-I love you all for reading, but I would love some more reviews to tell me that you're reading and what you want to see here.
-I'll be uploading all my stories on a schedule: Every Friday alternating which story depending on the week. Beyond and Between - Roads of Yesterday, sorry I'll be putting Not The Devil's Fire on hold for some time due to lack of inspiration to conitnue at the moment.
-Any critiques on the writing style of the chapter? For some reason all my writing right now is reading just a little rushed to me. I don't know why. But tell me if it does or if it's just my overly perfectionist mind set.
- Also, I'm adding in a tad-bit of complete fiction from my mind backstory to Canary. Don't murder me for it, because then you'll never read the end of this fic!
As always, I thank my readers for reading and implore you to leave a little review telling me you like the story,
Love Creative! ;D
Soft, barely audible, thuds echoed from Nightwing's boots as he walked down the long, silent corridor of the Watchtower. His movements were stiff as he tried to hide the ever increasing limp in his walk. The night before had been a long and arduous one, involving many thugs and a ticked off crime lord. Batman had once taken down the crime lord, but he had been released from prison and taken control of his empire once again. Nightwing had started out his night taking down simple thugs, but ended it with a full out brawl against the crime lord who was newly equipped with Kobra venom.
Nightwing's attention was drawn back to the gray world around him as he heard voices echoing along the corridor. They were growing in volume and despite the fact that Nightwing could not distinguish words he could easily read the tone. As the hero walked he began to hear distinct voices shouting the words. He stopped beside the door, which kept the rumbling arguments from being heard through out the entire base, and listened.
"Why are you trying to bring him back?" A deep voice bellowed.
"Because if we don't and he finds out, what will stop him from finishing what he started that night, Clark? He almost killed the Joker because he thought that the maniac murdered his father on the chance of a fluke accident. That's all that kept him from dropping that clown off the tower. What do you think will happen if he finds this new information on his own, without the Team stop him? Bruce may have trained him to act like an adult and make the hard decisions on a moments notice, but Dick is still just as prone to vengeance and rage the others. He wasn't programed like Bruce, that's why he became Robin. To avoid that." A rough, melodic voice said, evidently trying to stay calm.
"The Team thinks he's dropped out of hero work completely, not that he abandoned them. Bringing him back will only cause problems him and put strain on the Team. Strains and problems that will do them more harm than good. It is not right." The same deep voice growled.
"It's his choice, and he will deal with whatever comes from that decision." Flash's voice rung loud and clear.
Nightwing took a steadying breath as he stepped back. The League had information about Batman's death that supported that it wasn't just an accident. The somber hero couldn't help but feel relieved by the fact that it wasn't just his own inability that got his mentor killed, but the nagging feeling of guilt still persisted by tugging at the sour string saying that if only he had been faster then Batman wouldn't have needed to die. Nightwing leaned against the wall, trying to wrangle the fresh emotions into submission before approaching the senior Leaguers. Subtle tears of conflicting origins rolled down the seasoned hero's cheeks, despite his best efforts to curb them.
He would never be able to fully shake the guilt that came with being the one the gun was pointed at before Batman died. Survivors guilt was what Canary had called it. Yeah, some survivor I am. Nightwing scoffed at himself before straightening and drying his tears. He promised Batman that he wouldn't look back, that he would keep going forward. But, what if going forward meant going back and closing all the doors? Would Batman be angry with him if he broke his promise, if only to a slight degree?
Four heads turned towards the door as a knock echoed in the room. Martian Manhunter flew to the door and opened it, gesturing for the black clad hero on the opposite side to enter. Black Canary and Superman nodded in hello to the newcomer, whilst Flash was by the young man's side in a well... flash.
"Good to see you, Nighwing. Gotham treating you well?" Flash asked, his tone overly cheery; As per usual, Nightwing almost chuckled to himself.
"As good as any crime infested city, I'd guess." Nightwing answered, shrugging. "Now, why am I here? You guys don't invite civilians or soloists up here for no reason."
The four adults in the room let out a collective sigh as if they had been hoping he wouldn't ask.
"Blunt as ever, just like Batman." Flash said, earning him a sharp jab in the side from Canary.
"We called you here because of some recent developments, and because we wanted to check up on you since you weren't at the annual memorial speech." Canary said.
"I was, but then I left. My life is my life." Nightwing snapped at them before recomposing himself. "Developments in what? I'm not part of the Team or the League anymore, I don't have any cases that would interest you or that you would feel obligated to inform me of developments."
The room turned silent as everyone looked to Canary to explain. The blonde sighed as she stepped towards Nightwing, trying to remind herself to stay as clam as possible despite her swimming emotions. She recalled the last time she had spoken to Nightwing, no then it had been Batman... The blonde looked at the black clad hero before her, studying him in the split second she had before he would hide behind his walls. On his face she nothing of the young man she'd been first introduced to, but everything of the man who had been her leader. A saddened sigh made it's way through her lips before she started to speak.
"That is not entirely true. We all know that there is one case that you're still working that pertains every bit to us as it does to you. That case has recently been brought to our attention again under a new light. I can safely assume that you have heard in some form about the incident last month where Superman was hurt by a bullet?" A slow nod allowed Canary to continue despite the annoyed and embarassed look of her teammate behind her. "As you could have guessed it wasn't an ordinary bullet. The metal had been mixed with liquified kryptonite, thus why it was able to wound Superman. He was lucky that the bullet only struck his shoulder, because if the bullet had been aimed at his heart, it would have killed him. This is not the only incident of specific weapons being used against a hero."
Images and videos of Leaguers and their proteges fighting flashed to life on the newly appeared hollow screen; a frequency emitter heard only by birds being used against Hawkman and Hawkwoman, a heat bomb being used against Aquaman and Aqualad, a flame-whipe being lashed at Martian Manhunter, a long range vertigo wave propeller against the archer family... But Nightwing was drawn immediately to the smallest clip at the bottom left hand side. An odd angle, but it showed someone running and leaping to catch a bullet before showing flashes of red and yellow.
Dick couldn't look away from that small part of the screen. The League must have gotten the footage from Batman's mask camera. Dick's jaw tightened as he stopped himself from crying. He would not be reduced to tears in front of these same people. It had been months since he had seen some, and others years. He refused for them to see him break again. His blue eyes scrunched behind his domino mask as he tried to contain the sadness, the anger, the fear, the guilt...
"Before you start reeling and descending into your world of hate and despair, let me offer you something," proposed Canary as she watched Nightwing's expression change from stone to confusion to ice. The masked eyes turned to her and she felt the question in his hidden gaze as she continued, "You can go through this alone, sifting through what evidence you have and working with yourself and Alfred, or you can join the Team or League and you'll have at your disposal all the data-bases and resources that you could want or need in your time off of missions. Not to mention the continued support of your team."
"So you're saying that I can either walk out now and continue on my own just knowing that there is a connection between the Man of Steel getting hurt by a bullet and my mentor's supposed purposefully accidental death or I could rejoin the team that I quit and have you tell me everything and have them and you helping me solve this while I'm not running around doing little so-called 'missions' for you guys?" Nightwing asked, something similar to Roy's tone of snark and annoyance in his otherwise overly placid tone.
"Sums it up, but it's more to the fact that we think that you could use some friends to help you with this. Dealing with losing a mentor is rough, but dealing with losing a parent at the same time. I can't imagine what it's like for you. And if you re-open these scars, there's no telling how it's gonna end."Flash said from behind Canary.
Nightwing looked at the heroes in front of him. They were the only one's who knew both sides of him, besides Wally, or at least used to know both sides of him. No one knew much of both sides of Richard's coin anymore. They would see the still grieving son or the hardened hero, not the pile of mulch that Nightwing was right now. The blue-eyed hero knew that if he turned down the offer in favor of exploring the matter on his own that he would end up in a situation all too similar to the one not much past a year ago, where he would be a few steps away from dying and these same four people would convince him to either stop heroing all together or that he should rejoin the team. Why not save myself some time and just go along with them? Nightwing thought with a sigh.
He raised his hidden blue gaze from the floor, he hadn't even noticed that it had slid there, and met Canary's eyes. Despite his eyes being behind the mask he felt as though she could see them and understood his answer before the words ever rose in his throat when he saw a seemingly proud smile crack her stoic facade.
"Fine, I'll join the Team."