This is a fanfiction. Nightwing or other Batman's characters don't belong to me. And the cover image is not mine as well. Have fun!
Nightwing couldn't have imagined that one of his investigations, concerning a small gunrunning gang in Blüdhaven, would soon lead to a major arms trafficking business in Gothan. And if that was not troublesome enough, the mob was being led by Penguin himself. However, for his luck, Batman and Robin were there to help him finish this case.
He didn't keep track of the time, since it was a long day of search and surveillance of Penguin's thugs, but by the look of the movement of the streets, he could say that it was at least before midnight. The flat where he was standing on was not that high, but from its roof, Nightwing had a nice view of that neighborhood. The glowing lights coming from the high buildings in Gothan's downtown illuminated that cloudy night, bringing some bliss to a place that usually is plagued by a sense of melancholy. When he was up high like that, things seemed less complicated for him. It's not only the cars and people that looked smaller from that perspective, so do problems. Pain. Loss. Things shed some of their gravity. And that was what Grayson has always tried to do: shed some of his gravity.
"Have they arrived yet?" asks a cold voice coming from behind Nightwing. He didn't need to see its owner to recognize that it is from Batman.
"You know, I don't blame Gordon for complaining about this trait of yours. It really can get into your nerves after some time. And unfortunately I only came to realize that after I quit being your sidekick and became Nightwing." he chuckles "Looking back now I kinda feel sorry for Gordon for all those times that we sneaked on him just to meet him." a smiling Nightwing turned around to find out that his talk didn't affect the slightest his mentor and son. Not surprisingly, Batman was not known for his sense of humor and has always kept his mind into his work. And Damian was the same, pitifully. Like father, like son, sighes Dick.
"Just answer father's question, Grayson" hisses Robin.
"Sheesh, it's good to see you too kid." Nightwing was now looking at a grumpy teenage Robin with crossed arms. Even though Damian would throw some fits and be insufferable, Dick knew that in his heart he was a kind boy. He was even more convinced of that after seeing it for himself, while working together with Damian when he was temporarily in Batman's place. Since then their relationship has developed to be like brothers.
"I've been watching them for some time, but there was no significant change in their movements. According with your sources Bats, they should have been here half an hour ago. Are you su..."
Sounds of brakes from a truck interrupt Dick. The trio then looks at the warehouse just below them, where a van has just parked in front of a closed roller shutter. In the next seconds, two armed men comes out of the vehicle and approaches three guys that were keeping watch of the place since Nightwing's arrival.
"So, who wants to have the honor?" Nightwing was still in a festive mood.
"We need to disable them swiftly before they open the door, or they will swarm us even before we get to Penguin. Let's move." Batman doesn't wait for their reply and takes the lead, jumping out of the roof with the assistance of his grapple hook. Nightwing and Damian comply without exchanging glances or saying anything, just following Batman to the warehouse in the same manner as his.
However, the trio didn't notice that someone was watching them as well from a room, inside a building just next to them. Using a pair of binoculars, the man could observe Nightwing from a safe distance, keeping his presence unnoticed even by the world's greatest detective. After all, his efforts would have been a waste of time If he was caught right now. Even so, he couldn't stop feeling somewhat disappointed: if he was a little bit earlier, and got there before Batman and Robin's arrival, he would have been done with his mission by now. And he couldn't afford another failure or she wouldn't be so tolerant this time.
He still didn't understand how he was caught in the middle of that situation. His traits are as common and plain as any man that you would see walking around the streets. A short dark hair, dark eyes and an average height are some of the ways to describe him. He didn't have any tattoo or scar that would make him stand out of the crowd, and even so, he ever tried to keep a low profile. However, all that caution was wasted, since he was found out anyway and has fallen prey to her.
The man drops the binocular on a small desk next to him and takes out a smartphone from one of his pockets.
"It's me. I have found Nightwing again, but this time he is with Batman and Robin. The deal was to get to Nightwing, not the Dark Knight and his sidekick as well. I don't know If I will be able to stick to the plan with those two around."
"You will If you wish to see your wife again, Mr. Rayland." answers an impatient female voice.
"How am I supposed to approach Nightwing alone if Batman and Robin don't leave his side?!"
"The desperate ones always make their opportunities, Mr Rayland. Nightwing may be working with Batman at this moment, but he is no longer his sidekick. He flies solo by now, so you just need to keep an eye on him until he decides to soar again."
"You are going to release her as soon as give you the news, right?"
"Rest assured, I am a woman of my word. I'll keep my part of the deal as long as you keep yours. And remember: don't exchange words with him, just play your part. Nightwing must not have any slightest clue that can eventually lead him or Batman to whom is behind this plan. Understood?"
"And Mr. Rayland?"
"If I come to know, and I can assure you that I will, that you have lied to me, it's not just your wife's life that is gonna be in danger. By now you must have understood that there is not a single corner in this world that you and your spouse can hide without me finding you. Thus, if you and your beloved wish to grow old together, make sure that you will stick to the plan until the end. Is that clear?"
The woman didn't reply then and the man called Rayland could finally end that gruesome call. When he grasps the binocular and takes a look at the scene again, Batman, Robin and Nightwing have had already left the guards unconscious and were now trying to invade the warehouse through one of its windows. Rayland wasn't sure if he would be able to "make his opportunity" today, but maybe if he was lucky, Batman and Robin would part ways with Nightwing as soon as they solve this and leave him unaccompanied for some time. Even if it were for just some minutes, it would be enough for him.
With that thought in mind, Rayland left the binocular on the desk. He was determined to leave that small and dark room to do what he must. Still, a lingering feeling of remorse wasn't leaving him to be. He felt sorry for the hero, especially after last time, when he saw Nightwing in action, rescuing those innocent people from a building in fire. But if he desired to see his wife at his side again, he must comply to that crazy bitch orders. Even if the guilt would haunt him for the rest of his life.
"Kill them, you imbeciles!"
A loud whistling and several bullets fills the air, demanding Batman, Robin and Nightwing to use all their agility and acrobatics to avoid them. Penguin was giving orders from behind his goons, as usual. Courage was not one of his fortes.
With so many men shooting them, it was not safe to prolong the situation and wait for their munitions to end, so Batman quickly threw some of his smoke pellets in the middle of the group. Fazed by the sudden smokescreen, the thugs have stopped shooting, looking desperately around them in an attempt to locate Batman and his companions. And just like that, kicks, blows and screams of pain are heard from all directions, making it difficult for them to know where to shoot in that blinding smoke without hitting each other. Amidst that mess, Penguin was now desperate trying to think in a way to delay Batman and get away from that place with at least some of his goods that were still in the van. However, by each minute, less and less screams were being heard and Penguin was getting more tempted to lose some of his investment than losing his time in Arkham again. Finally, he decides to run away from that place empty handed; for now, he wasn't prepared to face the Dark Knight or even get past him to get to the truck.
It is then that a escrima stick comes flying out of the smoke and hit Penguin's legs, making him tumble hard on the floor. With the screams gone, the smoke was finally dissipating, revealing the owner of the stick.
"Leaving early already? But the show is not over yet." says a triumphant Nightwing. Behind him, Batman and Robin were coming out of the smoke, leaving several unconscious bodies around them. Penguin was panting on his knees, giving his back to the trio, but still holding his umbrella in one of his hands. Hearing that statement from Nightwing made the memories of Arkham flood his mind, making him clench his umbrella in response, infuriated.
"The show is over when I say so, you bastard!" A metallic sound comes from Penguin when he quickly tries to cut Nightwing's guts with his umbrella, revealing a hidden blade attached to its tip. Yet, Nightwing was prepared for that and dodged it just in the nick of time. When cornered, Penguin would even fight for his life, but he usually doesn't change his fighting style, making him predictable sometimes, just like now. Even so he still had to be careful. Penguin was now savagely trying to stab Nightwing, while the hero was forced to use boxing sidesteps to dodge his attacks. Dick knew that he just needed to wait for a mistake from Penguin and it would be over. It is that or when his stamina starts to take a toll on him; any of these two would give him an opening. Batman and Robin were watching Nightwing, knowing that he was more than capable to handle Penguin all by himself under those circumstances, but even so, they were observing them closely. If anything happened they would be there to help him.
It was then that Penguin has fakes a slash, stopping it in the middle of the air just before hitting Nightwing. Next, he quickly gives him a sweep kick, making the hero fall on the ground.
"You underestimate me too much, lad." Penguin's exasperation was even more obvious with his face twisted in fury "You and the bat. But this time I will make sure that this will cost you greatly!" he was pointing the tip of its blade next to Nightwing's face, yet he doesn't see any sign of desperation on it, adding more fuel to his fury.
"And that's your problem, Penguin. You are always thinking about costs instead of lives. But the payback always come for scums like you. And today is the day!" And Nightwing has indeed payed him back with the same coin, when he swiftly uses a sweep kick on Penguin's legs and makes him fall besides him. Rapidly he closes his legs on his and moves on Penguin's body to give him a ground and pound. Finishing the move with a rear naked choke, Nightwing was finally able to immobilize the gangster. Penguin tried to struggle, but he wasn't even able to curse him back.
"All settled." sighes Nightwing "We just need to let them ready for Gordon and we are done."
* Tt* "You were careless, Nightwing. I would have finished him faster and better." Damian was now kneeling down next to Penguin's face, feeling disgusted after looking closely at the avian look of the villain. His pointy nose was not helping it as well.
"Modest as ever, I see" Nightwing was not saying that out of annoyance, but just teasing him. Damian's behavior was not new to him after all.
"We need to tie the rest of them before Gordon arrives." Batman had to make sure that they were focused on the matter "I've already called him and I was told that there is an urgent call, but he is almost finished. It can take a while until he arrives, therefore he will need us to take a look after them until he comes."
"Babysitting. Great." retorts an annoyed Robin.
It took them some minutes until they have tied all the thugs together, including Penguin, but there were no problems during the task. Batman and the others then decides to move the group to outside of the warehouse, next to the van loaded with illegal high caliber guns.
"And this is the last of them." says Nightwing while finishing a knot on a pair of tied hands behind a man's back.
"Can't we just leave them, Batman?" Damian's patience didn't change much since the end of the fight. He has always hated to waste his time with a job that anyone with half a brain could do.
"We can't risk leaving them alone for a long time, even with them tied up by now. However, the main motive is the truck. We can't just leave a van full of high caliber guns waiting to be picked up on the street."
"Great!" sarcastically replies Robin.
At that instant, as if responding to Damian's laments, a phone rings. It was Batman's. But before he picks it up, he makes sure that he is keeping a safe distance from the mob.
"Master Bruce, we have just received a signal from Batgirl. It seems that she is having some issues with Black Mask that requires your attention, sir."
"Hm." grunts Batman "I've made clear that her mission was only to observe and get information, any intervention was out of question."
"I'm sure that something must have happened, sir. She is not impulsive as a boy that we know."
"Hey, I've heard that, Pennyworth!" rasps Robin. He was walking to Batman's direction and being followed by Dick. But Batman simply ignored the boy.
"Penny-One, send the address to the Batmobile GPS, I'm going."
"You mean we are going, father."
"Not now, Robin. This isn't going to be as easy as it was today with Penguin. Stay here with Nightwing and wait for Gordon. After you are done, you both can go back to the mansion and wait for me and Batgirl."
"I'm being underused here! You well know that Nightwing can take care of this alone!"
"We don't have time for this." Batman couldn't avoid to cover his eyes with his fingers. That kid always wants to get involved in every dangerous mess that he gets into, specially when it meant to risk his life.
"Batman, If you don't mind a suggestion, I think that you really should take Robin with you. You know that he is not much into team work when he is like this."
"I've been through worse than that and you know it!" adds a resolute Robin.
"We really don't have time for this." sighes a frustrated Batman. Batgirl's signal was now coming from his communicator and getting louder by each second, as a reminder of the urgency "Ok, get into the car. We are both going." a tenuous, but sly smile shows on Robin's face while he gets past Batman "Nightwing, I leave the rest to you."
At once, Batman rushes to the Batmobile's driver seat, with Damian sitting besides him. He promptly starts the car and drive it quickly out of that street, leaving the loud and screeching sounds of its tires to Nightwing and the mob.
"You know, I didn't catch up everything, but I could hear that boy yelling all the way from here. I don't know how Batman manage to deal with a such cocky brat. That's why I hate kids." said Penguin.
"Just shut up, Penguin. Don't force me to gag you."
"Alright, alright, birdie. I'm done. I have been through this many times, enough to already know how you and the bat play this game."
That seemed enough for him as Nightwing walks to the van. He decides to keep his watch while laying his back on the side of the bodywork. He wasn't bored or exhausted, but his thoughts couldn't bringing Barbara. He was hoping that she was still well until Bruce and Damian caught up to her. Plus if for instance Gordon arrives earlier than they initially though, he would join them as fast as possible. Unfortunately, there wasn't any police siren announcing that right now, unless for some low steel noises coming from what sounded like trash cans, just across the street. He was left to guess that it was a rat or some other critter, since the lights of that side were not working, making it hard to spot anything from where he was.
But what happened next was so unexpected to Nightwing that even in his wildest dreams he wouldn't have foreseen it. Out of blue, something huge jumps out of the darkness across the street and lands on him. The young man couldn't avoid to fall and lay down on the ground, being pushed down by the weightiness of his mysterious attacker.
Pressing his chest against the ground, a huge and black furry creature snarls furiously at him. Its appearance was of a wolf-man, with its head, mouth and teeth looking pretty much like of a wolf, but with the rest of its body being somewhat humanoid. The large animal didn't mind the screams of horror and fear coming from the criminals, as its claws pierces on Nightwing's chest and flesh, making him answer in a painful scream.
Strangely enough, the creature raises one of his arms. That arm in particular was bleeding intensely, with even some of it falling on his chest. Dick didn't want to waste time trying to understand what the hell was happening, and instinctively uses his good arm to take a smoke pellet out of his uniform. With all his force, he threw it on the werewolf's eyes, making the beast immediately stands up in an angry roar, writhing in pain.
Dick then makes sure to keep some distance as fast as he could; that way he could catch his breath and evaluate the opponent better. However, as soon as he does it, more screams suddenly join those of that beast.
"Don't you dare leave us here and let us become some monster's fodder, Nightwing!" yells Penguin. He didn't need to remind him of that, but still it was funny to see that when your life depends on someone, you easily remember a person's name. Even if Penguin and his thugs didn't deserve his help, he would do so. Their lives were now his responsibility, and letting them die like that would be no different of killing them.
Out of nowhere, the werewolf makes a louder roar, in an attempt to make his wobbly movements steadier and focus on Nightwing. Dick grasps firmly his escrima sticks, preparing for a counter attack. He had faced metahumans, aliens and other inhuman creatures before, enough to know that to win against an opponent that is stronger than you, you need to use his force against him. Not to mention that big beasts like that presumably are not that fast.
But "presumably" still had a chance to be wrong. And how mistaken he was proved to be when that animal fist lands on him, sending Nightwing flying to a wall and making him spit some blood with the impact. It was fast. Inhumanly fast. The beast was still a bit disoriented and keeping its distance, coughing and tearing as a result of the smoke pellet, but it was yet inhumanly strong and agile. It would take time for Nightwing to get used to that speed, if he would ever be able to manage it anyway. He then takes the last of his pellets right away and throws it on the ground, next to himself. If Dick couldn't face him off directly, at least he could use the blindness to his advantage and incapacitate it. And it seemed to be working, as he notices that the beast now blindly walking amidst the smoke, attempting to locate him. Now he just needs to move next to it swiftly and smoothly, and…
Was that a sniffing?
Oh, fu…! And the next thing Nightwing sees are huge jaws showing out of the smoke, revealing its sharp teeth eager to bite off his left shoulder. Dick tries to move out of its way, but he was not that fast, and the beast bites his arm instead, spurring his blood as it tightens its jaws. The pain was so gut-wrenching that he couldn't avoid a scream, letting his escrima sticks fall on the ground. And as if that was a signal, the werewolf takes Grayson by its arm, leading him with its jaws and claws to a wall behind them. Nightwing then desperately tries everything to get off of its grasp: he punches his eyes and his neck, and even kicks it, but all of that doesn't even faze the animal; it was determined to keep its hold and drag him. To make things worse, the more he struggled, the more the beast would answer it with a tighter clench of its jaws and claws against his flesh, making Dick contort in pain. The adrenaline was not doing its job, with the sharp pain still coursing through all his body, stinging hellishly.
It is then that he feels the hard and cold wall against his back. By pushing him against it, the creature trying to immobilize for a reason that Dick couldn't even fathom. Still, he had to fight back, no matter what. He had to survive, at least until he knows if Babs and the rest of his family were safe.
It is then that his thoughts are interrupted while he sees the werewolf takes off the weight of its own arm out of his. The next thing that Nightwing feels is that huge and bloody arm pressing against his mouth. He could feel the warmth and the steel taste from that blood in his mouth, but even so he still was fighting against it, using all of his strength to not drink it. Feeling that struggle, the werewolf abruptly uses its other hand to push Nightwing's jaw up, making him jerk and forcing him to drink that creature's blood.
If that was not confusing enough, as soon as that beast is done, it releases him, for Dick's utter surprise. He was left on the ground, panting on his knees and with a lightheaded feeling.
"I'm sorry" mutteres the creature, punching Nightwing before he could even recover. Once done, the werewolf stood there for a moment, looking at the unconscious young man with guilty eyes. He could now flee without the need to worry of being followed, and finish this matter once and for all.
Quickly he jumps on to the fire escape above him and climbs it up, making his way through the roofs of the buildings around him. Still, he didn't need to run for long. Two blocks later he was already descending quietly from one of the buildings, landing smoothly next to some garbage. There he grabbed a sack and opens it, revealing some clothes and other stuff. Putting his right hand inside of it, he soon reaches a smartphone and makes a call.
"It's Rayland. It's done."
"That's was the only answer I would accept from you tonight, Mr. Rayland. I knew that some encouragement would prove to be... productive." replies a calm but cold female voice.
"I did my part of the deal, now it's your turn. Where is my wife?" impatiently, Rayland cuts the chase.
"I'll send you the address to this number. She will be there in about one hour. Be sure to get there as soon as you can, you know that Gothan's streets at night are not safe for a lady, especially if she is a human. After all, I don't want you to blame me for not keeping my word." With these last words, the woman hangs up. There was nothing noteworthy left to be said between them. If he wasn't lying, her plan would then finally begin to take its course. It was just a matter of time now.
"Enlighten me of how the employment of my men and resources in this fashion will turn out to be productive, Talia." Ras Al Ghul had just caught up to Talia's conversation, walking towards her through a huge and luxurious room.
"Your resources were already wasted when you have tracked down that werewolf, father. I'm just putting them to use, instead of just releasing him as you had initially intended."
"What I do with my wealth is only of my concern, Talia. You well know that my researches aren't always fruitful."
"You mean not for you. But for me... I see an unique opportunity."
Ras sighes in frustration "Your obsession for the detective is endless, Talia. I've watched you trying to make him love you through Jason Todd, and when your efforts proved to be in vain, you took advantage of Damian to draw him to you, what not surprisingly, didn't show any results until now. I was hopeful that by now all those foiled plans of yours would make you forget this pathetic idea of making him forcefully love you."
"And it did, father" Talia didn't mind seeing Ras raising one of his eyebrows "If I can't make him love me, at least I will make him play by my hands. Before long, I will show him that I'm the only one able to cure the predicament that soon is gonna plague one of his precious sons." Talia then walks past Ras Al Ghul, going towards the huge opened door.
"And if I can prolong his suffering, the better. Quid pro quo, father." with that, Talia then leaves the sumptuous room, still giving her back to her father. But Ras didn't need to see her face to know that she was probably smiling at that statement.
No, this is not going to be some silly and strange werewolf story that you usually see around here. At least I will try my best to not let it be. I've seen a lack of interesting and cool stories about this theme when involving Nightwing, and after reading the Dr. Strange arc in the comics, I've got inspired to write one like this. It has always been fun for me to write stories where we see the hero struggle from within, or making them face some unexpected situations that you would never read in the comics or see in a movie. Because besides being psychologically interesting, it's not as easy to foresee the results as in good x bad stories. Of course, it's gonna have some fun parts as well, specially concerning Nightwing's relationship with Damian. And yeah, Barbara is gonna be there for him as well.
Even Batdad will have his time around here, but I don't want him to be too out of the character as I've seen in so many Batdads before. Of course I can let it be a little "cheesy" for the fun sake, but not that much that you wouldn't say that that is not Batman. Those who read the comics, and not only watch the movies, know that Bruce tries to be a good father. In his way of course, but he at least tries. Hell, that becomes even more obvious if you read Batman and Robin comics and discover that he is sometimes overprotective when it comes to raise Damian.
Even though I'm way more into StarxNight, I needed someone to support him all the time and at the same time keep the story simple. I didn't want to write a big fanfic involving him in a huge Teen Titans plus Nightwing plus Batman plot, with lots of characters and making them face off lots of villains. That's because Starfire is always involved with the Teen Titans, when she is not busy being their leader, and it would be impossible to insert her here without involving them. That's why I've chosen Barbara for this supportive role. Who knows, maybe next time I will write one fanfic with a mistery theme, with Starfire being his girfriend, cuz yeah, in my opinion they are one of the best couples of all DC universe. I can already imagine some funny scenes showing her lack of knowledge of our language expressions and her misunderstandings of our earthling culture :p
And that's it. That's the end of the first chapter, thx for reading it and I hope that you all liked it. If you did (or not) please, leave a review so that I may know your opinions and thoughts. Is this a promising story, or a disappointing one? Please, let me know. The more reviews I get, the more inspired I will get to finish this story ^_^