Apologies for my guilty pleasure of Tim cursing using Batman's name and all other bat-related things :D
I own nothing.
"SILENCE!" The word rang through the air even before the loud crack and I was torn between the look of pure anger on Clark's face and the sight of Dick falling over backwards towards the ground.
I couldn't believe it. Clark had actually hit Dick. Superman had lost his temper and backhanded Nightwing across the face.
Bruce was going to kill him.
It wasn't even over anything good. I—more than anybody—completely understood how annoying Dick could be at times. He was my older brother for Batman's sake. Dick was pushy, and he that every body needed to be mothered twenty-four/seven, and don't even get me started on the cuddling; but all he'd done was overrule Clark's order for Kon to fight alone by pairing the two of us up together.
We were a good team. There was no reason we shouldn't have been fighting together. A fanging batdamn space army had been invading, and we were more effective together than we were apart.
I knew the Supes had serious egos and senses of self-worth (I dealt with Kon's on a nearly minute-basis sometimes), but really? Clark was that batted off over this?
Not to mention the fact that he hit Dick.
Clark liked Dick; more than the rest of us—especially more than the rest of us. He hated Bruce with a burning passion (again that whole ego thing); hated Jason more because of his troubled past; and he hated Damian even more than that because Damian had the audacity of being better than him and Kon at just about everything, and he was only eleven. Clark's opinion of me was a little more complicated than just conflicting jealousy and respect because of Kon, but it was still more negative than positive because of my association with the Bats and the birds. His feelings on Dick actually went beyond hate, distrust, and a begrudging respect, though. He liked Dick. Thought he was a good person. Trusted and liked hearing his thoughts on things. Frequently told the rest of us we should be more like him and asked me and Bruce on several different occasions why we weren't. And he'd hit him.
Clark had actually hit Dick.
What the bat?
Dick hit the ground with a loud thud as he faltered and it felt like I'd been punched in the gut—hurt more than any other blow I'd ever taken. I knew it was irrational: despite Dick's smaller frame, he was pure muscle and his true body weight reflected that; but he never stuck a landing with anything louder than a rush of air even from the tallest buildings in Gotham.
I couldn't see his face from where I was standing, but I saw the way he slumped to the side, bracing himself on his left forearm and hip to keep himself from completely collapsing into the ground, and reflexively brought his other hand up to the right side of his face.
I had no doubt that his cheek was broken. With the angle and trajectory of Clark's hand, it was almost impossible for it to not be. But what I wasn't sure of was which bone it was specifically (if not all of them), and how bad the fracture itself was (if that part of his skull wasn't crushed completely). The entire clearing had frozen just as solidly as I had at the spectacle before us, and I knew I wasn't the only one who was shocked by Clark's behavior.
Yes, he was Superman and part of the League and all, but we weren't. We were the Titans, and Superman had no authority over the Titans no matter how much he wanted it. The Titans were under Dick's command in combat (and mine when they weren't, but that was a distinction for another day), and his orders were the ones that we listened to, regardless of what the League thought.
I noticed several hands tightening around weapons instinctively out of the corners of my eyes, but nobody else dared to move until Clark drew his hand back to deliver another blow.
"You will obey me, human! I am—"
I had no idea what Clark was going to say, or where he intended to hit Dick, but it didn't matter. I didn't care. Nobody hurts one of my brothers and gets away with it. Not even Superman.
I had one of the batarangs off of my belt and in the air before I could even realize what I was doing, running towards Clark as I shouted something along the lines of, "Hey, back off!"
"What?" Clark seemed genuinely surprised when the metal made contact with his forearm (not nearly hard enough do any kind of damage, but enough to get his attention) and he looked over to see me running in his direction. "How dare—"
I hadn't made the conscious decision to attack Clark and divert his attention away from Dick, but I found myself not caring one bit as I absentmindedly noticed that Bruce had finally looked up from whatever he'd been doing over by the jet and was taking stock of Dick lying on the ground with Clark standing over top of him. I just hoped I could buy Dick enough time for Bruce to get over here before Clark could get his hands on him again.
Three seconds and five steps after my batarang had collided with Clark, Damian had fallen to his knees in the dirt beside Dick and deployed a smoke bomb between Dick and where Clark was floating a foot or so above the ground. Again, it wouldn't hurt Clark, and he could still see through all of the smoke, but it would take him time (and a lot of concentration) to pick through what was smoke and what was behind it, and that might just get us a couple more seconds for Bruce to come up with a plan.
Thank the bats for Damian's speed. There was no way I could have gotten that close that fast, and as frustrating as it was that I could never beat him in a race at anything, his ability to practically teleport wherever he wanted to be might have just saved Dick's life.
Clark faltered for a second, as confused by the smoke as he was by the batarang, but then his jaw clenches and it's a look I know all too well. We've just managed to make him madder (although really, it wasn't that much of a surprise), and emotional Kryptonians were never a good thing, regardless of what emotion happened to be driving them at any given time (just ask my headboard).
I hoped against all hope that he was going to turn his attention back towards me and away from Dick and Damian, but his eyes started to glow red as he surveyed the smoke covered ground around him, and my breath hitches as I pull another batarang from my belt (my last one) and hit him square in the face with it.
Once again, it doesn't do any damage, but the surprise works to my advantage (thankfully) and the lasers are shot harmlessly up into the sky and not down towards my brothers. Clark whirls back around on me, snarling and eyes blazing (although it's a normal blazing, and not a supernatural one), and I have just enough time to rationalize that the black streak that moves behind Clark towards Dick and Damian is Bruce before I look back up into Clark's eyes and realize I'm going to die.
Oddly enough, the thought doesn't even bother me. I just kind of do a mental shrug and think to myself that defending my brothers is a pretty good way to go and accept it all in the same breath as I watch the red heat building in Clark's eyes again.
I couldn't even find it in me to hold it against all of our friends that were just standing around watching the fight of the century happen without interfering. It was just too much work, and I wanted to die in peace. I thought the world owed me that. To be able to die in peace protecting the people that I loved. That's all I'd ever wanted.
Fortunately, most of the world still hated me and my wish didn't come true. Just as Clark let loose his lasers, a gloved hand and dirty arm wound its way around his shoulders and Clark gave a soft choking sound as said hand pulled him backwards towards the ground at the same time that something slammed into me from the side and tackled me to the ground.
My vision went black for a second as whatever I'd collided with (or collided with me, more accurately) and I rolled and skidded through the grass a little bit, but I never truly lost consciousness. I could feel the cool wetness of the grass against my suit, smell it's musky scent mixed in with the smoke from the burning piles of dead alien bodies, and hear the pop and crack of fire distinguish itself from the sounds of breaking bones and leather against skin.
I didn't even acknowledge the massive weight on top of me as my vision quickly came back to me after I'd stopped tumbling. It was warm and familiar, and it definitely didn't feel threatening even though I could barely move underneath of it. Whatever it was, it wasn't causing me any immediate pain so my brain wrote it off to be dealt with at a later time once I knew that Dick and everybody else was safe. I twisted and turned in what little space I had, trying to figure out what had happened to Clark and who had finally decided to step up and intervene.
I found Dick, Damian, and Bruce first, exactly where I'd left them. The smoke was still thick in the air around them, but it hung a foot or so about the ground, and from my lowered vantage point I could see them fairly well.
Dick was lying on the ground, curled up onto his side, and I took that to mean the damage was as bad as I'd feared. Dick knew pain, he practically lived and breathed it everyday, and if he was as motionless as he was right now while Damian and I were in danger that could only mean that it was bad. Damian was still curled down on his knees beside him protectively with a piece of Kryptonite clutched tightly in one hand and a dagger in the other, his eyes wildly scanning the surrounding smoke for any sign of an attack. Bruce sat hunched over both of the two of them, acting as a human shield (and more with the reinforcements of the cape) between them and Clark.
Some people might have been offended or hurt that he hadn't come to my rescue immediately, but I wasn't. I'd made my decision to put my life on the line to save people a long time ago, and I was okay with that. When Dick had made his decision about where Kon would fight, he hadn't known this was going to be the outcome. He hadn't made the decision knowing he was risking his life for it. As soon as I'd sprung forward to try to distract Clark, I knew dying was a possibility, and that made all of the difference in the world.
It had taken me all of two and a half seconds to assess the situation with my brothers and father figure before I wiggled around some more to see Clark pinned on his back ten or fifteen feet away from me with blood running down his face and bruises already starting to form under his eyes.
That image didn't make any sense to me for a moment. He was Kryptonian. He was impossibly strong and could move faster than any human and I'd never seen any body be able to pin him anywhere for more than a handful of seconds because Clark was focused on trying to do other things, but then I saw the man straddling his chest and it all made sense.
Jason. How could I forget about Jason? There was no way he would stand by and let Dick get hurt without stepping in. Damian or I? Maybe (and that was a pretty big maybe), but never Dick. Even the Joker knew not to mess with Nightwing too much unless he was ready to deal with the Red Hood's wrath (that still didn't stop him most of the time, but I had seen the Joker back off a time or two in order to avoid inconveniencing one of his bigger schemes).
I couldn't remember exactly where he'd been when this whole thing started—off somewhere cleaning up a squad of aliens that were trying to regroup and reform some kind of strike team with Wally—but, I should have known that he would sense something was wrong with Dick and come running.
It was just the way that he and Dick worked.
I wasn't sure if it was an after affect of the Pit on Jason's behalf or if they had hidden surveillance devices on each other that I didn't know about or if it was just some really creepy we-can't-keep-our-hands-off-of-each-other-I-love-him-more-than-I-love-myself-what-do-you-mean-we-can't-suck-each-other's-dicks-at-the-dinner-table telepathy thing, but Dick and Jason constantly knew what was going on with the other. It was disturbing sometimes.
Granted, Kon and I could knew more about what the other did than most normal couples would, but he was an alien with superhuman senses and x-ray vision and I was the most intelligent of the bats with access to just about every surveillance camera in the world.
Dick and Jason were just human. And somehow they still managed to do it better than Kon and I did. It was totally unfair.
It did have its perks, though, like now, and judging by the absolutely murderous look on Jason's face at the moment, he'd seen exactly what had happened.
He'd sacrificed his helmet in the middle of the fight. One of the aliens managed to rip it off of him (or, knowing Jason, Jason had let them rip it off of him), and Jason had detonated the safety explosives on it a couple of seconds later, killing the alien and three more of it's buddies while he was at it. His identity wasn't nearly as important as the rest of ours (with him being dead and a good four or five years older than anybody had evidence of him being), so he'd just left it off ever since, not bothering to back out of the fight long enough to grab his spare from the jet.
He'd lost his jacket sometime in the fight, too: one of the aliens had torn a giant piece out of the back, basically splitting it in half, and the protection it provided his arms wasn't worth the way it hindered his movements. So now he was just in the muscle shirt and armor he wore underneath it, and evidence of the fight—sweat and blood and scrapes and dirt and bruises—littered his arms and only added to how absolutely terrifying he looked right now.
I watched in awe and confusion as Jason unburied his fist from Clark's face and brought it back down a couple inches closer to the center of his face without any warning or hesitation, and heard the crunch that followed as well as I'd heard all of the others.
That shouldn't have been possible. Clark's nose shouldn't have caved the way that it did under Jason's knuckles. Jason's hand and arm should have shattered into a hundred little pieces instead. Clark shouldn't have been bruised. I'd seen both of the Kryptonians take on freight trains without so much as a rug-burned scratch. Jason shouldn't have been able to bruise him.
How the Batmobile had Jason managed to bruise him?
Clark struggled beneath him, but all his efforts earned him was another fist to his face before Jason reached down to pull a knife out of his boot and pressed the edge of it up into what I would bet good money was the pulse point on Clark's neck.
"Do you know what this is?" Jason growled, leaning forward to hover only an inch or two above Clark's face. "Can you feel it?"
Again, I was confused by what I was seeing—it made no sense; it was a knife, and knives weren't dangerous to Kryptonians—but the weight on top of me shifted, drawing away a little bit, and I used the little bit of space it gave me to crane my neck up and get a better view of the knife.
It took everything I had to repress the noise of shock that wanted to escape me into a sharp intake of breath.
The blade was made of Kryptonite.
Where had Jason gotten that?
"I asked you a question," Jason bared his teeth as he leaned in even closer and tightened his grip on the knife when Clark didn't answer.
"Yes," Clark choked out, and I could only imagine how much pain he was in at the moment. "I can feel it."
"Good," the corners of Jason's lips turned up into a cruel impersonation of a smile and I couldn't stop the shiver of fear that ran down my back. Jason was a scary dude when he wanted to be (which, granted, was most of the time, unless he was talking to Damian or myself or making lovey-dovey faces at Dick), and I still wasn't entirely used to seeing that side of my brother in action. "So you understand the severity of the situation you're in."
"Yes," came Clark's reluctant answer again.
"And you also understand that baby Kon isn't going to come help you out of this one, right? That I have his full blessing to do to you whatever I see fit without his interference?"
That was news to me. I was completely unaware of any such conversation between the two of them, and I expected Kon to speak up from wherever he was and jump in to defend Clark—he'd certainly heard what Jason was saying even if nobody else had, and I'd kind of been expecting it from the very beginning, if I was honest; Kon had a tendency to be pretty protective over Clark—but to my surprise, no argument came.
It wasn't until Clark looked over in my direction, and something wrapped around my waist and jerked me back under the weight I'd kind of managed to wiggle out from underneath, that I put two and two together and realized that Kon was the one who had tackled me and kept me pinned to the ground.
For a fraction of a second I worried that my initial assessment of the situation had been wrong, that Kon's tackle had been an offensive move instead of a defensive one, but then I looked up and saw the way that Kon's body was curled protectively around mine, shielding me from Clark much the same way that Bruce was shielding Damian and Dick, and the way that his eyes were narrowed and focused on his father-figure instead of on Jason, and I knew that thought was ridiculous. Kon had jumped in-between Clark and I to protect me. Me even questioning otherwise was completely ridiculous.
I would be lying if I said my heart didn't burst with happiness a little bit when I realized that before Jason spoke up again and ripped my attention back to him and the man lying underneath of him.
"You really shouldn't have threatened his boy-toy there, Clark," somehow Jason turned Clark's name into an insult. "Kon-y Boy might just be as protective over him as I am of Nightwing one day."
Clark's lip curls up in what I'm sure was going to be a snide remark, but he seems to think over what Jason had said and his expression slowly melts into one of fear as he realizes the implication behind Jason's words.
"The only reason that you are still alive is because we are in public," Jason's voice lost all of it's mocking sneer and he turned deathly serious as his free hand tightened on the upper part of Superman's suit. "And I can't do all of the things to you that I want to without causing a shitstorm of problems for Batman and the rest of our associates. Do you understand me?"
Clark glared back up at Jason for a moment, before he swallowed hard and nodded his head slowly.
"Nightwing did what he did because it was the safest option available for everyone, including your son. Any time he gets out of seeing distance of Red Robin, he starts having spaz attacks every five seconds worrying that my dumbass little brother has done something to get himself hurt. Kon having spaz attacks means he's distracted, and distractions are how you get yourself—or others—killed on a battlefield. I know you think you're invincible, but as I've clearly proven here, you're not. And if you aren't, that sure as hell means your half-human clone isn't either. Nightwing made the decision to put Kon and Red Robin together for Kon's benefit and the team's as a whole, not Red Robin's. We can more than hold our own with out anybody else's help; especially Red Robin."
That was the closest thing to a compliment Jason had ever given me before. I kind of wanted to shove Kon off of me and run over and tackle him off Clark in a hug, but I had a very strong feeling that would have been counterproductive to what he was trying to do here.
"If you ever touch one of my brothers or Batman or Nightwing again, I will kill you the second I get my hands on you. There won't be any more threats, there won't be any torture with a chance to escape; I will just kill you and there is nothing in this world that can stop me. Not even death—he's tried. I will take this knife and shove it through your ribcage into your heart, then I will slit your throat and let gravity drain all of the blood from your body, and when I'm done with that, I will sever your spinal cord just for good measure. Am I clear?"
Clark nodded his head again.
"Am I clear?" Jason repeated himself, leaning in even closer to Clark and I gave a thick swallow of my own.
"Yes," Clark hissed out, but I think that had more to deal with the pain of his jaw and nose already trying to re-heal themselves than a lack of respect for Jason's threat.
"If anything you've done to my Nightwing is irreversible, I will come back here and find a way to inflict the same damage to you. So, you had better pray to whatever deity you believe in that it isn't."
The whole 'my' Nightwing thing was a little new, but okay. I guess it really shouldn't have surprised me.
"Stay down until I am gone, or you will regret it."
This time Jason didn't wait for a response before he gave Clark one final punch that him groaning and writhing on the ground in pain (seriously, how was Jason doing that?) and started standing up slowly.
Jason hesitated for only a second before he un-straddled Clark and started backing his way up towards where Bruce and Dick and Damian were still huddling. The smoke was starting to clear, having billowed out too much to really be affective anymore, but it still casted an eerie shade over the clearing. Just like we bats and birds liked it. Jason didn't even give Clark a second look (though I still kept track of his hunched figure in the corner of my eye), confident that the man wasn't going to be getting up anytime soon, but I did see his eyes sweeping over the thin circle of heroes standing around us—calculating and challenging as he assessed each of them and tried to discern whether or not any of them were a threat.
I took a quick glance around the clearing, too. The reaction of the other heroes had been a mixed bag. Most of the Titans standing around were showing mixed signs of concern, amusement (really we'd all been itching for a showdown between the bats and the supes for awhile now), and just straight up shock, and most of the League looked pretty much the same (though they leaned more towards just concerned and shocked).
Some of them were unhappy—Starfire's mouth was set in the thinnest line I'd ever seen (she'd never liked Jason since Dick had turned down her advances in favor of him) and the Flash was physically stopping Wonder Woman from coming to Superman's rescue—but they were significantly fewer in number and even Wonder Woman kept throwing worried glances back at Dick.
Jason must have been as placated by what he saw as I was because he didn't attack anybody else, and I had no doubt he wouldn't have hesitated to attack anyone he thought was going to help Clark at the moment. It took him seven steps to cross the distance between himself and Dick, and I watched as he reached down and sheathed his Kryptonite-Knife in his boot and held his hands up in a peaceful gesture for a second (a clear sign he wasn't going to attack anybody else unless provoked), before he spun on his heels and fell to his knees at Dick's side in a much more poised reenactment of the way that Batman had fallen beside him and Damian earlier.
Bruce and Damian shifted almost immediately so that Jason had enough room to get in to Dick's side (although I was pretty sure Damian only moved at a near-silent command from Batman) and I just heard Dick give the quietest of groans as Jason ran a hand down his side before somebody saying my own named grabbed my attention.
"Huh?" was my intelligent response as my head snapped around to look up at Kon, who was still hovering over top of me (the figurative kind where he was actually on top of me, I determined after a second when I did, in fact, register his weight on my torso and legs (as that thought occurred to me I quickly did a mental sweep of my body, checking for any new pain or injuries from after the alien attack to now, and gave a mental sigh of relief when I came to the conclusion that I could still feel everything and most of my bones and muscles and tendons were still where they were supposed to be)). Kon was looking down at me with worry and concern etched into his features, but I wasn't sure what all it was for.
"I've said your name seven times now," Kon said as if that explained everything, and in a way it did.
"What?" I screwed up my face at him even though he couldn't see most of it through my lead lined mask. "You have?"
"Yes," he nodded his head once, the furrow of his eyebrows only growing deeper at my lack of explanation. "Are you alright? Did you sustain a concussion that I don't know about? Your arms are moving fine and so are your legs, but did you receive spinal damage that I can't see? You have a small fracture in your fibula, but nothing worse than you've sustained before. Is it hurting? Did my father harm you with his heat vision? I—"
"No," I cut Kon off with a hand to his shoulder, and I had no idea why I was defending Clark (Batman knows that he didn't deserve it), but I figured Jason had put the guy through enough psychological torture for one day, he didn't need to undergo any more for something he didn't do. "No, Kon. He didn't. I'm fine, and my leg isn't hurting me that bad either. The fracture was from the fight with the aliens earlier—"
Running at Clark hadn't helped it, but I'd gone through entire patrols with much worse before, and none of the damage was permanent. Kon just hadn't noticed it earlier with all of the commotion of trying to round up the rest of the aliens.
"—I'm just worried about D—Nightwing is all," I finished, mentally berating myself for almost letting Dick's name slip out even with as messed up as I was at the moment. Yes, it was true that Kon already knew of our secret identities and I highly doubted that anyone was standing close enough to overhear with how quietly we were talking (at least anyone who didn't already know because of their own enhanced abilities), but speaking our names out loud was always dangerous for Bruce, Dick, Damian, and I.
Kon didn't seem entirely convinced and I worried for a second that he was going to argue with me, but then something in his expression changed and he relaxed his defensive posture just a bit and nodded his head, "Okay. We will deal with the rest later."
"Yeah—thanks," I gave him the briefest of smiles before glancing back over at Dick and the rest of my family.
Dick was still laid out on the ground, stretched out a bit now as Bruce had eased from his own defensive stance to give him a bit more room. Bruce and Jason hovered over top of him as they assessed his injuries, and Damian knelt a step or two away and kept watch over all of them, looking more stressed and worried and lethal than any eleven year old should ever be capable of.
Jason was still knelt on one knee behind Dick's shoulders, one gloved hand braced between Dick's shoulder blades as the other one—now bare—alternated back and forth between running down his side comfortingly and brushing over Dick's jaw and cheeks to help determine the extent of the damage, and I didn't need to see his face or his lips to know that he was whispering a constant stream of reassurances to Dick in-between discussing his injuries and what the best course of action was with Bruce. My heart broke a little more at Dick's nearly motionless form (I knew for a fact he had at least four broken ribs and a broken foot on top of whatever else Clark had done to him), and I knew Kon could see it when I looked back up at him.
"Mind letting me up so I can go over there?"
"Not at all, love," Kon answered simply, rolling over to the side instead of pushing back to his knees so he had a clear view of Clark over my head and shoulder with out me being completely in-between the two of them. He held a hand out to me as he sat up, which I gladly took (really this whole thing had knocked me farther off my game than I was comfortable with), and I gave a small groan as my muscles protested the motion.
Yeah, being tackled by a Kryptonian was never fun, regardless of how well intentioned said Kryptonian was.
"'m fine," I headed off Kon's question before he could even ask, taking a second to breathe. I was pretty sure I'd broken a rib or two back during the fight with the aliens (and if I hadn't, I definitely had when I'd hit the ground), but Kon wouldn't be able to tell until I stripped off my lead lined cape, and I didn't want him fussing over me anymore right now. Instead, I took the opportunity to ask him the one question that had been burning in the back of my mind since Clark's hand had made contact with the side of Dick's face. "How bad is it?"
Kon's immediately deepened frown was in reaction to my dismissal of his concern, I knew that as well as I knew the sun would set tonight and rise again tomorrow morning, but I also knew the fear that quickly replaced it and drained the fight out of him had nothing to do with me.
"It's bad," was the only response he gave as his eyes flicked from me to the rest of my family and I swore my heart stopped beating for a second before I scrambled up to my feet (using Kon's arms for support just as I had to sit up) and quickly stumbled my way over in-between Jason and Bruce.
"Hood?" I didn't know if I mumbled the name or screamed it or said it at a normal volume. It just came out before I could stop it. Judging by Bruce and Jason's soft reactions to it, I didn't think I'd screamed it though. "Nightwing?"
"Hey, Red," Jason soothed, switching into big-brother mode for a second as I fell beside him.
"How is he?" I asked nervously, reaching out to lay a hand on Dick's hip without thinking. Dick jerked and made a low hiss of pain and I immediately went to apologize and pull away, but before I could, a hand wound it's way around mine and I found I couldn't have moved away if I wanted to. My eyes flicked down to see the black and blue glove of the hand gripping mine and I realized it had been Dick that stopped me. I looked up at his face then—it was already swollen beyond recognition and the blood leaking from his nose and his mouth pooled in the grass beneath his head—and it took everything I had not to turn around and ram my own piece of Kryptonite through Clark's heart.
Dick squeezed my hand and the faintest ghost of a smile flickered across his lips before he looked back up at Jason in a silent communication I could never hope to understand.
"He's okay," Jason answered my question softly as he smiled back down at Dick, reaching up to brush some of his hair out of his eyes lovingly before slipping back into his more commanding tone again. It never ceased to amaze me how gentle Jason could be sometimes. "We need to get him moved though. B, are you staying here?"
"For right now," came Bruce's reluctant and gravel-y response. "There are some things I need to attend to, but I will be back in Gotham as soon as I can be."
"Okay," Jason nodded his head once and the next couple of minutes were a blur even by our standards as the four of us worked to get Dick up off the ground and into the jet without hurting him even worse than he already was. It wasn't the most emergent E-VAC we'd ever done, but it was by far one of the hardest for all parties involved, and by the time we were in the jet with the engines warming up for take off my mind was back to working the way it should.
"Leslie is ready and waiting whenever you can get here," Barbra's voice cut over the quiet static of our comms and both Jason and I relaxed a bit.
"Thanks, Oracle," I was the one who answered as Jason went about hushing a writhing Dick in-between the two of us on the cot.
"Don't mention it," she said simply, but I could hear the frantic clicking of keys in the background and I knew she was in the middle of doing a hundred different things to try to secure us safe passage back to Gotham. "Let me know if anything changes."
"I will," I answered her before I reached up to switch my comms unit off, ignoring the blood on my hands. Kon was sitting across from me on one of the benches along the sides of the plane (after very narrowly dodging a chunk of Kryptonite to the face courtesy of one incredibly irate Damian Wayne) and said son of Batman was behind the controls in the cockpit; the only place I trusted him to not get himself into any more trouble at the moment. "How long 'til we're ready to take off, Robin?"
"Ten seconds," Damian's response was tense and clipped, but I knew it had more to deal with Dick's deteriorating state and his own intense concentration on the task he had been entrusted with than with me.
"Awesome," the word was out of my mouth before I could stop it as I continued to address and stabilize the more minor wounds that Dick had received during the fight with the aliens earlier today. "Are all of our emergency protocols currently in place?"
"You mean other than the fact that the back gate is still open and we have one of those things in our midst?" Damian hissed back and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
Yeah, okay, Damian was still pretty ticked off at me, but he wasn't trying to kill anybody so that was a good sign.
"Yes, Robin," I stifled a sigh, too, and reached behind me and hit the button to close the back gate without even looking as the jet gave the smallest of lurches as Damian coaxed it up into the air. "Aside from those two most obvious exceptions, are the emergency protocols in place?"
"Yes, Drake," Damian answered after the gate had sealed itself shut and I knew from the way that he had switched back to my civilian name it was true. We were completely isolated from the rest of the world. "It is safe for you to speak freely."
"Thank you, Dami," I called back, reaching up to rip my cowl and goggles off with one hand as Jason's reassurances to Dick softened even farther in tone and his cooing of Nightwing's name every couple of seconds turned into a cooing of Dick's name and a series of much more intimate nicknames that both melted my heart and made me want to puke my guts out at the same time. "Hey, Jay?"
"Hmm?" Jason hummed but didn't look up at me as I set about prepping everything to stitch a laceration across Dick's abdomen.
"You got any injuries I need to be worried about?"
"Nah," he spared me a glance and a shake of his head this time. "Not really. I've got a couple of bad bruises from the aliens, but nothing a long shower and a couple days of sleep won't fix. What about you?"
"Broken leg, couple broken ribs, and I'm pretty sure a tweaked my elbow again," I answered him distractedly after a couple of minutes, focusing more on the suture I had started than the conversation. "But nothing that can't hold up for a little bit longer until we get back to Leslie."
We worked in silence for a while after that, or well, Jason kept talking to Dick and I didn't interrupt him again. It wasn't until after I finished stitching and bandaging up Dick's stomach (and several other of his wounds) that I found myself pulled from my thoughts (and the scrape on Dick's side that I had been cleaning with saline) by a pair of gloves being dropped down on the cot beside me.
Specifically, Jason's gloves.
"What?" I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion as I looked up at Jason, trying to keep my voice low enough that it wouldn't pull Dick out of the dozing state we'd been able to coax him into with out very limited supply of IV pain medication.
"I know it's been bothering you," Jason murmured back, still not looking away from Dick's face. "I could see it on your face even back in the clearing."
"What are you…"I was about to ask what Jason was talking about, but Jason cut me off.
"Some of my gloves are lined with pieces of Kryptonite," his voice was quiet and calm, but I couldn't stop my jaw from falling open.
Well, that explained it.
"Figured I tell you before your brain exploded trying to work it out."
"Oh," I had no idea why I said that but I did. "Well, thank you. I'd forgotten about it until now, but you're probably right. I never would have thought of that."
I really wouldn't have.
"You got another one of those knives hiding somewhere, too?"
"Maybe," Jason grinned up at me and I gave a small snort and roll of my eyes in response. "I—"
I was sure that Jason had some kind of sarcastic snarky comment he was going to make about the fact that he had all kinds weapons stashed all over the world that we would never know about, but Dick let out a particularly loud groan in-between us as he twitched himself awake, and both of our attentions snapped back down to him immediately. Jason resumed his mantra of soothing words—which calmed Dick more than the medicine, if I was honest—and I did a quick check of his various wounds to make sure that he hadn't reopened one by accident or made any of them worse when he moved.
"Damian, how far out are we?" I called up to the cockpit as I pressed a wad of gauze into the bleeding laceration Dick had somehow managed rip the stitches out of it.
The sooner we would get Dick completely sedated, the better.
"We're still about forty-five minutes out, Drake," Damian answered, but I could feel him push the jet to fly just a little bit faster.
"Make it thirty," I ordered, continuing to hold pressure to the wound that somehow seemed to be bleeding even more now that it was earlier with hand while reaching for another suture set with the other. "We're out of meds."