The Thread, Part 2: Alone again, or...?

June 24, 2015:

Nightwing tries to follow a lead about a case and comes into contact with a few surprises.

East End of Gotham

One of the bad parts of Gotham


NPCs: Gabriel



Mood Music: [* Alone again, or? - Calexico]

Fade In…


Two days ago, underneath the bridge that leads north out of Delaware, a group of gangbangers from Metropolis were hung by lamp posts by another, yet unknown gang. 14 members were caught as they tried to flee on boats. None of them said so much as a word upon being apprehended, other than to ask for their phone call to contact their lawyers. Lawyers who never came. So, there, they sit, until one of them is inexplicably released from custody.


That's what Nightwing wants to know as he follows the man, identity unknown, across the bridge and into New Jersey, up north and into Gotham.

Keeping his distance, Nightwing tracks him, interested to see where he might be led. The East End is no surprise, but the nice apartment the man stays in is. It's simple, furnished with luxurious furniture, but without a lot of other posessions.

Grayson enters through the patio as the man goes back into his bed room, and waits for him.


The man's head makes a loud noise as it breaks through the drywall. Before even asking any questions, Nightwing throws him through the other wall.

"Name," he says quietly.

"Gabriel," he responds amidst scared breathing and moans of pain.

"Gabe," Nightwing says as he runs him into the living room and throws him down upon the sofa. "You and I had better talk."

Midnighter doesn't normally concern himself with gang warfare. After all, if they kill each other, he can be doing something else. But mass hanging are a bit out of the ordinary, especially for Metropolis. It caught his attention enough that he had the Stormwatch computer nerds set something up to keep tabs on them all in case something interesting happens. One of them being released counts as something interesting happening. Finding out just how is more of a job for computer nerds. He might even ask that DA to look into it. But the criminal himself? That's in his job description. And it seems like he's not alone. Having following the two of them, he smiles from the balcony as he watches the questioning. Not a bad start. And a killer ass. Though not speaking up, he's in clear view if either of them should look.

But Nightwing doesn't look, and Gabriel doesn't have the gumption yet to look away. Midnighter is still without notice, at least for now.

"First off," Nightwing says, standing over the gangbanger, "I want to know who it is you work for."

"I aint telling you shit, man," Gabriel responds, though it's not clear that his voice is in it and if his voice isn't in it I don't think his heart will be either.

"You know, I was worried you might say that," Nightwing says as he steps closer. "I don't really enjoy hurting people, Gabriel. It's my least favorite part of the job. So I'm going to give you one more warning, and them I'm going to have to break your finger."

Tight, firm, moves so nicely under the tight spandex. Midnighter spends a few moments picturing it in various positions before something said drags his attention away from Nightwing's ass. "Then let me. I really enjoy hurting people. For some reason, knowing I'm not at all reluctant makes them talk faster."


Nightwing knows the name and now has a voice to go along with the rumor mill. He knows the antics and knows the danger. Still. This guy does not seem as though he's willing to talk, and the fear of this madman may convince him. Nightwing strides by Midnighter and holds and escrima stick up towards his chest, brushing it lightly if allowed, and holding him in place as they pass for just a second.

"Don't cross the line," he whispers, peering at the man, but allowing him to have at it.

Midnighter smiles. "Whose line?" he asks as he moves forward. He's been known to tear someone's arm off and throw people off tall buildings. "So this is how it's going to work." he says to 'Gabriel'. "You're going to tell me what I want to know now or you're going to tell me what I want to know later. Except that in between, there's going to be a lot of screaming and you'll end up in a hospital bed for months and able to play in the Paralympics after. Unless I decide you're lying to me and you go off the balcony with a sheet tied aroundyour neck instead of the hospital."

"Mine," Nightwing says as he leans against the wall, and folds his arms across his chest, still holding that escrima stick. He even crosses his legs at the ankle, just for effect as he lets Midnighter take over.


Gabriel spits at Midnighter, but because of a lack of aim and a lack of a loogey, it falls well short. It's clear, however, that he's taking the second route.

"I was hoping you'd say that." Midnighter says and moves forward. He might not be a speedster but he's damn quick when he wants to be and it's hard to see even when he's being watched. One leg is suddenly being held straight up and then there's screaming as it bends to the side, dislocated. "Oops. I didn't see the line there. Want to try another question once he stops screaming?"

The screams cause some commotion in the hallway. It won't be long before someone calls the cops, Nightwing knows.

Either way, Gabriel is down with his face into the side of the couch, screaming.

"I'd like to know who he works for," Nightwing says as he inspects a speck of dust on his glove. Apparently, this is not the line he was talking about.

"Nightwing wants to know who you work for." Midnighter tells Gabriel conversationally. "Do you know how many joints there are in the human body? Most people just think arms and legs but the hand has 14 just in the fingers. That's 28 for both hands. Then there are the toes. The ankles and wrists. And once they've all been dislocated, I like to start tearing them off and cauterizing the stump. We won't have time for that here before the cops come but I know an abandoned sewer tunnel where lots of people will hear you scream but no one will want to get involved." Pause. "Answer."

"I…..I can't say. They'll kill me. They'll kill me," Gabriel says between moaning. "Well," Nightwing nods, "I'm pretty much the only thing standing in between Midnighter here and you dying anyways, so what's the difference?"

Gabriel buries his head, knowing he is in a know win situation.

"I'll kill you." Midnighter points out. "A lot more slowly than they will. And I'll enjoy it more too. But…" He sighs and glances over at Nightwing. "I suppose if you agree to talk, the's going to insist we not kill you. Might even call a DA who can be trusted to protect you. Your choice but I could use some fun so really not talking is fine by me."

But being stuck between a rock and a hard place, Gabriel chooses a third option. His hand slides down into the couch between the cushions, his body blocking what he's doing and robbing of Midnighter of the moments that his super speed would need to prevent what's about to happen.

When he faces them again, he has a handgun in his mouth, and he's starting to pull the trigger.

Midnighter just shrugs and watches. "Make sure to angle it up slightly to take your brain stem. You don't want to end up a vegetable. We'll have to find another one." he adds to Nightwing as an aside.

"No!" Nightwing says reaching for Gabriel.


The wall behind Good ole Gabe explodes in a spray of blood and the body slumps to the side.

"God damnit," Nightwing says irate. He couldn't really blame Midnighter for this one. It wasn't the man's fault. Nightwing probably would not have been able to prevent it either. He's just frustrated at the situation.

He sighs looking up at the ceiling. "The rest are in lock up, saying nothing other than to lawyers who don't bother to show up."

"They're not going to stay there." Midnighter points out. "If nothing else, they'll be transferred and then we can get one. Or more. But it might not be needed. Someone arranged for his release. That can be tracked backwards. You should be good at that. And van Dorn can look into it too. She seems to be clean."

"Is anyone really clean in this town?" Nightwing says softly as he looks back at Midnighter. "Fair enough. You want in on this?" Nightwing asks with a raised eyebrow.

"Everything is relative." Midnighter points out. "For Gotham, I trust her as much as I trust you. Which is to say, until proven otherwise." He cocks his head to listen a moment then starts ransacking the place. "This part of town, cops will be here quick. See if you can find anything."

"Good idea," Nightwing begins to comb the apartment as quickly as he can, but it's of little use. Even as he makes his way back into the bedroom, the red and blue lights can be seen twirling against the buildings facades.

Midnighter dumps one last drawer and shakes his head. "Didn't think so but we had to try. Time to go; I don't like killing cops who don't deserve it."

Nightwing emerges from the back room and sighs, "Yeah, we'd better get the hell out of dodge." He reaches for his grapnel gun and heads towards the sliding glass door.

Midnighter gives the apartment one last look then follows Nightwing. "So, would you like to get some drinks? Dinner?" He smiles. "Breakfast?"

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