"Well, well, well," Nightwing says, sounding entirely too merry. "Would you look at this, Red Robin."
"What do we have here, Nightwing!" Red Robin plops his head to visibility from behind Nightwing's back, looking awfully tiny it's almost adorable. "Oh me, oh my. A murder."
"Stop that," Kid Flash tells them. "Just stop that."
"It's no use," Artemis says. "They probably have like, a favorite massacre or something."
"Belcher Islands, 1941," Red Robin cheerily supplies. "Classic."
"Meh," Nightwing says. He crouches on the ground, eyes squinting from behind his mask for a better look at the scene. "Cults are overrated."
"Hah! You only say that because you almost got brainwashed into one."
"You almost got what?"
"Brainwashed into one," Red Robin informs Kid Flash helpfully, his words matter of factly. "They wanted to make him like, their own personal assassin or something. It was wild."
"Yeah, it was pretty wild," Nightwing supports the statement. Which does not help Wally's case at all.
"What," Kid Flash says.
Nightwing makes a dismissive motion with his hand. Kid Flash makes a mental note to ask him about this later.
"I've notified GA," Artemis says, typing on her communicator. "He'll be here in five."
"Sweet," Red Robin says. He scurries around the body. "COD. Race you," he tells Nightwing.
"Isn't that obvious?" Kid Flash interjects. He doesn't really like looking at corpses — something that he should fix, due to his choice of … future occupation — but it's pretty telling. "He was shot?"
Red Robin shakes his head solemnly. "Ah," he sighs. "How very naive of you, young man."
"You are literally four years younger than me."
"How naive!" Red Robin continues.
"Ignore him," Artemis says. "Millennials are all like that."
"Actually, I'm Generation Z. You're the Millennial."
Artemis glares. "Nightwing, why is your brother such a smartass?"
"You just answered your own question," Nightwing says. He is now, like Red Robin, scurrying around the body. "Hm. This is sloppy."
"Amateur work," Red Robin agrees. "No other sign of trauma …"
"Yeah, he was shot," Kid Flash says, amost incredulously. Both Bats look up at him, somehow channeling judgement even with half their faces non-visible. "Right?" he looks to Artemis for support. Artemis shrugs, looking very apathetic. She's seen this scene unfold too many times to really care about the Bats' fascination of dead bodies.
"KF," Nightwing prompts him. "Come look at this."
"No," Kid Flash says. He sighs. "Fine," he walks and crouch down beside Nightwing, if a little non-consensually. Kid Flash turns the other way. "Is this even allowed?" he hisses half-heartedly. "Aren't you messing with the crime scene, here, or whatever?"
"No, we are not," Nightwing says, his focus entirely on the body. "You see this, bro?"
Kid Flash grimaces. "Kind of hard not to see that, bro."
"If he were alive when he was shot, the powder tattooing would've been red. Brownish, orange-ish, at some cases. But these are more yellow than anything."
What the hell is powder tattooing, Kid Flash thinks, but he does not voice it out and needlessly reveals that he hasn't been listening in lessons at all. And all those times Nightwing lectures him about forensic science. "So he was dead before he was shot."
"A gold star for you!" Red Robin says.
Kid Flash squints at Red Robin, standing from the crouch, taking the chance not to look at the corpse a second longer than he has to. "It's like having two dicks here."
Nightwing turns to glare at him.
Kid Flash isn't even sorry. "Metaphorically."
Nightwing rolls his eyes, somehow able to convey that gesture with behind the opaque white lenses. "Time of death?"
"Eh.." Red Robin tilts his head the other way. "Two hours max, I'd say." Nightwing hums in agreement.
"Handgun," Red Robin says, unperturbed by the gruesomeness of the scene. "Near shot."
"Can't be more than a metre," Nightwing agrees. "Five visible entry wounds."
"He was shot five times," Artemis says thoughtfully. "And he was already dead. That's … excessive."
"Malice," Nightwing says, contemplatively.
"The perpretrator knows the victim," Red Robin suggests.
"Possibly," Nightwing adds idly. "Possibly," Red Robin repeats concedingly. "Asphyxiation, you think?"
Nightwing moves forward, and tilt his head to get a better look of the victim's eyes. Red Robin follows suit.
"Blood vessels intact," Red Robin examines, sounding disappointed.
"No signs of neck trauma, either." Nightwing replies. "Homicidal smothering is a good bet — that, or some kind of suffocation Quirk."
"Ahh," Red Robin says, nodding, sounding like a student receiving a lecture from his teacher.
Kid Flash watches them, feeling like he's going to puke any moment. He looks at Artemis pleadingly. Artemis rolls her eyes. "Let them do their freaky Bat thing," she says. The Bats love murders. It's freaky.
Red Robin tilts his head. "Two perpetrators," he declares.
Nightwing grins. "Smart boy," he says, and Red Robin cheers.
"What?" Kid Flash looks at the criime scene, squinting, expecting the answer to pop out at any given moment. "How do you know that?"
"Well," Red Robin turns and beams at him, like it's Christmas. "You see — "
"Green Arrow," Artemis raises her voice, having had enough of the murder talk. "Finally."
Green Arrow takes a look at the body, then at Nightwing, then Red Robin, then Kid Flash, and finally, Artemis. He says, in disbelief, and some mix of annoyance and horror, "again?"
Kid Flash should really consider stop going to patrol with any of the Bats.
"That's a — " Nightwing tilts his head and squints. "De Kooning?"
"De Kooning?" Robin repeats, with an entirely unecessary amount of disgust. He turns to look at Nightwing in heated disdain. "De Kooning? That's a Kandinsky, you uneducated neanderthal."
Nightwing shrugs. "My speciality is Medieval art, not abstract expressionism."
"Nerds," Red Hood sneers.
"You're one to talk," Red Robin shoots at him with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh please, like you are one to — "
"Every single one of us are nerds," Nightwing cuts, which is responded by some conceding eh. "Red Robin, what's B's ETA?"
Nightwing sighs. "We just wanted to get a smoothie. Why do we always get all the murders?"
"Hey," Red Hood says. "Getting murdered is my thing."
"We are probably cursed," Red Robin suggests, not with a small amount of humor. "Like, death follows us everywhere typa thing. Everyone we love will die!"
"How dare you," Red Hood, who is very offended, says. "I'll have you know, this topic is very sensitive for me — "
"We get it, Hood," Robin, who is very insensitive, says. "You died. Get over it."
"The true measure of a shinobi is not how he lives, but how he dies," Red Robin, who is also insensitive, solemnly says.
"I told you to stop quoting Naruto," Nightwing scolds him. Red Robin shrugs. Nightwing glares at him. "Robin, " he says, "you're going to the base with Red Robin. Red Hood — "
"What?" Red Robin and Robin say at the same time, and then glare at each other in harmony.
"Who died and made you boss?" Red Hood says, and then predictably, he says, "oh, right. Me."
Nightwing pinches the bridge of his nose, a gesture that is awfully similar to a certain bat themed vigilante. "This was a mistake."
"Why do I have to go back?"
"Why do I have to go back with him?"
They both glare at each other for several more heated seconds and then, together, glare at Nightwing in a terribly similar way.
"Nightwing, I do not need a babysitter!"
"And I don't want to babysit him!"
"This is a homicide," Nightwing says. "A themed homicide. A modern art-themed homicide. If it has a theme, then it's probably bad. Need I remind you that the both of you do not have a license — "
"Need I remind you, that I have been trained to be the leader of the League of Assassins — "
"Red Hood doesn't have a license — "
"Robin, you are ten, and Red Hood — "
" — can do whatever the fuck he wants," Red Hood finishes. Nightwing stares at him and then makes an eh, what the hell gesture. "Yeah, that, whatever," Nightwing says. He points a finger at Red Hood. "Except for killing people. And I know you've been stealing champagnes from the kitchen, Hood — "
"And so do I," says Batman, who just fell from the sky and now is looming before the four of them. "Hello, boys," says Wonder Woman from behind him.
They stare in silence. Nightwing sighs.
"Whoa," says Red Robin, in a very excited tone of voice, "were you guys on a date?"
"You were on a date?" Red Hood and Robin say, at the same time, in a very dismayed tone of voice.
"Hello, Aunt Di," says Nightwing.
"No," Batman says.
"Yes," Wonder Woman says. She has a sunflower slipped behind her left ear. "It was surprisingly quite romantic."
They stare at Batman, who looks as stiff as a cardboard. "It was not a date," Batman says. And then he stares Robin down. "I told you not to patrol."
"He isn't patrolling," Nightwing defends. "He's just taking a stroll. With a costume."
Wonder Woman raises an eyebrow, appraising Robin up and down. "And a scimitar," she says, implementing one of her many Quirks: X-ray vision. "And a saif. Five hand grenades. Ten smoke bombs. Kevlar armory. "
"I have a duty," Robin says, chin rising dignifiedly. "I shall purge crimes from the streets of Gotham."
"He really likes his costumes," Nightwing says.
"Red Robin, go to base with Robin," Batman says.
Nightwing, like Batman, has his hands on his hips and turn to look at both boys in question. In face of two identical poses, both Robins express their disdain by rolling their eyes simultaneously — somehow able to convey that particular gesture even with their masks on — and shoot their grapples to the Batplane hovering overhead.
"Use the autopilot!" Nightwing warns. "No driving! I'll know if you do!" Both Robins will bicker and drive the plane themselves nevertheless, but at least he tried.
"Aunt Di," Red Hood says, sincerely and solemnly. "He doesn't deserve you."
"I know," Wonder Woman says breezily. "I'll text you all about it."
"It was not a date," Batman repeats.
Red Hood bows at Wonder Woman with a flourish, flips Batman a middle finger, shoots his grapple to a nearby building and disappears.
Batman raises an imperious eyebrow to Nightwing, somehow able to convey that particular gesture with his mask on.
"We were getting a smoothie," Nightwing tries. "After patrol. Y'know. Brotherly bonding and all."
"When, uh." Nightwing gestures to the scene behind him. "Murder."
"Again," Batman says, not a question.
"Again," Nightwing agrees.
"Kandinsky," Batman says after a few seconds of instropection, able to identify the painting in reference in the form of arranged body organs and wall paint and blood. Wonder Woman peers curiously behind him. Batman nods at Nightwing. "Hrn. We'll take it from here. Contact the GCPD."
"Aye, Sir, that I did," Nightwing says, apathetically, and a little bored. "Hey, were you really on a date?"
Wonder Woman beams. Batman scowls, shoots Nightwing a look.
"He doesn't deserve you," Nightwing says solemnly, and shoots his grapple, disappears into the night and all that.
"I like your children," Wonder Woman tells Batman. Batman says nothing.