Nightwing Down

February 14, 2016:

Nightwing is captured and thrown into Arkham by minions; and reveals a shocking truth to Bluebird.

Arkham Asylum


NPCs: Pyg's Minions

Mentions: Batman, Oracle, and The Fox


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Harper had been back at work for a while, returning to her regular duties. Arkham was used to breakouts and havoc and generally resumed normalcy in short order. Just another day in the crazy house, really. Or, at least, it was.

The code came in about thirty minutes ago - new patient on a temporary hold. Dangerous. Violent. Unlikely to cooperate. No diagnosis yet - to be evaluated later. The truck pulls up and there are the sounds of scuffle, chaos, violence. Screams. The sound of flesh on flesh - someone's taking a beating. And giving one in return, from the yelps of the orderlies and the number of men sent to the medical wing afterwards.

The newcomer is taken to one of the padded cells in the solitary wing, separate from the other prisoners. There's a hush over the arrival, where no one's talking. Odd. Odd enough to get Harper to come take a look when she can sneak away. But that won't make her prepared for what she finds.

For there, inside the cell, peeked through the window, is Nightwing. Masked, costumed, slapped in a straight jacket and glaring at the door in pure silent, seething rage.

It was something that wasn't expected.

This man was her partner. Probably the only other person who really understood what everything was about from her angle. While some turn to this sort of life in a need of revenge or honoring the dead, Harper's was simple. To keep her brother alive at all costs. So it's a matter of when she sees Nightwing as he was, her heart truly breaks. But there was a tiny bit of anger that slowly quells on the inside because.. he didn't trust her. Yeah, she immediately went to that.

Thankfully, Harper was smooth enough to lift a set of keys from the guard that she wisely put down to sleep, the quick *tink* and tingle as the door slowly unlocking with a low click.. a look left and right, and the assuredness that her prosthetics were in place so that even Nightwing wouldn't know her true identity. But he knows she's in there.

Slowly, the doors open with but a crack and she slips in, immediately ducking down and closing the door behind her.

"Nightwing…" She hisses out a whisper. "I'm okay.. you shouldn't have came.."

Says the girl with the thick, black cast on her arm.

Dick Grayson looks up at her, his dark hair loose and untangled, cast down across his face. When she slides the door open, he stares at her with an uncanny alacrity. He hops up to his feet, his arms still strapped but showing his legs and agility far outmatch that of any ordinary man. He almost bolts, but crouches a bit, wary, circling away from her a bit and keeping her back towards the wall.

"Are you real? Or is this another trick? That pig can't have me, he can't, I won't be his puppet, I won't be his slave. I am more than meat…" he mutters, shaking his head as if a strange sound were tormenting him. His eyes flicker, back and forth, rapid and paranoid. "What girl, there's no girl. I'm alone…alone…always alone…"

Oh.. no.. Harper didn't know what to do, his immediate jump to his feet had her plastered against the door, her bottom lip sticking out as she slowly lifts to look outside the small hole of a window into his cell. She was fine for now, no one would come running, but now she had to focus upon Nightwing.

"Hey.. hey.. hey buddy.. I'm real.."

Both of her hands were out now, her body shifting to the side, taking those slow steps towards him. Nevermind the toolbelt that hung loosely upon her hips. Even that made a sound as she tries to reach out for him.

"You're not alone.. I promise. It's me.. Bluebird.."

Dick Grayson shies away from the touch, backing up a bit himself. When he moves swiftly, his hair falls away from his neck, showing sewn up wounds, puckered marks where his blood had been drawn - or where something had been injected into him. His pupils were dilated, even as he narrows his eyes, as if trying to see her face clearly.

"I…I don't know…" he says, "I don't know if I believe you…so many…times…" he says. He turns and drives his head into the wall hard, almost concussing himself. He would have, if not for the padding. He stumbles to his knees, shivering, "Oh god…where am I?" he mutters to himself. "I'm sorry, mom…I'm sorry, dad…please, don't…he says he can help me…he says…he says he's Batman…"

There was almost a need for her to pull away her fake nose and slightly oversized upper lip. To snatch out the colored contacts and to show her real face to him and embrace him in a hug. She was.. still just a kid. She didn't know how to handle all of this grown up stuff. Well, she does. Punch it in the face until it either stops moving or knows when to not cry.

Still, she couldn't help it, her face burned through it all, her eyes widening, her hands reaching out to forcibly grasp his shoulders. "Nightwing.. stop it!" She shakes him just a little. "Please.. wait.." She frowns a little, looking to his scars.. his wounds..

"He's not Batman. Batman wouldn't hurt you… not like this." She tries at least, for the most part, her hand reaching to grasp his chin to get him to look into her eyes, "Nightwing.. look at me. No one else can help you. Only Bluebird can.."

May the force be with you?

"She's your best friend. Y..your guardian angel or something.. and she needs you. Isn't that right?"

Dick Grayson squints his eyes, crumpling against the wall. He bangs his head back into the wall, harder, five times, six. Finally, his eyes clear for a moment, focusing. "Need…safehouse…anti…toxin…" he mutters. "Adrenaline…might…help…" he says. He thrashes for a moment, a near-seizure taking him over as he cries out.

"Ahhhhhhhhhh, no, help me. Bruce, help meeeeeeeeee…" he says, beating at the floor, "It hurts, it hurts, I can't take anymore, please, just…please…don't…" he gasps. "Don't make me…fight anymore…"

Safehouse.. anti-toxin… How in the hell was she going to sneak out?

Adrenaline.. GOT IT!

As he begins to thrash, she falls back upon her bottom, her hands immediately sinking into her pockets to remove the rubberized gloves of her own making. She moves quick and fast, drawing the items from her bag now, piecing one component together, muttering quietly to herself until she hears his words…


Once she finishes piecing together her mechanism, she smacks it twice against her hand, a low humming thrum draws forth as an arch of electricity passes through the air. She leans forward, her hand pressing down upon Nightwing's chin, holding his cheek to the ground as she straddles just above his chest. "I'm.. so sorry.."


Two tiny prongs right to the temple.

The electroshock is intense, making him scream and curl into a hard, fetal ball. His gloved hands make fists, drumming his hands on the floor as the fog of the chemicals in his system clears for a moment, driven away by pain and adrenaline. He looks up at her, sweat soaked hair in his face, the mask clinging tight to him.

"Bluebird," he mutters. "Be careful. I only barely escaped, but…they'll come for me. And they'll come for me…"

And then the lights flicker for a moment, rapid-fire strobing, and then die utterly, pitching the room into blackness. The emergency lights pop on in the hallway, dim and dank and dirty, the bulbs never getting cleaned, clogged up with bugs and yellow with the stolen cigarettes of orderlies.

"Soon." he says into the darkness.

Whatever was on her mind at that moment she'll figure it out later. There wasn't any time. As the lights flicker out, she draws her headset from underneath her wig, sliding it down over her eyes and plugging the little plug into her ear. "Then we need to go.." She wasn't much with her broken arm.. but you know what? She could make due.

The lights go down, and Harper reaches out for Nightwing, her hand feeling for his own to tug and drag him into a stand, arm over her shoulder even though he's much taller but she supports his weight as well as any other.

"We're getting out of here. We're going to the safe house.. and you're going to be fine. I'll call Batman, and he'll help. He'll help us. I promise. Just.. stay lucid or whatever dude…"

Nightwing wraps an arm around her shoulder, leaning into her for a moment, "Harper, I'm sorry, I…I never should've…dragged you into this," he says. "You're…so damn…pretty…" he mutters, then shakes his head as he tries to keep his senses together.

When she pulls him out into the hall, though, they find their way blocked. Out in the hall, down towards the end, are three figures. They're somewhat hard to make out in the poor light, but they're undeniably eerie. Two wear orderly scrubs - a thin, almost skeletal looking man and a massive, bulky one, six and a half-feet tall. The third, a nurse, seems to be in charge, her red, red hair cast with a queer jaundiced light.

"Take him. Dispose of the girl," the woman hitches. All three wear leathery, weathered pig-masks, their breathing harsh and shuddering through the flaps of meat that lay across their lips.

They weren't even clear of the door once she heard her name, her eyes widening just a little. She knew she heard right before, when he said Bruce. But.. her name just finalized everything about Nightwing in that one go. He.. was actually Grayson. And while she desperately wanted to slap him so silly for letting her tell him about.. well him, she couldn't not right now. She was angry. And scared. All wrapped up in a tiny and slightly broken package. "Shut up Grayson.." She hisses quietly. Whatever. She's pretty, she still hates him.

But out in the hall, there was a new threat, one that.. she really couldn't do away with on her own. Her arm was broken, clean break, and there was a nearly sick and ill man upon her shoulder. So she does what she does best.

"Listen to me.." She quietly murmurs, grasping onto his arm and backing up back into his room, right into the corner. She carefully draws his arm from around her, allowing him to settle upon the ground as she kneels down in front of him.

"Take this.. hey, take this!" She was trying to hurry. She handed him the mechanism that she quickly assembled, wrapping his fingers around it, then both of hers around his. "I'm going to go outside, okay?" She lets go of his hand, peeling away the fake nose and lip, but she leaves the false color of eyes in place as she draws the wig from atop of her head. Bright blue hits the scene which is whipped around, her fingers dipping into the bag to draw out the half mask which was soon tugged on, the headset flashing which allows the lenses to light up just like Batman's. It wasn't perfect, but it was hers.

"If anyone comes in that's not me, turn the dial to ten. Tap -this- button. And run. For me, just run and don't look back."

She stands and approaches the door, taking one last look towards Nightwing, then exits, closing the door behind her.

Dick Grayson sinks to his knees and tries to make sense of the words she said. She called him Grayson, though, and that seems to sink into him. He'd worked so hard to try and keep his identity secret, separate. That's how Bruce trained him - protect the cowl, at all costs. Even when it hurts. Even when you have to lie and cheat and steal. But he slipped. He slipped because of them. Because of the pigs. Because they lured him in and snatched him and pumped him full of god knows what and tried to make him spill his guts.

Now she was going out to fight his fight. Putting herself in harm's way to protect him. Not okay. Not okay.

The Pigs stare at Bluebird as she emerges, ready to fight them off. "Hmmmmmmmmmmm, another one. His partner. Been looking for you, biiiiiiiiiiiiiirdiiiiiiiiie," the nurse says. Harper can recognize her now - Nurse Jenny, blonde and petite and one of the sweetest people you'd ever meet. Or so you'd think - now the madness shines in her eyes, blue marbles glinting under the pig mask. "Killlllll herrrrrrrrrr!" she screeches and the two men lumber forward to try and grab Bluebird.

Meanwhile, there's a scream from the cell as Nightwing doesn't wait and jabs the electric shock into himself once again.

The cast has only been on for a few days. But with the surge of adrenaline, the dull pain that she occasionally felt was but a memory. She was all 'go'. She was upset. Angry. Sad. Embarrassed, and she was going to use that in that fight. She knows that voice. The gentle lilt mixed with madness. She calls upon that inner person.. that bat upon her shoulder. Her chin lifted towards the sky as she draws in a slight bit of breath. No funky words. Nothing. She was a dead zone of anger and she was channeling Batman like the little fangirl she was.

Or wasn't. Let's be serious. This little chick came from the Narrows, it was time to get down.

Her arms stretch out as she quickly slaps them against her hips, withdrawing the retractable batons from her belt. They were small enough to hide, yet hard enough to break over someones knee if need. She wasn't good with them at all, but if she swings it just right..

She rushes the two men, immediately hunkering low, strafing a left and a right with the metal batons swiging, attempting to smack at both of their knees in hopes to break a kneecap or draw them to the ground. But there was a scream, a scream that catches her which makes her draw still, a cold chill running up her spine as she tries to backtrack to the room.


The pain helps, though, as does the screaming. He has to get it out, burn out the weakness. He's back in the cave, fourteen years old, every muscle aching. Bruce would work him for twelve, fourteen, eighteen hours. Make him fight until he passed out. Make him hang from a bar until his arms went numb and he fell to the ground in a heap. Dick would lay there, shivering, delirious, drained, broken. And then the Bat would loom over him and he'd hear that voice.

"Pathetic. Get up."

The bigger attacker isn't as quick as his gaunt friend, taking the impact to his knee and going down, clutching at the cap and giving a lusty bellow of pain and rage. The skinny one manages to dart away, though, taking advantage of the extra room to run up the wall and somersault back, the flash of a knife in his hand as he tries to stab stab stab at the little bird.

Another scream from the cell. Sweat pouring down his face. His vision smeared with color in the shadow. The first time he'd fought the Joker, Dick had thought he could handle it. Charged in, determined to protect his friend, his mentor, his big brother. He'd taken a beating. Joker serum shoved into his mouth, that purple glove clamped over his lips, making him swallow. That laugh, that god damn laugh. And then Bruce was there, pummeling, a dark dervish, silencing that laugh. And then standing over him, looming. Didn't help him to his feet. Didn't comfort him or tell him it would be okay. Just the same old routine.

"Get up."

The door bursts open and Nightwing stands in it. He's not well. He's not right. But he's here. And he's ready to fight.

"Watch yourself, Bluebird," he says, flicking a kick out and catching the big man in the chin as he warns Harper of the incoming knife.

The big man was down, good. One less that Harper had to worry about. But that little turn gave the other a way to get in close. And just as soon as she saw Nightwing, her eyes would have lit up with.. well, not that they could be seen, but a slight hint of happiness with a little touch of 'i'm going to kill you'.

The knife swings quick, Harper ducking back not once, but twice, the last one catching her middle as she immediately hurks and drops down to her knee. It was a foul play, Harper never leaving home without the gift upon her doorstep, that MK vest that was gifted to her from the bats always worn underneath a shirt.

Baton within her good hand was switched backwards, and immediately she rises, drawing the stick up towards the thin mans chin, then down hard upon the top of his head. "I know what the hell I'm doing! Get back in your room!"

The big man was down, good. One less that Harper had to worry about. But that little turn gave the other a way to get in close. And just as soon as she saw Nightwing, her eyes would have lit up with.. well, not that they could be seen, but a slight hint of happiness with a little touch of 'i'm going to kill you'.

The knife swings quick, Harper ducking back not once, but twice, the last one catching her middle as she immediately hurks and drops down to her knee. It was a foul play, Harper never leaving home without the gift upon her doorstep, that MK vest that was gifted to her from the bats always worn underneath a shirt.

Baton within her good hand was switched backwards, and immediately she rises, drawing the stick up towards the thin mans chin, then down hard upon the top of his head. "I know what the hell I'm doing! Get back in your room!"

Dick Grayson shakes his head, "Sorry, double b, I have a craving to get a bit of my own back. These freaks already hurt me. Time to hurt them back," he says. He leans in to go at the big guy some more, throwing a few hard punches into the man and driving him down. Dick is quickly straddling his chest and starting to beat down into him, brutal, hard shots with forearms and elbows, battering muay thai strikes designed to knock a man stupid or cave in his teeth, raining one after the other. He may be more cogent, but he's not entirely himself, as the blood soon spattered over his face would indicate.

The skinny man stumbles backwards as Bluebird catches him off-guard, his teeth clicking together as she hits him on the head and he stumbles down, out cold. The nurse, however, is now charging and screeching, a hypodermic needle raised over her head as she runs at Bluebird.


"Nightwin.." Ut. There he goes. He was fighting. Fighting a man already down. Hers was already down for the count with a swing and there was a woman yelling. But what was more important? Saving the fat man.. saving herself.. or saving Dick's soul?

Harper whips around, good arm cocked back and baton thrown straight for the womans face. She put a little power into that through, the rear up of a leg and a fastball pitch shot that has her body lurching forward and stumbling with her broken arm out to catch the wall.

She then turns, rushing towards Dick at breakneck speeds, her arm outstretched to try to wrap around his chest with a lean to the side as she flies through the air to drag him right along with her. She'd take the brunt of the fall if she's managed to pull him off. Her body rolling, still grasping his until she was on top of his back to try to hold him down or shield him from any hits or stabs that come.

Cause.. she's wearing BATGEAR! BWAHA!

The nurse goes down, her skull impacted by the baton and tripping forward over her feet, falling onto her face with the meaty slap of that mask hitting the tile floor of the hallway. The pigs are down, but there's still violence in the air.

When Bluebird hits him, Nightwing rolls, instinct taking over. The flashbacks to training have him on edge, his rage and frustration and, frankly, humiliation at what was done to him putting him into a frenzy.

He rolls, strong legs spinning and leveraging Harper ass over teakettle to land on her back before he's on her, raising his hand in the air to start to rain fists on her, just about to strike when he stops, breathing hard, closing his eyes as tears are streaming from them.

"No…no…" he says, trying to rein himself in, his fist slowly opening as he curls in on himself atop her, just starting to weep, his emotions out of control…


Probably not the last time she's ever went all Keanu on Nightwing, the flip slapped her back against the floor as he rolls atop of her, her hands immediately lifting to shield her face, her body wanting to curl from the rain of blows that she just.. may get..

But don't quite come. Harper stops, feeling the weight atop of her adjust, her eyes slowly opening behind the shined lenses only to see the top of his head and the sound of.. weeping? Oh.. geez. Now she feels bad. She wanted to kill the poor guy.. but this wasn't his fault. Not his fault at all.

"Nightwing.." She whispers, reaching to grasp his head, trying her best to get him to look at her and focus. It was harsh, the way that she treats him, but they were still in danger. He was still in danger.

"This is awkward. You gotta stop." Okay, bad words. "Nightwing, get up. We need to get you out of here. You can do this. C'mon… don't make me call Johnny Five on you.." Awh.. this wasn't working. No gentle chiding or nothing. So, she relents and just embraces him tightly. "It's going to be okay.."

Dick Grayson accepts the embrace and hides his face against her shoulder, "I'm sorry," he says, brokenly, then tries to pull himself together, "For everything…for…" he says and then just shudders.

"Yeah, let's…let's get out of here. I'm just lucky they didn't…take off my mask. I kept…biting when they tried," he says, getting off of her and offering his hand to help her up.

"I know the secret ways out of here. C'mon," he says.

"Just.. just.." She was uncomfortable. She knows who he is. He knew who she was. Both parts of her that she tried to keep hidden. She felt like a damn fool. It was unexpected. "..just save it. Alright?" She nearly bites at him, but she does accept the hand that helps her up. She grunts just a little, shaking her hand off, ready for him to lead the way but she stops.

"I.. I can't go with you." Something just didn't sit right with her. How did they get in? Why did they bring him -here-? Did Professor Pyg have some special relation with this place? It wasn't like she had special access to the registry but.. how?

Then again, she also needed to make sure he was safe. "I'm going to call Oracle and The Fox.. just.. get to the place and they'll help you, okay?"

Dick Grayson hesitates. "I don't like leaving you behind," he says and he means it. This place was dangerous enough as it is - now they had proof positive it was as compromised as they feared. They'd intended to have him under control here, drugged further, sedated. Bluebird had been a wildcard they wouldn't expect.

"You've got to figure out what to do with them. They work here. Lock them up in my cell for now. I'll restore the power on the way out," he says.

He considers for a long moment and then, on impulse, leans in and kisses Harper right on the mouth, one hand cupping her cheek for a too brief moment before he finally whispers, "Thank you for saving me," he says, before turning and quickly running down the hall, heading towards the circuit breakers and the secret exit…

"You gotta. I'm a big girl. I'll be okay." She draws her hands up to take off her mask and headgear, the rubber gloves soon shrugged and shucked to the side, her real face, sans eyes dancing around in the strobe-lit darkness. "I'll.. I'll just put them in the infirmary, call for a medic. Stuff like this happens here almost all the time." Thankfully, Harper was in a job where she was mostly away from people, but close to the computers for Oracle to monitor.

Her arms draw along herself as she watches him, her eyes widening as soon as he draws near, the kiss. Yeah. It was him. Dick Grayson, aka Nightwing. Her fingers creep and crawl to his sides, releasing him as he pulls away which leaves her stumbling a little forward. Her hand lifts to touch at the back of her head.. unable to say nothing but..

… ugh. Clean up. She hates this part.

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