Danny might've been cringing internally as the man's head was slammed against the ground, but he managed to smirk outwardly and raise his glass towards the winner of the match. The rough crowd roared its approval at the win, especially those who had bet on the victor. From his spot seated at the bar, he could see several unhappy fellows being led from the building by some menacing men; he didn't want to dwell on that. After all, he didn't want to call any attention to himself on his third night here- the rogue he was looking for had yet to arrive.
Hayden Paine, nine, aggressive osteosarcoma originating from right leg, wants to meet Captain Cold because 'freeze rays are awesome.'
It had taken a lot of digging- and a few bribes to some teenagers hanging out on the streets in Central City- before he first located the bar that doubled as an underground fight club. Cold had been seen there at least three times before, and that was good enough for Danny. He hoped his trip to the city wouldn't be a waste, although the journey wasn't too much of a hassle; the boy who had requested to see Cold was currently in the neighboring Keystone City.
Danny looked up from his drink to see the man himself enter the pub, taking a seat at the far end of the bar. He tried to ignore the nervous lurch his stomach gave. "Gimme the usual," he heard the rogue say to the bartender, who gave the same sharp nod to him as he did to everyone else. Once the server turned away, Danny grabbed his file and approached Cold. The light glinted off of Cold's dark glasses as he tilted his head slightly to look at him.
"Captain Cold," he began, grimacing at his lame entrance, "my name is Danny Johnson and I'm from 'World of Wishes.' The other day, a boy with aggressive bone cancer named Hayden requested to meet you-"
Although Danny hadn't been sure what to expect, he sure didn't think the rogue would laugh in his face. Something inside Danny snapped, and he saw red as he lashed out and grabbed Cold by the collar of his jacket, pulling him forward so that their eyes were at the same level.
"Look, jackass, for some reason, all this kids wants more than anything is to see you and your frickin' freeze gun, so I'd appreciate it if you'd SHUT your GODDAMNED MOUTH and listen to me for your fan's sake!"
The room was silent.
Danny panted angrily as he came down from his rant, only now noticing that he had drawn everyone's attention onto the two of them. He was pretty sure if Cold had laser vision, he'd be fried by now.
"Rogues do not harm women or children. You are neither."
The rogue firmly removed Danny's hand from his jacket and stood up, snatching the file from him. As a heavy hand clamped down on his shoulder and began forcefully guiding him towards the door, Danny was sure this would be his last night in existence.
His walk of dread halted after the two had walked several blocks, heading towards a more run-down section of Central City. Cold roughly shoved him into a dark alley, and Danny winced as his infamous freeze gun was drawn and leveled at him. However, the sound of it firing and him being able to move afterwards didn't add up. He looked up to see Cold had spun around and frozen a pair of thugs who, he inferenced, had been following them for not-so-pleasant reasons.
Cold grunted. "Had to lead them somewhere unseen. Besides, I've got a reputation to keep that you almost destroyed back there." Danny was sure he was being glared at now. "So what the hell did you want?" Danny wordlessly held out Hayden's file in response, exhaling in relief when Cold took it and began to flip through the pages. "Is this some sort of joke?"
"You think any normal person would go through the struggle to find you for some prank?"
"I don't hang around 'normal people.'"
Danny huffed, but admitted the man had a point. "It's not a joke. I take my job seriously; the happiness of these kids means a lot to me." He shrugged. "You might enjoy it too- Poison Ivy did." He shook his head to refocus himself. "Point is, this kid idolizes you and wants to meet you. What would you lose from visiting him?"
"Ask yourself that when the cops show up. Or worse, that damned speedster."
He'd thought of this one already. "Then visit him during the nighttime, outside of regular hours." Neither said anything for several minutes, but Danny was patient. Not to lie, he was also mentally praying to every deity he could think of for Cold to say yes.
The rogue turned away, and began to walk out of the alley. "Midnight, tomorrow; side door of Keystone Medical. You're not there, your loss." Cold turned the corner and disappeared, file still in hand.
Danny considered it a success.
It was 11:55pm when Captain Cold had the back entrance to Keystone's main hospital opened for him.
"I wasn't about to let you break the lock on a hospital's door," Danny chuckled as the man walked into the building. His eyes went directly to the suspicious sack the criminal was carrying, but decided against asking about it. "This way- he's on the fourth floor. I told his nurse to have him awake about ten minutes ago."
Cold didn't really care- he was just glad that there was no music playing in the elevator as they rode it up. "Come on, then."
Danny held out an arm to stop him. "First: ground rules." Cold sighed in annoyance. "No attacking or using weapons on people, no swearing, no hypothermia. Got it?" He took his silence to be affirmative. "Good." Danny glanced into the bright room. "Hey, Hayden." The two men entered the room, the boy's attention already on them.
Hayden gasped in delight. "You really came!" He cried excitedly, rolling his wheelchair over to rest in front of his 'hero.' "You're the best! Like ice is so cool and then you went and made a freeze-ray-gun that's better than Mr. Freeze's and it's okay that you steal stuff because you're actually nice and don't hurt a bunch of people and you have cool glasses too can I try them on?" Danny tried to stifle a laugh at the bemused look on Cold's face as the boy delightedly rambled.
"Don't go telling everyone that," he said gruffly, contrasting his action of taking off his goggles and bending down to put them on Hayden. Danny decided the two would be fine and moved outside to keep watch from the hallway.
It was a good thing he did. Several minutes later, a red blur came bursting from the stairwell and skidding to a halt in front of the hospital room, a delayed breeze brushing against Danny's skin as he recognized the arrivee to be none other than the Flash.
Oh no. Nobody was going to get involved in his 'World of Wishes' child's meeting. He quickly but quietly shut the door, cutting of both of their view's of the room. "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
The Flash gaped at him, but Danny didn't budge. "Are you crazy?! Captain Cold's in there with a child! You have to let me in to-"
Danny raised an eyebrow. "To what? Save him? I think you're forgetting, the Rogues don't harm women or children. Try again."
The speedster's eyes narrowed slightly. "Cold is a criminal, and I need to take him in-"
"Cold is not doing anything illegal, and is in fact fulfilling a child's wish right now. You can continue your… disagreement with him some other time."
The superhero apparently had enough, for he blurted out an apology before speeding around Danny, opening the door, and running into the room. Hayden, who had been laughing in amazement after a display of Captain Cold's gun on a water bottle next to his bed, quieted as the two turned to face their uninvited guest. Cold subtly inched his way to stand in front of the boy.
"Why is the Flash here? I like Captain Cold better, that's why I asked for him," Hayden muttered in confusion. His comment drew an astonished and slightly hurt look from the Flash.
"Alright, Mister… Flash," Danny said coolly. "A word outside, it you please." His gaze gave no room for discussion, and the hero found himself complying with the request, albeit reluctantly. Once the door was shut again, Danny rounded on him. "As far as I'm concerned, the only one causing a problem here is you. I'm only going to ask you one more time: leave."
The Flash had never heard so much venom in a civilian's voice when aimed at him, and had especially never seen one standing up for a villain. He couldn't help but admit the other man was right though; Cold wasn't doing anything wrong that he could tell. With one last look at Danny, he sped out of the hospital.
I know this chapter isn't exactly 'Batman universe,' but the following chapters will be heavily, don't you worry