Chapter 1: Abandoned

(Set After Season 2)

Nightwing groaned as he tried to limp his way to the nearest exit. Beaten, bleeding, and left for dead, he knew his time on the Earth was almost up as Death's call toward him grew increasingly louder and louder…

'Heh.', Nightwing thought, 'Who would have known, I'd die by the hands of the Team, my friends, the people I thought of as family…'

'Family', he no longer knew what that word meant; for him, family was nothing more than a scorn on his side…

[X-X-X-X-X]

It had been a somber few months for the Team, with Kid Flash gone, it was if nothing was the same anymore.

Richard, of course, placed the blame on himself. He should have known better; he should have told the Team that Kaldur's 'defection' to the Light and Artemis' 'death' was all but a ruse. Eventually, his mistakes as 'leader' had caught up with him and following the events which led to the death of Wallace Rudolph West, his best friend, Richard found himself suffering under the brunt of most of his teammates.

Surprisingly enough, only Artemis, Kaldur, and Roy (who was now called Will) held no resentment against him. Richard thought that out of all the people that would be angry with him, Artemis and Will would be the most unrelenting ones since they had true personal connections with the late speedster. After all, Artemis was Wally's significant other and Will was one of their closest friends.

The trio actually sympathized for him, they knew what had to be done and they knew that their actions would have consequences, the rest of the Team though? They weren't as understanding…

Most of the hate that Richard received came from none other than Batgirl and Robin and it humiliated him. He always thought that since they're Bats, they're family, they would understand. Yet apparently that wasn't the case.

Apart from the two proteges of the Dark Knight, Jaime, La'gaan, and Garfield were the ones who despised him the most. Miss Martian would try and reconcile the distance between Nightwing and the Team but her efforts were in vain as nobody, not even her reclaimed lover Superboy, shared the same mindset as hers.

What's worse is that even the League showed resentment against him as well. It wasn't a secret that the Dark Night and the original Boy Wonder didn't always see eye-to-eye following the oh-so-infamous 'argument' which led to the latter deserting his mentor and fleeing to California but the loss of Wally West seemed to have expanded that divide even further. Some members of the League understood or tried to understand that Nightwing only did his duty, his mission, and yet even those very few had doubting thoughts at the back of their minds…

Which eventually leads us to Nightwing's current situation. The League had dispatched the team to a warehouse somewhere within the city of New Jersey. Apparently, they had reason to believe that smugglers were using the location as a hideout to stash away weapons made from Apokolips and they'd been given orders to capture and confiscate the weapons before they could fall into the wrong hands. Sadly Aqualad, Tigress, and Red Arrow couldn't join them since Aqualad had business to attend to in Atlantis and Will was helping Artemis pack most of Wally's stuff.

The Team underestimated the strength and preparation of their opponents and it wasn't long until they found themselves at the losing side of the battle. Eventually it had gotten so bad that Batgirl and Robin had to call for a 'tactical retreat' which was a fancy way of saying that they were abandoning the mission. Sadly, whether it was on purpose or not, Nightwing was separated from the rest of the team and was immediately surrounded by hordes of armed, dangerous, men.

He remembered the look in Batgirl and Robin's eyes, they were the ones who boarded the Bioship last. He tried to get their attention, he tried to call for help, he tried to get them to help him but it led to no avail. Instead, the proteges of the Dark Knight simply turned their backs and entered the vessel.

Nightwing could do so little as the Bioship began to disappear into the night, soon, he found himself at the mercy of the lowlife goons who'd surrounded him. He could only bear so much as he remembered the agonizing pain he'd gone through, he tried to fight back but the numerical superiority of his opponents got the better of him. He cried as he hoped that the Team would come back for him, that they'd rescue him, that they'd bring him home; but Nightwing knew that it was not to be.

They had deserted him. They had abandoned him. They had left him for dead

'Guys.', he thought as he suffered under the merciless beating of his oppressors, 'How could you?'

'I was sorry, all of you knew that.'

'I didn't mean for it to happen.'

'I regret not telling you all sooner.'

'Just please…'

'Please come back…'

Anger and hatred began to grow within the deep depths of his heart, mind and soul. Eventually, his body could only deal with so much until he was finally forced to give out.

Nightwing only had one thought in his mind just before it all went to black…

'Traitors…'

[X-X-X-X-X]

Red Hood didn't really know what to expect when he came to the warehouse that ghastly night, and frankly, he didn't really care. Apparently, he'd been hired to go out and secure the aforementioned location with the hopes that all the packages (crates and etcetera) stored within it remained undisturbed and intact. As usual Red Hood came in prepared, his signature dual-wield Desert Eagles rested within their holsters as well as an assortment of knives and explosives equipped the pockets, nooks, and crannies of his uniform.

Yeah, it was just like any old day for good ol' Red.

Only problem though, he wasn't alone.

Red Hood grumbled as he heard the sassy voice of a New Yorker as he-they, approached their destination.

"Are we there yet Ivy? My mallet's itchin' for a smackdown!", the woman who wore white facial paint asked.

Another woman, this time wearing all green, answered her, "Relax Harley, we'll get there soon enough. Besides, you don't wanna mess this up do you? Think about the money on the table."

Harley Quinn, the known significant other of the psychopath Joker, replied with a cackle, "Oh please Ivy! Me and Mistah J can rake up as much cash as we like! Hittin' banks are easier scores than this!"

Poison Ivy sighed, "Well, why'd you agree to come then?"

"Meh.", Harley shrugged, "I was just bored."

Red Hood had enough of it…

"WOULD YOU PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP DAMN IT? YOU'VE BEEN YAPPING NON-STOP FOR THE PAST FUCKING HOUR!", he yelled.

"Well excuse you mistah 'Red-head Bigshot'! But I'm bored as shit and I ain't gettin' any youngah here!", Harley retorted.

Red groaned, why'd he even agree to this?

In all honesty, he should be popping bullets in the two women's skulls, especially since Harley's psycho boyfriend was the one responsible for his death but hey, they didn't know that.

Red just stuck it up, he'll just head over to that god-forsaken warehouse, finish the job, and take his cut of the cash and leave. Besides, what the hell's inside those crates that they're 'so important' anyway?

[X-X-X-X-X]

Red Hood and the others sighed as they opened the doors to the oh-so-important warehouse. His sigh deepens as he observes his surroundings, there'd been clearly evidence that there been a fight going on here not too long ago since he'd marked the few charred stains of laser fire and broken debris as recently made.

"Aww come on!", Harley whined, "I thought we'd get some action'r somethin' up in 'ere!"

"Would you just, for one second, keep your mouth shut?!", Red Hood exclaimed, he honestly couldn't deal with any more of this bullshit.

Ivy rolled her eyes, "I'll deal with Harley, we'll check-up the crates on the left side of the warehouse, you go on and take care of the stuff on the right side."

Red Hood simply nodded, the farther he was away from Harley Quinn, the better.

'Would've been a waste of a perfectly good bullet.', he told himself.

[X-X-X-X-X]

Red could only describe his current state of affairs as pure and utter boredom, it was so bland that he could hear Harley's whines from across the building. He sighed as he continued to inspect the crates, so far, apart from signs of a struggle, it looked like nothing had been stolen or damaged. He was actually tempted to ditch Harley and Ivy there and there, he just fought back the urge because for him, $500,000 would be too much of a waste.

He groaned as he turned the corner expecting nothing but more bland-ness but was caught aback when he saw what lied in front of him.

'A trail of blood?', he thought.

Eventually, he decided to call for the assistance of his associates to investigate, for all he knows, it could be a trap and somebody was observing them from the shadows waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

"Harley! Ivy! Get over here!", Red's voice filled the building.

Poison Ivy yelled from her position across the structure, "What?!"

"I found something!", was all Red replied with to which Harley and Ivy rushed towards his side…

[X-X-X-X-X]

Nightwing groaned as he was startled awake, he heard the voice of a man yelling. He couldn't remember what the guy was saying but in all seriousness, he didn't really care.

'Must be somebody out to finish me off.', he thought, 'Yeah, well, they better get to it. They already know I ain't gunna talk and it's not like I have a 'home' to come back to so they might as well end me here and now.'

Nightwing could only hear the shuffling of footsteps followed by someone who was trying to remove the stack of crates he was hiding against.

The last thing he could remember before darkness encompassed him once more was the sound of audible gasps followed by the look of a very familiar red helmet…

[X-X-X-X-X]

Red Hood, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy looked bewildered as they saw the trail of blood that seemed to have rounded off towards a few crates in the far corner of the building. They were more surprised when heard a weak groan; somebody was definitely hiding behind those containers.

Red Hood gulped as he took the lead, unsheathing his twin Deagles as he, and the two women approached the pile of crates cautiously. Eventually he went on to move out some of the containers out of the way until he saw something that he never expected would be something that he'd be seeing…

'Dick?', he thought, 'No, it can't be…'

His eyes weren't lying to him however as he heard very loud and audible gasps come from the two women who stood behind him, their mouths wide agape…

"My god! Is that the little Bat Brat?", Harley exclaimed, pointing a finger to the hopefully-not-dead body.

Red simply dismissed her comment however and simply rushed toward Nightwing's side. The hero had been gravely injured, scratch that, he'd been gravely mutilated. His body was littered in cuts, gashes, slices, and wounds; he had a busted lip and he'd lost a lot of blood, and by a lot I mean a lot.

"Shit.", the mercenary muttered, "Ivy! Help me here damn it! He's fucking dying!"

Poison Ivy snapped out of her thoughts and went on to tend to the injured former Boy Wonder, her purse contained only lightweight first aid supplies like a few bandages and gauge pads but so long as they could stop the bleeding, it should be alright.

"Why the hell are we even helping the little sucker anyway? Can't we just put him outta his misery?", Harley quipped.

Red Hood growled at the psycho, she wasn't really helping, "Shut the fuck up Quinn! I'm trying to do something here! Just watch our backs and be useful for once damn it!"

Harley scoffed but she agreed nonetheless, preparing her mallet in the event they got jumped.

'Oh God, please be alright Dick, hold on man.', Red thought.

Eventually, after what feels like an eternity, he and Poison Ivy had managed to stop the bleeding. Nightwing was still a mess mind you, but at least he'll have a higher chance of survival. It was then and there that Red and the two women decided that it was finally time to ditch the warehouse and get outta there.

"Harley, go ahead of us and start the car. Ivy, hold onto his left arm, we're getting the fuck outta here.", Red Hood ordered.

Ivy nodded, making sure that the former Boy Wonder's left arm securely held onto her while Harley went ahead of them and skipped her way on to the vehicle.

By the time they'd gotten aboard, Red hit the gas and simply hightailed it across the road.

"How's he doing Ivy?", the mercenary asked.

Ivy answered from her spot on the back seat, the injured and unconscious Boy Wonder leaning onto her for support, "He's stable but I don't think the bandages will hold very long. We need to get him to the safehouse."

Harley simply scoffed; she was sitting shotgun right next to Red Hood under his insistence.

'Better to have Ivy take care of Dick that this sociopath.', the mercenary told himself.

With all that said, Red Hood floored it. Time is of the essence here…

Nightwing didn't know where he was, the last thing he remembered before passing out was that he was laying on the floors of the warehouse injured, bleeding, and alone. He was caught off-guard when he opened his eyes and found himself waking up to a pseudo-medical room. Granted, he was restrained but at least his injuries had been neatly taken-care of, an IV was also attached to his left arm.

Nightwing turned his gaze towards the right side of the room when he heard clunking followed by the sound of the door opening.

A man wearing a red helmet entered the room.

"Oh, thank God! I thought you ain't gunna wake up anymore!", the man exclaimed.

Nightwing squinted his eyes, "Jay?"

The mercenary closed and locked the door behind him after which he went on and stood at the hero's side.

Taking off his helmet revealed that he, Jason Todd, was also wearing a domino mask beneath the helmet.

"Dick, you have no idea how glad I am to see you awake.", the man smiled.

Richard was confused, "Jay? Where the hell am I? What happened? How long was I out?"

"You've been out of commission for 3 weeks. We found you knocked out on the floor of a warehouse in a pool of your own blood, your injuries were so severe we he had to move you here to the safehouse just to get you decently patched-up.", the mercenary answered.

He remembered now, the mission, the set-up, being abandoned by the team; he clenched his fists as all the memories of that fateful night rushed back to him. Being left for dead at the hands of unrelenting low-lives and goons.

"And the restraints?"

"It's necessary.", the mercenary continued, "We didn't know exactly what you'd do when you woke up so we had to tie you down."

"Understandable.", the vigilante replied.

A sudden thought came up to him, "Wait, we?"

Jason winced at the thought, "I was kinda hired to go with Harley and Ivy to secure that warehouse we found you in but when we found you there half-dead, we hightailed it outta there and brought you here."

Another thought came up to the hero's mind, "What? Shit, Jay my mask-"

"Relax Goldie, you precious mask is still on your face, I did have to change it out for new ones every other day or so but bottom line is, your ID's still safe."

Richard sighed a breath of relief.

Silence filled the room, eventually, it was Jason who broke it…

"So.", he began, "Mind telling me how'd you end up in that situation exactly?"

Richard winced; he should've expected that one coming.

"It's nothing man, just got jumped is all."

Jason wasn't buying it, "I don't believe you."

"It's true! I promise, I just had a bad day-"

"CUT THE BULLSHIT DICK!", the mercenary cut him off, "YOU FUCKING KNOW I AIN'T BUYING YOUR SORRY ASS EXCUSES! YOU ALMOST DIED FOR FUCK'S SAKE! HELL, YOU COULD'VE DIED IF WE DIDN'T SHOW UP AND BAIL YOU OUT SO, MIGHT AS WELL QUIT YAPPING AND START TALKING 'CAUSE WE BOTH KNOW THAT I AIN'T AS DUMB AS YOU THINK!"

Richard sighed; Jason was always the straight-forward one.

"Alright.", the former Boy Wonder gave up, "I'll tell you…"

And with that, Richard elaborated the tale as to how he was backstabbed by the very people he trusted his life with…

[X-X-X-X-X]

"My god.", was the only thing that came out of Jason's mouth as Dick finished his tale.

"Yeah, 'my god' exactly.", the vigilante scoffed.

"I mean, in all fairness, you did kinda act like a dick but still, leaving you to die? That a low blow for Babs and the Replacement.", Jason replied.

Richard didn't really like it when Jason called Tim "The Replacement", even when he found out that Jason was the Red Hood all those months ago but right now, he didn't bother. Tim and the others were dead to him, Tim deserves to be called "The Replacement" and so much more…

Jason sighed, "What's your plan now?"

"I don't know anymore; the Team turned their backs against me, the League turned their back against me, hell, I bet Bruce already gave up on trying to find me so frankly, I don't know man. I don't know what to do anymore.", the former Boy Wonder answered.

Jason spoke, "If it makes you feel any better, I'll talk to Harley and Ivy to make sure they don't kill you in your sleep. As far as anyone's concerned, you can stay here for as long as you want 'till you get better. You don't have to accompany us whenever we're out to do shit but hey, whatever floats your boat man, either way I'm here for you."

Richard mustered a weak smile, "It's alright Jay, I ain't escaping anytime soon. Frankly, I don't even want to escape. Not anymore."

"Alright then.", Jason replied.

A comfortable silence sat between the two brothers, eventually, another thought popped into the former second Robin's mind.

"Yo Goldie, you hungry?"

Richard was about to answer but he was cut-off by the grumbling of his stomach.

The mercenary laughed, "Sit tight, I'll get you something to eat."

Richard chuckled, "Not like I'm going anywhere."

Jason scoffed then donned his helmet to become Red Hood once more and went to the safehouse's kitchen to get Richard a bite of food.

Richard was deep in thought as his brother left, he was analyzing all that happened within his life with a fine-toothed comb…

'Do I even want to escape? Should I even escape?'

'They abandoned me, they left me for dead.'

'I've told them I was sorry; I've told them all my grievances but they still shoved me away."

'Did Bruce even try to find me? I doubt that, I remember the look on his face before we left, he was holding things against me and we both know I knew it.'

'It hurts, it's really hurts…'

'I've dedicated my life to them, I've dedicated my whole being to their cause but in a span of a night, they threw me out.'

'They left me to die…'

'I gave them my all and yet they didn't even care.'

'They left me to die.'

'They were everything to me, I was nothing to them.'

'They left me to die.'

'Did they even bother? Or was it all a ruse?'

'They left me to die.'

'Was I really a hero? Or did they just let me be since I was a tool, an asset meant to be disposed when necessary.'

'They left me to die.'

'They wouldn't do that right? The Team, the League, Batman? They're heroes!'

'THEY LEFT ME TO DIE!'

After much thought, Richard knew what he was going to do.

He was snapped back into reality when he heard the sound of the door opening.

"Hope you don't mind; we only have leftover lasagna. We didn't really know you'd be up today so this was all I found in the fridge.", the mercenary spoke.

"It's alright man, I don't mind."

The mercenary set the tray of food on the nearby nightstand, Richard went out and took the bowl of the re-heated food, grateful for the kindness of his younger, adopted brother.

As Richard ate, another thought came into his mind.

"Hey Jay.", he asked.

"Yeah?"

"You wouldn't abandon me, right?"

"Where'd this come from?"

"Just answer the question man, you wouldn't abandon me, right?"

The mercenary gave a long, hard thought before answering.

"No, I don't think I will."

"Even when I fuck up?"

"Well, I might get pissed at you if you fuck up but I won't pop a bullet in your head or leave you for dead; besides, fuck-ups always come with the territory. Plus, you're my brother; you're the only person that's kept me sane whenever Bruce kept bitching behind my back and even after I died and became Red Hood, you didn't rat me out. You were always there for me and I owe you my life, I'd be too much of a dick if I'd abandon you."

Richard smiled, "Thanks man, I needed that."

"Anytime."

His adopted brother's answer now made his decision clear.

'Maybe, maybe it's time I try living at the other side of the spectrum for a change…'

'Besides, they've made their point, Justice is too overrated. It's time I see how the other side works.'

Richard remembered Slade's words when he donned the identity of Renegade and became his apprentice.

He smirked at the memory.

'You were right Slade.'

'You were right…'