I'm scared I guess?"
He raised his brow and let out a breath. "He's not gonna hurt you, Rose. I promise."
She laughed and shook her head. "You can't promise that."
"I can try," Dick insisted.
"You don't know him…"
Dick took a deep breath, his eyes drifting away to a distant memory. "Actually, I do," he admitted painfully. "And I'm probably the only person who knows him like you do…"
"What?" Her face fell with an irony, to a deeper despair and distress grew on her face. "How?"
"I used to be his apprentice for a while."
Rose glared up at him, her heart sinking as the pieces began to fall into place. "You? The Boy Scout?"
He closed his eyes and nodded. "He forced me into it, I didn't have a choice."
"So you do know what it's like…" she said weakly and took pause.
He nodded, but said nothing as the two dwelled in their shared pain.
"So how did you do it… how did you get away?"
"I did the only thing I could do," Dick replied, "I fought back."
Dick recalled his short time under the man's nefarious wing, the abuse he faced, both emotional and psychological. The damage it left still lingered with him to some degree. He could only imagine what it was like for her as his own flesh and blood.
"I get the feeling you're still doing that?"
She nodded. "In a way…yeah. I just… I don't know… I don't feel like it's over. And I know this sounds crazy, but… I feel like he's pulling the strings?"
"You mean the search?"
She nodded again. "Yeah—maybe. I mean, it seems like something he'd do: Create a situation in which your opponent would have to forgo their weapons, make them take on a more immediate concern, then, when they least expect it—"
"Strike." Dick concluded.
"Yeah," she nodded, choking back tears in confirmation. "I may not be a match for him tactically, but that doesn't mean I don't know his tricks."
"It's not impossible," Dick agreed. "But I just can't see Gordon making a deal with the Devil like that."
"People change," Rose lamented.
"True," Dick agreed, especially given Gordon's new found contempt for him. "But some don't. Jim may hate me now, but I still think he can't be bought."
"So you don't believe me…" Rose sighed with rejection.
"I believe you," Dick corrected, "or at least I believe it is a concern and it's something to consider. I just think, if it is true, that the Commissioner isn't involved, or at least he's not aware of it if he is."
Rose nodded. "…I just feel like he's been so quiet these last few days, like he's making me wait… and at some point he's gonna make me pay for the choice I made, and when he does… I'm not sure if I'll be strong enough on my own…"
Dick's brow furrowed, he knew that feeling all too well. That constant paranoia that kept him lying awake at night. Feeling as though every threat held a piece of his captor, that every evil intention was somehow personal and a threat to his very freedom and being. He saw Slade in every loss and every win, in every grim face he fought, but what frightened him the most was when he saw him in the mirror.
"My father used to say that the greatest evil that the Devil ever committed was convincing the world that he didn't exist," Dick finally said in a low tone. "Me on the other hand, I think it's equally evil to convince the world that he does. Sometimes the monster under your bed isn't there at all."
"Only sometimes it is."
He nodded at Rose ruefully. She could fight him all she wanted, but she'd forever be bound to him by virtue of her own DNA. Forever betrayed by her very biology. And in a way, Dick could understand that.
"I never told anyone this," Dick began, "but he told me that I reminded him of his son… one he'd lost."
"Grant," Rose said, wanting to cry, but didn't. "He ran away about 10 years ago…"
Dick paused and looked back at her with a face fixed with question. "He said he died?"
Rose looked over to Dick, a sharp expression on her face. "What?"
Dick looked back at her, unsure of what to say, the two at a loss for truth, but before they could speak on the matter any further, three homeless men arrived:
"Well if it isn't the Brat Prince," the fat one said cheerfully, "and whom might the lady be? Woesome is she."
"Why she's the Good King's daughter," the Scotsman said.
"Really?" the fat one quarried, "She's very pretty."
"She is indeed, though it would be unfortunate if she shared the fate of Ophelia," the Scotsman added lyrically, "sleeping in the creek, her beauty lost, drowning in the weeds."
"What the fuck are you crazy old men talking about?" Rose finally asked.
Dick looked at her and shook his head. "And here I thought I was the only one who could see them. Guess I'm not crazy after all?" he added, almost mournful.
"Of course she can see us, lad, she's a Wilson, now ain't she?" the Scotsman laughed.
"How do you know that," Rose asked, however the only reply she received was a smirk. "Lass, you ask a question no man of good faith would ever speak."
"If it makes you feel better they think I'm the Thane of Cawdor," Dick added as he too, had no idea what they were on about.
"What the fuck is a thane?" the white haired girl grimaced.
"Awe but there was no such Thane, nor one of Glamis and certainly not of Cawdor. Just simply the last great Scottish King."
"Yeah I'm not following," Rose smiled impolitely.
"Join the club," Dick added glaring at the Scotsman, a look of recognition finally taking over his face. "Wait…" he said quizzically, "you're the man from the alley?"
"Awe Lad, you finally remembered me, took you long enough."
"That was like 10 years ago," Dick defended as he stood. "I was a kid, I'm shocked you remember."
"It wasn't that long ago. Now 1982, that was a long time ago," the man replied, "but you're far too young to recall that."
"He wasn't even born yet… wait you're not that old, right?" Rose asked with confusion.
Dick shook his head. "No, I'm not," he replied with annoyance and addressed the man again, "But seriously: Who are you and why are you following me?"
"A Watchful Friend," the man replied unscathed.
"That doesn't answer my question?"
The man smiled, "As I said, Lad, you already know. You're smart, like your father."
Dick's eyes widened as he stood. "Wait… you knew my dad?"
The man's grin grew, the scar across his lip pulled thin. "Everyone knew John. It was a shame what became of him, but he meant well."
"Yeah," Dick lamented coldly, staring back at the three men, the secret moments from becoming unlocked.
Suddenly the door opened and the pair turned to find X hovering in the doorway. "Hey, listen I know you two are having a heart to heart, but we got a Moth Man to burn."
"Yeah, just give us one second, okay?" Dick replied.
The two turned, dumbfounded to find the three homeless men gone.
X looked back at the two perplexed, not really sure what they were looking for. "Am I missing something?"
Dick's mouth hung ajar not really sure what to say, luckily Rose replied for them, "Just three crazy homeless men telling tall tales."
X's brow fell, but he shrugged off the claim; he'd heard crazier things. "Okay well… maybe you should ask them if they have a plan?"
Dick nodded with an eye roll and watched the thief go, turning his attention back to Rose. "So um, that was weird."
"That's one word for it," she nodded in agreement.
"Listen, we can talk about this more later, okay?"
She nodded again, realizing this was not the time or place to be digging up the past.
"And Rose," Dick added as they moved up the stairs. "If he comes after you, you won't have to fight him alone: Me, Jason, Raven—hell even Jinx and X, we're all here and we won't let anything happen to you. Okay?"
"Okay," she said meekly, wanting to believe that they would.
Dick grimaced at her tone, knowing she had her doubts about his claim. After all, she didn't know him that well, why would he put his life on the line for hers?
"I mean it, Rose protecting people is what I do and you're no different. I mean I saved Helena and she tried to kill me."
"That's because you're stupid," she sighed as they reached the door. "But I'm gonna hold you to your word if I'm right."
"Deal," Dick said reaching out his hand.
"I'm putting a lot of Stock in you, Chuckles, you better not let me down."
"If I fail you can kill me."
"Don't tempt me."
"Okay, well like X said we have a Moth Man to Burn."
"Well you do, I have a Kitten to skin."
"I was told not to let you anywhere near her."
"We'll see about that, Chuckles."
Jinx had met the four outside Roy's building in Raven's Jeep, as Wally had finished the oil change he promised. She was able to slip out unnoticed, mostly due to the fire hydrant she jinxed with the snap of her fingers. Causing it to burst and flood the street as she slipped away. Like Raven, she wasn't fond of using her powers in public or in broad daylight, but that's where subtlety came into play.
"So what exactly is Moth's legitimate business?" Dick asked as they set out on their task.
"He's in porn," X answered with a toothy grin.
"Wow, that's really wholesome," Raven grimaced at the idea.
"He's not actually in the porn," Rose clarified. "Specifically, he owns a few stream sites," she corrected. "So one of them offers live streams, cam girling. Or as most people know them as THOTS. Kitten pretty much runs the business for him though since she's pretty much waist deep in that shit. Or throat deep if you will?"
"So then if Moth is legit, what are we doing here?" Raven asked, a little annoyed and clearly uncomfortable at everything she just heard.
"Well, there is a little known rumor that he may be engaging in human trafficking and prostitution. It's also no secret that he has a few connected investors. So he might be in connection with Cobblepot and the Russians who decided to shit on our doorstep," X replied.
"All that aside, if we're gonna get any info, we're gonna get it from Kitten," Rose added simply. "She escorts on the side to a higher market clientele, if anyone has dirt, she probably does."
"And you know this how?" Raven countered glaring back at the girl.
"Well, I grew up in my mom's brothel, and I spent enough time at my dad's cocktail parties to know exactly the kinda stupid shit drunk rich men tell hot girls in hope of getting their dicks sucked. Makes it very easy to steal their wallets too."
"I worry for you," Raven replied as they parked down the block.
"I think we all do," X added. "So how do we get in?"
"We can't just walk in?" Dick asked not really knowing the protocol for this one.
"Not really," Jinx sighed, "but one of us should probably stay here as backup/getaway driver. I vote Rose."
"Oh fuck you, Jinx. I actually know just how to get into this place."
"Oh really, how?" the sorceress sneered. "You gonna show the door guy your tits?"
"Well they're not gonna wanna see yours," the girl patronized coldly.
"You better not," X and Dick both scolded like disapproving fathers.
"I'm not gonna show them my tits," Rose assured, making a face.
"Then how are you gonna get in?" Raven finally asked. "Cause I can't just rip open a portal in the middle of the goddamn day? Plus I assume this place is loaded with cameras and I'm not ready to make my porn debut."
"I'd totally watch that," X grinned in amusement, Dick glaring at him like he'd kill him over the thought. "You'd watch it too, Chuckles, don't judge me."
"Well, this conversation got creepy," Rose noted and opened her door. "You guys wait here, I'll text you if I need backup."
"Wait, what are you even gonna do?" X asked following her, wondering why they were even entertaining the idea. "I swear if one of your tits pops out—"
"It's not," Rose once again assured as Dick and Jinx caught up. "Though for a 20 something year old man, you're objecting pretty hard to seeing boobs, which is weird."
"Fuck you, Chuckles objects too," the thief defended.
"Yeah, but he's protective and shit," Rose reasoned. "You on the other hand should be kinda into it."
X glared at her speechless as if she'd just said something unforgivable.
"Just go do whatever you're gonna do, Rose," Jinx demanded, trying to save her last nerve from splintering. "But just know, whatever you do, I'm gonna tell Jason everything."
Rose's mouth fell ajar and she shook her head. "Thanks for the good faith, Jinx, you fucking bitch," she droned as they congregated in an alley nearby the front entrance. "I'd also like to note, that this would be easier if you all just stayed in the car."
"Fuck no," Jinx protested, "if you fuck this up you're gonna need us to bail you out."
"Whatever, just stay here and keep out of sight," Rose seethed and left the safety of the alley.
She walked away from the group who watched from the alleyway, waiting to see exactly what she had planned. She shook off her frustrations and approached the door, a broad man in his 40's standing outside, acting as a bouncer.
"Hi, I'm here to do the live stream with Kitten," Rose said in a slightly more confident voice as she smiled at the tall heavy man.
"Are you fucking kidding me, that's her plan?" Jinx hissed.
The man looked over as if appraising her. "Gigi Gunn?"
"That's me?" Rose smiled and nodded.
The man looked back at her perplexed. "It says here you're Asian?"
"Fuck," X barked.
"I am Asian," Rose corrected, looking back at the man insulted.
"Oh my god," Dick drawled.
"She is Asian," Jinx confirmed, "well half."
"Yeah the whitest looking Asian on the whole damn planet," X added as her white hair and pale blue eyes really did leave her favoring her father.
"Really?" the man replied smugly, leaving the group completely hopeless.
"As a half Cambodian woman that's offensive (it's not, it's hilarious)." Rose added breaking the fourth wall, Frank Underwood style, to X's dismay.
"This is no time for a fourth wall break!"
"I will have you know," Rose continued, turning back to him, "that I bleach my hair this color and these are contacts. If you spent 5 minutes on Instagram you'd know that. And secondly, I don't understand why I have to explain my Asianness to you. Now if you wouldn't mind, I have a job to do. Or do I have to call Walker or Kitten and explain to them why I'm never gonna work for them again."
The man looked back at her, inspecting her further, but withheld any further judgment and steered fast toward political correctness. "I'm sorry Ms. Gun, I didn't know."
"Did that really just work?" Dick asked in disbelief as Rose walked right through the front door.
"It did," X confirmed. "Now let's just hope she doesn't take a sledgehammer to Kitten's head or some crazy shit like that.
Jinx rolled her eyes. "We are so fucked."
The blonde girl sat before her mirror, vanity glaring back at her as she applied her makeup and fiddled with her hair. Her phone rang as she rolled her eyes, reading the name.
"Gigi, what the hell, you're late!"
"Girl, I'm sorry! I'll be there in 10," the real Gigi whined as she was apparently having a shit day.
"You better! I'm doing this stream as a favor to you and if you hold this up for even 5 more minutes, I'm taking your cut—"
"Hey bitch, miss me?" Rose said swinging the door open, interrupting Kitten's epic meltdown.
"Kitten?" Gigi asked. "...Kitten?"
"Hey Gigi," Rose said, taking the phone. "No rush, I gotta have a little chat with Kitten, kay?"
"Who is this?"
"Oh you know me as the bitch who destroyed Kitten's Beemer, so keep that in mind, kay byeee!"
Kitten glared back at Rose, her alarm steeped deep in her eyes as the white haired girl stood before her. "What the hell are you doing here, I didn't do anything—"
"What else? I'm here to brighten your dismal day, of course," Rose said sardonically and pulled a seat in front of the frightened girl. "But for real, I need a favor. And don't even try to fight me on it, you and I both know you owe me."
"I don't owe you shit!" the blonde snapped leering forward.
"You pretended to be me on a rape fantasy hookup site, catfished your ex-boyfriend and sent him to my house," Rose replied flatly.
"No, that was all that crazy bitch Tara! It was her idea!"
"You still helped her," Rose explained. "You told her about yours and Fang's little kink and knew exactly where Fang would go to fulfil said kink."
"I had no idea she was gonna take it that far," Kitten defended wildly. "Fuck, I was the one who warned Jason so he could stop it."
"So what, you want a cookie for growing a soul?" Rose grimaced. "I mean, how far did you think she was gonna take that little charade?"
Kitten shrugged. "I don't know, I thought she was just gonna fake some really embarrassing conversation and plaster it all over social media?"
"Charming that you think that's okay?" the silver girl droned, staring the girl down.
"Fuck you, you destroyed my car and sent your fucking boyfriend to terrorize me—"
"No, I didn't. He was concerned about my general safety since you two Cuntmuffins seemed to be a direct detriment to it," Rose frowned dispassionately. "But that's neither here nor there, you're helping me whether you like it or not. Cause as I recall, you used to be a favorite of Cobblepot's and I need some dirt on him."
"If I do this, do you promise that I'll never see either of you psychos again?"
"You think this is really how I wanna spend my day?"
"Yes or No?" the blonde snapped bitterly.
"Yes," Rose clarified condescendingly. "But if you even breathe a word of me being here, deals off, and I'm gonna cut your fucking tits off and shove'em down your throat. Got it?"
Kitten glared at the assassin's daughter, not expecting anything less. She took out a key and unlocked a filing cabinet next to her vanity, producing a folder.
"Anything you wanna know is in here," she said holding it out to Rose.
She took the file and flipped it open, impressed with how neatly itemized it was. The first page bearing a picture of the infamous Penguin and a list of distinguishing facts about him, including: marital status, sexual preferences, kinks and other sordid details.
"You put a lot of thought into this," Rose murmured looking over the file. "You always this detailed with your Johns?"
"Just the ones with power," she clarified, "I mean I always keep correspondence just in case I need the leverage."
"Smart," Rose admitted and flipped to the section titled: Private Messages and paused as she read the username. "He calls himself the Birdman?"
"Yeah," Kitten confirmed, "is that important?"
"Not to you," Rose replied. "This your only copy?"
"No, I keep a physical copy and a backup on an external hard drive," Kitten said shaking her head.
"Okay, so then you won't mind if I take this?"
"Actually I do," Kitten asserted. "Why do you even need that?"
"That's none of your concern," Rose said and slipped the file in her coat as she stood. "Now don't be greedy, you should know better than anyone what happens to greedy bitches."
"Fuck you, Wilson." Kitten hissed.
"Not even if you paid me," Rose replied dismissively. "But uh, thanks for the dirt and remember, if you value those fake tits of yours, then you'll keep that slutty mouth shut. I'd recommend you keep your legs shut too, but that would take more tact on your part."
"You fucking bitch!" Kitten snapped. "You think you're so much better than me because of who you're fucking! Well guess what! If it weren't for your dad and your boyfriend, you'd be earning the exact same as me!"
"That's fair," Rose replied as she reached the door, "but that's not why I think I'm better than you. And if you can't figure out why that is, then you're an even shittier person than I thought."
And with that, she opened the door, and walked out. A blunt crash erupting from within as she left, Kitten seething with rage as she began throwing a violent fit. A shit eating grin stretched across Rose's face as she lifted her phone and shot Raven a text: Dug up some dirt on the Birdman, meet me outside ASAP.
As this was taking place, the group eagerly waited outside as a young Asian girl was spotted from the other direction.
"Something tells me that's Gigi," X commented as the overly made up Asian girl fell into sight.
"I just Googled her, it is," Jinx said blandly. "This was a shitty idea."
Dick glanced back with a hint of panic. "So should we do something?"
"Like what," Jinx growled, "distract her to buy Rose time?"
X and Dick both looked at each other, the thief saying what neither of them wanted to say:
"You gonna take this bullet or am I, Chuckles?"
"Um, normally I'd say sure, but I really don't wanna fuck things up with Raven any more than I already have. Plus I already whored myself out once today..."
"Well isn't that precious," X droned, "but something tells me clean cut white boys aren't really her thing."
"Yeah this is all you," Jinx added referring to X, "Asian girls love you."
"That they do. Text Rose and tell her to get out of there and if I don't survive, tell Raven to remember me fondly," the thief added as he exited the alley, Dick glaring at him lividly.
He made his way down the sidewalk, trying to blend in as if he'd been walking in her direction the entire time. He looked at his target, dressed rather provocatively, her arms and chest covered in tattoos, even more ink peeking out from under her jean shorts.
This girl is gonna eat me alive, he thought sizing her up and made his move, here goes nothing.
He felt his phone buzz, taking it out and began reading it: Dug up some dirt on the Birdman, meet me outside ASAP.
"What the fuck," he said running into something, or better yet someone. He looked down to find his target glaring up at him with a look of frustration and embarrassment.
"Oh shit, I'm so sorry," he began trying to help her up.
"No shit, you should really watch where you're going," she hissed as he pulled her up: not nearly as smooth as he hoped, but effective nonetheless.
"Valid, but you ran into me too," he smiled, her scowl softening. "You in a hurry?"
"Yeah, I'm like really late and the bitch waiting on me is about an inch from having a meltdown," she replied, moving toward the door, X trying to slow her down.
"Sounds like you're having a shitty day."
"You have no idea," she said over her shoulder and hurried on.
"I'd like to, you wanna go out sometime?"
She smiled back at him, clearly interested, but still played it hard to get. "I don't know, I don't usually go out with guys I randomly meet on the street."
"Well we did bump into each other so maybe it's fate?" X smiled as the group looked on in some disgust and awe.
"Oh please tell me she's not gonna fall for that shit?" Rose said, emerging from the alley.
Dick and Jinx looked back at her, relieved she wouldn't be caught.
"OH thank god," Jinx sighed just as Raven pulled up and the group filed into the vehicle.
"Where the hell is X?" the empath asked, noting his absence.
"Romeo is currently spitting game at a hot Asian," Jinx said with an eye roll from the backseat.
"Um, is now really the time for that?" Raven grimaced, as she was clearly not in the know.
Dick shooting back, "Why do you care?" earning himself a playful swat from the driver's seat.
"Keep that shit up and I'll make it my business to care," she smiled with warning.
"So what's your name," X asked as she made her way to the door.
"You can call me Gigi," she replied over her shoulder and addressed the door man, "Gigi Gun, I know I'm late, hopefully that bitch Kitten hasn't cut me from the stream yet?" she added looking back at X.
The door guy looked back at her and realized he truly had been duped. "God damn it!"
"What?" Gigi asked with confusion as the man lifted his walky-talky.
"I have a Code 5: intruder is a young female in her early 20's, white hair, blue eyes, she also claims to be Asian but she isn't—"
"Hey asshole! I am Asian," Rose remarked, opening the door to the Jeep. "Hop in Casanova," she added as the door guy nearly shit himself looking back at her. "Sorry Gigi!"
"What the fuck is going on?" Gigi replied as X practically dove into the car.
"Um sorry, Beautiful, it's my ride," closing the door and rolling the window down, "but for real, if you wanna go out, I'm game!"
"Wait! How do I find you—I don't even know your name!" she called from the sidewalk.
"Name's not important and I'll find you!" X called out the window as Raven punched it and they drove away.
The empath looked through the rearview mirror, noticing the door guy throw down his clipboard. The pretty girl still watching as the Jeep drove away, confusion bestowed on her face. It was then Kitten slipped out and began screaming at the door man and Gigi, presumably for being late and possibly even accusing her of being involved.
"So um what the hell just happened?" Raven asked, noticing the two girls cattily fighting with each other, Gigi giving Kitten a rather good slap across the mouth.
"That was fucking awesome!" Rose giggled at the sight of Kitten getting her daily dose of Karma.
Raven noted Dick also chuckling as he'd probably consider doing the same thing when she cuntingly forced him into going to prom with her.
"I know this is gonna make me sound like an asshole," X began smiling wide at Rose, "but I love how much you ruin her day!"
"Yeah it's a hobby of mine," she replied with a toothy grin, "and it paid off this time. Check this shit out."
She then produced the folder, Jinx snatching it from her hands. Though it was clear by the look on the sorceress's face that she wasn't ready for what she read.
"What the fuck kinda sick shit is this?"
"The kind perfect for blackmail," Rose smiled, "and it proves Cobblepot calls himself the Birdman. Check out his username."
"Oh shit," Jinx said reading the name and scoring over the correspondence he shared with Kitten. "Oh shit… That's um..."
"A boner killer, yeah," Rose confirmed, finishing Jinx's thought.
The sorceress immediately closed the folder and asked if anyone else wanted to give it a read.
"I'd sooner eat my own vomit," Raven declared deadpan as she neared an intersection.
Jinx smirked and looked over at Dick, holding it out.
"I don't think my constitution could handle that," he protested, his face clearly dismayed.
X nodding in agreement. "Yeah I'd rather slam my dick in a car door, then give myself my very own vasectomy."
"Ouch," Dick whined, but honestly felt the same.
"We should totally troll Jason with it," Rose suggested mischievously.
Dick shook his head with warning. "No his day is already ruined, I don't think he could handle whatever is in that folder."
"Seriously," Jinx agreed. "I mean that shit made me blush and I've seen a lotta porn."
"And you used to wait tables topless," X added, earning himself a glare full of venom.
"When the fuck did you do that?!" Raven exclaimed, practically slamming the brakes at a red light.
"What the fuck, Raven!" Jinx hissed. "You trying to kill us? And it was when I worked at the Iceberg Lounge, after I got out of Iron Heights, but I don't really like talking about it, okay?"
"So that's why you had to sit that one out," Dick replied sheepishly. "But yeah, totally got it… Does Wally know?"
"Of course he does," she grimaced meanly, "so you don't have to tell-on me, Boy Scout."
"I wasn't gonna."
The tone in the Jeep grew awkward as everyone sat at the red light uncomfortably silent.
"I almost let kitten talk me into cam girling once," Rose finally said, trying to lighten the mood, "but I chickened out…"
"Shut up, Rose" Jinx snarled.
"Okay…" Rose agreed, but couldn't quite keep her mouth shut. "So I guess there are people out there that do wanna see your tits?"
"Can we just leave her here?"
The group arrived back at the bar and Raven opened a portal to retrieve those left behind, each person stepping out, taking note of the mess gathered around them. Dick had mentioned that Jason had a visitor, but before he could reveal who it was the girls made their way through the back entrance.
"Oh thank god you guys are here," Jason droned, stepping over broken glass, leaving Helena right in Rose's sights.
Her face immediately fell, as if a cat ready to rip into a prospective mouse and she snapped. However, it should be noted that there are two types of Rose Wilson snaps: there is the very well known, unhinged outburst and then there's what happens next:
Rose said nothing as she zeroed in on her prey, her mind calmly driving her madness in Helena's direction as Dick and Jason began to bicker about what to do, X complaining about the current state of the bar (referring to it as "Alcohol abuse") and Raven taking a break after closing the portal.
"Hey bitch," Rose called as she finally reached the unguarded Helena, the girl turning her head in Rose's direction and SLAM!
Helena screamed as Rose practically buried her fist in the girl's face and began hitting her repeatedly, startling everyone as they dove into action.
This was the kind of Rose Wilson outburst that you did not want to be on the other side of, strictly because this outburst was personally motivated. And to trifle with her in this state pretty much meant she would completely dismantle you (or your car), possibly even kill you. Which is why it took both Jason and Dick to hold her back like a thrashing shark.
"LET ME GO!"
"No fucking way!" Jason panted, "I can't afford another dead girl on my property!"
"Then I'll drag her ass out to the steel yard and kill the bitch there!" Rose growled, trying to break free.
"Holy shit, how is she this strong?" Dick groaned, confused as to why he was actually struggling to hold back a 115 pound girl.
"She has altered human biology," Jason heaved, dragging her into the kitchen, Rose clawing to get away.
"What?!" Dick questioned pulling her passed the doorway.
"I'll explain when she calms down," the Outlaw huffed and shouted for Dick to close the door and guard it.
Jason let her go and she turned to him, seething as she screamed, "WHAT THE FUCK, TODD!"
It was then he backhanded her rather hard, not that she couldn't take a hit, though Dick reacted like she couldn't. But Jason learned rather quickly sometimes violence was the only way to get her attention.
"Fuck!" she scoffed, the blow stopping her cold in her tracks.
"You done?" he asked as she seemed to back down like a dog who'd been smacked on the nose.
She nodded. "Yeah, sorry."
"It's okay, she deserved it," Jason reasoned, earning himself a disapproving glare from his elder brother. "What, she totally did, I'm just making sure my girl doesn't go to jail over that bitch."
"Aw that's really sweet, Todd" Rose whined as Dick shook his head.
"You two are fucked, stay here," he ordered and left the room, moving into the bar.
He arrived to many different faces staring at him, some more frazzled than others.
"Rose done having her shit fit?" Jinx asked as both Raven and X reluctantly consoled a sobbing Helena, broken and bleeding.
"Yeah," Dick drawled looking at her handy work, considering Helena lucky she still had a face at all. "She alright?"
Raven looked up at him and sighed, "Other than a broken nose and a possibly fractured cheekbone, yeah, she'll live."
"Oh fuck," the hero scowled at the sight of her battered face. "Can you reset it?"
Raven smiled cynically. "Yeah, but it's gonna hurt… a lot."
"Do it and um… take care of her cheekbone," Dick replied and walked back into the kitchen.
He took pause at the scene, Jason cleaning the scrapes on Rose's knuckles, his manner gentle as he carefully wiped each scrape clean. Reminding him of a moment he had once shared with Raven.
"Can I have a minute with her?"
Jason looked up as Rose glanced back. "Why?"
"Cause you asked me to train her and her training starts now," Dick asserted.
Rose looked back at Jason, giving him a please don't leave me alone with dad look. However, Jason knew this was par for the course. He regretfully shook his head and stepped away, but stopped just before leaving.
"Go easy on her, Dick. She's had a really rough hand."
"All of us have, Jay."
"Exactly my point," Jason reminded him, then pushed the door open adding "Fuck, you sound like Bruce," and left, leaving Rose to get acquainted with her new mentor.
"What the hell was that?" Dick asked with disapproval, wasting no time.
"Um... I just came unglued and beat the shit out of a girl," Rose recounted not even looking at him. "I thought that was pretty obvious?"
"No shit," Dick droned sardonically. "But why?"
"Cause she deserved it."
"That's not good enough, Rose," Dick sneered unforgivingly. "You're gonna have to give me more than that."
The girl's face fixed into a deep grimace. "Okay, fine!" she barked condescendingly. "Because I'm angry and I can't help it—"
"No, that's very clear," the hero asserted. "What I want is for you to explain to me why you think you have the right to beat someone within an inch of their life?" Dick challenged.
"She tried to kill my boyfriend!"
"Um I don't trust her."
"Because she might be working for her father! Or My father! Is that what you want?!"
"Almost!" Dick snapped back. "Why do you think I'm mad?"
She paused at the question and scowled angrily. "I don't know, I have no idea what you fucking think—"
"Don't give me that horseshit, Rose!" Dick interrupted with vexation. "You're young, not fucking stupid! Now, why am I mad?"
"I don't know! Because I lost my shit and you think I shouldn't have to hit her like that?"
Dick looked back at her, her moral compass skewed, but deep down she knew what she did was wrong, she was just used to justifying it.
"Do you think what you did was wrong?"
"Yes… no… sorta… probably not," Rose stammered, not really sure what to think, the brainwashing somehow beginning to break down, "but she'd have probably done the same to me..."
"What you just did was wrong, and you need to understand that," Dick reasoned. "You can't just hurt someone because of what they might do."
"I don't care, Rose! You could have killed her!" he spat, "And I know that part of you doesn't care, but part of you does and you need to reckon with that. You're not just some street girl, Rose! You're dangerous! And you can hurt people. Now I'm not mad that you hit Helena, I'm mad you forgot how capable you are of killing her!"
"But I can't help it! It's in my blood! Literally!"
"Well you're gonna have to help it, starting now," he reprimanded in a paternal tone. "I don't care how deeply whatever hatred and anger is seeded in you. You're gonna have to learn to keep it at bay if you want me to train you, because I am not gonna be responsible for a shit show like that. I am not gonna make you more dangerous than you already are."
"What do I have to do then?" the girl pleaded in confusion.
"Take responsibility for the fact you just bashed that girl's face in."
"I am not doing that," she protested, arms crossed with a pout.
"Then I am not training you," Dick replied and turned away.
"That's not fair!"
"It's completely fair, Rose," the hero frowned sternly. "You are my responsibility now and if you want me to teach you everything I know and make you better than your father, then you're gonna have to change, and you're gonna have to grow up."
She looked up at him as if a little girl being chastised by her father, though she was more ashamed than resentful as he continued.
"I know your dad fucked you up, but you CANNOT act like a little girl forever, and you are far too old to be this much of a brat."
"I'm not a brat..."
"Oh, you're a brat," Dick confirmed with a nod. "You just threw a tantrum and took it out on that girl's face."
She finally sat down and hid her eyes. "I guess I'm more fucked in the head than I thought," Rose sighed as Dick sat down beside her.
"No you're not, and I get it," Dick replied, taking his tone down. "I've been where you are and it's hard, and honestly, it's probably worse for you, you're his daughter. I'm sure you partly got here seeking his approval.
"And look where that got me," she breathed, at a loss, "and it's still not enough."
"It never is for men like Slade," Dick noted, "but you can't let that drag you down, not if you don't want to be like him."
"That's the thing…" she began as tears welled up in her eyes, "I did wanna be like him, even before I knew him…"
"That's normal," the hero assured. "I wanted to be like my father so badly, and when he died, I strived to become the father I had, but along the way... I lost sight of who I am. I'm still trying to figure that out."
"Is that how you became Nightwing?"
"Yeah, being Robin meant being too far in Batman's shadow, Nightwing on the other hand, that was a fresh start."
"Until you killed Rancid?"
"Yeah," Dick breathed woefully, "now I'm just a stain on the League's reputation."
"But it was an accident."
"Doesn't matter," Dick sighed. "I took a life, that was wrong."
Rose paused as she glanced back at him, her own conscious in question. "I kinda wanted to ask you something?"
"…Rancid… You don't have to answer if you don't want to."
Dick glanced back at her perplexed, but somewhat fearful. "What?"
"Um… Johnny Rancid, he uh… well, let's just say aside from making my life a living hell, he kinda ruined my reputation…" She took pause a moment, Dick looking back at her bewildered. "I know that to someone like you, this will sound cold, but… I'm not sorry he's dead… Does that make me a bad person?"
Dick looked back at her a little torn. Though part of him knew that she'd probably suffered greatly at his hands, he also could not allow himself such contempt. If only for the simple fact that Johnny Rancid, though vile, was still a person. But still, he chose not to judge her.
"Not necessarily. I'm told you're not the only one with that opinion… but that's not my judgment to make."
Rose smiled meagerly and shrugged off her self-pity. "He hurt a lot of people. Most far worse than me."
He nodded, still holding his judgment at bay, though this time not for Rose, but for Rancid. Yes he was not kind nor noble, and he could not bring himself to pretend, even for a moment, that he owed him any sort of respect. But to justify killing him? That was a cruelty he was not ready to dowel out. Even if to many, that cruelty was warranted.
"It's hard to see the humanity in some people, I guess…"
"Maybe there wasn't very much to begin with?" Rose added to Dick's somber tone.
He nodded to her again, and turned. He knew she didn't care, but to hold her accountable would also have been cruel. She had enough guilt, adding this burden would only make it harder to bare.
"Do you think it makes you a bad person?"
"No," Rose replied, "but I'm also not convinced I am a good person?"
Dick grimaced, but to simply affirm whether she truly was or not wouldn't make much difference. She'd have to come to that conclusion herself.
"Well, if it makes you feel better, I struggle with the same thing," he reasoned. "I know Rancid wasn't a good person, but I still struggle with the fact I killed him. Even if I didn't mean to, even if everyone thinks it was justifiable? I have to live with that, and it's not easy."
"I know," Rose sighed, "I have plenty of blood on my hands too."
He shook his head and glanced up at the ceiling, taking pause. Wondering how deeply corrupt Slade had to be to turn his own daughter into a killer, little more than a weapon to wield. "So how do you sleep at night?"
"Half the time I don't, that's probably why I drink so much."
He looked away, the sound of her confession driving his hatred for Slade a little deeper. For if a father could infect his daughter with such evil, then how could he even look at himself in the mirror? How could he call himself a father?
"Listen Rose. You're young and you don't have to be this. You don't have to be like him and I can help you, I promise."
Her brow creased and her tears fell as she wrapped her arms around him, the way she always wanted to embrace her father. The gesture took Dick by surprise, but he returned the hug, offering her comfort.
"You really think that?" she asked, her face buried in his shoulder.
"I know it, but you have to believe that more than I do. Okay?"
"Okay," she agreed with a nod and began pulling herself together. "And don't tell anyone that I cried. Jinx would have a field day with that."
"Secret's safe with me, Rose," Dick laughed, her demeanor feeling less heavy. "But sometimes it's okay to cry."
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't."
"Pussy," she smirked playfully, but Dick still felt the burn.
Minutes later when Dick and Rose finally left the safety of the kitchen and entered the bar, they found Raven getting ready to reset Helena's nose.
"You ready?" Raven asked, placing her thumbs on each side.
"Is it gonna hurt?" the girl asked, bracing herself for what was to come.
"Yep," Raven said and pushed it back into place as the girl howled like a wounded animal.
"FUCK! I wasn't ready!" she whined and grit her teeth from the pain.
"That was the point," Raven said emotionlessly, "and frankly, I didn't really care."
"And honestly, none of us do," Jinx added coldly as more blood seeped from Helena's nose.
"Well this day just went completely tits up," Jason commented as he turned to Dick.
"Like your fucking goldfish you forgot to feed," Dick agreed.
"Yeah poor Freddy didn't stand a chance. I don't know why Alfred bought me that thing?"
"Lapse in judgement," Dick replied, recalling Alfred's failed attempt to help Jason understand the moral implication of responsibility. Needless to say, even that struck a casualty. "Poor Freddy."
Jason glanced away and shook his head. "So how did things go with you two?"
"Good actually, unlike you there's a shred of hope," Dick smiled condescendingly. "Now what do you have to say for yourself, Rose?"
"Oh fuck," The girl sighed, clearly not happy about what she'd previously agreed to do. "Helena, I'm um… I'm sorry I kicked your face in."
"Fuck you, you crazy bitch!" Helena scoffed with blood on her lips, Rose looking back at Dick not sure what to do or say.
"She doesn't have to accept it," Dick reasoned, "point is, you took responsibility, good job," he added with a pat on the back.
"Is me wanting to kill myself normal?" she asked with deep annoyance.
The Outlaw glared back at both of them, but said nothing regarding the awkwardness. "So what's the plan with this one?" he asked, removed from the bludgeoned girl he could have given a shit about.
"We hear her out, see what happened and go from there." the hero replied. "I mean she wants our help, right? We're not gonna give it for free."
"But what if she's playing us," Rose added. "I mean, I know I'm not exactly the arbiter of trust here, but I don't think we can trust this bitch."
"I think Rose has a point," Jason agreed. "I mean, she hasn't exactly been anything other than a damn thorn in our sides."
"And tried to kill us," Rose smugly added with an eye roll.
"And that's why we have to talk to her," Dick reasoned, "If she's lying Raven will pick up on it."
"Okay," Jason said, thumbing his nose, "you and Raven stay here and sort through her bullshit. I have a meeting and I'm taking X and Jinx with me, Rose you're coming too."
"What meeting?" Dick asked as Rose glanced away knowing exactly what meeting he was referring to.
"It's nothing important."
"Only it is," Dick retorted. "You do know this whole trust thing goes both ways, right?"
"Yeah and that's why I'm keeping you out of the loop, for now. So trust me, you don't wanna know."
The hero glared back at the Outlaw and knew exactly why he'd gone over his head. "You're meeting with them aren't you?"
Jason glanced away and said nothing.
The hero grimaced and shook his head in frustration. "Y'know, Jay. I get it, you're gonna do what you're gonna do, and I get why you want me to sit this one out, but that doesn't mean you need to lie to me about it."
"Well maybe I didn't wanna listen to another one of your fucking lectures," Jason defended.
"Well I hate to break it to you, but you got one anyway."
"Shut the fuck up Dick and don't make me regret not killing this one," Jason said pointing to Helena.
Dick Glared at him, his anger and distrust boiling on his face
Jason paused and shook his head "I got this."
"I hope so."
The Outlaw scowled and motioned for the door. X and Jinx both sighed, filing out one by one, Rose looking back at Dick like a daughter who'd just betrayed her father's trust. The hero nodded to her in understanding and shrugged, silently telling her it was okay and to follow suit.
Raven looked and waited at the table with Helena, who was still trying to catch her breath.
"You mind telling me what that was about?" The empath asked as the door closed.
"Yeah, but not in front of her," Dick replied and stepped toward them and Raven nodded.
He looked down upon her face, bruised and bloody, her eyes glassy as she tried to appeal to his better nature.
"So what happened and why are you here?" Dick asked the girl.
She glanced down and attempted to collect herself. "M—Mikey and I, we did what you said… We got out of Gotham and we made it to Blüdhaven, we… we checked into a motel under fake names and paid in cash. Mikey called his uncle in Chicago, he said he'd help us and that all we had to do was wait while he wired us some money for plane tickets," she paused a minute, trying to keep herself composed, Raven and Dick both glancing at each other as she continued. "We just had to wait it out one more day," she began to breakdown into sobs, her face falling into her hands, "and... he killed him, my father killed him..."
The scene was rather heartbreaking, Dick had to admit, but it was Raven's still face that left him wanting. The empath glaring at her with a void look, like maybe she didn't believe her.
"I don't know what to do—I have no place to go. If my father finds me, he'll kill me too!"
Raven got up and walked away, her face still sour as she walked into the hallway, Dick watching her as she went.
"You believe me right?"
Dick looked at the sobbing girl, her face pleading up at him, but he wasn't really sure what to say. The hero in him wanted to trust that this display was true, but his new found cynicism was reluctant to do so.
"Hey everyone, what's going…?" he heard Wally say as he entered the bar, "What the fuck happened here and where is everyone?... Do I even wanna know?"
Dick glanced over at the speedster, the redhead glaring at the devastation with confusion. "Do me a favor and watch her."
"Who?" Wally replied looking up with a lost expression.
"Helena—Watch her," Dick ordered and followed Raven out of sight.
"Who the fuck is Helena?" Wally asked, stepping forward and noticed her face, "And what the fuck happened to you?"
She glared at him a moment, not really sure what to say. Wally standing there lost in the shambles and lack of context. Moments later, Dick reappeared, Wally staring at him, hoping for answers.
"Dude what the hell is going on here? And why does the bar look like a warzone—did somebody die?"
"Not now, Wal," Dick said as he stood in front of Helena. "Now what is it that you want? Why did you come here?"
"My father!" she snapped in frustration. "I need you to help me kill him!"
"What the fuck?" Wally barked, still confused.
"I'll explain it to you later, now go drink a beer."
"Way ahead of you," the speedster snapped as he cracked open a beer he snaked from the floor and began chugging it. "Holy fuck."
Jason pulled up to the bar, parking his bike around the back as not to be seen. He silenced the engine and pulled off his helmet, running his fingers through his hair.
"God I missed that," Rose said, removing her helm as well, missing the freedom she lost with her wrecked Harley.
He smiled at her and stood. "Well maybe when this shit dies down we can go for a ride, maybe look into getting you a new bike?"
She grinned as she snaked her arms around him, his hands finding her waist. "Sorry I lost my shit back there," she said with a frown.
He glanced away, but he couldn't really blame her. It's not like he'd never done anything like that before. Ever. "Don't worry about it, that bitch had it coming. You only did what I wanted to."
"Are we actually gonna work with her?"
"I don't know," he said with a furrowed brow. "But if it helps us in the long run, we might have to."
She took a deep breath, she didn't like the idea, but she had to trust him now, or at least enough to see what direction it took them. Better yet, she had to work on being a less volatile person.
"Okay," she sighed
"I know this is hard for you."
"I'll live," she said kissing him.
He stood there a short breath, living in that moment, as if coming down from a rather bad high, relieved. He took her face in his hands and kissed her deeper, as if it were the first and last time.
Jinx and X pulled in beside them, X rolling down his window to complain, "Y'know nobody needs to see that shit, right?"
"Yeah," Jinx added, "we came here to make a deal, not a baby for fuck sake."
Rose giggled as Jason rolled his eyes, flipping them both off, X glaring at him as he didn't appreciate the gesture.
"Seriously, if you two keep acting like cats in heat, I'm gonna have to break out the garden hose."
"Zap collars might be funnier," Jinx suggested vindictively with a wicked smile.
"Yeah I just broke some bitch's face, so I'd like to see you try," Rose threatened.
Jinx gave her a condescending glance, shaking her head. "I just might if you keep mouthing off, you little slu—"
"Jinx, don't," Jason scolded. "Today is not the day for this shit," Jason warned as they entered the bar.
The lighting was dim even as it gleamed on the dark wood that made up the shelves and bar spread.
X glanced over and looked toward the bartender who'd signaled that he would be right with them. "What can I do y'll for?" he asked, slinging a towel over his shoulder.
"We're here for a meeting," Jason replied, "Cas told me to give you this," he added, handing the man an envelope.
The bartender took it and opened quickly counting the money and glanced up to the group. "In the back off to the right," the bald man said quietly.
"Thanks man," Jason replied and shook his hand.
They moved toward the back and turned to the right where a private booth waited, a blonde man waiting with three rather scruffy bikers. He glanced up and immediately recognized Rose.
"Well look who grew up to be as pretty as her mom," he said standing up to hug her. "Christ, I haven't seen you since you were a kid!"
"It wasn't that long ago," Rose laughed, "it was only three or four years ago. How's Mora and the kids?"
"The O'l Lady's good, keeping my ass in check. This you're Ol'Man?" Casper asked between drags of his cigarette.
"Yeah," she smiled and introduced them.
"Good to meet you, man," the biker said and held out his hand. "It's nice to finally meet the man behind the Hood. You've certainly been giving Gotham's underworld a run for its money."
Jason accepted the hand shake with humility and replied, "Good to meet you too, thanks for taking the time."
"Don't worry about it, hopefully we can help each other out. Now why don't you take a seat? Drinks are on me?" He then signaled for the waitress. "What's your poison?"
"Beer's fine," Jason replied.
"And for the ladies?"
"I'm good with beer," Rose nodded.
"Fuck that," Jinx asked, "can I get a real boozy Whisky and Ginger?"
"Well she doesn't fuck around," an older biker with stringy hair hummed as he ashed his cigarette.
"That I do not," she replied with a half-smile seeped in a chilly tone.
The waitress nodded, collecting the rest of the order and set out to deliver their drinks. Doing so promptly as to not overstay her welcome.
"So, Rose mentioned you were interested in doing business?" Casper asked as the waitress fell out of ear shot.
"Well," Jason nodded. "As I'm sure you're aware, Jump is up for the taking, and I wanna be the one to take it. But I recognize I'm gonna need your help and from what I understand, we have a common enemy?"
"Last I checked, you worked with that enemy," Casper said tapping the ash from his cigarette, "and I don't mean any disrespect towards your girl, but you're sort of sleeping with the enemy too?"
"I'm not working for my father anymore," Rose explained, "and I have no intention of ever doing so again."
"Rose is working with the Outlaws now," Jason confirmed, "and as for Slade, well, he's currently working on cutting me out. He even arranged to have me clipped: The Italians and possibly Cobblepot. So I'm building alliances elsewhere."
"So Jump is your insurance policy?" Casper nodded as the waitress arrived with their drinks.
"Partly," the Outlaw confirmed, waiting till the woman finished her job and left them once more. "I'm also looking into taking over the North American gun trade, which would greatly benefit you since Slade has sanctioned anyone from selling your organization big hardware."
"So we help you, you sell us that hardware?" Casper surmised.
"Pretty much," the Outlaw affirmed, "I have high level contacts, including a direct one in the League of Shadows: they secure the weapons Slade moves for the Irish. If we play our cards right, I can convince them to cut Slade out."
Casper leaned back and took a drag of his burnt cigarette. "Not that I'm not interested, but you do realize what you're talking about will start a full blown war?"
Jason shrugged and nodded to X who sighed and straightened his back. "That's not inaccurate, but there's been talk on the street that the great Deathstroke might be an informant for the feds."
"Can you prove that?"
"Not yet, but it makes sense," X continued. "Before Slade got into dealing arms and managing the Drug Trade, he was strictly a mercenary. And he didn't just take contracts from the underbelly of society, he took'em from the top too, and if we all know Slade as well as we think we do, he probably asked for a hell of a lot more than money."
"You think he used his skills to secure favors?"
"And immunity, yeah," X finished
"He still takes those really big contracts," Rose added, "you do the math?"
Casper's mouth became unhinged in thought, knowing full well what happens when you trifle with the Red Right Hand. "So if what you're saying is true, how do we know he won't just cash in some of the favors and fuck us all over, just like he did last time?"
"We put the word out on the street that Slade's a snitch, and offer them the same weapons for a reduced price, and take away a good chunk of his profit line, we can shift the power dynamic," Jason concluded. "Suddenly, Slade has less money, less sway and no info."
The Biker looked back at his fellow MC Brethren with a skeptical look.
"Listen, I know this is not a simple cut and dry plan, but the Horsemen are getting killed by Slade and it's only a matter of time before he comes for us too, and I think we both know pretty damn well that either way we are living on borrowed time. If we don't make a move, he will, and we're all going down anyway. At least this way, we go down with a fight, and maybe take a bite out for the next guy who dares to fight against the boot on their neck."
"I'll consider it," Casper replied, knowing every word Jason said was true, "but I'm gonna have to bring it to the table for a vote and reach out to the Jump City Chapter. And if they agree, we can move forward, but I'm gonna need a few favors in return if I'm gonna get them on board, and frankly, make this worth it on my end."
"Like what?" Jason asked, expecting a trade.
"Since Slade won't sell us guns, we're not exactly equipped to protect ourselves or the inventory. That includes my guys out in Jump, they'll need to be armed too."
"If you need guns, that's not a problem. I have a personal surplus I have to move. Everything from Russian sniper rifles and M16's, you name it, it's there and I'm willing to give it to you for a fraction of the cost."
"And how much hardware we talking?"
"At least 30 grand for the firearms alone, I can sell it for 10. I'm gonna need something to cover the loss. As for your guys in Jump, I'll reach out to my contact and see if I can arrange a deal."
"Sounds fair, but I'm gonna need one more thing."
The Outlaw looked back, knowing the guns were just the tip of the Iceberg. "What else?"
"The Horsemen get a piece of Jump and since I have a feeling we'll be the ones assuming most of the risk, I'm gonna need at least 75%."
Jason smiled. "That's not happening, I'm the one who's putting their life on the line to get the guns, and I'm taking a huge hit gifting those guns. But I do recognize the risk and I appreciate it, but there's risk for both of us. So 50, that's fair. And it's a hell of a lot more than we get from Slade."
"I don't mean any disrespect by this, but you don't have anything to bargain with," Jason replied evenly. "I'm here out of respect for you and your club, because I know you have a personal stake in this matter, but to be honest, I can take this deal and go to whoever I want. So if I were you, I would take the number I gave you and think about it before you get greedy, especially since I know you're about to ask me for one more favor only The Red Hood can deliver on."
Casper glanced away, he'd heard the Red Hood was formidable, and so was he. He also knew the Hood had the power to crush him and his club if he saw fit.
"Word on the street is The Red Hood used to work with a certain vigilante, is that true?"
"If you mean the Bat? Yeah."
Casper nodded and continued. "I'm sure you're well aware of what happened in Jump?"
"You want retribution for Rancid?"
The biker leaned back taking one last drag of his cigarette. "I'll be honest, I wasn't a fan," he sighed. "I personally looked at Johnny as a trader, but he was still a patch member and as long as I wear mine I owe it to my club to see to it that the man who took his life pays with his."
"You want me to deliver Nightwing?"
The biker nodded. "If you can deliver, I'm sure I can get my crew on board."
"If I deliver?" Jason smirked, "I can assure you I will. But I'll only deliver if The Horsemen are on board, no negotiation. You want Nightwing, then you're gonna have to be all in, and you're gonna have to do it for half, and that's me being more than fair. Especially since you and I both know the hero did me and Rose a favor taking out Rancid. You should be counted in that."
Casper put out his cigarette and reached out his hand. "I don't disagree, but that doesn't leave this room. But I'll bring everything we just discussed to the table and I'll let you know in the next few days what the final decision is."
"I appreciate that," Jason replied and reached out his hand, "thanks for taking the time."
"You as well," Casper said, "and not to get ahead of myself, but I think we can make this work."
"That's encouraging," the Outlaw replied, "I'll see what I can make happen."
"We'll be in touch."
Casper offered to walk them out in a show of good faith. He hugged Rose goodbye, teasing her like he had when she was a kid and mentioned that her mom would be proud of her. Jason noticed the weak smile that stretched across her face. Recalling how little she talked about her mom, but there was something deeper troubling her, and he knew exactly what it was.
They watched, not budging as Casper took off with his crew, leaving the Outlaws to themselves.
Rose turned to Jason immediately and asked with alarm, "You can not be serious?"
"Man, you cannot sell Chuckles out like that," X confirmed with concern and panic.
"No, of course not," Jason frowned. "Christ, just cause I say I'm gonna kill him doesn't mean I'm actually gonna do it. Or better yet, let Grayson die for a piece of shit like Rancid, fuck."
"Then what are we gonna do? Casper's not gonna work with us unless you hand over Nightwing," Jinx added with vexation.
"Exactly," The Outlaw agreed. "Casper said Nightwing, but he has no idea who Nightwing is."
"So what? We gonna switch Chuckles out with some poor asshole?" X asked with a confused gesture.
"That's exactly what we're gonna do," Jason confirmed, not bothered by the idea of letting someone die on Dick's behalf.
"But like who?" Rose asked with a grimace.
"Originally, I was thinking that idiot Mikey."
"That's perfect since he's already fucking dead," Jinx drawled disapprovingly. "Plus what if they wanna know who the guy he offers up is? This could be a far harder sell than you think!"
"Yeah, or what if they start doing the math?" Rose added. "I mean, I figured out Dick was Nightwing without really having to think about it, at all?"
"I think that's a rather good point Rose just raised," X agreed, "if they figure out you lied that could end badly... For all of us," X warned his furrowed brow
"I know, but it won't," Jason reasoned. "We just have to find someone who's a total scumbag and completely deserves whatever Casper and the Horsemen plan to do."
"While also resembling Chuckles just enough to pass for Nightwing. That'll be easy," X added sardonically. "That being said, too bad Mikey's dead, that probably would have worked… Do you think they'd accept a dead Nightwing?"
"Yeah let's go find him and dig him up," Rose patronized.
"Yeah, cause it's not like none of us have ever done anything like that before," X mocked back.
"Either way, "Jinx said through grit teeth," I don't think that's gonna work, "but whatever. I guess we're gonna have to begin the search of a faux Grayson? Let me just bump that one to the top of the list of reasons why I'm going to Hell."
"Well we're all going with you, so Jinxi won't be alone," Jason smiled impishly. "It'll be a party."
"Oh good…" Jinx smiled meanly, "I hope you get slipped a Quaalude and get date raped by the Devil himself."
"Does Raven's dad actually do that?" X replied.
"Shut the fuck up."
The young officer stood waiting by his lonesome, his father receiving medical attention for his earlier injury. A car began to approach as the headlights rolled up, his eyes squinting as the Black Ford pulled up before him, sporting government tags.
The window rolled down, a shadowy figure sitting just out of sight. "Officer Harvey Bullock?" a rather deep feminine voice questioned.
"I'm Agent Waller, I was told you have something for me regarding the Red Hood?"
"Very good," she replied, reaching out and plucking the folder from his hands. "I'll be in touch if I need anything else."
"Anything else?" Harvey asked, not knowing the Devil he'd gotten in bed with.
"If anyone asks, this conversation never happened. And if you say otherwise, then that could end badly for your career or life, your choice."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Hopefully you'll never have to find out," she smiled wickedly. "But let's just say we wouldn't want your father to be ashamed."
He watched the car drive away, it's headlights vanishing into the dark, the officer contemplating if he'd truly made the right choice or if he'd simply opened a box never to